Denizli Laodikeia Archeological Site

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Laodikeia Archaeological Site of Denizli

THE ANCIENT CITY OF LAODIKEIA

On behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums, and Pamukkale University since 2003, the Council of Ministers has determinedly carried out excavation and restoration works by Prof. Dr. Celal Şimşek in Eskihisar, Bozburun, Goncalı, and the ancient city of Laodikeia within the borders of Denizli Province, Merkezefendi and Pamukkale Districts.

As a result of institutional excavations and research carried out over 12 months in Laodikeia, it was revealed that the city settlement started from 5500 BC and continued until the great earthquake that occurred at the beginning of the 7th century A.D. According to this, the first name of the ancient city was Rhoas, then Diospolis (City of Zeus), and from the middle of the 3rd century BC in the Hellenistic Period, it was named Laodikeia because of Laodike, the wife of Antiochus II, King of the Seeukos.  the wife of Antiochus II, King of the Seeukos. With the full Turkification of the region in 1206 A.D, the name became Ladik. Due to the richness of the lake and water resources in the middle of the plain, the name Ladik has turned into Denizli.

The heyday of Laodikeia is between 1-3 centuries A.D, and its second bright period is between 4-6 centuries A.D. The city, which has one of the 7 churches of Anatolia, became a metropolitan religious center in the early Byzantine Period. As of the 4th century AD, Laodicea became the center of the cross for Christians. 

The city's most important source of income is trading, as it is at the crossroads of roads. At the beginning of this, the textile trade comes first. Laodicea fabrics, which became world-famous in the city, were produced to appeal to all segments, and due to this quality, they were even included in the price decree published by Emperor Diocletian in 301 A.D. The inscription “Here lies the merchant Julius Veracundus selling Laodicea fabrics” on a tombstone found in Lyon, France, and dated to the Roman Imperial Period, is important in terms of explaining how the brand and recognition are even in overseas countries. On the other hand, trade in marble, grain, and livestock provided significant income to the city. There was an active banking system in Laodicea in ancient times. The mention of the city's wealth and gold in the Bible is an indication of this. Especially due to the liberation of Christianity at the beginning of the 4th century A.D, Laodicea was elevated to the Metropolis level by having one of the First Seven Churches.

The inscriptions on the sitting steps of the Northern Theater in the ancient city of Laodikeia revealed that the cities of the region (Hierapolis, Kolossai, Attouda, Trapezopolis) had their residences, on the other hand, the city's craftsmen's guilds, tradesmen and well-known families also had special residences. This reveals that the cities of the region gathered from time to time in the trade, branding, quality, and the formation of rules and in-laws, especially in the ancient period. Therefore, it is important in terms of showing that trade unions came together thousands of years ago and that today's European Union System was first established in the region. 

The city was arranged in a hippodrome (grid) plan, consisting of main streets and side streets that intersect each other at right angles. Among the important and surviving structures of Laodikeia, which spans an area of ​​approximately 5 km²; we can count Anatolia's largest stadium, 2 theaters, 4 huge bath complexes, 5 agorae (trade shopping area), 5 monumental public fountains (nymphaeum), 4 main entrance gates, parliament building (bouleuterion), temples, churches, and monumental streets. Necropolis (cemetery) areas surround the four sides of the city.

At the end of the excavation and restoration works in Laodikeia; The excavation and restoration of the Stadium and Syria Street, the side street reaching the North Theatre, the side streets of House A, House A, Latrina (Public Toilet), Greens Jockey Club Building, Central Agora, Central Agora Memorial Column, Temple A have been excavated and restored. The excavation of the Laodikeia Church was completed and the upper protection roof was built. Excavations of the Central Church, Peristyle House with Church, B Nymphaeum, Emperor S. Severus Nymphaeum,  and Structure C have been completed and restoration works are still ongoing. Excavation and restoration works are carried out together in the North (Sacred) Agora and its porticos and Propylons. 

Laodikeia was included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Tentative List with reference number 5823 on 15.04.2013.

Laodikeia Ancient City for Türkiye was appreciated by travelers as one of the best in the industry, as a result of the likes and comments on the Tripadvisor web page by visitors traveling the world in 2015. This recognition will greatly contribute to the world's recognition of the city with the excavation and restoration works in the city. On the other hand, in 2016, the European Union EUROPA NOSTRA jury special award was received, taking into account the meticulous work done in the excavation and restoration works in the Laodikeia Church.

The excavations of the ancient city of Laodikeia have been carried out for 12 months without any closure since 2008, and in this respect, it is an important systematic excavation area where experts (archaeologists, restorers, architects and stone masters, etc.) trained from the core of the area where the institutional excavation system is established in our country. Especially in the modern excavation house, is a complex structure with laboratories, a library and conference hall, dormitories and a dining hall, and the mortar analysis laboratory where all kinds of analyzes are made is an excavation where modern technologies (such as Geo-radar, Laser Scanner, Total Station) are used.

The excavations of the ancient city of Laodikeia bear the traces of the devastating earthquakes experienced in the region for thousands of years and archaeological data from different periods.  In this respect, it plays an important role in training archaeologists and restorers needed in our country.

The ancient city of Laodikeia is an active tourist city especially because it is on the Pamukkale road and has an important place in our country for both religious and cultural tourism.

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Denizli Laodikeia Archeological Site Goncalı Mahallesi, 20000 Merkez/Pamukkale
denizlimuzesi@ktb.gov.tr
+90 (258) 241-0866
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