How to Visit Laodicea Ancient City

Laodicea was one of three ancient settlements situated in the valley of the Lycus River, a tributary of the Meander, with Colossae located 9 miles to the east and Hierapolis 6 miles to the north.

The city of Laodicea once stood on a nearly square plateau that rose about 100 feet above the valley floor, located one mile from the bank of the Lycus. Originally known as Diospolis and Rhoas in 286-246 BC, the city was renamed by Antiochus II Theos, ruler of Syria, in honor of his wife Laodice (whom he later banished to Ephesus).

Laodicea came under Pergamum’s rule in 190 BC and was later brought under Rome’s control in 133 BC. By the end of the first century BC, Laodicea had become one of the principal cities of Asia Minor, famous for its fabrics, sandals, and medicine. It was also a major banking center where even Cicero cashed drafts en route to his native Cilicia.

During the 1st century AD, Laodicea was home to a diverse population of Greek-speaking Syrians, Greeks, Romans, and Romanized natives, as well as a significant Jewish colony. These Jews regularly sent a contribution of gold to the Temple in Jerusalem, and in 62 BC, the Roman governor Flaccus confiscated 20 pounds of gold from them.

Today, Laodicea is the second-largest ancient city in Turkey after Ephesus and is known for the unearthed head of God Emperor Augustus, which is the only other example of its kind found in the Vatican Museum. Despite surviving an earthquake that destroyed all other towns in the Lycus Valley, the city eventually fell into decline and was ultimately abandoned.

Laodicea, an ancient city located in Turkey, boasts several noteworthy historical and archaeological sites. One such site is the remnants of a Holy Church that once attracted Christian pilgrims in the 4th century. The church’s ambo platform and sanctuary sections are still visible today.

Another site that draws attention is the Zeus Temple, whose excavation has been ongoing for many years. Archaeologists have uncovered giant column galleries that measure 11 meters high and weigh 15 tons each. To restore the broken columns, experts use methods that give them an authentic appearance.

Recently, historians uncovered a 1600-year-old fabric patch in Laodicea that reveals the region’s weaving culture dates back centuries. The patch appears to be from the period of Constantine the Great, further solidifying the city’s historical significance.

Laodicea is also significant to Christianity as one of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Revelation. Since the 4th century CE, the city has been a holy pilgrimage center for Christians. In 2013, Laodicea’s archaeological site was included on the UNESCO Tentative List, recognizing its value as a vital piece of Turkey’s history.

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