On the road from Denizli to Dinar (8km/5mi) stands a Seljuk caravanserai which was founded in 1253 by Emir Karasungur. The marble-faced east façade gives the complex its name ("akhan", white caravanserai). Other features include an arcaded courtyard and a triple-aisled winter hall.
Between the town of Çardak and the railway line, 55km/34mi east of Denizli at the western tip of the large Lake Acigöl, stands the well-preserved Çardak Hani. This Seljuk caravanserai with five aisles, each with two massive towers (one with five and one with three sides), was endowed in 1230 by Rasideddin Iyaz, a general of the sultan Alaeddin Kaykobad. Above the porch an inscription is flanked by two lions. Known in antiquity as Anaua Limne, Lake Acigöl (836m/2,742ft) covers an area of 1,153sq.km/445sq.miles but can often dry up in the summer months.
About 10km/7mi south of the regional center of Çivril on the Beysesultan Tepesi, the archeologists Lloyd and Mellaart unearthed a prehistoric settlement. The excavations took place between 1954 and 1959 and the finds are now on display in an Ankara Museum. Evidence of settlement here exist from the Chalcolithic times (4500 B.C.) until the early Bronze Age (1250 B.C.) and again 400 years later until Byzantine times. For the Stone Age alone, 21 layers have been found within 11m/36ft of sediment. In layer V (1900 B.C.), the remains of a palace reminiscent of Knossos were found. It was destroyed in the 18th century B.C. by the Hittite Labarna. Within four Bronze Age layers were found the traces of a shrine with sacrificial vessels, a blood altar, a phallic symbol and statuettes of Cybele. To one side the tomb of an important Islamic figure can be seen.
The provincial capital of Denizli is situated about 20km/12mi south of Pamukkale above the fertile Çürüksu valley (Aksu Deresi, Lykos in antiquity, Maeander Minor in the Middle Ages) and lies at the foot of the block-shaped Honaz Dag (Kadmos 2,571m/8,432ft). The town probably grew up in the early 14th century in what is now the bazaar district as a replacement for Laodikeia and it was known originally as Ladik or Lazik, but later assumed the name of the abundant Denizli spring ("denizli", with the sea). Ibn Battuta described the town as a fine commercial center with seven mosques, baths and bazaars as well as a resident prince. Denizli has twice been destroyed by earthquakes - once at the beginning of the 18th century and again in 1899. There are no buildings of any historical interest in this thoroughly modern town.
More hot springs (Kizilpinar 55°C/131°F) bubble from the chalk-coated rocks on the same plateau only 5km/3mi west of Pamukkale near the village of Karahayit. The presence of various other oxides, e.g. iron oxide, tinges the calcium carbonate with a variety of colors. A small bathing pool is situated beneath the springs.
Take a side road to reach the village of Honaz which lies a good 20km/12mi east of Denizli beneath the Honaz Dag. A short distance to the north, the River Lykos cuts through a limestone plateau partly in an underground channel and partly in a 4km/2.5mile long gorge (Bogaz Kesen). The scanty remains of the once great Phrygian city of Kolossai lie beyond the gorge. They are referred to by Herodotus (Bk 7: 30) and in the time of Xenophon (Anabasis Bk 1: 2,6) Kolossai was still a place of some consequence, but became increasingly overshadowed by Laodikeia and Hierapolis. Its name has remained familiar because of Paul's epistle to the Christian community here. 4km/2.5mi to the south the hillside town of Chinai (Honaz) with its patron saint Michael was of more importance in Byzantine times.
The ancient site of Laodikeia boasts of a wide array of ruins spread out over an area of 1 sq.km.
The town of Sarayköy at the western edge of the Hierapolis valley is probably old Karura (Kyorara) which lay on the border between Phrygia and Caria. It became known for its hot springs by the Maeander and its Herophilian medical school. Herophilus (fourth century B.C.) was regarded as the most important doctor of antiquity after Hippocrates. He was one of the first doctors to dissect the human body.