Patara Ancient City – Guide 2022

The Patara ancient city is one of the greatest fortunes of Lycia, in the Kas district of Turkey, which was home to the Lycian civilization and with 3 votes.

The ancient city of Patara, one of the first symbol cities that comes to mind when Lycia is mentioned, is the commercial port of Lycia opening to the Mediterranean. It is the city where St. Nicholas (Saint Nicholas) was born, known as Santa Claus, and its ancient structures have survived to the present day.

If you come to Kas and Fethiye region in Turkey, you should definitely visit the ancient city of Patara and enjoy the sea and the sun on the Patara coast, which has an 18 km sandy beach.

The year 2020 has been accepted as the year of Patara by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Turkey and many restorations and new excavations have been carried out.

The name Patara is known as 𐊓𐊗𐊗𐊀𐊕𐊀 – Pttara in the Lycian language (Lycian) and as Πάταρα in ancient Greek.

If you are planning to visit Patara Ancient City, listen extensively to Xanthos ancient and Letoon Ancient City.

Table of Contents

Patara Ancient City History

It is estimated that the city of Patara has been standing since the 8th century BC. The name of the city of Patara is mentioned as Patar in the Hittite texts of the 13th century BC.

Ceramic pieces and stone axes found in the excavations in the Ancient City of Patara take the history of Patara back to the Middle Bronze Age and Iron Age. Think about it, people have been living in Patara since ancient times!

The name of the city is mentioned as Patara in the Lycian period inscriptions and coins found in the city, which has preserved its importance throughout history as it is the only city in the Xanthos Valley that opens to the sea.

The city of Patara became the capital of Lycia in the 2nd century BC when Lycia began to come under the control of the Seleucid Kingdom. It continued after Patara gained autonomy in Rome and gained its independence against Rhodes.

Patara Ancient City
Patara Ancient City

The ancient city of Patara preserved its importance during the Roman period and was used as the seaport of Rome opening to Asia. It is also one of the three most important grain stores in the Mediterranean during the Roman period.

The city, which continued to develop during the Byzantine period, started to become Christian and it is estimated that Saint Nicholas, known as Santa Claus, was born here.

The city began to lose its port feature as the port of Patara started to fill with sand due to the winds and the boats had difficulty berthing. The ancient structures in the city today were well preserved because they were buried under the sand, and the structures were unearthed by excavating the sands.

The oldest surviving democratic parliament building is located in the ancient city of Patara.

Patara Ancient City History
Patara Ancient City

Patara Ancient City Places To Visit – Patara Buildings

The ancient city of Patara is spread over a wide area and there are many ancient structures. When you come to Patara, it would be very nice to visit the ancient city and then enjoy the sea on Patara beach.

If you wish, let’s explore the historical buildings in Patara ancient city.

1. Tepecik Cemetery

When you enter the ancient city of Patara, on the right are the historical ruins that greet you. The feature of this area is that it is the first cemeteries (Necropolis) found in the Lycian region.

Stone axes dating back to the 2nd millennium BC and pottery fragments from the 10th century BC were found during the studies carried out here. These works take the history of Patara back to ancient times.

The tombs in the necropolis date back to the 5th century BC and the lidded sarcophagi are the most obvious examples of Lycian tomb types. The best-preserved tombs today are those from the Roman period.

Patara Ancient City Tepecik Cemetery
Tepecik Cemetery – Patara Ancient City

2. Arch of Triumph (Arch of Mettius Modestus)

Another structure that welcomes you at the entrance of the ancient city of Patara is the Arch of Triumph. Arch of Triumph, one of the most famous historical monuments of Patara, is 10 meters high and 19 meters long.

Located at the entrance of the ancient city of Patara, the Arch of Triumph was built on 4 pillars and has 3 arch openings.

There are statues in the niches in the middle of the triumphal arch, and in the middle of the triumphal arch there is the inscription “People of Patara, the capital of the Lycian nation”.

The triumphal arch was built in honor of Mettius Modestus, who was appointed as the governor during the reign of Roman Emperor Trajan in AD 100.

Patara Ancient City Arch of Triumph
Arch of Triumph – Patara Ancient City photo by turkishmuseums.com

3. Lycian Union Assembly Building

The Lycian League Parliament Building in Patara ancient city is located right next to the Theater and is one of the most valuable structures of Patara.

This parliament building is known as the place where the ancient city of Patara, which was used as the capital and administrative center of the Lycian Union, taught democracy to the world.

When the Lycian Parliament Building was found in 1955, it was completely covered with sand. The famous French philosopher Montesquieu mentioned in his book “The Spirit of Laws” published in 1748 that the Lycian civilization was a perfect example of the democracy model.

It is thought that was inspired by the Lycian League while preparing the American Constitution.

Patara Assembly Building was built on an area of 1300 square meters and its height is 17 meters.

Along with the restoration of the ancient city of Patara, the Parliament building was also taken care of between 2008 and 2012.

Lycian Union Assembly Building
Lycian Union Assembly Building – Patara Ancient City

4. Patara Theater

As in all other cities of Lycia, there is an enormous theater in the Patara ancient city.

