Patara – Birthplace of Saint Nicolas (Santa Claus)

Related Articles

Patara, later known as Arsinoe is an ancient maritime city on the south-west coast of Lycia in the Antalya Province of Turkey.

According to legend, the city was founded by Patarus, a son of Apollo, with evidence of settlement as early as the 5th century BC (although there are archaeological remains of earlier Bronze Age occupation on Tepecik Hill adjacent to the site and references in Hittite text).

Contemporary writers record Patara as one of the principal cities of Lycia where the assemblies of the Lycian league were held, and famous for its temple and oracle of Apollo, with a similar status to that of Delphi.


The city was incorporated into the Empire founded by Alexander the Great around 333 BC as a Macedonian hegemony, along with the rest of Lycia.

Image Credit : Vadimph  – CC BY-SA 4.0

In the Wars of the Diadochi among the successors of Alexander, Patara became an important naval base for the Antigonid dynasty, being ruled by Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Demetrius I.

After falling to the expansion of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt enlarged the city and renamed Patara to Arsinoe in dedication to his wife (and sister), Asinoe II.

Patara was annexed by the Roman Empire in AD 43, becoming one of the principle centres of the provincia Lycia, before being attached to Pamphylia in the province of Lycia-Pamphylia. The Romans constructed various public buildings, including a large theatre, basilica, bathhouses, granaries, and numerous commercial buildings.

Image Credit : Vadimph  – CC BY-SA 4.0

The city would become an important Christian centre during the Byzantine period, with the construction of several churches, even being famed as the birthplace of Saint Nicolas in AD 270. Saint Nicolas had many miracles attributed to his intercession but is also known for his generous practice of gift-giving that gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through Sinterklaas.

From the 12th to 15th century AD, Patara was ruled by the Turks in the midst of the collapsing Byzantine Empire. The port which served as the primary source of income and trade for the inhabitants silted up, forcing the eventual abandonment of the city which was left to ruin.

Header Image Credit : Vadimph  – CC BY-SA 4.0

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic


Sungbo’s Eredo – The “Queen of Sheba’s Embankment”

Sungbo’s Eredo is one of the largest man-made monuments in Africa, consisting of a giant system of ditches and embankments that surrounds the entire ljebu Kingdom in the rain forests of south-western Nigeria.

Woolly Mammoths May Have Shared the Landscape With First Humans in New England

Woolly mammoths may have walked the landscape at the same time as the earliest humans in what is now New England, according to a Dartmouth study published in Boreas.

Prehistoric killing machine exposed

Judging by its massive, bone-crushing teeth, gigantic skull and powerful jaw, there is no doubt that the Anteosaurus, a premammalian reptile that roamed the African continent 265 to 260 million years ago - during a period known as the middle Permian - was a ferocious carnivore.

Noushabad – The Hidden Underground City

Noushabed, also called Oeei or Ouyim is an ancient subterranean city, built beneath the small town of Nushabad in present-day Iran.

10 British Iron Age Hill Forts

A hill fort is a type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage.

Stabiae – The Roman Resort Buried by Mount Vesuvius

Stabiae was an ancient Roman town and seaside resort near Pompeii, that was largely buried during the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius in present-day Italy.

Astronomers Accurately Measure the Temperature of Red Supergiant Stars

Red supergiants are a class of star that end their lives in supernova explosions. Their lifecycles are not fully understood, partly due to difficulties in measuring their temperatures. For the first time, astronomers develop an accurate method to determine the surface temperatures of red supergiants.

Researchers Overturn Hypothesis That Ancient Mammal Ancestors Moved Like Modern Lizards

The backbone is the Swiss Army Knife of mammal locomotion. It can function in all sorts of ways that allows living mammals to have remarkable diversity in their movements.

Popular stories

Ani – The Abandoned Medieval City

Ani is a ruined medieval city, and the former capital of the Bagratid Armenian kingdom, located in the Eastern Anatolia region of the Kars province in present-day Turkey.

Interactive Map of Earth’s Asteroid and Meteor Impact Craters

Across the history of our planet, around 190 terrestrial impact craters have been identified that still survive the Earth’s geological processes, with the most recent event occurring in 1947 at the Sikhote-Alin Mountains of south-eastern Russia.

The Sunken Town of Pavlopetri

Pavlopetri, also called Paulopetri, is a submerged ancient town, located between the islet of Pavlopetri and the Pounta coast of Laconia, on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece.

Exploring the Avebury Stone Circle Landscape

The area was designated part of the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites by UNESCO in 1986, in recognition for one of the most architecturally sophisticated stone circles in the world, in addition to the rich Neolithic, and Bronze age remains found nearby, such as the West Kennet Avenue, Beckhampton Avenue, West Kennet Long Barrow, the Sanctuary, and Windmill Hill.