DENİZLİ - Anadolu Agency
One of the largest ancient cities Laodicea received more than 80,000 visitors. The city is home to one of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible
Laodecia is big as Aegean Ephesus. The largest stadium of Anatolia is in this ancient city. It has an area of 100,000 square meters and excavation work has been ongoing for eight years. DHA photo
The ancient city of Laodicea, which was established in 3 B.C. in the western province of Denizli and was one of the largest cities in Anatolia, welcomes 83,526 people in the first 11 months of the year. This figure is expected to reach 100,000 by the end of the year.
With a protocol signed between the Culture and Tourism Ministry and Denizli Municipality, the ancient city was transferred to the Denizli Municipality on Aug. 19, 2008, and works have been continuing since then.
Denizli Mayor Osman Zolan said that Laodicea had a different significance in terms of faith tourism, and it was a very important place in the history of civilizations. He said that one of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible was located in the ancient city.
“Laodecia is big as Aegean Ephesus. The largest stadium of Anatolia is here. It has an area of 100,000 square meters and excavation work has been ongoing for eight years. It may continue for the next hundreds of thousands of years. It is great that Denizli has such a city. Excavation works continue non-stop in the ancient city with the collaboration of the municipality and Pamukkale University. Nearly 500 people are working for these excavations that can continue throughout the year. We think that it is one of the richest ancient cities in Turkey.”
The ancient city was also added to the World Heritage Temporary List this year in June. It had waited for the decision since March.
This year’s works have revealed 1,900-year-old huge columns seven meters underground. The columns were found in the area known as the northern agora, one of the oldest faith centers in Anatolia. Dust erosion and residue have filled the earth here and preserved the columns.
Clues about the past
According to the head of the excavations in the ancient city, Professor Celal Şimşek, Laodicea is very important as it contains many clues about the economy and trade in the past. Şimşek once said Laodicea’s city plan might have inspired today’s architects and city planners. “The architecture of social, religious and other buildings in the ancient city was all part of a specific system.”
Archaeologists have found that the main street of Laodicea includes shops, he said. Just outside the city, archaeologists have found large burial grounds with tombs spread throughout.