Turkey: Meeting Good Old Saint Nick, the ‘Real’ Santa


Kas, on a sunnier day

On Tuesday it rained. This is the first significant rain I have encountered since Santiago (Chile) back in April. Since this time has also included 5 days in London, that feels like something of an achievement.

Anyway, The Captain cancelled our sailing for that day.  There were boats leaving (the weather wasn’t that bad) however our captain clearly didn’t need much of an excuse to declare a day off.  So, what to do in a beach town (Kas, in this case) in the south of Turkey when it rains?ugly-santa

Luckily I had my (un)trusty internet connection working to check for possibilities, and I found this:

I took the bus to Demre (sometimes called Myra) to see the church of Saint Nicolas. Better known as Saint Nick, he was the original Santa Claus. Before Santa became this jovial man in a red cloak, hanging out with a bunch of elves and fat from consuming too many mince pies, there was Saint Nicolas.


Good old St Nick

St Nick was bishop of Myra during the 4th century (at that time still part of the Roman empire ).

The story is that he inherited some money and wanted to give it away anonymously to needy people, so he used to climb up on roofs and drop gold coins down people’s chimneys. There is also some talk of poor people leaving their shoes outside, in the hope that Saint Nick might put a gold coin or two inside.

Saint Nick is said to have died on 6th December (the year varies but the date stays the same) and many European countries still celebrate Saint Nicolas on that date (like the Dutch Sinterklaas, from which we get the Santa Claus name).

The church was built around his remains in the 6th century, later destroyed by Arab invaders and then rebuilt in 10th century. His remains and many of his relics disappeared to Bari in Italy around that time.  Turkey have been trying to get them back for some time.

Of course there is also a gift shop attached.  There is plenty of choice here for anyone looking for a tacky souvenir…



4 replies »

    • I have been on a little boat yes. I will get round to it; internet is a bit patchy obviously (I’m going to have that last sentence written on my grave I say it so often)

  1. Hello Sarah. I love the idea of Saint Nick hopping over roof tops dropping coins into chimneys! The gift shop made me smile too. Did you buy a fridge magnet. It does look really beautiful I have to say. I’m not sure how I would be on a small boat for all that time! And so your adventure continues lol. Hugs and stuff xx

    • guilty admission: I did buy the tackiest santa-based souvenir I could find there. But I bought it ironically, so it’s ok 🙂
      The boat got very claustrophobic quite quickly actually. But I love sailing. It’s my new hobby now after hot-air ballooning 🙂

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