Laodicea ancient city, also know as Laodicea on the Lycus, Laodiceia or Laodikeia, was founded on 260 B.C. along the Lykos (Curuksu) River located at 6 km from the Denizli city center in Turkey. The city was originally called Diospolis, "City of Zeus", and afterwards Rhodas. The name of Laodicea is a mixture Greek word: laos meaning people, nation, or crowd; dike meaning custom, law, judgment, penalty, or punishment, all depending on the context. Therefore most people agree that the founders of Laodicea saw themselves as people of justice or law-abiding people.
Laodicea was the first city in Anatolia importing textile products made of quality knitting wool to the Roman Empire. The city has a large number of monuments that were built in the city with the contributions from the residents. Big and small theatres, stadium, gymnasium, assembly building, Zeus Temple, church and recently discovered streets prove the strong fancy of Laodicea residents for sports and arts. Laodicea became known as the only ancient city having the longest stadium and two theatres in Anatolia.
Laodicea receives passing mention in the epistle to the Colossians and is one of the Seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation. The Laodicean Church had probably been founded by the Colossian Epaphras, who shared the care of it with Nymphas, in whose house the faithful used to assemble. Paul asks the Colossians to communicate to the Church of Laodicea the letter which he sends to them, and to read publicly that which should come to them from Laodicea, that is, no doubt, a letter which he had written, or was to write, to the Laodiceans. An apocryphal epistle purporting to be from Paul to the Laodiceans is extant in Latin and Arabic. Some of the Greek manuscripts end the First Epistle to Timothy with these words: "Written at Laodicea, metropolis of Phrygia Pacatiana".
The first bishops attributed to the See of Laodicea are very uncertain: St. Archippus (Colossians 4:17); St. Nymphas; Diotrephes (III John, 9). Next comes St. Sagaris, martyr (c. 166). Sisinnius is mentioned in the Acts of the martyr St. Artemon, a priest of his Church. Nunechius assisted at the Council of Nicaea (325). Eugenius, known by an inscription, was probably his successor. The Arian Cecropius was transferred by Constantius to the See of Nicomedia. When Phrygia was divided into two parts, Laodicea became the metropolis of Phrygia Pacatiana: it figures under this title in all the Notitiae Episcopatuum. Some twenty incumbents are known besides those already enumerated; the last occupied the see in 1450. The city remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church, Laodicensis in Phrygia; the seat has been vacant since 1968.
There are extant, in Greek, sixty canons of a Council of Laodicea. That this assembly was actually held, we have the testimony of Theodoret. There has been much discussion as to the date: some have even thought that the council must have preceded that of Nicaea (325), or at least that of Constantinople (381). It seems safer to consider it as subsequent to the latter. The canons are, undoubtedly, only a resume of an older text, and indeed appear to be derived from two distinct collections. They are of great importance in the history of discipline and liturgy; some Protestants have invoked one of them in opposition to the veneration of angels.
A Big Theatre
It is constructed in the north-east of the archaic city, in the Greek theatre type and in the Roman style in compliance with the area. Its scene is completely destroyed and its cavea and orchestra are in good condition. It has a capacity of approximately 20.000 persons.
A Small Theatre
It is 300 m north-western of the Big theatre. It is constructed in Roman style in compliance with the area in Greek type. Its scene is completely destroyed and there are damages in its cavea and orchestra. It has a capacity of approximately 15.000 persons.
A Stadium and the Gymnasium
It lies in the south-western direction of the city. The additional buildings and gymnasium are constructed so as to constitute a whole. The length of the stadium constructed in 79 AD is 350 m and its width is 60 m. The building, which is constructed in the form of a amphitheatre has 24 - step sitting lines. A big part of it is destroyed. An inscription indicating that the gymnasium was constructed in the 2nd century AD by proconsul Gargilius Antioius and devoted to Emperor Hadrianus and his wife Sabina.
A Monumental Fountain
It is located at the corner of the main street and secondary street of the city. It is made so as to have two sides. It has niches. It has been repaired in Byzantine Period.
An Assembly Building
It is in the south-west of the city. The monumental building having a rectangular plan lies in the east - west position. The main entrance is at the eastern side. It is constructed with the arch and vault system starting from the entrance. The upper parts of the building have been destroyed completely and the bearer elements have been destroyed partially.
The Zeus Temple
It is in the eastern part of the street with columns of archaic Laodicea city and between the small theatre and nymphaeum. But only parts of the ornamental elements can be seen.
It is constructed in the south of the street with columns, near the street. Only a part of the bearer parts are not damaged. Its main entrance is in the western side. In the middle part, eight pillars, four of which are arched and four of which are flat, were used.