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Demre (Myra)

Myra is famous for its imposing rock tombs cut high into two cliff faces. Dating from the 4th century BC, they are regarded as the finest of their type. Below them is a large theatre with carved masks, and at nearby Çajağzı, is the Lycian town’s former port of Andriake, where Hadrian’s 2nd-century granary is among the ruins. Myra was later the see of the saintly 4th-century Bishop Nicholas, and the bare bones of his church are in the town of Demre (Kale) just to the east, which can be visited, though his remains were expropriated by Italians in the 11th century. His legacy in Demre is an unlikely figure of Santa Claus (Noel Baba) in the sun-soaked main square, surrounded by emporia selling icons to Russian visitors for whom he is the patron saint. Within walking distance is .

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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