II. The City of Colosse

II. The City of Colosse

Colosse lay inland of Ephesus about one hundred miles. At one time the main road from Ephesus to the Euphrates ran through this region, following the Lycus Valley. Today the site of Colosse lies deserted, as does the neighboring site (about eight miles east) of Laodicea. Across the river valley twelve miles to the north, Hierapolis, with its famous mineral pools and springs, is the scene of a small resort; its ruins are impressive.

Colosse is the most isolated and unimpressive of the three ancient sites. It can be reached only by a dirt road, at the end of which lies a small Turkish village called Honaz. A couple of miles distant, in farming fields accessible only on foot or by tractor, lie the remains of ancient Colosse. While plowing their fields, local farmers have turned up some ruins of the Roman era. The site has never been systematically excavated.

Historical records tell us that while Colosse was a populous city, wealthy and large in the classical period (fourth-fifth century b.c.), during the Christian era it was only a small town. In the Byzantine era (third century a.d.), Colosse served as an archbishop's see. The only visible evidence of Christianity dates back to this era: Honaz is located near the ruins of a moderately sized Byzantine church.