St. Nikolaos of Myra was bishop here
The ancient city of Myra between Kaş and Finike in where the small district of Demre is situated today in present day Antalya province of Turkey and is famous for the rock tombs. You can reach the ancient city via a neat way. It was located on the river Demre Çay (Stream) in the fertile alluvial plain between Alaca Dağ (Mountain) and the Aegean Sea.
St. Nikolaos of Myra was the bishop here, and Myra was an important Lycian city throughout the entire Middle Age. Myra means “Place of The Great Mother Goddess”. The earliest church of St. Nicholas at Myra was built in the 6th century. The present-day church was constructed mainly from the 8th century onward; a monastery was added in the second half of the 11th century.
The ruins of the Lycian and Roman city were mostly under the alluvial deposit. The acropolis on the mountain of the ancient theatre has been largely destroyed. The late-period ruins (probably a bath or basilica) can be seen near the theatre.
The largest and best-preserved ancient theatre of Lycia is in Myra. Today the theatre is used for festivals and shows, and it has a capacity of 9000 people and 29 seating rows.
The rock tombs of Myra are both on the theatre and in the river necropolis on the east side
The rock tomb seem like a house or a temple when you look far away from it. The most prominent rock tomb of the river necropolis is “Picture Tomb”. In 1840 Charles Fellows who was a British archaeologist said that he could name the colours such as red, yellow, blue or purple when he looked at the rock tombs. Today you can see only red or blue colours a little. Another salient feature is that there are eleven human figures in relief made according to the true measure.
St. Nikolaos Church is one of the places to be visited in the ancient city of Myra.
St. Nikolaos was loved by public, and he attracted a lot pain for the sake of his faith. For this reason Myra is mostly visited as pilgrimage so Myra is an attractive place for the Christian World.
Santa Claus events are held on the 6th day of December in every year.
Today the Church of St. Nikolaos is approximately 7 m below the ground level. The bones of St. Nikolaos are in a marble tomb in the church however some of the bones were taken by Italians and smuggled to Bari.
The excavation and repair works of the church are carried by Hacettepe University. The mostly well-preserved architecture of the church, the wall paintings and the mosaics are attractive.