Patara is a sprawling village, with a natural harbour, formerly a maritime and commercial city in the Lycian times.It is thought that the village was founded by Patarus, a son of Apollo.It offers a splendour of beaches, some from 50 metres wide and 20 kilometres long.Patara is also the birth place of Saint Nicholas, the 4th century Byzantine bishop, who later passed into legend as Santa Claus.He lived his life in the nearby town of Myra (Demre).Patara was also famous for its temple and oracle of Apollo, second only to the one in Delphi.Little remains of this oracle and other ruins to visit in Patara include; a triple arched triumphal gate, necropolis, Lycian tombs, baths, Basilica, foundation remains of a Temple of Athena, an unusual circular cistern, a Corinthian temple and two other temples.
Patara beach is one of Turkey’s most beautiful beaches.It is the longest in its region, stretching 18 kilometres in length, sometime reaching 200 – 300 metres in depth.The beach is under protection, since it is used by Loggerhead turtles to lay their eggs.The beach is covered in soft sand and at the eastern most point there is a rocky outcrop, which overlooks a spectacular cove.
Travelling from Kaş to Fethiye one arrives at the village Gelemiş at the southern point of the plain Xanthos-Eşen. Scattered in the marshy area and among the dunes of sand of the coast exposed to sand erosion remains of the ancient city Patara are seen. The name of the city is “Padaura” in the Luwian/Etruscan language. The word “pa” means “water” and “ura” means “ground” and accordingly, the name of the city means “marshy ground / river ground”. It appears that the inlet extending up to The Taurus Mountains in the north during prehistorical times was filled with the silt carried by the creek Patara in time and thus, formed a small bay.