Patara Ancient City – Antalya

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Where is Patara Ancient City?

Patara Ancient City is located in today’s Gelemis Village, at the southwest end of the Xanthos Valley, between Fethiye and Kalkan, and is one of the most important and oldest cities of Lycia.

Patara Ancient City

Patara Ancient City

The ancient city of Patara, which has been excavated since 1988, has a special importance in addition to its archaeological and historical values, as it is one of the rare beaches where Mediterranean turtles Caretta-Caretta lay their eggs and breed for millions of years.

Patara Ancient City

Patara Ancient City History

The name of the city is mentioned as Patar in Hittite texts of the 13th century BC. While the pottery sherds recovered from the Tepecik Acropolis contain Middle Bronze Age features, the stone ax from the pre-Iron Age, which was also unearthed on the skirts of the eastern slope of Tepecik, shows how far Patara’s history goes. Patara, which has continued to be an important city throughout history because it is the only place in the Xanthos Valley that can be sailed, is referred to as Patara in the Lycian language in inscriptions and coins.

Patara Ancient City

Patara became the leading city of Lycia when it came under the rule of Ptolemy in the 3rd century BC. At the beginning of the 2nd century BC, when Lycia began to be controlled by the Seleucid Kingdom, Patara was accepted as the capital of Lycia. This situation became official in 167/168 BC, when Patara gained its autonomy against Rome and its independence against Rhodes, and Patara became the capital of the Lycian League. Monumental structures such as the Parliament Building and the Theater built in the Hellenistic Period in the capital show parallelism with this historical process. Patara, which did not lose its importance even after it came under Roman rule, preserved its importance as a naval base where Rome established its connection with the eastern provinces, as well as being a center where the Roman Governorships carried out their judicial affairs. While Lycia became a Roman province in 43 AD, in 74 AD Lycia and Pamphylia were combined into a single province and Patara continued to be the capital.

Patara Ancient City

Patara, which has a reputation as an important prophecy center of Apollo, is also a port where the grains transported from Anatolia to Rome are stored and stored. The city, which continued its importance in the Byzantine Period, became an important center for Christians. Saint Nicholaos, known as “Santa Claus”, is from Patara. Also, St. Paul boarded the ship from Patara to go to Rome. The fact that the only authorized signatory of Lycia, Bishop Eudemos, was the Bishop of Patara in the Iznik Council in 325 AD, chaired by Emperor Constantine, is proof that the city was also popular in this period. Continuing its importance throughout the Middle Ages, Patara has reached the present day as an important center with the arrival of the Turks.

Patara Ancient City

The entrance to the present-day ruins of the city is through the magnificent and well-preserved Roman Triumphal Arch. It is understood from the inscriptions that it was built in the name of the regional governor in 100 AD. On the slopes of the hill to the west of Tak, the cemetery area with Lycian type sarcophagi lies. It is understood from the inscriptions that the theater leaning on Kurşunlu Tepe at the southernmost tip of the city was rebuilt in 147 AD after the earthquake.

Patara Ancient City

Patara Ancient City

Kurşunlu Tepe, on which the theater leans, is the most beautiful corner from which the general view of the city can be watched. Other ruins of the city from here; The Baths of Vespasian, the Corinthian Temple, the main street, the harbor and the granary can be easily seen. The granary (granarium) behind the swamp in the northwest of the hill is one of the monumental structures of Patara that has survived, and was built by Emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina in the 2nd century AD. To the north of the theater is the Parliament Building, where Patara, the capital of the Lycian League, hosted meetings. The water of the city was brought from a rock on the slope of Kızıltepe, near the village of Islamlar, about 20 kilometers northeast. Between the source and the city, north of the Fırnaz pier; The section called “Hole Kemer” in the neighborhood is the most monumental part of the waterways.

How to go to Patara?

Patara can be reached from Kas and Kalkan by minibuses.

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