sábado, 14 de dezembro de 2013

Patara - in English

It's one of the longest beaches of the Mediterranean, almost 20km of rough sand and an open and choppy sea with a constant wind which carves the calcareous rocks into fantastic shapes. This is Patara beach but there is not a hotel in sight because behind the beach is the Roman city of Patara, once an important port and capital of Lycia. It is spread out over some ten square kilometeres and has lost some of its magnificance for the river in which ships arrived has silted up and changed direction leaving the city between salt marshes. But the ruins underly the importance of this so Roman of cities. Large baths, an amphitheatre like Ephesus, carved into the hillside and a newly restored (with private money) bouleterion and agora, make Patara impressive.
Reconstrução do bouleiterion e da ágora
The Emperor Hadrian, passed through in AD 131 on his way to Judea and a large granery was built either in his honour or by his order. Re-reading Memoirs of Hadrian, by Marguerite Yourcenar, it is apparent how Hadrian's building program and investment along with the Pax was his way of consolidating the Empire. The granery also shows the importane of the port in the grain trade with Egypt. On our second visit I went East to the cavernous pool built to capture the city's water supply, 20 km of stone and ceramic pipes brought  cool clean water to the town where it was redistributed from this pool. It is a mind-boggling feat of engineering even if it was carried out by slave labour.
Behind the Roman city there is the small village of Gelemis which caters for the tourists, a sleepy place unless in summer where I even saw a cat sleeping on the belly of a large dog, nobody had told them they were natural enemies. Large open restaurants with their wood fires where the women cooks throw off their natural timidity to call out to passers by to try their pizzas (pide).
At nightfall the beach empties and the sands are left to the turtles, the whole area is a natural park but if you take the road as far as the entrance to the ruins, the moon picks out the flatened edifice and a broken column and I imagine the sound of laughter and splashing water coming from the baths. Patara, city of cities.
Patara,, vista do portal de entrada da cidade

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