Inscriptions from important works were placed in the 2,000-year-old Patara Lighthouse.The Roman Emperor Nero built the Lighthouse as a prestige work, and its meticulous reconstruction was carried out within the scope of reconstruction works undertaken by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Türkiye.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Türkiye continues its efforts to restore the ancient magnificence of Patara Ancient City, located in Antalya’s Kaş district. This area still bears the traces of many who left a mark on history.
Prof. Dr. Havva İşkan Işık, the Head of Excavation of the Ancient City of Patara, emphasized that the excavation and restoration work in Patara Ancient City, that served during the first century BC as the capital of the 23-city Lycian Union, were meticulously conducted. She noted that the team had completed work on the third pulley of the Patara Lighthouse, saying, “We have placed the inscription of Emperor Nero – an important name – on the Lighthouse. We are now moving to the fourth pulley.”
“Lord of the Land and Sea, Father of the Country”
The inscription placed on the lantern reads: “Son of the divine Claudius, grandson of Tiberius Caesar Augustus and Germanicus Caesar, great-grandson of the divine Augustus, Nero Claudius Caesar, the owner of the tribunate for the eleventh time, the Consul for the fourth time, the lord of the land and sea and the father of the country, had this Lighthouse built for the safety of the sailors. Sextus Marcius Priscus, the Imperial Governor at the proprietorial level, led this construction.” Işık added that Patara and the Lighthouse would join the structures representing Türkiye.
Featuring a magnificent 18-kilometre beach as well as the ancient city, Patara is located in today’s Gelemiş Village, between Fethiye and Kalkan and approximately 42 kilometres from Antalya’s Kaş district. Patara also stands out due to its archaeological values by enchanting visitors with its natural beauty.
Patara was considered a corner of paradise in antiquity and retains this title. Throughout time, the philosophers and pioneers of Patara, along with the sea, the tides and the currents, gave the area a mystical aspect that attracted many international visitors. Today, people from all over the world continue this tradition, arriving to explore the city and its famous beach.
Due to geographical and climatic factors, the city’s port was a primary stop on the east-west maritime trade route in the south of Anatolia, a key determinant in the area’s settlement history and development. Eventually, alluvial deposits, carried by the approximately 130-kilometre Eşen River in the west of the city, filled Patara Harbour, rendering it unusable. By the fourteenth century AD, the city was largely deserted. Today, especially in the areas close to the sea, sand dunes resembling the desert offer visitors a distinctive atmosphere.
Erected by the Roman Emperor Nero, the Patara Lighthouse is the world’s oldest surviving Lighthouse. Unearthed during the excavations, the Lighthouse is 11 metres long.
As one of the most influential cities of the Lycian Union, the Parliament Building (Bouleuterion) in Patara Ancient City once housed the representatives – the Assembly – of the 23 city-states of the Lycian Union located on the Mediterranean coast. The Lycian League established a successful democracy, with a system of elected representation unrivalled in the ancient world. Patara’s political history had a major impact on the Constitution and founding principles of the United States.
In his book, The Spirit of the Laws, historian and philosopher Montesquieu praised the Lycian system as the “Most Perfect of the Ancient World” in the context of democracy. The Turkish Grand National Assembly carried out the restoration of the building.
At 18 kilometres, Patara’s beach is perhaps the longest in Türkiye. It is also a nesting area for the Caretta caretta turtles and one of the unique environmental protection zones of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. Immense sensitivity is demonstrated to ensure the sustainability of this rare ecological environment, with signs on the beach indicating the breeding grounds of the sea turtles. While the beach is closed at night to protect the nesting turtles, visitors can enjoy the area during the day.
Patara, the setting for desert scenes in many old Turkish films, features intriguing sand dunes formed by the Eşen River. The dunes present excellent photo opportunities and are particularly evocative during the sunset.