The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Twelve

Down and across the Lycus valley from Hierapolis is Laodicea.

This city was famous in antiquity, and famously had a water problem, not lukewarm water but brackish water. It was a huge city with two major theaters (one for morning one for afternoon performances depending on where the sun was) and a stadium, and it has become a huge dig, the most active ambitious dig perhaps in all of Turkey. Just reconstructing the streets in itself is an enormous task
Here for example is Syria Street heading west of course,

A lot of heavy traffic went down these streets as the ruts above prove.

The evidence of the water problem is not hard to find. There are calcified pipes, and the ancient equivalent of water filters,,,,

Here are some shots of the ‘morning theater’ i.e. the one that didn’t have the sun in the patrons’ eyes in the morning.

The street plan here seems to be the classic Hypodamus plan of streets intersecting at right angles and main streets going basically in the direction of the four points of the compass. Here are several of the streets thus far unearthed in the recent excavations…

This dig is an inspirational story as it is largely the heart project of a local archaeologist from Denizli, who’s city agreed to support his efforts to real excavate this site which had lain dormant for so long. The results have been spectacular. You can see the ancient city coming back to life, and another nice feature is that they realize many Christians come here, so they are also re-erecting some of the Byzantine buildings and evidence of later Christian presence.

Here is a picture of a mosaic inscription that mentions one Polycarp, proto-deacon.

Columns, courts, basilicas, churches are going up everywhere!

There are still a lot of pieces of the puzzle to put together, but soon Laodicea will nearly rival Ephesus as an impressive reconstructed city of the Biblical era….

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