Saint Nicolaus, the sunken city and Myra

Do you know where St. Nicolas comes from? He was born in Patara (which we had visited the day before) around 280 AD but he was bishop of Myra in the first half of the 4th century. And Myra was the town we wanted to visit today.

The modern town next to Myra is called Demre and there lies the Byzantine church which was built in 520 AD on the foundations of an older Christian church where Saint Nicholas served as a bishop. Over time the church was flooded and filled with silt. In 1862 it was restored by Russian Emperor Nicholas I, who added a tower and made other changes to its Byzantine architecture. The church continued to function until the Greek Orthodox community of Demre was forced to leave during the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
(Parking for the church: 36.244459, 29.984557)

Big place in front of St. Nicholas church

Byzantine church of St. Nicholas 

Opus sectile

Tomb of St. Nicholas – his remains were abducted in 1098 and since then are in Bari – Italy

Marble with cross and anchor – a symbol for St. Nicholas

Statue of St. Nicholas in front of the church
From Demre it is not far to the ancient town of Myra. We were guided into a “free” parking and asked to come for orange juice and coffee to the small bar. 

(Parking Myra 36.257338, 29.986352)

Fresh orange juice
This nice guy offered us a boat trip to a sunken city with his “brother” and we agreed. Some other relative guided us with his moped to the harbour and handed us over to the captain of a beautiful boat.
Guide taking us to the harbour
Captain and wife awaiting us

Always happy to be on a boat 
Reaching Kekova island
Kaleköy with a castle of the Crusaders on top

We soon reached the partly sunken ruins of Dolchiste, an ancient town which was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century. Rebuilt and still flourishing during the Byzantine Empire period, it was finally abandoned because of Arab incursions. 

Former port now under water

Sarcophagus once on land has wet feet nowadays 
On the way back the waves were higher and we were riding back into the harbour. 
To the left

To the right
Can I come with you? PLEASE!!
After our boat trip we drove to Demre again (without a puppy) and went for lunch before we made our way back to our free parking to finally visit Myra.
Another impressive theatre

The theatre stands about 4 metres under the current ground level
Next to the theatre numerous temple tombs were cut into the rock, some with beautiful reliefs still visible.

We drove through Demre again and stayed at the beach for the night.

Coastal road near Demre
Flower if the day

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