from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 36 ° 15 ′ 37 ″  N , 29 ° 18 ′ 51 ″  E

Relief Map: Turkey

Patara ( Greek  Πάταρα , under Ptolemaic rule also under the name Arsinoë ; Heth . Patara) was an ancient city ​​on the Mediterranean coast of Lycia in what is now Turkey . It is located near the mouth of the ancient Xanthos river , today's Eşen Çayı , near today's Gelemiş in the Kaş district of the Antalya province .


Patara was one of the most important cities in Lycia and the most important port in this region. Under the name Pttara , the city was probably a Lycian foundation, even if a later Greek tradition traced it back to Pataros , a son of Apollo . Apollon Patroos had a cult with an oracle in Patara . Patara also struck his portrait on coins in the Hellenistic period.

Drachm from Patara with lyre, approx. 167–110 BC Minted
Roman theater in Patara


Small finds prove a prehistoric settlement of the later Patara as early as the time of the Chalcolithic and the early Bronze Age . It was essentially confined to the Tepecik, the hill to the northeast of the inner harbor. Architectural remains on the Tepecik date back to the 7th century BC. Chr.

Since Alexander the Great , Patara belonged to the sphere of influence of the Hellenistic empires and was an important naval base in the Diadoch Wars . Ptolemy II temporarily renamed it Arsinoe.

Artemidoros, handed down by Strabo, counts Patara among the six most important cities of the Lycian League . In Roman times Patara occupied a leading position in Lycia. It was the capital of the province of Lycia and a seat of the governor of the province of Lycia et Pamphylia . In the 3rd century AD, the city was an archiprophet and a double neocorus of the Lycian League, although it is not clear to which cults these titles refer.

The apostle Paul stayed in Patara during his third missionary journey (53–58 AD). According to the Acts of the Apostles, he had come from Rhodes by ship to Patara, where he continued his journey on another ship to Phenicia.

In the 3rd century AD, according to tradition, the future bishop Nicholas of Myra was born in Patara. In the course of the last persecution of Christians , the provincial governor had Bishop Methodios of Olympos executed in Patara in 312 AD .

The port Patara silted up slowly since ancient times. This happened through the continuous sand alluviation of the nearby, fast flowing river Xanthos and through the formation of shifting dunes. The port was finally abandoned in the Middle Ages: Patara was mentioned for the last time in 1478, when Cem Sultan met Rhodian knights here .


Travelers of the late 18th century rediscovered Lycia and Patara's ruins: In research, Count de Choiseul-Gouffier is considered to be the first scholar to visit the ruins in 1776.

Charles Texier's visit to Patara in 1836 is significant . He already described the theater, the city gate of Mettius Modestus, the "Corinthian Temple" and the temple tombs. His notes are richly illustrated with engravings.

Systematic excavations of the city began only in 1988 under the direction of Fahri Işık . Havva İşkan from Akdeniz University Antalya has been the excavation manager since 2009 . In 2013 the excavation celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Apollo Oracle

Patara was famous in ancient times for its oracle. Herodotus tells of a seer who is shut up with a god at night when the god appears. He does not name Apollo as the oracle deity. The cult of Apollo may have replaced a local deity at a later date. Horace and the Aeneid commentator Servius also indicate that the oracle of Patara did not always speak . Accordingly, Apollon stayed sometimes in Delos, sometimes in Patara.

In the 1st century AD, it is said that the oracle of Apollo was once as rich and reliable as the oracle of Delphi . In addition to the Apollo priest, a prophet is documented for the Roman Empire , and later also an archiprophet of the god. Wealthy Lycians had to support the oracle business financially in order to keep it going. This also included the renovation of a "prophet's house" and irrigation canals in the grove of Apollo.

Horace already speaks of Apollo having groves and the Forest of Birth in Lycia. Appian also reports of a sacred grove outside the city of Patara . Apollo was worshiped there together with his mother Leto and his sister Artemis . The two female members of this so-called Apollonian triad appear much less often in the inscriptions.


