Patara

Patara, later renamed Arsinoe, was a major naval and trading port of Lycia. The city’s claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Santa Claus. Indeed, St. Nicholas was born here in 270 AD.

Similar to the other cities in the region, Patara was conquered by the Greeks and later the Romans. There are several historical ruins to be found here including the Tepecik acropolis and necropolis, the Arch of Modestus, the Harbor bath also known as the “Date bath” due to the nearby date palms, the Vespasian bath, believed to have been built to honor Emperor Vespasian, an amphitheater, Hadrian’s granary, and the Patara lighthouse, which dates back to 60 AD, and is possibly the oldest lighthouse in the world.

Much of Patara also still remains undiscovered. Perhaps the most important site that archaeologists have still not found is the Temple of Apollo, whose oracle is said to have been as famous as the oracle at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The city also has religious significance in Christianity. Not only is it the birthplace of St. Nicholas, it is also mentioned in the New Testament as the site where St. Paul of Tarsus did a lot of missionary work and exchanged ships with Luke while on his journey to Jerusalem.


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