Laodicea ad Lycum is an ancient city located in Denizli. It was founded in the 3rd century B.C. by Antiochus II, the king of the Seleucid Empire in honor of his wife, Laodice. Being one of the seven cities of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation and housing a large population of Jews since the reign of Antiochus III, it has a huge significance in the history of religions.
There has been a large excavation work in the area conducted by Pamukkale University in Denizli since 2002 and in 2013 it was inscribed in the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites in Turkey.
The tangible evidence of the Jewish community in the city is the menorah graffiti with a cross on top on the lower colonnade in the two-storeyed ‘Nymphaeum A’ on the north side of the Syrian Road, which was the main avenue of the city. An inscription on the architrave suggests that the nymphaeum was dedicated to the emperor Septimius Severus and it is known that it was repaired during the reign of Diocletian and was destroyed by an earthquake at the end of the 5th century A.D.
It is known that before the foundation of this city, there was another city known as Diospolis earlier, later as Rhodas. As the king Antiochus II founded this city on the site of the older town and named it after his own wife, Laodice, along with many other cities, it was called Laodicea ad Lycum to distinguish it from the others. Lycus is the ancient name of a nearby river which is called Çürüksu today.
On the column there is a menorah in the part below, above is a deeply incised globe and a cross, finally a palm frond and an angular horn on both sides. It is known that the menorah was incised first and it was followed respectively by the palm frond, the horn and the cross with a globe below. On top of each tip of the menorah are a circle and three lines which are suggested to be rays of light. This particular style of menorah, the palm frond and the horn can also be seen in the necropolis of the nearby Hierapolis.