DSC07243Laodiceia, near Denizli, was one of the Seven Churches of Asia mentioned in the New Testament.

This is a site whose presentation has been greatly improved recently. Once little more than a rubbish dump for pieces of Roman masonry, it has been wonderfully restored and visitors can now amble up and down the wonderful marble-paved Syria Street, which was once lined with small shops and benches made from offcuts of old marble on which people used to sit to play the ancient equivalent of tavla (backgammon) beneath the porticoes.

On one side of Syria Street the site opens onto the ruins of an agora (market place) backed by a huge bathhouse, on the other a temple has been partially reconstructed with a glass walkway enabling visitors to gaze down on beautifully carved columns.

Behind the temple the basilican church mentioned in the Bible is being painstakingly reconstructed, presumably in a bid to capitalize on the faith-tourism market.DSC07249

Further from the centre of the site you’ll come across the remains of a nymphaeum (monumental fountain) as well as two theatres set into the hillside and offering panoramic views over the countryside.

Dotted about are the remains of villas whose courtyards were lined with marble or opus sectile. You can even go in search of the old stadium, now just an oblong outline in the grass, You can easily spend a couple of hours here now. The site is at its best in May when poppies run riot amid the marble. 

The famous Roman orator Cicero was briefly a resident of Laodicea.

Transport info

Dolmuşes from in front of the old Denizli bus station plough up and down the road to Pamukkale and Karahayıt, passing within a km of the ruins of Laodikeia. It's an easy, gently uphill walk the rest of the way.

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