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myra

Myra

The ruins of the city of Myra are situated one mile north of Demre, a small town belonging to the district of Kaş. Demre can be reached by road from Kaş or by sea from Finike. There are motor boats carrying passengers between Finike and Demre.

In antiquity Myra was a harbour at the mouth of the stream’ Demre and gained an important position among the cities of Lycia. But we know very little about this city except that it conserved its importance during the Christian period. Myra had been visited by St. Paul who, being taken to Rome as a prisoner under guard, was transferred to a ship here. St. Nioholas is said to have died here as a martyr.

Today, Myra is no longer on the sea-shore, having been left inland through the changing of the coastline by deposits of sediment from a river. As a result of the flooding of the stream of Demre a thick layer of alluvium covered the city and only a very few remains of walls, a theatre and some graves can now be seen.

The Theater: It is a two storied building, very weil preserved. Only the stage building Is gone. It dates probably from the Roman period.

The Graves: They are situated on the slopes of the plateau and were carved in the rock.Their facades, doors and windows and other structural details imitate the local wooden houses. These graves belong to the Lyclan and Roman periods. The Church of St, Nicholas: Near the village of Demre there is the Church of St. Nicholas, known as Santa Claus in the Western world.

The ancient portion of the church is now entirely subterranean. One must go down 27 steps to reach this building. The church was* repaired and restored in the XlXth century and the superstructure which can be seen today is modern. Inside the church there are traces of painted portraits of the saints [frescoes).

There are two side-aisies, and in one of these is the tomb of St. Nicholas, consisting of a sarcophagus set into a vaulted niche. The sarcophagus was broken in the eleventh century and the body of the saint was taken to Bari (italy).

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