My last stop before heading back home was Laodicea, (yet) another ancient city’s ruins. The city was founded in the around mid third century BC but only became part of the Roman empire around 130 BC. It was an important centre for trade due to its location on the crossroad of trade routes.
It homed one of the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation probably making in a centre during the Byzantine period.
I told the driver to drop me at the turn off to Laodicea on the main road, which got me looks from the other tourists who were probably looking forward to cooling down in the pools at Pamukkale after a day of walking at Aphrodisias rather than visiting some other ruins. Whilst I wasn’t tired yet, I was certainly hungry – I had been munching on dried figs to keep the hunger away but was definitely looking forward to a hot meal before I made my way back to Ankara. I walked up the long steep road from where I was dropped off. At the gate, the security staff were enjoying some afternoon çay and quite startled to see me – apparently they didn’t get many visitors and the ones they did tend to get were comfortably seated in tour buses rather than on foot. I was directed to the café from where I got myself a map of the site. Before setting off exploring, I sat down for some çay with the café owner who gave me suggestions on which routes to take.
At Laodicea, it would seem that archaeologists have barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer. The whole site resembled a construction site, with excavations and restoration going on at full swing. I got a few weird looks from the workers but everyone was quite friendly and eager for a little chat. It was such an experience to see restoration work at first hand but it did unfortunately mean that not all the individual ruins were open for viewing.
I managed to catch a glimpse of the largest ancient stadium of Anatolia uncovered so far (measuring 285 x 70 m).
I took about an hour on the site but would probably have spent much more time if I could have seen everything and it didn’t look as if it were going rain. I got a lift down to the main road from one of the passing cars from where I got a dolmuş back to the hotel. Short but sweet. I would wait a bit before going to visit again, by which most of the work would have been completed. The challenge with this particular trip was trying to imagine how everything used to be – which I’m not very good at to be honest.