At the end of Paul’s third journey, as he was heading for Jerusalem, he and Luke changed ships at Patara—a port located on the Mediterranean coast of present day Turkey (see map below).
… we put out to sea [from Miletus] and sailed straight to Cos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. (Acts 21:1-3; NIV)
A mysterious structure is located on the northern edge of the beach and on the western edge of the now silted harbor of Patara. It is claimed that this is the ‘oldest preserved’ lighthouse in the world!
According to Dr. Mark Wilson (personal communication updating his book) writes that “the inscription should be dated to Nero’s eleventh tribunician power, thus between October 64 and October 65.” And . . . “a second lighthouse (antipharos) still lies buried in the sand on the opposite side beneath Kurshunlutepe.”
The Greek inscription names “Marcus Sextius Priscus . . . who served as governor until the reign of Vespasian in 71-72.”
View looking east at the doorway that is on the west side of the cylindrical tower. Behind the student the solid interior cylinder is visible behind the modern supporting column. There actually is an outer “cylinder” (the student is standing in it) that is constructed around a round central column and stairs are wedged in between the two parts. The round central column is visible behind and to the right of the woman in the picture. She is about 5 ft. 7 in. [1.5 m.] tall.
A view of the interior staircase of the cylindrical tower. In the center of the image the cylindrical exterior wall is visible and on the left side of the image the massive solid interior column. Note how the staircase is bonded to both the exterior wall and the interior column. The woman in the image is about 5 ft. 2 in. [1.3 m.] tall.
To view 14 images and commentary on the Lighthouse at Patara Click Here.
(Free of charge, without obligation and/or registration)
Dr. Mark Wilson’s comments on Patara and the lighthouse can be found in: Mark Wilson, Biblical Turkey — A Guide to the Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor. Istanbul: Yayinlari, 2010, pp. 90–99.