It is estimated that the ancient theater, which is under restoration today, was built between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century BC.

The theater, which has a capacity of approximately 6000 people, was built in Kurşunlutepe, located in Patara ancient city.

The audience places (Cavea) are divided into two by a diazo, and the seats made of limestone next to the diazo were made for the notables of the city.

The theater has a total of 39 rows of seating. There is a temple at the top of the sitting areas, but not much has survived from the temple.

Located in the ancient city of Patara, the Theater is of Hellenistic origin and was repaired by the Roman emperor Tiberius.

Patara Theater
Patara Theater – Patara Ancient City

5. Basilica

The only basilica of the ancient city of Patara was built in the 6th century AD and is one of the earliest and largest structures of the Christian era. The basilica is 61 meters long and 32 meters wide.

Patara Ancient City Basilica
Basilica – Patara Ancient City

6. Octagonal Pool

The inner width of the Octagon Pool, located to the south of the Arc de Triomphe, is 7.30 meters and its width is 10.24 meters.

The water reservoir of the pool, which was built from local limestone blocks, is 5.50 meters.

The pool, which was built in the 1st century AD, belongs to the Roman period and lost its function in the 4th century AD.

This octagonal pool in Patara’s ancient city is not in the classical Roman building style. It is more similar to the eight-pointed star architecture found in the Seljuk state. For this reason, it is seen among the rare works of Roman architecture.

Patara Ancient City Octagonal Pool
Octagonal Pool – Patara Ancient City

7. Harbor Bath (Persimmon Bath)

A little further from the octagonal pool, the Harbor Bath is known as the Palm Bath, and next to it is the Leto palm monument.

The bath, which was built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD, was actively used until the 5th century. The width of the bath is 34 meters and the height is 29 meters.

You can also take a look at the Turkish bath traditions.

8. Leto Palm Monument

The god Apollon appears very often in mythology and since she is of Anatolian origin, she has many works in this geography.

This area is considered to be the place where Goddess Leto gave birth to Apollon and Artemis.

According to the legend, the god Leto, who got pregnant from Zeus, escaped from Zeus’ wife Hera and settled in the ancient city of Patara, where Apollon and Artemis gave birth. The sacred monument of Letoon, which is very close to the ancient city of Patara, was built in the name of the goddess Leto and her children Apollon and Artemis.

Don’t forget to visit the Letoon religious site, which is very close to the Patara ancient city.

Patara Ancient City Leto Palm Monument
Leto Palm Monument – Patara Ancient City

9. Abora-IV – Ancient Ship Replica

Abora-IV, which is located right next to the parliament building, prepared with the ancient shipbuilding technique, is permanently exhibited in Patara ancient city.

German Archaeologist Dr. The ship, designed by Dominique Görlitz, was named Abora-IV.

This ship was built in Bulgaria and crossed the Black Sea and landed in the Mediterranean with the slogan “Sailing for peace and international understanding”. The ship, which was first exhibited in Kaş, was later brought to the Patara ancient city.

The purpose of the German Archaeologist Görlitz in building this ship; is to prove that in ancient times, sailors could reach the Black Sea by passing through the straits with such ships made of reed.

Patara Ancient Ship Replica
Ancient Ship Replica – Patara Ancient City

10. Main Street (Port Street)

This street, which is the best preserved among the Lycian cities, forms the backbone of the Patara ancient city. There are columns on both sides of this street, which is approximately 12.60 meters wide, and the porticoes these columns carry.

It is possible to see the ruins of shops along the street. As a result of the earthquakes, some areas of the street collapsed and were submerged.

Patara Ancient City Main Street
Main Street – Patara Ancient City

11. Nero Bath

It is located east of the Agora Gate at the end of the main street. It is the largest bath in the ancient city of Patara and has a width of 38 meters and a height of 27 meters.

It consists of three main spaces lined up side by side in the east-west direction; coldness, lukewarmness, and warmth.

Located in the Patara ancient city, the Nero bath was built by Emperor Nero in the 60s A.D.

Patara Ancient City - Nero Hammam
Hero Hammam – Patara Ancient City

12. Central Bath

The bath, which is approximately 12.5 x 25 meters, is located to the east of Main Street and is known as the central bath because it is very close to Patara Antique City street.

It consists of three parts arranged side by side. In other words, it is in the “array plan” type of Lycian baths.

13. Small Bath

The bath at the end of the main street is the smallest bath in Patara’s ancient city and can be seen at the end of the street.

14. Maslak(Waterway)

These structures, which are responsible for the distribution of water in the city, were built in the 2nd century AD. There are 3 different locations in Patara ancient city.

The largest Maslak is 8.60 meters wide and 7.50 meters high.

After the drinking water is brought to the Patara ancient city, it is distributed in the city with this maslak.

15. Patara Lighthouse

Patara lighthouse marked on the map of Piri Reis, one of the famous sailors of the Ottoman Empire, has been one of the most exciting discoveries.

Destroyed in the 15th century, the lighthouse was found buried in the sand between 2004 and 2005.

