Discover St Nicholas Church Southern Turkey

Tea Chest Tidbits – short posts with lots of delightful photos of our time in Turkey.

The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic Gods giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.

St. Nicholas of Myra

We love historical sites and learning about the local history on our travels, so when the opportunity arose to visit St. Nicholas Church we jumped at the chance. It was a warm spring day when we set off with our driver who is an amazingly helpful tour guide too. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, I try not to research too much in advance as I like to be surprised, and I really was.

St. Nicholas

Walking down the cobbled path towards the church we both stopped and stood for a few moments in silence, in awe. We listened to the birds and wind in the trees and breathed in the atmosphere, it was quite breath taking. Here we were standing in a place that was thousands of years old, which held such an important, interesting history and it felt surreal and very special.

Looking through St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas was from Demre (previously known as Myra), he was an early Christian Bishop during the Roman Empire. You may have heard him referred to as Nicholas the Wonderworker or Nicholas of Bari. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, children, merchants, brewers, prostitutes, archers and students. He is legendary for secret gift giving which is where the tradition of ‘St. Nick’ is said to have began, the real life model if you like. Many stories have been written about St. Nicholas from saving sailors from storms, rescuing young girls from prostitution, saving men from execution and resurrecting young children murdered and pickled in brine during the famine. How many of these are true is unknown but what is known is that St. Nicholas was a generous, caring and faithful man whose life has been depicted in many paintings, tapestries, stained glass windows and frescoes.

Fresco inside St. Nicholas Church
Inside St. Nicholas Church
Photo By Dosseman

St. Nicholas Church was built in AD 520 upon the foundations of an older Christian church where St. Nicholas had previously served as a bishop. It is thought it was built to protect his tomb and honour his memory. Sadly in 1087 St. Nicholas’s tomb was desecrated and it is believed some of his bones were taken to Italy, leaving an empty sarcophagus in the church. The church has been flooded, rebuilt, added on to and used right up until 1923. Both Constantine IX in 1043 and Tsar Nicholas I in 1862 ordered major reconstruction of the church after flooding, earthquakes and war took its toll on the site. Excavation work in the main square of Demre rediscovered the church in 1956 and has been a place of interest for many historians, religious experts, archaeologists and tourists. This incredible site received UNESCO World Heritage status in 1982.

Pillars discovered during excavation of the site
Looking up, such incredible workmanship
Looking down, the exquisite floors of St. Nicholas Church date back to the 11th century
Fresco within the Church of St. Nicholas
Intricately designed sarcophagus
Ancient writing on a plaque

Catch us next time when we share with you the amazing critters we have come across on our journey.
Happy Tea Drinking and Fair Winds ♥

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15 thoughts on “Discover St Nicholas Church Southern Turkey

  1. Even prostitutes deserve Christmas presents. A facinating building and awe inspiring photographs.. St Nic in what mostly seems to me to have its feet firmly in the Muslim faith. Surprising to say the least. I hope you took a flask of tea so you could soak in the ambiance and sip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely true, everyone deserves Christmas presents. Such a wonderfully calm place to be, we loved every moment of it.

      Like

    1. Absolutely, we find it incredibly interesting as our own country has such a short history. I am always in awe of the craftsmanship, all those blocks moved by hand. Just unfathomable.

      Like

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