May 29, 2024 The sun rises from Anatolia

The 2,000-year-old lighthouse of Patara Ancient City will once again illuminate the way for sailors

The restoration works of the 2000-year-old lighthouse in the ancient city of Patara, which was the capital of the Lycian Union, have come to an end. The lighthouse is intended to give light to sailors again after centuries.

Located in the Kaş district of Antalya, it was known as an important port city since the 8th century BC. Patara was also famous as the oracle center of Apollo.

The lighthouse, built by the Roman Emperor Nero in 64 AD, was destroyed in 1481 by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Rhodes.

Drawing of the Patara lighthouse as seen in the early days

The remains of the lighthouse were discovered by William Gell in the 19th century. Prof. Dr. Fahri Işık determined that these remains belong to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse was made of marble blocks. It has a square base and a round body. The body is filled with a spiral staircase.

Started in 2020, the restoration works are being carried out under the presidency of Prof. Dr. Havva İşkan Işık, head of excavations in the ancient city of Patara.

Prof. Dr. Havva İşkan Işık
Head of excavation at the ancient city of Patara Prof. Dr. Havva İşkan Işık. Photo: DHA

Prof. Dr. İşkan Işık said, “The restoration of the lighthouse to this state has been one of the most difficult restoration projects in the world so far. No stone of the lighthouse had the same form and appearance as the other. Each stone was specially produced for its location.”

Noting that they are trying to find the location of the stones using 3D modeling programs, Prof. Dr. Işık said, “First, we are trying to find the location of the stones in the computer environment. It is not an easy job. Since it was exposed to sea water and wind for a long time, it took time to repair and reinforce the stones.”

Maybe we can light the lantern

Prof. Dr. Işık stated that the work on the lighthouse has come to an end and said, “This is good news. The lighthouse will be completely on its feet in a very short time. Months are left. Work continues on the arch, which is the top section. At the end of 4-5 months, we can see the dome of the arch.”

Patara lighthouse
Photo: DHA

Prof. Dr. Işık said that the lighthouse guided the ships in ancient times and that this purpose should be maintained today:

“Maybe we can light the lantern. What I would like is for the lantern to regain the function for which it was built. We always think that the lantern should be lit. It would be very meaningful. Big ships pass by on the sea side every night. If there was an announcement every time they pass by, ‘We are on the coast of Türkiye. We are passing by Patara Lighthouse’, this would be very good for the promotion of our country.”

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