2023 Turkey – Day 8 – Antalya to Demre

Demre is a small town located on the southern coast of Turkey, in the Antalya Province. Despite its modest size, Demre holds immense historical and cultural significance, making it an intriguing destination for travelers seeking to explore ancient ruins and religious heritage.

One of the main attractions in Demre is the ancient Lycian city of Myra, which dates back to the 5th century BC. Myra was an important city in the Lycian League and was known for its impressive rock-cut tombs and theater. The most famous feature of Myra is the cluster of well-preserved Lycian rock tombs carved into the cliffs, showcasing intricate details and architectural finesse.

Another significant site in Demre is the Church of St. Nicholas, also known as St. Nicholas Church. This ancient church is believed to be the final resting place of the revered figure of St. Nicholas, the historical figure who inspired the legend of Santa Claus. The church was constructed in the 4th century AD and became a pilgrimage site for Christians over the centuries. The tomb of St. Nicholas, now a revered saint in both Eastern and Western Christianity, attracts visitors seeking to pay their respects and explore the rich religious heritage of the region.

The town of Demre itself offers a charming and laid-back atmosphere, with narrow streets, traditional houses, and local markets where visitors can experience authentic Turkish life. The town’s friendly locals and warm hospitality add to the overall appeal of this historical destination.

Beyond its historical and religious treasures, Demre is also a great base for exploring the surrounding natural beauty of the region. The nearby Kekova Island, with its partially submerged ancient ruins, is a fascinating spot to explore by boat, offering a glimpse into the past as well as stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Demre’s unique combination of ancient history, religious significance, and natural wonders makes it a captivating destination for travelers interested in immersing themselves in Turkey’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re exploring the archaeological sites, learning about the life of St. Nicholas, or simply enjoying the tranquility of this coastal town, Demre promises a rewarding and memorable experience.