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Laodiceia

Laodiceia was situated at a distance of 10 km from Hierapolis (Pamukkale) and of 6 km from the village Eskihisar. It was founded in 261-265 BC by Antiochos II and came to be named after him. it is located in a large gentle plain where antique routes converged.

Upon the death of Seleuces III, his legal heir Akhaios conquered Anatolia and was crowned and became the king of Asia Minor. After the Apameia Peace Treaty in 188 BC, parts of Asia Minor including Laodicea came within the borders of the kingdom of Pergamum. The city was besieged in 88-85 BC by Mithridate I. Although the Roman general Quintus Oppius came with his reinforcements, the city fell. Strabon relates of the wast destruction which followed the conquest.

Laodiceia continued to prosper during Ist century AD. According to Strabon the wool manufactured here being of a quality superior to the products of other manufactures led to the development of the clothing industry thanks to which banking transactions prospered.

In 50 BC Cicero came to stay here for 2.5 months and dealt with the laws of Laodiceia which became the capital of Cibyra. Earthquakes which occurred in Ist century BC under Nero destroyed the city. However, it could recover from it without any exterior help. Laodiceia experienced its brightest period under Flavius and Vespasianus and earned the well deserved name of "Benefector" for the diligence it showed in protecting the cities in Asia Minor.

The constructions and the stadium have been named after it. As a token of gratitude the city dedicated a gate to Domitian.

Laodicea experienced a rapid prosperity in IInd century. AD the epoch when people referred to it as metropolis of Asia. Hadrian came to the city in 129, whither he was to address letters to Rome and to the Astypalaia public.

The city continued to thrive during Byzantium, but was destroyed in 494 by an earthquake which marked its decline. The city was surrounded by a rectangular bui1ding of which nothing much remains.

The wall had three gates to which reference is made by the name of Ephesus of Hierapolis and Syria. It had two theatres, one larger than the other. The smaller one dates from the Roman Period. The larger one of Greek style has been unearthed with its 40-50 tiers. In the middle of the city is a nymphaeum recently unearthed. On the comer of the two crossroads was a fountain, the facades of which overlooking the roads.

The fountain built under Caracalla was restored five times by Vth century AD. Odeion is to the north of the fountain while to the south of the latter is the stadium. The stadium of an elliptical shape is 370 m long.

It was built in 79 AD. by a rich Laodicean and dedicated to Emperor Vespasianus. By the stadium is a gymnasium dedicated to Emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina. Close by the stadium were the water tanks of a height of 5 km, todays in ruins. There are aquaducts which carried water to Laodiceia in the direction of Denizli.

The necropolis of Laodicea is to the west on the other side of Gumussuyu stream, on the hill where there is a great number of tombs. Excavations were undertaken between 1961-1963 under the guidance of the Candian professor Dr Jean Cagniers.

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