South Baths - Gymnasium Complex

   The best-preserved monument of Laodikeia is the South Baths – Gymnasium Complex measuring 133x75 m. It has a double imperial baths layout. This important complex communicates with the Stadium to its south and the South Agora to its north. Its location suggests that it served the athletes practising and competing at the Stadium. It was built with arches and vaults employing fine dressed travertine blocks; the entrance area in the middle is enhanced with niches on both sides. The walls have holes for fixing marble veneer. The complex has two main corridors (ambulacra) – north-south one between the two caldaria (hot halls) and east-west one for access to the gymnasium in the north. Both caldaria have four main niches. Caldaria and tepidaria (lukewarm halls) are oriented north-south but the apodyteria (changing halls) and frigidaria (cold halls) extend in the east-west direction. In both apodyteria five arched bays on each long wall have survived. Access between halls was via arched doorways. The long hall (gymnasium?) on the north part of the complex connects with the South Agora via seven doorways. Some arrangements of the Early Byzantine period are discernible in this area.

     This complex was built in AD 135 on the occasion of Hadrian’s visit to the city and dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina during the porconsulship of Gargilius Antiquus. In engravings of the eighteenth century and afterwards the complex is attested as an abode for Yörüks.



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