Ancient city of Patara gains popularity after 2020 marked ‘Year of Patara’
Patara, a 2,000-year-old ancient city in the southern province of Antalya’s Kaş district, which has traces of human life dating back to 6,000 years and was once the capital of the Lycian Union, has been drawing the attention of tourists to the region even more after the year 2020 was marked as the “Year of Patara.”
Throughout the year, Patara was introduced to people worldwide with various events organized within the framework of the COVID-19 outbreak measures. Local administrations and non-governmental organizations supported the promotional activities of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Emine Erdoğan, the wife of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also contributed to the promotion of Patara by leaving the endangered Caretta carettas from the beach of Patara to the sea during a visit to the ancient city. In addition to local and foreign tourists, many Antalya residents also visited the ancient city who hadn’t seen the city before.
Kaş Mayor Mutlu Ulutaş told the state-run Anadolu Agency that the “Year of Patara” made a significant contribution to the promotion of the ancient city and the district.
Referring to the COVID-19 outbreak, Ulutaş said that they were not able to organize too many activities until July within the scope of the “2020 Patara Year.”
“With the start of the tourism season, there was a significant increase in the number of visitors to Patara and the district. On this occasion, the number of investments not only in Patara but also around it increased. Studies in Patara will contribute to the tourism of the country and the region. In 2020, we were not able to organize promotional activities as much as we wanted to due to the pandemic,” he added.
Yeliz Gül Ege, the president of Antalya Promotion Foundation, stated that Patara did not remain in the background despite the pandemic and that significant progress was made during the excavations.
Stating that restoration works of the ancient city have been completed, Ege said: “We see that the excavations that have been going on for about 32 years progressed in the last year. Especially the night-illuminated state of the ancient city is like a dream. Besides these, the promotional works carried out by the Culture and Tourism Ministry are very effective.”
Pointing out that a welcoming unit was built in the historical area, Ege said that this unit was one of the most important elements for the ancient city to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Stating that the efforts are also being made to revive the historical lighthouse in Patara, Ege said, “The theater of the ancient city was completely repaired, and a very beautiful concert and theater performance were held inside.”
“Many areas like this can be visited. After that, Antalya should protect this cultural value. Events should be organized for promotional purposes. With the shooting of films in Patara, the interest will increase even more. We already know that in the past desert scenes of many movies were shot on the Patara beach,” he added.
Patara’s historical importance
A natural port due to its geographical structure and location, Patara has maintained its importance for centuries with this advantage. The city, which was once the capital of the Lycian Union from 168-167 B.C. to 43 A.D., is mentioned as the province of Rome in sources after this date.
Patara, known as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis according to mythology, is also known as the place where Santa Claus was born and raised.
Patara Beach, which is one of the longest beaches in Turkey, also attracts the attention of tourists. The 18-kilometer beach is also one of the most important spawning areas for the sea turtles known as Caretta carettas.