Central Baths

    Located to the south of the Central Agora, Central Baths covers an area of 89.60x57.60 m. Together with the open area (palaestra) to the west the entire complex measures 145.60x57.60 m. In the hippodamic urban layout the complex occupies four insulae and comprises four main halls, respectively apodyterium (changing hall), frigidarium (cold hall), tepidarium (lukewarm hall), and caldarium (hot hall), and a training ground (palaestra) to the west. The palaestra is also accessed from the Stadium Street on the west. The halls of the complex were roofed over with brick vaults. The walls were built with travertine blocks. The apodyterium with triple arches and the doorway, decorative elements like coffers, geison-sima and architrave-frieze blocks as well as veneer are of marble. In time the original complex was expanded with an apodyterium and an adjoining frigidarium with an apsidal pool built to the north. Thus, the complex assumed a layout peculiar to Laodikeia. A marble doorway leads into the second apodyterium from the western portico of the Central Agora.
     The caldarium has five heated pools placed on the north, east, and south sides. These have brick hypocaust system beneath and access from outside for feeding the fire. The caldarium walls bear traces of wearing on the walls caused by burning where there is the hypocaust system. Rectangular tepidarium adjoins the frigidarium to its west, which probably communicated with the apodyterium via three doorways.

     The baths was built in the Roman Imperial period, possibly in the second century AD, and functioned until the earthquake of 494, after which the baths fell out of use. Layers of burning and ashes indicate Yörüks temporary sheltered here during the Middle Ages.

 


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