PATARA, an ancient town of Asia Minor, on the Lycian coast, 3 m. E. of the mouth of the Xanthus river (mod. Eshen Chai). It was noted from early times for its temple and oracle of Apollo, and, as the port of Xanthus and other towns of the same valley, had a large trade, and was regarded as the metropolis of Lycia. Enlarged by Ptolemy Philadelphus I. and renamed for a time Arsinoe, it was adorned by Vespasian with baths. St Paul changed there into a " ship of Phoenicia " on his way to Jerusalem in A.D. 60. Patara was the reputed birth-place of St Nicholas. The principal extant monuments are a triple triumphal arch, with inscription, through which ran the road to Xanthus, and the walls, discernible on either hand of it; the theatre, 265 ft. in diameter, built in a.d. 145 (as attested by an inscription) and wonderfully well preserved, though largely filled with drift sand; and the thermae built by Vespasian north of the harbour.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)