LAODICEA AD LYCUM / DENIZLI

The ancient city of Laodicea Ad Lycum is located close to the village of Goncali, 6 kms/ 3.8 miles from Denizli, a city known for its textile industry (towels and bathrobes).
The Hellenistic city was established on the site of a former settlement (according to Pliny the younger originally called Diospolis and afterwards Rhoas) under the Seleucid dynasty in the mid 3rd century BC by Antiochos II in honor of his wife, Laodice. In order to distinguish Laodicea from several other cities bearing the same name and because it was located in the Lycos* (Çuruksu) river valley, "Ad Lycum" was added to its name. In 188 BC, the city passed to the Kingdom of Pergamon and subsequently fell under Roman control in 133 BC.
Laodicea was reputed for its sheeps whose wool was black and soft, and was a weaving center famous for both its wool and cotton fabrics. Due to the fertility of the region, its favorable climate, its flourishing trade and its privilegiate location on a trade route, Laodicea became one of the most important and prosperous cities in Asia Minor. During the Roman period, circa 60 AD, after the devastating earthquake that destroyed all the cities of the region, the wealthy Laodiceans promptly rebuilt their city and, thanks to their donations, kept embellishing it with various monuments. Laodicea, that minted its own coins, even called itself the “Metropolis of Asia”.
Unlike nearby Hierapolis and Colossae, Laodicea's major weakness was its lack of spring water and thus was dependent on external water supplies. Water was brought through a great system of aqueducts built from large, tightly cemented rectangular stones through which a circular central channel had been bored.
The fact that an important Jewish community lived in Laodicea contributed to the early christianization of the city which later became an episcopal seat. However, the spread of Christianity in Laodicea proved not to be so easy because of the wealth accumulated with textiles and trade. The Laodicean Church was probably founded by Epaphras of Colossae (see below). It appears from the Epistle to the Colossians that Paul of Tarsus never visited Laodicea, but hearing from Epaphras of certain doctrines spread in that city, he wrote to the Colossians, desiring that his epistle to that church should also be read in Laodicea.
Laodicea was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. In the 4th century, a council condemning the worship of angels alluded to by St Paul, was held in Laodicea. The year is not known however it is believed to have preceded the council of Constantinople (381).
Laodicea suffered from an earthquake in the year 494 after which it never quite recovered. Finally the city was deserted after the conquest of the region by the Seljuk Turks who preferred to settle in the vicinity where there was a vast amount of water, in the present location of Kaleiçi in Denizli. The new settlement of Laodicea took the name "Ladik" but with the passing centuries was also referred to as “Donguzlu”, "Tonguzluk" and Dengizli. Subsequently the name was changed into Denizli which, in modern Turkish, means " a place with a large body of water".
During the Ottoman period, Denizli regained the position of Laodicea as a leading textile manufacturing center. Today, Denizli is the Aegean Region's largest manufacturing and tourism sector after Izmir.
Mount Honaz National Park (2,571 m/ 8,435 ft) located southeast of Denizli, is the highest mountain in Western Anatolia.

The remains of Laodicea
consist of a Hellenistic theatre, a smaller Roman theatre, a rectangular council building, a water tower, a stadium, a gymnasium and baths, a nympheaum, a church, a necropolis.

* The Lycos river, named Çuruksu in Turkish, is a tributary of the Maeander (Büyük Menderes) River.
Colossae is located 25 kms/ 15.5 miles east of Denizli, close to the town of Honaz, on the foothills of Mount Honaz (Mount Cadmos - 2,571 m/ 8,435 ft) by the Aksu river. Colossae was recorded as one of the most prosperous cities of Phrygia and was particularly famous for its wool which was dyed a purple colour called colossinus. However Colossae was gradually supplanted by Laodicea and finally lost its economical importance. Furthermore, the city suffered from the devastating earthquake circa 60 AD. Colossae was the seat of an early Christian church which seems to have been founded by Epaphras, a pupil and follower of Paul. The city's biblical significance lies in the fact that an epistle was adressed to the church here. The Epistle to the Colossians was purportedly written by Paul between 61-63 AD, during his first imprisonment in Rome, against the rise of a new heresy, namely religious syncretism and gnosticism.
In the 7th century, Colossae was completely deserted with the establishment of Chonae (or Chonas, present Honaz) where a church, dedicated to St Michael, was built thus reintroducing the worship of angels (cf Laodicea). Khonae was the birthplace of the Byzantine historian, Nicetas Choniates who gave an account of the sack of Constantinople (1204) and his brother Michael Choniates who became Archbishop of Athens.

The site of Colossae has not been excavated. Little remains to be seen.


The town of Buldan, located 40 kms/ 25 miles north of Denizli, is also well known for its natural fabric woven on hand looms. The traditional "Buldan fabric", made of pure cotton, is widely used in household linen and in traditional and modern home decoration.
 



AFYONKARAHISAR

The city of Afyonkarahisar, more commonly called Afyon, is part of the Kütahya-Eskisehir-Afyon triangle within which the Phrygians once lived in the 8C-7C BC.

