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Demre Turkey: Where Santa Was Born & Ancient Wonders Await

Jan 5

Planning on exploring Turkey soon? While Istanbul is undoubtedly a must-see, you might consider exploring further afield and discovering some of the country's hidden gems. One of those hidden gems is Demre, located in the Antalya region of Turkey.

Overview of Demre, a hidden gem in Turkey

Previously known as Myra, Demre is a small town known for its rich history and religious significance. The town is home to ancient Lycian rock tombs, which are believed to date back to the 4th century B.C. It is also home to the ruins of an ancient theatre and Roman baths. But what makes Demre fascinating is its connection to St. Nicholas - more commonly known as Santa Claus.

Facts about the birthplace of Santa Claus

Yes, that's right - Demre is said to be the birthplace of the jolly old man in the red suit. St. Nicholas was born in the town in the 3rd century and eventually became the bishop of Myra. Interestingly enough, he was known for his generous gifts to children, hence his association with gift-giving during the holiday season.

Today, visitors can visit the Church of St. Nicholas in Demre, which is said to contain the actual tomb of St. Nicholas. The church also contains stunning mosaics and frescoes that date back to the 6th century.

But Demre is not just about history and religion - it also has natural beauty to offer. One of the town's must-visit spots is Kekova Island, known for its crystal-clear waters and underwater ruins. Visitors can take a boat tour around the island and even snorkel or scuba dive to see the ancient ruins up close.

Demre is a hidden gem you won't regret visiting on your trip to Turkey. With its rich history, religious significance, and stunning natural beauty, it truly has something for everyone to enjoy.


Discover Myra Ancient City on Your Trip to Turkey

If you're planning a trip to Turkey, you won't want to miss out on the hidden gem that is Myra Ancient City. This little-known spot in the Antalya region packs a punch with its rich history and stunning natural beauty.

History and Significance of Myra Ancient City

Myra was a vital city in ancient Lycia, with its ruins dating back to the 5th century B.C. It played an essential role in early Christianity, with Saint Nicholas serving as bishop of Myra in the 4th century. Besides, the city's amphitheatre and Roman baths glimpse its long history. Still, what makes Myra truly exciting is its connection to St. Nicholas, famously known as Santa Claus worldwide.

Top Attractions and Must-Visit Spots in Myra

The Church of St. Nicholas is a must-visit spot in Myra, where visitors can witness the saint's tomb and stunning mosaics and frescoes from the 6th century. You can't overlook the rock tombs of Lycia carved into cliffs at Myra if you want to appreciate natural beauty, head to Kekova Island and revel in the crystal clear water and underwater ruins during a boat tour or scuba diving.

Saint Nicholas Church

If you're on a spiritual journey, you'd undoubtedly want to learn more about Saint Nicholas, who lived and died in Myra. Visitors to the Church of St. Nicholas can hear the tale of his life, from his birth to his legacy as Santa Claus today.

The Story of Saint Nicholas

For a brief overview, St. Nicholas was born in Patara, Turkey, in the third century A.D. He grew up known for his generosity. Saint Nicholas was a devout Christian, famous for delivering gifts and helping needy people. His life and teachings have made him a significant figure in Christian history.

Tour of Saint Nicholas Church and its Artifacts

A guided tour of the Church of St. Nicholas will provide visitors with a comprehensive view of the Saint's history and his remains. The church includes mosaics and frescoes dating back to the 6th century and various other artefacts related to Saint Nicholas, making it a must-visit spot for anyone interested in history or religion.

Overall, Myra Ancient City offers everything: history lovers, naturalists, and the spiritual. It is a hidden gem you won't want to miss when visiting Turkey.


Discover Andriake, an Ancient City, on Your Trip to Turkey

If you're planning a trip to Turkey, don't miss out on the hidden gem of Andriake Ancient City. This historic port city in the Antalya region has a rich history and fascinating artefacts. Let's explore further!

The Port City of Andriake and Its Trade Significance

Andriake was an extremely important port city in ancient Lycia, with roots dating back to the 4th century B.C. It was a significant trade centre, with timber, honey, and wool exports. The ruins of the port and warehouses offer a glimpse into its history and commercial importance.

Museum of Lycian Civilizations and Artifacts

The Museum of Lycian Civilizations showcases ancient artefacts and exhibits of the Lycian region. Visitors can explore pottery, coins, and other archaeological discoveries from the Andriake excavation site.

