2020: The Year of Patara

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Following the year of Troy and Göbeklitepe in 2018 and 2019, respectively, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry declared 2020 as the Year of Patara – the ancient city where St. Nicholas was born.

In order to highlight Turkey’s cultural and historical values and draw attention to these values in the world, the Culture and Toruism Ministry declared 2018 as the Year of Troy to focus on the ancient city of Troy in the northwestern province of Çanakkale. And then this year was the Year of Göbeklitepe, located close to the Örencik village in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa and considered the world’s oldest settlement. Now, the ministry is preparing to promote the ancient city of Patara in the southern province of Antalya’s Kaş District. Lots of investments have been planned to focus on excavation and restoration works in Patara in 2020.

The ancient city of Patara, which was confirmed to exist in the eighth century, is one of the oldest settlements of the Lycian Union and also its capital city. In the ancient city, which is thought to cover an area of 10 square kilometers, excavations and restoration works have been conducted for many years under the direction of Professor Havva İşkan Işık. Patara. Dozens of unique historical monuments have been unearthed in the UNESCO World Permanent Heritage site, the only place in the Xanthos Valley that can be opened to the sea.

Birthplace of St Nicholas

Patara, where St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born and grew up, also has the oldest parliament building in the world, where the Lycian Union met the representatives of the cities. Patara was the capital of the Lycian civilization for a long time.

The ancient city is home to an amphitheater, historic lighthouse, main street, Turkish baths, Roman triumphal arch, Tepecik cemetery, basilica and various temples. Also, the Patara Parliament Building, known as the world’s oldest democratic parliament building, has been restored and opened to visitors.

In the ancient city, a Viking sword, estimated to date back to the ninth or 10th century, was also found in the excavations in 2018.

The Neron Lighthouse, built by Roman Emperor Neron in 64-65 A.D., is the oldest lighthouse in the world. The restoration process of the 26-meter lighthouse continues, and a relief of a 2,000-year-old dolphin depiction was unearthed on the stones of the lighthouse.

Replica of ancient ship was made

One of the most important developments this year was that the replica of the ancient ship named Abora-IV, which was inspired by old Egyptian paintings and constructed using only totora reed and wood, was brought to Patara for display.

Designed by the German archaeologist Dominique Goerlitz, the 14-meter-long ship was built in Varna, Bulgaria with reeds brought from Bolivia. It set sail from the Port of Varna on Aug. 1 and reached Turkey’s northwestern coast of Çanakkale, passing through the Bosphorus. Goerlitz offered the ship to Turkish authorities as a gift following the completion of its Mediterranean tour. The Abora-IV was welcomed with a ceremony at the Port of Kaş in Antalya on Sept. 19.

The 12-kilometer-long Patara beach, located near the ancient city, is among the most beautiful beaches in the world.

The fine-sand beach has been used in many film shoots. The beach is one of 22 reproduction and nesting areas of caretta caretta (loggerhead sea turtles) in Turkey. The turtles that come to the beach beginning in May laid eggs until August. The baby turtles hatch from their eggs until around Sept. 15.

This year, the ancient beach hosted the highest number of caretta caretta nests of all time, which was 286. The number of eggs in 286 nests was 21,821, and 17,323 baby turtles reached the sea among 17,421 turtles that hatched out of these nests.

Hurriyet Daily News

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