Turkey is on a historical offensive as it seeks to remind the world of its rich culture and heritage, highlighting important civilizations, structures and artefacts, by giving each year a particular historical theme, since 2018. First it was the year of Troy, secondly it was the year of Gobeklitepe, and this time round it’s Patara’s turn, an ancient city which dates back all the way to the beginning part of the 8th century.
Though excavations have been carried out here for many years already, uncovering further parts of the ancient city, to celebrate the Year of Patara, more investment is planned in the archaeological digs, restoration work and promotion of the uncovered artefacts to increase tourism to the area.
On the UNESCO world permanent heritage list, the hope is that by increasing the investment locally other areas will benefit too, including the Xanthos Valley, well known for its amazing sailing facilities.
So far artefacts and sites uncovered include a 9th or 10th century Viking sword, The Neron Lighthouse which is the oldest surviving lighthouse in the world & a two thousand year old dolphin mosaic leading up to the entrance of the lighthouse.
The birthplace of St Nicholas, the ancient city was also the capital of the Lycian civilization and as such has the oldest known Parliamentarian building in the world, which was restored by the Turkish government recently and is now visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world. The remains of an Amphitheatre, main street, Roman Baths, Cemetery, Basilica and temples can also be seen.
To further highlight the importance of Patara as a global interest the replica of ‘Abora IV’ ship was brought to the harbour here and has been on view for the last 3 months. As well as its history, it’s also promoting Peace and International Understanding.