Located in Patara ancient city, this lighthouse is known as the first lighthouse of the ancient period. Roman Emperor Nero M.S. He had the lighthouse built in 64-65 years.

The oldest and highest lighthouse in this region remained 500 meters inland from the sea due to the sand filling of the beach over time.

Patara beach

Patara beach is very famous as well as the Patara ancient city. Patara, which has an 18 km long sandy beach, is among the longest sand beaches in the world.

After visiting Patara ancient city, it will be very enjoyable to swim on this beach, which has been used for hundreds of years.

You can take a look at the tips for Patara beach.

Patara Beach
Patara Beach

How to get to the ancient city of Patara?

The Patara ancient city is located in Antalya’s Kaş district. Located on the Kas – Fethiye highway, this city is 43 km from Kas and takes about 51 minutes.

Fethiye – Patara takes 1 hour and 6 minutes by car and is approximately 74 km.

Coming from both directions, you can take the turn where the Patara sign is located and reach the ancient city of Patara and its coast at the end of approximately 6 km.

The most convenient way to get to Patara is by renting a car, but if you don’t have a private car, you can go by bus or private tour.

If you haven’t rented a car in Turkey yet, you can take a look at the affordable prices.

To go to Patara by bus, you need to take the Kaş – Fethiye buses and get off at the Patara junction. Afterward, you can reach the ancient city of Patara by waiting at this intersection and taking the Gelemis village minibus.

Remember that the buses will drop you off at the ancient city entrance. If you are going to Patara just to swim in the sea, you need to walk for about 30 minutes.

There are many tour agencies in Kaş and you can join tours with these agencies, including Patara. Tours are generally available to Patara, Xanthos ancient city, and Saklıkent canyon.

Tour prices in local agencies vary between 50 and 80 euros. Our advice is to join the daily cheap Patara tours that you can buy online.

If you want to come to the ancient city of Patara by plane from Istanbul or other cities, the nearest airport is in Dalaman. The distance between Dalaman Airport and Patara Ancient City is 115 km and takes 1 hour and 47 minutes.

You can take a look at the Dalaman airport and Patara ancient city road map.

Patara Ancient City entrance fees

The entrance to the Patara ancient city is 90 Turkish Liras per person. If you have a museum pass, it is free. There is another option for Patara for who hasn’t got a museum pass. You can buy 10 multiple access card for 270 Turkish Liras.

Patara ancient city and Patara beach are really worth paying the entrance fee.

Patara Ancient City Opening Hours

Patara’s ancient city working hours are between 08:00 and 20:00. Patara beaches have been the spawning place of Caretta Caretta for hundreds of years, and for this reason, everyone is taken out at 20:00 in the evening.

If you go early in the morning, you can visit the ancient city of Patara and enjoy the sea and the sun on the beach.

Patara Ancient City
Patara Ancient City

Where to stay in Patara?

There are many places to visit such as the Patara region, the ancient city of Patara, its beach, the ancient city of Xhantos, and the Letoon Sanctuary Place. It is also a very popular destination with its proximity to places such as Kaş, Kalkan, and Fethiye. So where to stay in Patara?

Kalkan, which is very close to Patara, is quite suitable for accommodation. Patara Prince Hotel & Resort Special Class is the most beautiful and most preferred hotel in Kalkan. We highly recommend this hotel where we stay.

Due to the fact that it is very preferred, a suitable day may not be found. You can browse alternative hotels here.

Patara Hotel
Patara Prince Hotel & Resort Special Class

Places to Visit Around Patara Ancient City

The ancient city of Patara has very rich historical buildings and beautiful beaches.

The ancient city of Xhantos, which is very close to the ancient city of Patara, and the Letoon sanctuary are historical sites.

Kaputas Beach, Kaş, Fethiye, Saklıkent canyon, and Kayaköy are very close to Patara in touristic places.

Frequently Asking Questions About Patara Ancient City

Where is the Patara Ancient City?

The Patara ancient city is located in Antalya’s Kaş district. Located on the Kas – Fethiye highway, this city is 43 km from Kas and takes about 51 minutes.

Fethiye – Patara takes 1 hour and 6 minutes by car and is approximately 74 km.

How much is the entrance to Patara Ancient City?

Patara’s entrance fee is 90 Turkish Liras. If you have a museum pass, it is free for one time.

What are the opening and closing times of the ancient city of Patara?

The opening time of the ancient city of Patara is 08:00 in the closing and 20:00 in the evening.

What makes Patara special?

The history of Patara dates back to the first Iron Age. Apart from being a very old settlement, it is a city that was urbanized by the Lycians and used as a port by different states such as Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.

For this reason, the ancient city of Patara contains many historical artifacts. Also, the 18 km long Patara beach and sand dunes are worth seeing.

Where to stay in Patara?

Patara is located in the village of Kas. There are hotels in the village, but their facilities are limited. My advice is to stay in Kaş or Kalkan, which are very close to Patara, and take a day trip to Patara.

We recommend Patara Prince Hotel & Resort Special Class in Kalkan.