Patara Ancient City

Patara Ancient City

Patara Ancient City, situated at the southwestern end of the Xanthos Valley, is a significant site in Lycia, located 40 km west of Kaş and 200 km from Antalya city center. Not only does it hold archaeological value, but it is also a historic beach where caretta-caretta turtles have laid their eggs for millions of years.

Records dating back to the 13th century BCE describe Patara as a hub for trade. The Tepecik Acropolis, which dates back to the Middle Bronze Age, contains numerous ceramic artifacts from that period. The discovery of stone axes on the slopes of Tepecik that predate 1000 BCE attests to the long history of Patara.

Patara Ancient City

During the Byzantine period, Patara gained even greater significance and became an important center for Christians. Notably, Saint Nicholas, known as Santa Claus, was born in this city. Patara continued to play a vital role throughout the Middle Ages and attracted Turkish settlers from Anatolia who established a permanent community there.

Patara Ancient City boasts numerous remarkable ruins, including the Roman Victory Gate which dates back to the end of the 1st century AD. Atop the hill, visitors can also see the remains of the Temple of Athena, as well as the nearby theatre, basilica, and temple.

Patara held significant political power as one of the six cities with three votes in the Lycian Union, where it may have been the most important member. The Lycian Union was a confederation of 12 cities, with Patara among them. Recent excavations have uncovered what could be the world's oldest-known parliament, estimated to date back to around 3200 BC and possibly making it the earliest established democracy in history, belonging to the Lycians.

In addition to this impressive discovery, archaeologists also found a 2000-year-old lighthouse at the ancient Roman port of Patara, making it possibly the oldest intact lighthouse structure. The lighthouse, standing 12 meters high, was constructed during the imperial reign of Emperor Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68 AD.

Patara Ancient City is an invaluable archaeological site in Turkey and was included on UNESCO's tentative list in 2009.