Seeking Heritage Status for Laodicea

From Hurriyet:

Denizli Municipality has submitted documents to UNESCO for the inclusion of the ancient city of Laodicea on the agency’s World Heritage List.

The ancient city is one of the strongest candidates for the list, Denizli Mayor Osman Zolan said in a written statement.

“Work has begun to include the ancient city, which is home to one of the seven holy churches mentioned in the Bible and the only ancient city in Anatolia with four baths and two theaters in the UNESCO list,” he said, adding that the city also boasted the largest ancient stadium in Anatolia.

He said the necessary documents had been sent to the Culture and Tourism Ministry and that it had been included in 37 places that would become candidates for the UNESCO World Heritage List.

“We have made great progress in the excavations in the ancient city in the last four years. Excavations have been continuing for 12 months. We discovered an ancient church structure. Last year, the ancient city was visited by 300,000 tourists. Our goal is to increase this number to 1.5 million,” the mayor said.

The city of Laodicea was one of the chief seats of Christianity. Laodicea receives passing mention in the epistle to the Colossians and is one of the seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelations.

The Laodicean church is thought to have been founded by the Colossian Epaphras, a Christian preacher.

Laodicea is one of those places we don’t hear from very often for some reason … last summer a temple to Athena as found there (Temple of Athena From Laodicea)

Temple of Athena From Laodicea

Found another one from Hurriyet lurking in the depths of my mailbox (it’s a few weeks old):

During the excavations carried out in the ancient city of Laodicea in the Aegean province of Denizli, a temple dedicated to the weaver goddess Athena from the second century A.D. was found in the largest divine area.

The head of the excavations, Professor Celal Şimşek said the pieces found during excavations showed that the history of weaving dated back 4,000 years in Denizli, an area identified with the textile sector in modern Turkey.

“As far as we have learned from Laodicea, there are three temples in this 250-by-100 meter divine area. One was dedicated to Zeus and to Athena. There is a bust of Athena on a column in the temple. We are still searching for the god of the third temple.”

I’ll join Dorothy King in marvelling at the bust of Athena on the column of the temple from Laodicea. You can visit the original article for a small photo thereof, or check out this Turkish coverage, which includes a rather long video interview with Simsek and plenty of shots of the site (including an inscription/graffito I’m trying to wrap my head around). The video is in Turkish and I suspect he’s saying plenty of interesting things. On the ‘bust’, I suspect this would have been on the drum immediately under the capital, and so might almost be a Karyatid …