Laodicea: The Final Church in Revelation

One of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible, Laodicea is the last church referred to as lukewarm in Revelation. Located in the Denizli province, it is easily accessible and only takes a 15-minute coach ride. Laodicea is renowned worldwide for its outstanding archaeological site, which is still being excavated. Furthermore, in recent years, it has become a popular pilgrimage site for church groups following in the footsteps of the apostles. These groups not only hold mass at the Cross church, but also take a stroll through the city’s ancient streets and marvel at the intricate water pipe systems, creating a sacred atmosphere.


Laodicea is situated 6 km north of Denizli and was founded in 263 BC by Antiochus II on the banks of the Lycus river. It is said that the city was named after Antiochus’ wife, Laodicea. Currently, the ancient city is being excavated by the archaeological team of Denizli University, sponsored by the Turkish government.

A Wealthy Hellenistic Town

Laodicea was established in the 3rd century BC as a Hellenistic town after the death of Alexander the Great. Located at the crossroads of important routes in antiquity, the city’s convenient topography provided ideal conditions for military, administrative, and economic facilities. As a result, Laodicea became one of the main hubs in Asia Minor during Roman times. According to ancient historians, the city was known for producing a soft black wool from a specific breed of black sheep, eye ointment for those with eye illnesses, and serving as a secondary banking center after Ephesus. These industries and sources of wealth made Laodicea one of the most magnificent and richest cities during the reign of Emperor Tiberius (14-27 AD), as described in the Bible as “rich.” However, several earthquakes caused significant damage to the city over the years, with one in 60 AD during the reign of Nero destroying 70% of Laodicea. While Rome offered loans to help rebuild the city, the wealthy brokers in Laodicea declined the offer and instead used their own resources to make the city even better than before.

A Thriving City Under Roman Rule

During the reign of Emperor Domitian, Laodicea saw intense development activities. The Doric order was used to construct the Gate of Aphrodisias, Hierapolis Gate, Ephesus Gate, and the main streets. Emperor Hadrian visited Laodicea in 135 AD and supported further development, leading to the construction of Roman buildings that are still in relatively good condition today. Hadrian also gave the title of Nekoros (temple wardenship) to Laodicea for the first time, making it a rival to the previously-held title in Ephesus. In the 2nd century AD, Laodicea and Ephesus competed in many areas, including banking and temple wardenships. In 313 AD, with the Edict of Milan issued by Constantine the Great, Christians were granted the freedom to worship, making Laodicea an important center of Christianity. The city declined at the end of the Byzantine period and was abandoned in the 10th century. Laodicea was left in ruins after the Turkish era began in the 12th century.

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The 7th Church of Revelation – Laodicea

In the book of Revelation, Jesus says, “I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). Jesus warns the Laodiceans to be unsteady and unfaithful to the church because the water in Laodicea is lukewarm, lacking the desired freshness and quality. In contrast, the water in Hierapolis is hot and in Colossea is cold. The water shortage in Laodicea was solved by bringing fresh water from Colossea to Laodicea through terra-cotta pipes, which today can still be seen as an amazing engineering feat. However, by the time the water reached Laodicea, it had become lukewarm. Similarly, the people of Laodicea were also seen as unstable and untrustworthy. Despite being a banking center and known as “rich,” Jesus says, “You are poor, blind, and naked. Wake up and be faithful or you will be punished.”



The ancient theater of Laodicea, built in the 3rd century BC, was expanded during the reign of Nero and became one of the largest amphitheaters in Asia Minor, with a capacity of 20,000 seats. Despite the destruction of the skene where the tragedies were performed, the cavea (spectator seats) and orchestra where musical shows and speeches took place are still well-preserved. The grand theater played a significant role in the city’s cultural and social events, and it has remained an important landmark for over two thousand years, with ongoing excavation and restoration work taking place today.


The Small Theatre in Laodicea is a historical site that provides insight into the cultural and entertainment activities in the ancient city. It was built to complement the grand theatre and offered space for a variety of events, including concerts and political speeches. Although the skene has been destroyed, the cavea and orchestra are still in visible condition today, allowing visitors to experience the site’s history and significance. Excavations and restoration work are still ongoing, highlighting the continued efforts to preserve the site for future generations to enjoy and learn from.


The stadium and gymnasium in Laodicea were built during the Roman era, with the stadium completed in 79 AD and the gymnasium constructed in the 2nd century AD. The stadium had a length of 350 meters and was 60 meters wide, with 24 rows of seats. The gymnasium was built by proconsul Antonius Gargilius and his wife Sabina and dedicated to Emperor Hadrian. These structures indicate that Laodicea was a city that valued physical activity and sports, as well as cultural and political events.


The monumental fountain and water reservoir was a key infrastructure in Laodicea and played an important role in providing clean and fresh water to the city’s residents. The fountain was located at a central point in the city and was designed to deliver water to the public for free. Due to the city’s shortage of water, the construction of the fountain and the accompanying water reservoir was seen as a high priority. The fountain consisted of a pool and niches on both sides, and was repaired during the Byzantine period. The earthenware pipes and the large water reservoir helped ensure a steady supply of fresh water to the city, alleviating the problem of luke-warm water that plagued Laodicea.


The Bouleterion-Senate House is situated in the southwestern part of the city and has a rectangular shape. It was later expanded to run in an east-west direction. The main entrance faces east and was used by prominent citizens of Laodicea, such as politicians, wealthy merchants, pagan priests, and brokers. They would enter the building and take a seat in the lower section to listen to speeches and watch events.


The Zeus Temple is believed to have been built in the 3rd century AD when Laodicea was founded. It was dedicated to the chief deity of the Olympians, the king of the gods. The temple is situated between the colonnaded street and the small theater, in the eastern part of the Nymphaeum-monumental fountain of Laodicea. During the Roman era, it was referred to as the Temple of Jupiter.


The Cross Church, also known as the Church of Laodicea, was built in the 5th century AD during the Byzantine period. It is believed that there were no permanent church buildings in Asia Minor until the end of the 4th century AD. The church of Laodicea, like all other churches in the seven cities of Revelation, was built on a cross plan in the form of a basilica, and thus referred to as a “Cross Church.” Today, you can still find cross-shaped churches throughout the seven cities of Revelation.


If you’re interested in exploring the rich history of Laodicea, there’s no better way to do so than with Tour Maker Turkey. Our experienced tour guides will lead you on a journey through this ancient city, taking you to all of its iconic landmarks and monuments, including the grand theatre, the stadium and gymnasium, the monumental fountain-water reservoir, the Bouleterion-Senate House, the Zeus Temple, and the Cross Church-Church of Laodicea.

Our tours are designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of Laodicea’s history and cultural significance. From the Romans to the Byzantines, we’ll delve into the stories and legends that make Laodicea such a fascinating place to visit. We’ll also explore the city’s modern-day landmarks and attractions, offering a glimpse into the vibrant and bustling city that Laodicea is today.

At Tour Maker Turkey, we’re passionate about sharing the beauty and richness of Laodicea with travelers from all over the world. We know that exploring an ancient city like Laodicea can be an overwhelming experience, which is why we provide a comfortable and relaxing environment for our tours. Our knowledgeable guides will provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your trip, while our top-notch transportation and accommodations ensure that you have a comfortable and stress-free experience.

So what are you waiting for? Join us on a journey through the fascinating world of Laodicea with Tour Maker Turkey. Book your tour today and experience the rich history and culture of this ancient city like never before!