Exploring Laodikeia

Exploring Laodikeia: A Visitor’s Guide


About five kilometers north of Denizli and eight kilometers from Pamukkale, Laodikeia is often overlooked by tourists rushing from the coast to Pamukkale to see the world-famous White Terraces on a day trip. However, if you have a little more time, a visit to this nearby sprawling ancient city, which Cicero once called home, is worth spending the night in Pamukkale. The fact that it is much less known than Ephesus or Pamukkale’s Hierapolis means that this is an attraction that you won’t have to share with the crowds, making for a very peaceful sightseeing experience.


Referred to by locals as Eskihisar (Old Castle), the ruined place of the old Laodikeia (or Laodicea) was built on the site of an earlier settlement originally known as Diospolis and later as Rhoas. Laodikeia was founded by Antiochos II of Syria (261-246 BC), who named it after his wife Laodice. Part of the kingdom of Pergamum after the Treaty of Apameia in 188 BC, the city subsequently passed into Roman hands. Its commercial activities and especially the wool and textile industries made it one of the richest cities in Asia Minor and after a devastating earthquake in 60 AD. The wealthy citizens could rebuild the city from their own resources.

Laodikeia was home to one of the oldest Christian communities of the Roman Empire and ranked among the Seven Churches of Asia (as mentioned in Revelation 1:11; 3:14; Colossians 4:13ff). After the conquest by the Seljuk Turks at the end of the 11th century, the city fell into decline and in the 13th century the remaining inhabitants left the site and moved to Ladik (modern Denizli).

Read also: 14 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Pamukkale

The website

The website
The website

The scant remains of Laodikeia are spread over an undulating plateau (one square kilometer), which is dissected by the road from Eskihisar to Goncali. Three ports allowed access through the walls and ruins of a old bridge are visible under the northwest gate. This gate to Ephesus, triple arched and flanked by towers, was dedicated to Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD).

On the southwestern side of the site a number of buildings were built under the emperor Vespasian (AD 69-79), including a stadium (350 x 60 meters) and a large building known as the Palati, which was a gymnasium or a bathhouse. An aqueduct carrying water from the spring of Baspinar (next to the old administrative offices in Denizli) ended in a five-meter high water tower, where water was distributed to different parts of the city. It is a short distance beyond the city walls city ​​of the dead.

To the northeast, one odeon stands on a terrace on a hill. In the middle of the hill on the left are the remains of a Roman nymphaeum, which was excavated in 1962/63 by French archaeologists. A square water pool, with a semi-circular fountain and a number of rooms, is flanked on two sides by pillars. The complex was later used as a chapel. Nearby, the remains of a larger one Ionic temple can be seen, and on the northeastern edge of the plateau lies the rubble of a large theater. Further north is a smaller and better preserved one theater. The acropolis at the northern tip is relatively small.


Location: Laodikeia is located about 5 km north of Denizli

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