Demre & St.
Ancient Lykia region
is full of historical and cultural treasures and this trip
offers to see the highlights of Lykia with its unique mythology
and nature with an unmissable break at the St. Nicholas Church,
and the rock tombs at the Myra .
Departure from hotel in the morning.Drive to Demre through the
west coast af Antalya.
Comfort break on the way with the great view of green houses in
Arrive to Demre and visit the famous Lycian Rock Tombs and
ancient theatre of Myra. Myra was the most important city of the
ancient Lycian Region.
Visit the Church of St.Nicholas (Santa Claus).Santa Claus lived
in 4.AD. and became the bishop of Myra. He was the Patron Saint
of sailors and protector of children. A great church was built
over his tomb after he died and rebuilt several times.
Lunch in a local Turkish Restaurant.
Continue to the ancient harbour of Myra for our boat trip to the
Kekova Island.A great boat trip at the magnificent Mediterranean
Visit the sunken ruins of Kekova Island by boat also called
Swimming break in one of the hidden bays of the region.
After break,we visit some ancient Lycian cities along the
Our boat returns to the harbour and we Continue to our hotel.
Tour includes: Transfers, Professional Guiding
Services, Lunch, Entrance Fees.
Tour excludes: All drinks
For your request please mail to us ;
Myra features some of the most impressive and well preserved
Lycian monuments in the country. These include an excellent
collection of rock tombs and an imposing 2nd century theater.
Many of the tombs have log cabin features carved into the rock,
presumably reflecting the domestic architecture of the period. A
few easily accessible ones have inscriptions in the Lycian
language. Carvings above are mostly in poor repair but the
overall effect of this jumble of the architecture of death is
The theater, like many others in major Roman cities, was later
converted into an arena for gladiator fights and wild animal
shows. Many carvings and inscriptions in the theater are still
visible, and cavernous tunnels and access ways to the side have
been cleared. While much of the seating is intact, the stage
building is partly collapsed. A macabre set of three carved
masks, presumably from the frieze, lies among the jumble of
remains in the approach to the theater.
Today Demre is an important agricultural town on the
Mediterranean coast of Anatolia. Around Demre there are also
ruins of Andriake on cayagzi beach and Kekova, Simena and
Teimussa which are accessible by a short boat ride or some car
Some people believe that Santa Claus did not exist but truth is
that old Father Christmas did in fact exist as a historic
personality. He did not come from beyond the North Pole where
Reindeers roam, but lived under the warm Lycian sun as Bishop of
Myra. His church and ex-tomb continue to exist as places of
pilgrimage in the Turkish town of Demre (known also as Kale,
Saint Nicholas was born in Patara, was elected bishop during
Diocletian's persecutions, and died in Myra around the year 350.
This stories of his charitable acts took on legendary dimensions
during the following centuries.
One of these stories concerned three boys who were hacked into
pieces by a greedy butcher, who salted and pickled them for sale
in his shop. Nicholas miraculously restored the boys to life. On
another occasion, on hearing that the daughters of a poor Myran
could not marry for lack of a dowry, Nicholas stole under the
man's window at night and left a bag of gold for each girl. This
act earned him the reputation of secretly delivering gifts in
the black of night.
By the 10th century Nicholas had become the most popular folk
saint in the Byzantine realm, counting as the patron of
children, poor virgins, innocent prisoners, sailors and
Russians. His tomb in Myra became the object of pilgrimages. A
church was built around it in the 6th century. After it was
destroyed in an Arab raid, the church was rebuilt in its present
form with the help of Constantine IX and Empress Zoe in 1043.
The fame of St. Nicholas was brought to the west by Teophano, a
Byzantine princess who married Otto II of Germany. In 1087 some
Italian merchants broke into the tomb and removed the bones of
Santa Claus to Bari, where the famous church of San Nicola di
Bari was built. Miraculously, enough other bones were found in
Myra and transferred to the Antalya Museum.
The Church of St. Nicholas fell into disuse in Turkish times. In
1862 Czar Alexander I bought the edifice and began restoring it.
Further restorations were carried out in recent years by the
Turkish government, which also promoted the annual festivities
which take place on the saint's feast day. Thousands of pilgrims
from Italy, Greece and other countries come to Myra each year on
December. Byzantine scholars and church historians meet to
discuss the life and deeds of Santa Claus. Unfortunately there
is no resident Christian community in Myra today, so the Greek
Orthodox Bishop of Myra holds office in Istanbul.