2000 years ago Patara was the largest and most important sea port of the Lycian civilization. According to Mythology Apollo was born here and it is also recorded as the birthplace of St. Nicholas.
As the principle port on the coast of Lycia, Patara has a long history. Excavations are slowly bringing the city’s ancient history to light. The finding of coins and ceramic fragments, during excavations, date the city to at least 7th century BC.
Excavations are slowly bringing the city’s ancient history to light. The finding of coins and ceramic fragments, during excavations, date the city to at least 7th century BC.
The league generally held its league conferences in Patara, which was its harbour as well, was also the seat of the Roman provincial governor, who turned it into a port from which the Roman fleet maintained contact with the eastern provinces.
A large bust of Apollo, discovered on the hillside, beyond the city gate, indicates the existence of an Apollo temple, which is yet to be found. During the Byzantine period, Patara again lost none of its importance and became a Christian centre of some significance.
It is known for being a place of St.Paul’s missionary work at the end of his third missionary journey as he changed ships en route to Jerusalem. Patara is also the birthplace of St.Nicholas, who was born to a wealthy family from Patara and later went on to become Bishop of Myra.
The old city now forms part of a protected area. Excavations carry on each year, under the close direction of Professor Fahri Işık from Antalya Akdeniz University.
Discoveries so far include: a magnificent theatre, an amazing main street, baths, temple agora, granary, many sargophogii, a bouleutrion (government building, which has received a lot of press coverage), the magnificent triumphal arch and located at the harbour entrance, what is reputed to be one of the oldest lighthouses in the world.
Agust 26, 1988