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Demre in Turkey

One of the most beautiful provinces of Southern Turkey, one that has survived from ancient times, the homeland of Santa Clause.

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Around 50 km east of Kaş and 80 km and southwest of Çıralı, Demre, is that the town where St. Nick (Noel Baba in Turkish) first brought joy. Actually, it absolutely was St Nicholas, a 4th-century Bishop of Myra, who lived and worked here, and who was later transmuted into the jolly Christmas elf called Sinterklaas in Holland (and similar names in other European countries), and later shielder in North America.

Santa Claus (St Nicholas) Museum


An 11th-century church in Demre, now the St. Nick Museum which is called (Noel Baba Müzesi), once took his earthly remains, but in 1087 most of his bones were taken by force to Bari in Italy, and then the remains took to Venice in 1100. (Churches were in-built both cities to preserve the purloined relics. In 2009 the Turkish government demanded the return of the bones to Demre. 
Nicholas was born in nearby Patara, became a priest, rose to the rank of bishop, and did much of his good work here within the Roman town then called Myra, a reputation derived from myrrh. 


Legend has it that he’d drop small bags of gold coins down the chimneys of homes with poor girls who were the correct age to marry, but had no dowry. Another story says he’d leave gold coins within the shoes of the poor who put them out for him. 


Blessed for his good works, he became the saint of virgins, sailors, children, pawnbrokers, and Holy Russia. As Nicholas served because the Bishop of Demre, he's identified with the town. Also, he died and was buried within the town, and a church built over his tomb. 


During the Medieval era, the church was a middle of pilgrimage and even today visitors inundate the church. within the past seafaring pilgrims to Jerusalem stopped over Andriake, the port city of Demre, traveled inland to visit the Nicholas Church, and sought a cure from the chrism cult. 


Since 1983 every 6 December, the day of his death, activities centered on the "Santa Claus World Peace Appeal" are organized in Demre to commemorate this important saint of the Christian world. 


Adherents of various faiths participate in prayers for peace during the ceremonies, to remind an era when different cultures and religions lived together in peace for thousands of years in Anatolia.


How to Go to Demre?

Demre and Patara are in Antalya province which is one in all the principal tourist destinations of Turkey. The Antalya international airport has direct scheduled flights furthermore as chartered flights from a large number of states. 

Demre and Patara can be visited by coaches and shared-minibusses departing from Antalya city center. the gap between Antalya and Demre is 140 km, and between Antalya and Patara is 230 km. Patara could even be reached from Dalaman international airport which is 125 km. to the west.


Distances and Travel Times to Demre


  • Antalya: 146 km (90 miles) NE, 3 hours and half
  • Kaş: 45 km (28 miles) W, 1 hour
  • Fethiye: 150 km (93 miles) W, 3 hours
  • Kemer: 110 km (68 miles) NE, 2 hours
  • Marmaris: 320 km (199 miles) NW, 5.5 hours