:"This article is about the ancient city named Patara in Lycia, Turkey, for the city named Patara in Cappadocia, Turkey, see Patara (Cappadocia), for the village named Patara in India, see Patara (India)"

Patara (Lycian: Pttara), later renamed Arsinoe (Greek: polytonic|Ἀρσινόη), was a flourishing maritime and commercial city on the south-west coast of Lycia on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey near the modern small town of Gelemiş, in Antalya Province. It is the birth place of St. Nicholas, who lived most of his life in the nearby town of Myra (Demre).


Possessing a natural harbour, Patara was said to have been founded by Patarus, a son of Apollo. (Strabo xiv. p. 666; Steph. B. "s. v.") It was situated at a distance of 60 stadia to the southeast of the mouth of the river Xanthos. (Stadiasm. Mar. Mag. § 219.) Patara was noted in antiquity for its temple and oracle of Apollo, second only to that of Delphi.Fact|date=October 2007 The god is often mentioned with the surname "Patareus" (Greek: polytonic|Παταρεύς), Strab. "l. c."; Lycoph. 920; Horat. Carm. iii. 4. 64; Stat. Theb. i. 696; Ov. "Met." i. 515; Virg. "Aen." iv. 143; Pomp. Mela, i. 15.) Herodotus (i. 182) says that the oracle of Apollo was delivered by a priestess only during a certain period of the year; and from Servius ("ad Aen." "l. c.") we learn that this period was the six winter months. It seems certain that patara received Dorian settlers from Crete; and the worship of Apollo was certainly Dorian. The place is often noticed by ancient writers as one of the principal cities of Lycia, as by Livy, xxxiii. 41, xxxvii. 15-17, xxxviii. 39; Polyb. xxii. 26; Cic. "p. Flacc." 32; Appian, "B.C." iv. 52, 81, "Mithr." 27; Plin. ii.112, v. 28; Ptol. v. 3. § 3, viii. 17. § 22; Dionys. Per. 129, 507. It was Lycia's primary sea-port, and a leading city of the Lycian League, having 3 votes therein, which was the maximum.

The city, with the rest of Lycia, surrendered to Alexander the Great in 333 BC. During the Wars of the Diadochi, the city was occupied in turn by Antigonus and Demetrius, before finally falling to the Ptolemies. Strabo informs us that Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt, who enlarged the city, gave it the name of Arsinoe (Arsinoë) after Arsinoe II of Egypt, his wife and sister, but it continued to be called by its ancient name, Patara. Antiochus III captured Patara in 196 BC. The Rhodians occupied the city, and as a Roman ally, the city with the rest of Lycia was granted its freedom in 167 BC. The city suffered siege by Mithridates IV, king of Pontus, in 88 BC, and was captured by Brutus and Cassius, during their campaign against Antony and Augustus. It was spared the massacres that were inflicted on nearby Xanthos. Patara was formally annexed by the Roman Empire in 43 AD and attached to Pamphylia.

Patara is mentioned in the Bible (Acts 21:1-3) as the place where Paul of Tarsus and Luke changed ships. The city was Christianized early, and several early bishops are known; according to Le Quien ("Oriens christianus", I, 977), they include:
*Methodius, more probably bishop of Olympus
*Eudemus, present at the Council of Nicaea (325)
*Eutychianus, at the Council of Seleucia (359)
*Eudemus, at the Council of Constantinople (381)
*Cyrinus, at the Council of Chalcedon (451)
*Licinius, at the Synod of Constantinople (536)
*Theodulus, at the Photian Council (879).

Nicholas of Myra was born at Patara in ca. 300. Patara is mentioned among the Lycian bishoprics in the Acts of Councils (Hierocl. p. 684). The "Notitiae Episcopatuum" mention it among the suffragans of Myra as late as the thirteenth century.

The city remained of some importance during the Byzantine Empire as a way point for trade and pilgrims. During the wars between the Turks and the Byzantines, the city was abandoned. The city remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church, "Patarensis"; the seat has been vacant since the death of the last titular bishop on February 3, 2006. []


The name Patera is still attached to the numerous ruins of the city. These, according to the survey of Capt. Beaufort, are situated on the sea-shore, a little to the eastward of the river Xanthus, and consist of a theatre excavated in the northern side of a small hill, a ruined temple on the side of the same hill, and a deep circular pit, of singular appearance, which may have been the seat of the oracle. The town walls surrounded an area of considerable extent; they may easily be traced, as well as the situation of a castle which commanded the harbour, and of several towers which flanked the walls. On the outside of the walls there is a multitude of stone sarcophagi, most of them bearing inscriptions, but all open and empty; and within the walls, temples, altars, pedestals, and fragments of sculpture appear in profusion, but ruined and mutilated. The situation of the harbour is still apparent, but it is a swamp, choked up with sand and bushes. (Beaufort, "Karmania", pp. 2, 6.) The theatre, of which a plan is given in Leake's "Asia Minor" (p. 320), was built in the reign of Antoninus Pius; its diameter is 265 feet, and has about 30 rows of seats. There are also ruins of thermae, which, according to an inscription upon them, were built by Vespasian. (Comp. Sir C. Fellows, "Tour in Asia Min." p. 222, foll.; "Discov. in Lycia", p. 179, foil.; Texier, "Descript. de l'Asie Min.", which contains numerous representations of the ancient remains of Patara; Spratt and Forbes, "Travels in Lycia", i. p. 31; foll.)

The site is currently being excavated during two summer months each year by a team of Turkish archaeologists. At the end of 2007, all the sand had been cleared from the amphitheatre and some other buildings, and the columns on the main street had been partially re-erected (with facsimile capitals). The excavations have revealed masonry in remarkable condition.


As part of the Turkish Riviera, the area attracts tourists. Apart from the ruins there is a stretch of beach.

ee also

* Turkish Riviera


*Blue Guide, Turkey, (ISBN 0-393-32137-1), p. 373-74.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Patara — (griechisch Πάταρα, unter ptolemäischer Herrschaft auch unter dem Namen Arsinoë) war eine antike Stadt an der Mittelmeerküste Lykiens in der heutigen Türkei. Sie liegt nahe der Mündung des antiken Flusses Xanthos, türkisch Eşen Çayı, beim… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Patara — (grc) Πάταρα Une partie des ruines de Patara. On peut voir la porte de la ville en bas et à gauche et …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Patara — • Titular see of Lycia, suffragan of Myra, formerly a large cornmercial town, opposite Rhodes. Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Patara     Patara      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Patăra — Patăra, große Stadt auf der Küste Lykiens; Hafen, Tempel des Apollo (daher dessen Beiname Patareus) mit berühmtem Orakel, welches seine Sprüche bes. im Winter gab, dessen Ansehen aber in der römischen Zeit schon gesunken war; Ptolemäos… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Patăra — Patăra, See und Handelsstadt Lykiens, südöstlich von der Mündung des Xanthos, ein Hauptsitz des Kultus des Apollon, der hier unter dem Beinamen Patareus ein berühmtes Orakel halle. Ihre ansehnlichen Ruinen liegen beim heutigen Furnas …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Patara — Patăra, alte Stadt an der Südküste Lykiens, mit Heiligtum und Orakel des Apollon. Ruinen bei Gelemisch …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • PATARA — vide Patarorum urbs …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Patara —    A city on the south west coast of Lycia at which Paul landed on his return from his third missionary journey (Acts 21:1, 2). Here he found a larger vessel, which was about to sail across the open sea to the coast of Phoenicia. In this vessel… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Patara — nm grande étendue de terrain Mâconnais …   Glossaire des noms topographiques en France

  • Patara — stor. Kelemis …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

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