Traces of history fascinate Patara visitors
Located in the Kaş district of southwestern Antalya province, Patara is known as the capital of the ancient Lycian civilization, which consisted of 23 cities in the middle of the first century BC.
Chief excavator Havva İskan Işık of Akdeniz University told Anadolu Agency that famous names from history frequently set foot to Patara.
Işık said the first important person to come to the city was Tudhaliya IV, the king of the Hittite Empire.
Alexander the Great, she added, after conquering Lycia wanted to seize Patara harbor, and during excavations bronze projectile with the words "belonging to Alexander" were found.
"There were traces of fire around the slingshot bullet so we understand that the garrison resisted Alexander the Great, who conquered the majority of Lycia without fighting," Işık said.
The pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, was also among those who loved Patara, the chief excavator said.
"The famous Hannibal fled Rome and took refuge in Patara. Mithradates VI, a famous enemy of the Roman Republic from Anatolia, also set foot in Patara."
Marcus Junius Brutus also lived in Patara, according to Işık.
She said that St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born and lived in this ancient natural harbor. "While all the names I have mentioned came to Patara afterwards, it was Nicholas' birthplace."
Sultan Cem, the son of Fatih Sultan Mehmed, was one of the last and important names who came to Patara in history, the archaeologist said, adding that the Patara harbor was the center, and focus of many wars which is why the city is historically significant.