Afyon, whose name means “opium”, is located in a region where poppy is largely grown under strict state control.
The city lies at the foot of a dark volcanic rock which was fortified for the first time by the Hittites who named it Khapanuwa. The place witnessed various periods of occupation by the Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Galatians, Pergamenes, Romans and Byzantines. The city, variously known as Acroenos, Acronion and even Nicopolis, was taken over in the 13th century by the Seljuks who rebuilt the citadel and renamed it Karahisar, the "black fortress". In the course of time, the Turkish word "afyon" was added as a reflection of the region's chief product, hence the city's name Afyonkarahisar, the "black fortress of opium". The city was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire by Sultan Beyazid I in 1392 but was lost in 1402 after the brief invasion of Tamerlane (Timur Lenk) who gave the region to the Germiyanogullari. In 1429, upon the death of Yakup II (1387-1429), the Germiyanogullari's last ruler who had bequeathed his realm to the Sultan Murat II, the city became again an Ottoman possession.
Afyon played a crucial role in the Turkish War of Independence. From the heights of Kocatepe overlooking the Plain of Afyon, on August 26, 1922 Atatürk launched his Great Offensive which lead to the decisive defeat of the Greek army at the Battle of Dumlupinar on August 30, 1922, celebrated as "Victory Day" a national holiday in Turkey. Dumlupinar is located 59 km north-west of Afyonkarahisar. The Victory Monument and memorials erected at Zafertepe-Çalköy as well as Dumlupinar cemetery and Atatürk's House and Headquarter Museum are located withinin the Baskomutan (Chief Commander Mustafa Kemal) Historical National Park, a protected area delimited by the cities of Afyon, Kütahya and Usak where the West Anatolian Fronts were set up.


The major places of interest in the city of Afyon are: the Archaeoligical Museum; the War of Independence Memorial; the Ulu Mosque built in 1272 and nearby the Imaret Mosque with its elegant fluted minaret, built in 1472; the citadel offering a spectacular view over the city.
The old quarter of the town known as Kalealti has many well preserved examples of old traditional houses.



The specialities of Afyonkarahisar are the "sucuk" (a garlic beef sausage), the “lokum” (Turkish delight) and the “kaymak” (thick clotted cream) eaten with most Turkish sweets and particularly with the local bread pudding "ekmek kadayifi". The culinary use of poppy seeds, called hashash, is most commonly encountered in the making of breads, pastries and other sweets giving them a distinctive, nutty flavour.Hashash “helva” and Hashash "Ezme" (paste) are other specialities of the region.


In the surroundings of Afyon there are numerous, well equipped thermal springs such as Gazi, Gecek, Ömerli, Hudai. Mud baths can also be found at Sandikli. The historical hammam in Afyon is also supplied by a thermal spring.

The production of opium for pharmaceutical purposes is the most important economic activity of the region.
To the north of Afyon, the area called the Phrygian Valley offers great historical, cultural and natural wealth. This part of Phrygia boasts the most striking monuments of the Phrygian world. The natural formations house cave dwellings, temples, churches, tunnels, passages, cisterns... Huge rocks have been transformed into imposing, engraved monuments.
The Phrygian Valley and its surroundings are registered as Protected Natural Area and Protected Archeological Site.

At Aslankaya and Aslantas magnificent lions reliefs are engraved into monumental cult rocks.


The town of Ihsaniye, 35 kms/ 22 miles from Afyon, has rock formations resembling, on a small scale, that of Cappadocia. Early Christian communities took refuge here, carving out homes in the soft tufa rock. The cave dwellings, rock tombs and churches of Ayazini are the most important.
 



AIZANOI
The ancient city of Aizanoi is located 57 kms/ 35 miles from Kütahya in the small town of Cavdarhisar. Once part of the former land of Phrygia, during the Hellenistic period the entire region alterned between the hegemonies of Pergamon and Bythinia before being included in the Roman Province of Asia. The Roman ruins are an evidence of a glorious period during the 2C and 3C AD. The masterpiece is the well preserved Temple of Zeus, erected under the reign of Hadrian who declared Aizanoi the official centre of the cult of Zeus. The pseudodipteral temple was erected in a style incorporating many features of the Graeco-Anatolian architecture with artistic Roman neo-classical shapes that characterize the decoration: ovums, composite capitals, acanthus of the beautiful woman-busted acroterium which crowned the summit of the west pediment. The acroterium now stands on the ground in front of the temple. A huge statue of Zeus, of which no trace has been found, once stood in the cella.
Copies of the letters sent by Hadrian to settle a dispute related to the construction of the temple are engraved on the walls of the pronaos. They show how much the emperor cared for Aizanoi.
It is not known what was the use of the surprising, impressive barrel vaulted basement of the temple. It was long believed to have been used for the cult of Cybele, the Anatolian Great Earth Mother Goddess whorshipped in Aizanoi as "Meter Steunene". However, the basement may more probably have served as an oracle. The sanctuary

(Steunene) of the mother goddess, who was believed to have dwelled in rock formations, was located 2 kms (1,3 miles) to the south-west of the settlement in a cave with rock carvings where excavations revealed terracotta figurines.

