West Lycia's gate to the sea: Patara harbor
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Today, an area of reeds 1500 meters in length and 250 meters in width, extending from Gelemiş village to the south and to the beach, contained a long thin bay in antiquity (Fig. 1). This geographical feature, which we are accustomed to seeing in many other ancient harbor cities on the shores of Western Anatolia, was caused by the Xanthos river (Eşen Stream / Kocaçay) which flows into the sea from about 5 km northwest of Patara. While the deposits carried for thousands of years silted up the former large Xanthos Bay (now Eşen Plain) the thinner sands carried towards the sea have formed a bank 12 km long and hundreds of meters in width between this plain and the sea, from the effect of winds and currents. The section of this sand dune in front of Patara harbor bay has a width of approximately 600 meters. The sand that covers the entrance of the ancient harbor bay like a dam is the reason that the water level in the bay is sometimes up to one meter higher than the sea. Both this situation and the general rise in the sea level from the ancient period to the present day led to the swamp to be created in the modern village of Gelemiş through the narrow strait to the north. Thus, a swamp area of about 1500 meters in length and about 400 meters wide at the largest point was covered with reeds.