Even before the excavations, ruins of ancient Patara were clearly visible, such as the theater, the colonnaded street, the thermal baths, the so-called "Corinthian Temple", the Mettius Modestus Arch, the temple tombs and the warehouse. Systematic investigations have already brought to light monuments that are largely or completely covered by the sand of the shifting dunes, such as the Buleuterion or the lighthouse. As a result of a fire in 1993, numerous blocks of the stadiasmus patarensis were discovered, which were reused as building material in the city wall in late antiquity. In the future, among other things, the exploration of the recently examined ancient stadium in the west of the port of Patara is on the agenda.

Late classical city walls

In the late classical period, Patara was fortified, which can be seen as a sign of the increasing importance of the settlement. The city walls connected the three hills of Patara: from Doğucasarı Hill in the north a wall line ran down to Tepecik, in the south it led to the summit of Kurşunlutepe.

"Corinthian Temple"

It owes its modern makeshift name to the temple decorations: the Antentempel has capitals that are designed in the style of the Corinthian order . Which deity the temple served, however, cannot be clarified: An argument against Apollo is that his sanctuary had to be outside the city wall. It is possible that it was a temple for the imperial cult . The temple is oriented towards the inner harbor. The large lintel was broken when Charles Texier visited and is soon to be renovated.


As early as the Hellenistic period, Patara owned a theater on the northeast slope of Kurşunlutepe. Its current appearance goes back to major renovations in the 1st half of the 2nd century AD. Between 1999 and 2001 the auditorium was cleared of drift sand during the excavation work.

The auditorium was built in the 2nd or 1st century BC. Chr .; its stone benches are mostly on the slope of the Kurşunlutepe. In the eastern part, however, embankments had to be made to align the theater with the street grid. Before the renovation work in the 2nd century, the theater offered around 4,400 seats. The conversions, which were never completed, were supposed to create around 1,400 additional spaces.

At the end, however, the work on the stone stage building came. On its outer facade at the eastern entrance to the theater there is a foundation inscription with information about the renovation work. Among other things, she mentions sun sails that were supposed to protect the audience from the sun and that the holes in the mast are probably evidence of. A small temple in the middle above the auditorium also belongs to this phase of expansion.


In the south of the city, near the theater, is the Buleuterion . It was at the turn of the 2nd to the 1st century BC. Built in BC. After the establishment of the province of Lycia under Claudius , the building was expanded and now offered space for around 170 to 250 members of the council ( Bule ) of Patara. Presumably it also served as a meeting place for the Lycian Federation . After the great earthquake that struck Lycia just before the middle of the 2nd century AD, renovations were necessary. In late antiquity , the building was integrated into the city fortifications.

Inside the building there is a semicircular auditorium with a stage. The Buleuterion is thus similar to the theater. In the auditorium, a seat in the center is structurally highlighted. It was presumably reserved for the chairman of the meetings that met in the Buleuterion of Patara. The Orchestra des Buleuterions is laid out with marble. Today, your floor is protected by glass panels.

The current state shows the Buleuterion after extensive restoration measures. They took place between 2008 and 2012.


Today the restored podium and the lower four and a half meters of the lighthouse can be seen on the southwest side of the ancient harbor entrance. It was exposed in 2004 and 2005. Access to the tower is on the west. A stone spiral staircase led up.

Built the lighthouse under Emperor Nero by his governor Sextus Marcius Priscus in 64 / 65 n. Chr. The monumental inscription whose blocks have been preserved in Versturz, also mentions the purpose of the lighthouse, which is to ensure the safety of mariners. In front of the lighthouse on the harbor side was a statue of the governor Sextus Marcius Priscus, the base of which has been preserved. Their inscription mentions a second lighthouse in Patara, which, however, has not yet been located.

Thermal baths

In the course of the Roman Empire, four bathing buildings of the Roman type were built in Patara , each of which corresponded to the row type common in Lycia . The oldest thermal bath building belongs to the reign of Emperor Nero . The largest bathing buildings are the so-called port thermal baths with their large panoramic windows on the west side. The central thermal baths on the eastern edge of the Säulenstrasse have hardly been explored so far. The only thermal bath to the west of the Roman city center is the so-called Kleine Bad. In the Middle Ages, a bath was built in Patara north of the "Corinthian" temple.

