The ruined site of ancient Laodikeia (Laodicea) which is situated about 5km/3mi north of Denizli is referred to by local people as Eskihisar or "Old Castle". The town, built on the site of an earlier settlement known originally as Diospolis and later as Rhoas, was founded by Antiochos II of Syria (261-246 B.C.), who named it after his sister Laodike. The city subsequently became the part of the kingdom of Pergamon, probably after the Treaty of Apameia in 188 B.C. and thereafter passed into Roman hands. Its commercial activities and especially its wool and textile industries made it one of the wealthiest cities in Asia Minor (Revelations 3:17). After a devastating earthquake in A.D. 60, the citizens rebuilt the city out of their own resources. It was home to one of the oldest Christian communities and ranked among the Seven Churches of Asia (Revelations 1:11;3:14; Colossians 4:13ff). After its conquest by the Seljuks in the late 11th century, the city fell into decay and in the 13th century the remaining inhabitants abandoned the site and moved to Ladik (Denizli).
The scanty remains of Laodikeia are scattered over an undulating plateau (1sq.km/0.4sqmi) which is crossed by the road from Eskihisar to Goncali. Three gates allowed entry through the walls and the ruins of an ancient bridge are visible below the northwest gate. A short distance beyond the walls lies a necropolis. This gate to Ephesus, triple arched and flanked by towers, was devoted to the Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96). On the southwest side stand a number of buildings built under Vespasian (A.D. 69-79) including a stadium (350x60m/380x65yd) and a large building known as the Palati which was either a gymnasium or a bath-house. An aqueduct bringing water from the spring of Bas Pinar (beside the old administrative offices in Denizli) ended in a 5m/16ft high water-tower from which water was distributed to the various parts of the city.To the northeast an odeion stands on a hillside terrace. In the middle of the hill to the left lie the remains of a Roman nymphaeum which was excavated in 1962/63 by French archeologists. A square water pool with a semi-circular fountain and a number of chambers is flanked on two sides by pillars. The complex was later used as a chapel. Close by the remains of a larger Ionic temple can be seen and on the northeastern edge of the plateau lie the scanty remains of a large theater. Further north there is a smaller and better preserved theater. The acropolis at the northern tip is relatively small.