The vestiges of the ancient city are scattered in and around the picturesque town of Cavdarhisar:
- The combined theatre and stadium, separated by a marble wall, is a unique structure found in no other ancient city.
- The baths are decorated with a beautiful mosaic floor displaying a Satyr and a Maenad in the center. The statue of Hygieia, the daughter of Asclepios and goddess of health, was found during the excavations of the baths. Her name is the source of the word "hygiene". The statue is exhibited in the Brigade Museum in Kütahya (see below).
- The 450 m/ 1500 ft long colonnaded street was part of the sacred road leading to the Steunene. Lining the street are the remains of the stoas and columns with Ionic capitals that once belonged to the Temple of Artemis which had to be demolished and whose columns were reused in the construction of the colonnaded street. The remains of the monumental arch stand at the southwest end.
- Two Roman bridges (there was five of them) which are still in use today.
- The Macellum was a market place with a circular edifice where a copy of an edict by Docletian dating from 301 AD and fixing salaries and regulating consumer prices to combat inflation, is engraved. The list mentions different products running from the price of foodstuffs to the price of slaves: for example we learn that a strong slave was equal to two donkeys...
- The necropolis that contains numerous sarcophagi and tombstones.

Aizanoi was an episcopal seat during the Byzantine period and the temple was used for Christian worship. In the 13th century the temple area was fortified against the Tatar invasion. After the Seljuk conquest, the Tatar tribe of the Cavdars settled in the fortress, hence the name Cavdarhisar, "hisar" meaning "fortress" in Turkish.

The imposing akroterium, a statue of a female figure,
once ornemented the west pediment of the temple.

The composite capitals combine the Ionic and Corinthian styles




Inscription wall of the Stadium

The Round Buiding (Macellum)


One of the two Roman bridges that span
the Koca Çay (ancient Penkalas river)
 



KUTAHYA


The town of Kütahya is part of the Kütahya-Eskisehir-Afyon triangle within which the Phrygians once lived. Kütahya was also marked by the presence of the Romans, who named it Cotyaeum, and the Byzantines. Between the mid 13th and the early 15th centuries, it was the capital of the powerful Germiyanogullari Beylik (Selçuk emirate). In 1429, upon the death of Yakup II (1387-1429), the Germiyanogullari's last ruler who had bequeathed his realm to the Sultan Murat II, the city was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire and played an important role during this era.
Kütahya has been renowned for the art of ceramics ever since the 15th century. It was the rival of Iznik for the production of glazed tiles (Çini in Turkish) and even supplanted Iznik as the center for the production of ceramic vessels and glazed tiles in the Ottoman Empire. Nowadays many workshops perpetuate the tradition: among other things, tiles produced with designs from the 16th and 17th century are famous for their cobalt blue on a milky white background. Kütahya was also famous for its wood engraving, silver work (silver is molten here), embroideries and palace cuisine. Ottoman imperial dresses used to be sewn in Kütahya and sent to the palace.

kütahya lies along the Porsuk River, at the foot of a hill crowned by a medieval fortress. The town has 18th century typical wood and stucco houses such as the beautiful houses on the Germyan Street.
In addition to the Yakup Çelebi Complex that includes the Great Ulu Cami mosque (1410), the Vacidiye Medresesi housing the Archaeological Museum and the Gök Sadirvan housing the Tiles and Ceramics (Çini) Museum; the hammams, the bazaar (bedesten) and the the Kossuth Museum, also known as the Hungarian House because Hungary's national hero Lajos Kossuth stayed here between 1849-1851, are some of the important, historical places of interest in the town.

An old restored aircraft hangar in the Kütahya Air Forces Draftee Training Centre Headquarters has been restored and turned into the Brigade Museum (Tugay Müzesi). Here numerous stone works that were stored in the Archaeological Museum, are displayed, as well as china works, paintings and works of the local artists, and the invaluable works of art donated by Rifat Çini, the owner of "Azim Çini" factory, the oldest ceramic factory in Kütahya.

Kütahya has the richest geothermal resources in Turkey with the six thermal centers of Yoncali, Ilica-Harlek, Simav-Eynal, Gediz-Ilicasu, Murat Dagi (Mount Murat ) and Kaynarca. The thermal springs of this region have the richest mineral thermal water in the country.


The Kütahya Ceramic Festival is held every year in July.

Typical o ld fountain


Archaeological Museum inside
the Vacidiye Medrese
The former soup kitchen (imaret) was part of the complex built by Yakup II Germiyanogullari.
Today it houses the Tiles (Çini) Museum.

Old Hammam

The "Brigade" Museum
The statue of Hygieia, the daughter of Asclepios and goddess of health, was found during the
excavations of the Roman baths in Aizanoi. Her name is the source of the word
"hygiene". The statue is exhibited in the Brigade Museum.