Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish. It is a village famous for the nearby calcite deposits , of the same kind as the ones in the park of Yellowstone in the US, only white (and bigger, apparently). It is a VERY touristy place, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, strangely enough. As usual, you need to walk a little bit further than most people, away from the mass of tourists, to find quieter and really nice places. Behind the calcite “mountain” itself lie the ruins of a really large city dating back to Antiquity, Hierapolis. And the necropolis is even bigger than the city itself!
Very close to Pamukkale also lie the ruins of Laodikeia. Because most tourists come for a day trip to Pamukkale and then leave the area again, there is almost no one visiting Laodikeia. Just me, two other tourists and a school bus that day, and that’s it. I like it very much! The only down side is there being absolutely NO shade whatsoever, but at that point I was used to it, it was the same in Pamukkale. The archaeologists are still working on the site. I got lucky that day, and the older couple from Singapour who was there with a private guide allowed to follow the guide with them and listen to his explanations. So I learned a lot that day, and the four of us had fun, as they wanted me to play and sing in the theatre to check the acoustic!
Laodikeia was one of the Seven Churches of Asia (the English name being actually “Laodicea on the Lycus”, “Laodicée du Lycos” in French) mentioned in the Book of Revelation, last book of the New Testament (l’Apocalypse de Jean in French). The city has suffered at least nine major earthquakes between 27 BC and around 610 AD. The earthquake that took place in 494 brought to entire city to the ground. It got rebuilt, but after the earthquake of the beginning of the VIIth century, the site was abandoned and a new city founded 6 kilometres away from Laodikeia. This new city developed into the Denizli that we now know (and were I stayed).
Around 364, a famous council took place in Laodikeia. I recommend, if you can read French, to read the main canons listed on the Wikipedia page, some of them are quite funny and very interesting. Obviously the aim was to make sure that the new Christians were staying away from paganism and Judaism. The most ironic canon of all states that the Book of Revelation, the very one where Laodikeia was mentioned, is not recognised as part of the Holy Scriptures…