Ruins Of Laodicea

Relatively little excavation has been carried out at the site. The ruins are found on a relatively flat-topped hill six miles south of Hieropolis and ten miles west-north-west of Colossae. The hill contained not only the Acropolis, but the entire city. This fact is verified by the presence of a ring-wail enclosing one square kilometer of the plateau. This wali possessed three gates; one facing northwest a second facing north, ond the third facing east. The first was called the Ephesian Gate. It was In the form of a triple arch flanked by towers, and was dedicated to Domitian. The eastern gate was called the Syrian Gate, and was lined by sarcophagi, a normal practice.

The Amphitheater: An «amphltheatrical-stadium» is found on the southern end of the plateau. The building runs in a northwest-southeast fashion. It is 350 meters long and 60 meters wide, and is curved at both ends in the form of an amphitheater. These features suggest that it was used for gladiatorial spectacles as well as athletic contests. The building was dedicated to the Emperor Vespasian in 79 A.D. by a private citizen.

The Baths: A building close against the eastern end of the stadium hos been variously described as a gymnasium and as a bath  The latter is probably the most plausable, when one takes into account the structure. It was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina. The presence of a water tower at the southern end of this latter building also tends to confirm the theory that it was a bath. The tower, standing sixteen feet high, and exposing vertical pipes on its eastern side, also supplied other parts of the city, primarily the nymphaeum.

The Council Chamber and Theaters: Approximately one hundred yards north of this cluster is found a small building with five or six tiers of visible seats. Although there is no evidence, it is believed that this building served as a council chamber. Two theaters stand on the norhteast slope of the plateau. One of them is 250 meters in circumference, with fifty tiers. The Roman stage is still visible, and the seats are well-preserved, for the most part. Adjacent, and slightly smaller, is the second theater. The circumference is 150 meters, and it possesses 45 .tiers. Although the upper portion is well-preserved, with many rows virtually complete, the lower part is badly ruined.

The Nymphaeum : By far the best-excavated of all buildings at the site is the nymphaeum. Work on this was done by a French team in 1961 -63, It is estimated thot it was built in the early part of the third century A.D., and subsequently reconstructed three or four times. The original construction was quite interesting. Its main feature was a water basin, approximately seven meters square, which had a colonnade on two sides. Semicircular fountains were located to the east and south of the basin. These were fed by two chambers directly to the southeast of the fountains and basin. The chambers were supplied by th® water tower previously men-tiohed. The nymphoeum was richly decorated and possessed many statues. The above original form was modified during later reconstruction. The water basin was converted to a closed chamber, believed to have been used for Christian rites; the fountain remained, but was modified to a rectangular shape. One of the two feeding chambers has been attached to an adjoining room on the south side. The result, is one of confusion.

The Aqueduct: The water works system Is also Interesting. The aqueduct was fed from the Spring of Bo^pmar in present-day Denizii, It descended to a covered channel, and flowed over various hills to a clearing basin composed of two chambers, on a hill opposite the city. The basin was one hundred feet higher than the base of the water tower and a hundred sixty feet higher than the floor of the intervening dip. This dip was crossed by a built aqueduct 450 feet long; some of the arches remain standing today. The complete channel, a distance of approximately five miies, is still traceable. The date of this aqueduct is undetermined, although It is probably a product of the Roman Imperial period. Aside from the structures described above, little else remains. Those that do exist have had very little excavation work done on them.

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