Patara is mentioned only once in the New Testament. When Paul and his companions sailed from Miletus on their way to Syria (Caesarea), they made stops at Cos, Rhodes, and Patara in the Roman province of Lycia in Asia Minor (Acts 27:5).
And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. (Acts 21:1-2 ESV)
Patara is known as Gelemis (in Turkey) today, but the sign on the main highway from Fethiye to Kas points to the ancient site of Patara.
Patara served as a way station for sea travelers, and Paul changed ships here to Phoenicia at the end of his third journey in AD 57 (Acts 21:1). (Biblical Turkey, 91).
The beach at Patara is a popular leisure place for locals as well as visitors to the area. For this photo we drove the narrow road from the main highway through the ruins of the city to the water.
Patara already had a long history before Paul stopped there. Tradition has it that it was founded by Patarus, a son of Apollo. Persians used the port during the Persian Wars. The city later came under the control of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies, and the Seleucids in succession before being given freedom by the Romans in 167 B.C. In 43 B.C. the city became part of the province of Lycia (Biblical Turkey, 90-91).
Our next photo shows the site of the silted up harbor of Patara. In the distance you will see a narrow sliver of blue between the trees and the sky. That is the Mediterranean Sea. Entrance to the harbor from the Sea is blocked. Ruins of granaries built in the days of Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) are visible on the west side of the harbor. Click on the photo for a larger image.
Our last photo shows the theater which was built in the Hellenistic period, but was rebuilt in the time of the Roman Emperor Tiberias (A.D. 14-37). It seated more than 6,000 people.
Use the search box for posts about some of the other places mentioned in Acts 21: Rhodes, Cyprus, Tyre, Ptolemais, and Caesarea.