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About Patara

The Beach // History // Surrounding Area

The Beach

18km of golden sands backed by the dunes and the Taurus mountains and regularly featured as one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful and un spoilt beaches. Due to the strict conversation laws there is not a building to be seen, which is what makes this beach so special, endless golden sands, surrounded by nature.

The beach is one of the few remaining beaches in the world, where the Loggerhead turtles still come to lay their eggs between May and October, so measures are in place to ensure that it can be enjoyed by holiday makers and still remain protected for the turtles.

When you arrive on the beach, you can either choose to hire a sun bed and umbrella and stay close to all the beach facilities, or alternatively head off to find your own little part of the stunning 18km stretch of golden sands. The beach of Patara is so large that it never feels crowded.

How to get there:

It is a beautiful 20 minute walk from the village to the beach, however many of the accommodations provide a complimentary beach service. There is a mini bus service running from the village centre (small charge payable) and taxis are also always available. ‘Beach service’ buses run from the nearby towns of Kalkan and Kas.

History of Patara

Patara is in the heart of the Lycian region, a region boasting thousands of years of history, breathtaking scenery and hundreds of kilometres of unspoiled coastline. 2000 years ago Patara was the largest and most important sea port of the Lycian civilization. According to Mythology Apollo was born here and it is also recorded as the birthplace of St. Nicholas.

As the principle port on the coast of Lycia, Patara has a long history. Excavations are slowly bringing the city’s ancient history to light. The finding of coins and ceramic fragments, during excavations, date the city to at least 7th century BC.

Patara had a three vote right in the Lycian league, as did the cities of Xanthos, Tlos, Olympos and Myra. The league generally held its league conferences in Patara, which was its harbour as well, Patara, which didn’t lose its importance during the Roman Empire, was also the seat of the Roman provincial governor, who turned it into a port from which the Roman fleet maintained contact with the eastern provinces. In the meantime Patara was the harbour where crops harvested in Anatolia were stored and kept for shipment to Rome. The large grain stores built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian are still standing.

During the Roman period, Patara became the capital of both the Lycian and Pamphylian provinces, it also became famous as one of Apollo’s soothsaying centres. Patara’s oracle at the renowned temple of Apollo was said to rival that at Delphi and the temple equalled the reputation of the famous temple on the island of Delos. It was believed that omens were interpreted during the winter in Patara and the summer in Delos. A large bust of Apollo, discovered on the hillside, beyond the city gate, indicates the existence of an Apollo temple, which is yet to be found.
During the Byzantine period, Patara again lost none of its importance and became a Christian centre of some significance. It is known for being a place of St.Paul’s missionary work at the end of his third missionary journey as he changed ships en route to Jerusalem. Patara is also the birthplace of St. Nicholas, who was born to a wealthy family from Patara and later went on to become Bishop of Myra.

The old city now forms part of a protected area (along with the beach). The site is fascinating and well worth a few hours exploration. Excavations carry on each year, under the close direction of Professor Fahir I?ik from the university of Antalya. Discoveries so far include: a magnificent theatre, an amazing main street, baths, temple agora, granary, many sargophogii, a bouleutrion (government building, which has received a lot of press coverage), the magnificent triumphal arch and located at the harbour entrance, what is reputed to be one of the oldest lighthouses in the world.

Surrounding Area


Saklikent Canyon is the second largest canyon in Europe. It is located in Antalya province in Turkey, 50 km from the city of Fethiye. The Canyon is 300 meters deep and 18 km long, resulting from the abrasion of the rocks by flowing waters over thousands of years. As the level of water rises during winter months, visitors can enter the canyon only in the summer. Four kilometers of the canyon are walkable after April, when most of the snow in the Taurus Mountains has melted and passed through on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. Saklikent means "hidden city" in Turkish.


Xanthus is the Greek appellation of the name of the city of Arñna, of Lycian origin. The Hittite and Luwian name of the city is given as Arinna. The Romans called the city Xanthus, as all the Greek -os suffixes were changed to -us in Latin. Xanthos was a center of culture and commerce for the Lycians, and later for the Persians, Macedonians, Greeks, and Romans who in turn conquered the city and occupied the adjacent territory.

Xanthus is mentioned by numerous ancient Greek and Roman writers. Strabo notes Xanthos as the largest city in Lycia. Both Herodotus and Appian describe the conquest of the city by Harpagus on behalf of the Persian Empire, in approximately 540 BC. According to Heredotus, the Persians met and defeated a small Lycian army in the flatlands to the north of the city. After the encounter, the Lycians retreated into the city which was besieged by Hapargus. The Lycians destroyed their own Xanthos acropolis, killed their wives, children, and slaves, then proceeded on a suicidal attack against the superior Persian troops. Thus, the entire population of Xanthos perished but for 80 families who were absent during the fighting.


Archaeological finds at the site, which was never a fully-occupied settlement, but remained essentially a religious centre, date back to the late sixth century BCE, before the Greek cultural hegemony in Lycia, which began in the early fourth century. In earlier times, the site was probably already sacred to the cult of an earlier mother goddess— she is Eni Mahanahi in Lycia— which was superseded by the worship of Leto, joined by her twin offspring.

In Greek mythology, a claim for an early cult of Apollo in the valley of the Xanthus, unsupported by history or archaeology, was provided by two myths, each connected to an eponymous "Lydus". One sprang from the autochthonous Telchines of Rhodes and would have colonized the region at the time of Deucalion's flood; the other Lycus was an Athenian brother of Aegeus driven from Athens, a seer who introduced the cult of Lycaean Apollo, which a folk etymology connected with Lycia and therefore made him its Athenian colonizer: see Lycus.

Kekova - Sunken City

On its northern side there are the partly sunken ruins of Dolchiste/Dolikisthe, an ancient town which was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century. Rebuilt and still flourishing during the Byzantine Empire period, it was finally abandoned because of Arab incursions. Tersane (meaning "dockyard", as its bay was the site of an ancient city Xera and dockyard, with the ruins of a Byzantine church) is at the nortwest of the island.


The city, though it is not often mentioned by ancient writers, appears from its vast and beautiful ruins, to have been, as Strabo asserts, one of the largest cities of Lycia, its chief port city until the harbor silted up to form the reed-filled wetlands of today. According to the Lycian history of Menecrates, quoted by Stephanus of Byzantium[2] the city was a colony of Xanthos, and originally bore the name of Artymnesos, afterwards changed to Pinara, which, in the Lycian language, signified a round hill, the town being situated on such an eminence. Its ruins were identified by Sir Charles Fellows, near the modern village of Minare (Minara). From amidst the ancient city, he says[3], rises a singular round rocky cliff (the pinara of the Lycians), literally speckled all over with tombs. Beneath this cliff lie the ruins of the extensive and splendid city. The theater is in a very perfect state; all the seats are remaining, with the slanting sides towards the proscenium, as well as several of its doorways. The walls and several of the buildings are of the Cyclopean masonry, with massive gateways formed of three immense stones. The tombs are innumerable, and the inscriptions are in the Lycian characters, but Greek also occurs often on the same tombs. Some of these rock-tombs are adorned with fine and rich sculptures.


Tlos is known to have been one of the most important religious centers of the Lycian region in Antalya province of Turkey. It is known as the city where mythological hero Bellerophon and his winged flying horse Pegasus lived. Determined as the oldest city of Lycian Region by the archaeological excavations, Tlos dates back to the time before 2000 B.C. The graveyard on the natural rocks of the city acropolis was filled with most elaborate house-type tombs Of Lycia. It is known that the king-type tomb in the necropolis is dedicated to Bellerophon.