Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Santa Claus is Turkish?!!

From Cirali I caught a minibus along the coast to Demre - a dusty, uninspiring town.
I had a 3 hour wait there until another bus took me to a tiny coastal village called Ucagiz.

Close to the bus station was the Church of St Nicholas (the patron saint of Russia) and better known to the world at large as Santa Claus.
(Am I the only one who didn't know Santa was a Turk?)

I didn't really fancy it but with nothing else to do I decided to have a look.

Things got off to a bad start with a fairly cheesy statue of Father Christmas being hugged by a bunch of kids.

"eski ka┼čar" (Turkish Cheese)

But, once inside the small, atmospheric church things quickly improved

This is the sarcophagus in which Saint Nicholas is said to have been lain to rest. It was broken into by Italian merchants in the 11th century and his bones were supposedly taken to Bari.

The main part of the church housing six unexplained columns and a simple altar was strangely affecting



In places, there were nice mosiacs on the floors

But, for me the best thing about the church was its many frescoes, which are the subject of the next post...

1 comment:

  1. fascinating! looks like a church built around the old sacred grove, with the trees as columns surrounding the old sacrificial stump - mother goddess in her pomp would seemingly have tied up the king five-fold for some serious sanctification ritual...