Denizli is situated on the southwest of the Anatolian Peninsula; at the southeast part of the Aegean region and it is the passageway between the Aegean, Middle Anatolia and the Mediterranean regions. It is a growing industrial city in the eastern end of the alluvial valley formed by the river Büyük Menderes, where the plain reaches an elevation of about a hundred meters, in southwestern Turkey, in the country's Aegean Region. The city has a population of about 488,768 (2009 census) and is the capital city of Denizli Province. Denizli has achieved a remarkable economic development in the last decades based notably on textile production and export.
The province of Denizli is one of the tourism centres which attracts the tourists all year round with its rooster, well-known textile products, unique Pamukkale, white and red travertine, forests, botanical and ornithological tourism, 17 diverse thermal spas, slope parachute on Pamukkale, caves, about 30 ancient ruins, and tumuli in addition to them; mountaineering, trekking, plateau tourism, biking tours, rafting, faith tourism, congress tourism and the other alternative tourism opportunities.
The wide forests and numerous picnicking and camping areas here contribute to this natural and archaeological richness, while its position as a stopover between the major provinces like Izmir, Ankara and Antalya increases the tourist attraction of Denizli. The thermal resorts also attract visitors to the provinces with their spring waters of therapeutic effects; Gemezli, Cezmeli, Tekke and Kizildere are the main spa resorts, besides the thermal centres of Pamukkale and Karahayit.
Denizli is most famous for its Denizli rooster. Since ancient times, it has only ever been raised in Denizli. The rooster has adapted to harsh environmental conditions and has been resistant to contagious diseases from the beginning until today. The Agricultural Directory of Denizli Province has tried to conserve the Denizli rooster´s gene pool. During the first year of its life its crowing period lasts for about 20 seconds. This period gets longer as the rooster matures. However, the crowing quality is more important than the crowing period in a good Denizli rooster.
Denizli dates back to the Calcholithic age where it was the site of a settlement of the earliest communities. It is known to have continuously changed hands, becoming the centre of various civilizations in different time periods. The area has been occupied since prehistoric times, there were important ancient Greek and Roman towns nearby, (Hierapolis and Laodicea on the Lycus), which persisted through the Byzantine period. The city was founded in its current location after the area has been settled by the Turks. The inhabitants of Laodicea were resettled here in the Seljuk period.
Denizli is located in Aegean Region of Turkey, but the climate is not uniformly Aegean throughout the whole province. A terrestrial climate may be felt in the center of the province, because the area is like a pathway from the seaside to inland areas. The inland area is cooler than the seaside because of these climatic differences. The land is open to winds coming from the Aegean Sea because the mountains are perpendicular to the sea. The weather is very hot in Denizli in summers, whereas in winters, it may occasionally be very cold with snow on the mountains that surround the city. Springs and autumns are generally rainy.
Denizli Çardak Airport is about 45 minutes drive from the city. There are direct flights everyday from Istanbul which lasts around 1hour. There are also flights to Ankara which lasts 45 minutes. Driving time to the capital city of Ankara (480 km/300miles) is approximately 7 hours. Driving time to İzmir (240 km/150miles) is approximately 3 hours (3.5 hours by bus and tickets are around 20-25Lira.
Places of Interest
Laodicea ad Lycum - 6 km (4 mi) north of Denizli near the village of Eskihisar. The city was established by Seleucid King, Antiochus II in honor of his wife, Laodice. The ruins of the ancient city of Laodiceia, which was one of the Seven Churches mentioned in the book of Revelations, is 6km away from the Province of Denizli. According to Historian Plinius, Laodiceia was established on the ruins of a village called Diospolis (“Zeus’s town”) and its name was then changed to Rhoas. The city is still the subject of excavations. This trading city was famous for its woolen and cotton cloths. A letter written by a Laodecian says; “I am happy. I have fortune and I am not in need of anything.” Following a large earthquake which destroyed the city, what remains of the ancient city are one of the seven churches of Asia Minor, the stadium, the amphitheatre and the odeon, the cistern and the aqueduct.
Hierapolis is another ancient city present in Denizli. Besides being a historical treasure, it also offers a real wonder of nature. Named as ‘Pamukkale’ (meaning Cotton Castle in Turkish) the place is astoundingly beautiful, and unique in the world with its white travertine offering spectacular scenery and also the thermal water, which is believed to be good for health. The city of Hierapolis was founded by the Pergamon King Eumenes II in 190 B.C. Its closeness to Laodicea led to commercial and military rivalry. The town was built in Greek style. Despite suffering a violent earthquake in 17 A.D., it reached its peak during the Roman and Byzantine periods. It was reconstructed during the 2nd and 3rd Centuries in stone from quarries in the area, in a Roman style. The town had its most glorious years during the reign of Roman Emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla and became an episcopal seat during the expansion of Christianity. However, as a result of several earthquakes, the most violent of which was in 1354, a great part of the town was destroyed, and its people migrated.
The ancient city of Heraklia Salbaceis is within the precincts of Vakif Village. The important structures of the town are its Roman outer walls and stadium.
4km to the east of Heraklia Salbace is Heraklia Hieron, which was made in the shape of a rectangular prism. Its four sides are decorated with reliefs on plaques. Artemis, Apollo, Pan, Dionysus and Heracles are featured in the mythological scenes depicted.
One of the largest buildings of Hierapolis Ancient Town was the Roman Bath. Since 1984 this building has been used as the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum. Alongside works of art from the excavations at Hierapolis are finds from Laodiceia, Colossae, Tripolis, Attuda and other towns of the Lycus (Çürüksu) Valley. In addition, the museum has a large section devoted to artifacts found at Beycesultan Höyük that includes some of the most beautiful examples of Bronze Age crafts.
The Seljuq caravanserai Akhan, which is 6 km from Denizli City on the Ankara highway, and a great part of which still remains, was constructed by Karasungur bin Abdullah in 1253-54 when he was acting as the commander of Ladik. It is recently restored along with the Ottoman konaks nearby and is set to become a visitor's attraction by its own right.
Honaz mountain is a popular picnic excursion for Denizli's people in summer.