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In the hot homeland of Santa Claus

Resting in December in Turkey, a beach holiday for me faded into the background. No, no, the sea was just what we need – +19°C, and the sun shone tenderly. But the thirst for adventure overcame, not giving “stuck” in the beautiful five stars of the hotel “Presa Di Finica”, near the picturesque seaside town of Finike. The offer of guides to visit the homeland of Santa Claus, which was very close, was to satisfy my tourist curiosity, and still beckoned sunken city, the opportunity to consider the ancient ruins which amicably promised all the guides. Most of the road from Finike to Demre, home of Santa Colaus, is a mountain serpentine, passing through which, the beauty of the scenery is simply breathtaking. Crystal clear water, winding beach with blue lagoons, and then offers a fantastic view – all the valleys around Demre covered with a huge number of greenhouses, which, reflecting the sun, seem one giant mirror. Well, just a Paradise for photographers! As told on the way guide, the prototype of Santa Claus, Santa Claus and similar fairy-tale characters in other countries was St. Nicholas – a real historical figure. He was born in the IV century ad in the territory of modern Turkey and was the Bishop of the ancient city of the World, which from the moment of creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 became known as Demre. From Nicholas originated the custom of giving gifts at Christmas. Every year on Christmas night the poor found Golden apples, children’s toys and sweets at their doors. Who brings gifts remained a mystery. But one Christmas night people did not catch a man in a strange outfit – a black cloak with a big hood and a huge bag over his shoulders. Under this camouflage attire, the townspeople recognized their Bishop. When asked what he was doing, Nicholas said that Jesus Christ was born today, and he would like this day to somehow please the poor. Thus, without knowing it, Bishop Nicholas of Myra Became the founder of the tradition spread throughout the Christian world – to give gifts for Christmas. Died the Bishop of Myra 6 December 343 years. He was buried in an ancient Lycian sarcophagus, for the protection of which later built a Church. In 1087, Italian merchants stole the relics of the Saint and took him to his native city of Bari. There, by order of Pope urban II, a Catholic Cathedral named after St. Nicholas was built, where the relics of the outstanding Bishop Mira are still buried. According to legend, when the kidnappers broke the sarcophagus, from it flowed a sacred world (Relics of St. Nicholas streaming myrrh, and to this day). In a hurry, the Italians left in the sarcophagus a few bones, which are now stored in a Museum in Antalya. From the distance St. Nicholas in Demre little resembled a Church. Rather, a dilapidated picturesque building, the ruins of which are protected as the Apple of the eye. Indeed, today it is not an operating temple, but a Museum. Here is an ancient Lycian sarcophagus, in which on December 6 (December 19 in the new style) was buried Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Mira. Guides always show the strongest place in the temple – in front of the ancient stone blocks of the altar there is a small recess in the plates. They say if you pray from this place St. Nicholas will hear and fulfill all your requests. Believers from all over the world come to Demre to pray and ask for help from St. Nicholas. Every year on 6 December, the Museum is transformed into a working temple. Priests and thousands of believers travel to demra to hold lavish Church services in the name of one of the most beloved Saints in the world. Today, a large by the standards of the IV century ad city of the World – a small Turkish town of Demre. Narrow streets, modest peasant houses, palm groves and towers of mosques towering on the bustle of the world… All the surrounding valley Demre built greenhouses in which local residents grow famous demrev vegetables exported to different countries of the world. Near the Church of St. Nicholas is full of shops. The range of Souvenirs with the image of Nicholas the Wonderworker just rolls over: leather, wood, fabric, silver icons from Greece, Jerusalem, Italy… magnets, crosses, amulets, medallions, silver capsules with Holy water and Holy land… In General, the head of such a variety is cool. I don’t think there are tourists leaving such shops empty-handed. About a kilometer from the center of Demre you can see the ruins of the ancient Worlds. The entrance to the rock tombs of the Lycian Union era and the Greco-Roman theatre are the same 5 liras. The two-tiered stage of the amphitheatre is destroyed by an earthquake, but the rest of it is well preserved. The Romans had gladiatorial combat and executions of the early Christians. If you climb to the top of the amphitheater, a beautiful picture opens! On the one hand lies Demre, buried in palm trees and orange groves, and on the other – a huge valley where greenhouses, greenhouses and greenhouses again… After visiting the ancient ruins of the Worlds of tourists sent on a sea voyage – on a yacht to the sunken Lycian city and What an ancient fortress on the Semyon Peninsula. Kekova is an oblong island with many monuments. The famous captain Cousteau, who visited these places many years ago, was fascinated by the purity and beauty of the sea, as was told in his famous Odyssey. As a rule, in the deck of each yacht there is an observation “window”. Looking there, we almost rubbed his jaw with surprise and delight. Blue clear water, and at the bottom of the ruins, amphorae, walls, steps… a Real underwater city! Almost all the coast and coastal waters of Kekova dotted with ruins, which in the past gave a secluded refuge to pirates and fishermen. Touching the protruding walls of the Lycian tombs, you experience something inexpressible. What an amazing and unusual, this birthplace of Santa Claus.

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