Mettius Modestus Arch

In the north of the city there is a city gate, which is usually named in research after the Roman governor Mettius Modestus . He officiated under Trajan as governor of the double province of Lycia et Pamphylia . Inscriptions on consoles on the front and back of the arch name him and other family members. They can have been added afterwards; the arch itself may well have been created earlier. According to the building inscription, the people of Patara were the builders of the arch. It is a monument with three passages. There is a square opening above the central passage.


On the west side of the harbor bay are the well-preserved ruins of a huge warehouse ( horreum ). His inscription names Emperor Hadrian as the builder. It may have served as a temporary storage facility for grain or as a warehouse for local Lycian goods.

Picture gallery


Web links

Commons : Patara  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Max Gander: The geographic relations of the Lukka countries. In: Texts of the Hittites. Issue 27, 2010, ISBN 978-3-8253-5809-9 , p. 6.
  2. Stephanos of Byzantium sv Πάταρα (= BNJ 1 F256 Hekataios of Miletus ).
  3. ^ Nevzat Çevik, Şevket Aktaş: The urban development of the city: an overview . In: Patara - Lycien's gateway to the Roman world . Philipp von Zabern, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5034-1 , p. 16-23 .
  4. Str. 14.3.3.
  5. SEG 44, 1994, 1210.
  6. Barbara Burrell: Neokoroi - Greek Cities and Roman Emperors . 2004, p. 253-255 .
  7. Acts 21: 1-3.
  8. Klaus Zimmermann: Birthplace of St. Nicholas. Patara in late antiquity . In: Patara - Lycien's gateway to the Roman world . Philipp von Zabern, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5034-1 , p. 126-131 .
  9. Fahri Işık: From the discovery of Patara in the 19th century to the modern excavations . In: Patara - Lycien's gateway to the Roman world . Philipp von Zabern, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5034-1 , p. 23-28 .
  10. ^ Patara excavations start for the 25th time this summer. Hürriyet Daily News, July 20, 2013, ( [1] ).
  11. Hdt. 1.182.
  12. Hor. Carm. 3, 4, 61-64; Serv. Aen. 4.143.
  13. Mela 1.82.
  14. TAM II 420.
  15. ^ Andrew Lepke, Christof Schuler, Klaus Zimmermann: New inscriptions from Patara III. Representation of the elite and politics in Hellenism and imperial times . In: Chiron . tape 45 , 2015, p. 344-352 , No. 7 .
  16. TAM II 905 XVII E – F (Opramoas from Rhodiapolis).
  17. ^ Lepke, Schuler, Zimmermann: New inscriptions from Patara III . S. 357-376 , No. 9 .
  18. Hor. Carm. 3, 4, 62-63.
  19. App. Mithr. 27.
  20. Heinz-Helge Nieswandt: The "Corinthian Temple" . In: Patara - Lycien's gateway to the Roman world . Philipp von Zabern, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5034-1 , p. 107-110 .
  21. ^ Katja Piesker: The theater in the Roman Empire . In: Patara - Lycien's gateway to the Roman world . Philipp von Zabern, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5034-1 , p. 73-78 .
  22. Havva İşkan: The Bouleuterion: Place of political consultation . In: Patara - Lycien's gateway to the Roman world . Philipp von Zabern, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5034-1 , p. 68-72 .
  23. Havva İşkan: The lighthouse . In: Patara - Lycien's gateway to the Roman world . Philipp von Zabern, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5034-1 , p. 83-86 .
  24. Serap Erkoç, Şevket Aktaş: The thermal baths . In: Patara - Lycien's gateway to the Roman world . Philipp von Zabern, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5034-1 , p. 63-68 .
  25. Şevket Aktaş: The arch of honor for the governor Mettius Modestus . In: Patara - Lycien's gateway to the Roman world . Philipp von Zabern, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5034-1 , p. 79-82 .
  26. TAM II 421.
  27. ^ TAM II 397