The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said 2020 will be the “year of Patara” on Feb. 12. Patara is an ancient city and it is located in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort city of Antalya. For centuries, the ancient city served as the Lycian civilization’s main port city.
The ancient city of Patara, located in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort city of Antalya. So, it has come into the spotlight following a declaration from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He stated that 2020 would be the “year of Patara” on February 12th. Patara Ancient city served as the main port city for the Lycian civilization. Furthermore, it is also an important symbol in Turkey’s culture. And so, Turkish authorities are currently reviving this hub.
A potential UNESCO World Heritage Site
According to Mustafa Siyahhan, a tourism expert at Bilkent University in Ankara, “Patara could be nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, especially its Demre district, where the Church of St. Nicholas is located,”.
Siyahhan said that for years, Demre has organized festivals honoring the revered figure, also known as Saint Nick, or Santa Claus. According to tradition, St. Nicholas was born in Patara and was a bishop in the Lycian town of Myra in what is today’s Demre region.
Following his death, St. Nicholas’ gift-giving habit spread throughout the world. He later on turned into the legendary figure of Santa Claus, famous for giving Christmas gifts to children.
Where is Patara?
Patara Beach is on the 17 km (11 miles) west of Kalkan by road on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. The beach, which has a desert view when viewed from a distance, becomes a real mirage when met with the perfect sea. Besides, Patara later renamed Arsinoe (Ἀρσινόη). It was a flourishing maritime and commercial city on the south-west coast of Lycia on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The ancient city is near the modern small town of Gelemiş, in Antalya Province. It is the birthplace of St. Nicholas, who lived most of his life in the nearby town of Myra (Demre).
The site is a plain surrounded by hills and included in ancient times a large natural harbor (since silted up). On the northeast of the harbor is Tepecik Hill upon which there is a Bronze Age site. The later city is on the flanks of this hill and to the south and west. The site of the oracle and temple of Apollo has not been found.
How to Get to There?
You must first hold into Dalaman, the small province near to Antalya, to get to Patara Ancient city. As Dalaman is a very touristic destination and a famous point for tourists from everywhere, the village contains an International Airport. Once you arrive in Dalaman, there are several ways to get to Patara: Car, or bus and taxi. So, any bus will drop you on the Fethiye–Kaş highway at Ovaköy. Then, it’s a 3.5-km (2-mile) taxi ride (or hitch) to the village that’s officially named Gelemiş. However, everyone calls this little village like Patara.
The ruins of ancient Patara are a further 1.5 km (1 mile) south of the village, and the beach yet another kilometer (6/10 mile) through the ruins.
You can see the location of Patara Ancient city by clicking here.
To reach the beach, you pass through the ruins, which have an admission charge of £5. However, those staying for a few days can purchase a site and beach pass, which allows £7 visits, for £8; under 12s are free. Note that the beach is off-limits between sunset and 8.30 am.
What is in Patara Ancient City to Explore?
Patara’s grand monuments lie scattered along the road to the beach. The dilapidated 5000-seat theatre is the main section of ruins. Next door is the bouleuterion and it is ancient Patara’s ‘parliament’. The members of the Lycian League probably met there. Turkish authorities have thoroughly restored it, following a two-year, ₺8.5-million reconstruction. The colonnaded street, with re-erected columns, runs north from here. This would have been Patara’s grandest boulevard, lined by shops and with the agora at its southern end.
Away from the main ruins, there are also plenty more remnants of Patara’s long history to fossick through. From the ticket booth, along the Gelemiş–Patara Beach road, you first pass the 2nd-century triple-arched triumphal Arch of Modestus. Furthermore, there is a necropolis. It contains a number of Lycian tombs nearby. As you head along the road, next is a Harbour Baths complex and the remains of a Byzantine basilica before you arrive at the central section of ruins.
Where to stay around Patara Ancient City
The simple but spotless rooms are great. However, the real draw is the superb home-cooking of charming hosts. This is traditional Turkish food at its freshest and best (0242 843 5055; pataraakaypension.com; doubles from £26)
Located well away from the village, it is just 10 minutes’ walk from a small beach. Therefore, Camelion will appeal to those who really want to get away from it all. What’s more, it is a family-run place and it has its own pool and offers Turkish cooking lessons. Great sea and sunset views. (0536 643 9199; bbcamelion-com.webnode.nl; doubles from £44)
This charming hotel has a hillside setting with fine views over the village and sea, its own pool, fruit tree-filled garden, Ottoman terrace, and cedar-burning wood stove. En-suite rooms are compact but stylish and comfortable; hosts Muzaffer and Anne-Louise are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. At the same time, they also have four self-catering apartments in the village. (0242 843 5184; pataraviewpoint.com; doubles from £45)
Trivia for Patara Ancient City
Ancient Patara was home to one of the world’s first democratic parliamentary systems. Moreover, the council chamber once held over 1400 citizens. It did cost the Turkish government £3.6m to restore. So, the restoration works are still on progress and happily, the Turkish government pays great attention to the ruins.
You should visit Turkey’s Ancient City of Patara as soon as you can. Patara beach and the historical ruins of Patara ancient city will amaze you. In the meantime, Antalya is one of the most famous touristic destinations in Turkey. So, you will have too many opportunities there in addition to Patara.