Patara flourished during the Roman period; it was the seat of the Roman governor to Lycia. The once famous port city noted for its -beauty and for the oracle of Apollo there, which was productive only during the winter months, is now a marsh, silted up with the erosion of centuries. Once during the heyday of Patara, the city was visited by the Emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina. Plan of Patara A ” Gateway, B ” Roman Baths, C ” Christian Basilica, D ” Baths of Vespasian, E-A Temple, F – Theater, G – Remains of a Temple, H-Granary of Hadrian, J-A Temple in the western edge of the site, near the theater. One of these is the renowned Monument of the Harpies that dates to the 6th century B.C. The Harpies were mythological winds of destruction that emperors would use to their advantage. The monument is a single, monolithic column that rises more than five meters in the air, resting on a two-stepped podium. The funeral chamber was placed at the top of the column, and it once held reliefs of the deceased doing battle. Other of the reliefs show the man and his wife receiving homage from their childern. The original relief slabs were removed by Sir Charles Fellows during an excavation he had undertaken at the site, and were shipped to the British Museum in London. These have since been replaced on the monument with plaster casts of the original.
The Harpies depicted on the frieze are shown as sea sirens, small female figures who represent the soul of the deceased; from these the monument takes its name. Near the Harpies Monument is the Xanthian Obelisk, which is another pillar-tomb, although the upper section is missing. This carries a long inscription written in the Lycian language that has still not been satisfactorily deciphered. The famous Nereid monument and shrine that have been uncovered at Xanthos, are in poor condition. The reliefs too were carted off to the British Museum. This also consisted of a high column, topped by a tomb in the form of an Ionic temple. It dates from about 400 B.C., and only the foundations remain.