Excavation Sites in 5 Questions: Laodikeia


5 Minute

The ancient city of Laodikeia is an important metropolitan city of the Lykos Valley located only 6 km north of Denizli. The fascinating history of Laodikeia establishes the city as a center of trade, sport, culture, art and pilgrimage. It is both one of the biggest ancient cities of Anatolia as well as the biggest excavation site of ​​our country.

According to Excavation Director Prof. Dr. Celal Şimşek “Laodikeia is the most important textile center of the ancient period. Laodikeia is a sports center and has the largest stadium in Anatolia. Laodikeia is an art center with two theaters. Laodikeia has one of the Seven Churches.” 

Check out our interview with Prof. Dr. Şimşek to find out more about why you should visit the ancient city of Laodikeia. 

History of Laodikea

The ancient city of Laodikeia is located in the Lykos (Çürüksu) Valley in Denizli, a rather advantageous geographic location. According to some sources, the city which was named after his wife Queen Laodike was built by Seleucid King Antiochus II. Laodikeia was founded between 261-253 BC. The city came under the rule of the Roman Empire in 130-129 BC. The Romans highly valued the city and therefore built many monumental buildings.

Another point that should be mentioned about Laodikeia is that the city has a very important place in the Christian world. Laodikeia is one of the Seven Asian Cities mentioned in the Bible since it had one of the first seven churches of Christianity in the city. Therefore, the city became a metropolis that stood out as a religious center during the Byzantine Period. Laodikeia, having been an important place throughout the ages, still manages to impress its visitors with its historical and magnificent structures.

There are many monuments that you must see when you visit Laodikeia. Among those that have survived to the present day, the stadium (285x70 m.) which is one of the largest in Anatolia, one of the holiest and oldest churches of Christianity, large and small theatres, bath complexes, agoras, monumental fountains, main entrance gates, parliament building, temples, and a monumental street should be visited. 

After seeing Laodikeia do not forget to add the Hierapolis Archaeological Site, a nearby similarly impressive ancient city, to your list.