Top Attractions and Must-Visit Spots in Andriake

Make sure to visit the Agora of Andriake, where you can see the ruins of the ancient marketplace. Also, head over to the well-preserved Roman bathhouse, which the city's inhabitants used for centuries.

Andriake offers something for everyone, from history buffs to tourists looking for unique experiences in Turkey. Don't miss out on this hidden gem!


Explore the Charm of Ucagiz Village in Turkey

If you want a truly authentic Turkish experience, we highly recommend heading to Ucagiz Village. This charming little village on the Mediterranean coast offers a picturesque glimpse into traditional Turkish life, with its quaint streets, local markets, and friendly locals.

A Traditional Turkish Village Experience

When you arrive at Ucagiz, you will feel like you have returned to a simpler life. The narrow streets are filled with local shops selling handmade souvenirs, colourful textiles, and traditional Turkish products. The locals are welcoming and always happy to share their Turkish culture and hospitality knowledge. Don't forget to indulge in delicious local cuisine at one of the many cafes and restaurants.

Visiting Lycian Tombs and Ancient Ruins in Ucagiz

Ucagiz is also home to ancient ruins and Lycian tombs worth exploring. The ancient city of Teimiussa and the ruins of the old port city of Andriake are both nearby. Make sure to visit the Sunken City, where you can see the remains of an ancient city partially submerged by the sea.

Demre Market

One of the highlights of visiting Ucagiz is the nearby Demre Market. This vibrant street market allows visitors to experience the local flavour firsthand. From fresh fruits and vegetables to handmade pottery and textiles, you will surely find something unique to take home as a souvenir.

Local Products and Souvenirs to Buy at Demre Market

Some of the must-buy items at Demre Market include:

  • Handmade pottery and ceramics
  • Colourful textiles and traditional garments
  • Fresh herbs and spices
  • Local honey and olives

Traditional Turkish Cuisine and Street Food

Demre Market is also home to some of the best street food in the region. Be sure to try:

  • Freshly grilled kebabs
  • Borek - a savoury pastry filled with cheese and spinach or meat
  • Gozleme - a traditional Turkish flatbread filled with cheese or potatoes
  • Doner - slow-roasted meat shaved and served in a pita

Don't miss out on this authentic Turkish experience! Ucagiz and Demre Market are the perfect places to visit if you want a getaway that combines history, culture, and natural beauty.


Santa Claus Museum

If you want a fun and festive experience, head to the Santa Claus Museum! Here, you can immerse yourself in the magical world of Santa Claus. The museum is located in Demre, Turkey, just a short distance from the charming village of Ucagiz.

Santa Claus Museum's history and artefacts

The museum is built on the site of the ancient city of Myra, which is where Saint Nicholas, the inspiration for Santa Claus, was once the bishop. The museum houses a collection of artefacts related to Saint Nicholas and the evolution of Santa Claus through the years. You can see old photographs, postcards, and antique toys that were popular during different eras. The museum's highlight is a rare Saint Nicholas relic- a bone fragment from his pelvis.

A glimpse of Santa's life and career

The museum also gives visitors a glimpse into the life and career of Santa Claus. You can learn about how Santa became a worldwide icon, how his images and stories have changed, and how he continues to inspire joy and generosity today. You can also tour a replica of Santa's workshop, complete with elves, toys, and an enormous sleigh. Plus, you can even take photos with Santa himself!

Why Demre should be on your travel list in Turkey

Demre is a beautiful and historic region that should be on your travel list if you plan a Turkey trip. In addition to the Santa Claus Museum, Demre offers a variety of other attractions and activities, including:

  • Visiting the ancient Lycian city of Myra
  • Exploring the breathtaking Kekova Island
  • Enjoying the delicious local cuisine
  • Relaxing on the serene beaches

Useful information and tips for travellers to Demre

If you're planning a trip to Demre, here are a few helpful tips:

Language spoken Turkish, but many locals speak English as well
Currency Turkish lira (TRY)
Best time to visit Spring and fall for mild weather and fewer crowds
Transportation Rent a car or take a dolmus (shared taxi) from nearby cities

Overall, the Santa Claus Museum and Demre are must-visit destinations for anyone who loves history, culture, and Christmas magic. So, plan your trip today and prepare for an unforgettable experience!