This statue of Santa Claus in Demre, Turkey stands in front of the deceptively modern-looking Saint Nicholas Church. It is in this small western Turkish town (at the time in a province of the Roman Empire) where the man the legend is based on was born and lived around 300 A.D. There are many stories surrounding the legend of St. Nicholas and much has been written about how Santa came to be in the 1800s.
With such an interesting history it’s a shame that the museum the church has been converted into doesn’t cover much of it at all. While it’s fun to stroll down the hallways and see Santa’s backyard, the Lycian ruins of Myra 2 kilometers down the road are much more impressive for the same price of 10 Turkish Lira.
For free however, you can take a virtual saunter through Santa’s home in my gallery.
I really liked the church in Demre…but I’m just looking at your photo and what on earth is all the metal work? That wasn’t there when we went! We also went on to Myra as well – seem to recall a decent amphitheatre as well as the rock tombs? (My memory’s a bit vague.)
They are renovating, I think it began in 2009 from what I remember reading. Not sure what they’re renovating though, seems a bit weird for a building more than hundreds of years old 🙂
Rock tombs and a nice amphitheater are Myra alright, was quite fun climbing around there though unfortunately the tombs weren’t accessible.
Ahh, now I’m feeling pleased we’ve actually seen a site that wasn’t covered in scaffolding when we went. Must be a first! We are the champions of unlucky in the Scaffolding-Covered-Site-Stakes.
It seems all over Europe everyone has decided its time to renovate. Always gets in the way of a good photo.
I’ll have to add this to my list of things to see in Turkey.
It makes Santa seem like he was into modern architecture.
Turkey is so fascinating, I would have never expected to see Santa there of all places. I thought he was from Denmark or somewhere around there 🙂
It’s strange to think he probably never saw snow!
Never knew the legend was born in Turkey!
A legend born in New York based on a man in Turkey who is supposed to live at the North Pole…or something like that!
I think I’m going to put that on my Christmas card next year.
haha, I can imagine people getting them and saying, “Who the heck is that??” 😀
I wanted to see this place at the end of January as have some time free. Headed over to the Bodrum area though for a road trip most likely so will have to wait until further in the year. Was working in a hotel last summer and some of the customers thought I was joking when I said Santa was from Turkey. Then my friend started splitting hairs and said technically the area was Greek at the time so he is from Greece.
Yeah, he wasn’t Turkish for sure; though to further split hairs you could say he was a Greek living in the Roman Empire, since the nation-state of Greece did not exist at the time.