Sunday, 2 October 2011

History of Demre

Firstly, I must apologise for the poor quality of the above photograph!  It's a photograph of a Christmas Card that I received a couple of years ago, I did try to scan it, but my scanner would not co-operate so I was reduced to photographing it, I might try again tomorrow - without the flash!

Anyway, this card was sent to me by a family member who lives in Istanbul and on the back of it was a short history of a town called Demre in the southwest of Turkey.  It reads as follows:

Myra is the historic town where Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, served as a Bishop in the fourth century.  The ruins are located in what is today the picturesque town of Demre in the southwest of Turkey.

Myra, once a capital city in the Lycian region, showed the greatest development in the second century BC.  Between the sixth and eighth centuries AD two Churches were built, one of which housed the sarcophagus of St. Nicholas.

In the eleventh century, Italian traders took part of Saint Nicholas' bones to Italy.  The remaining bones, hidden in a box by the native Christians, are displayed in the Antalya Museum today.  The Church, which was buried six metres below the surface by alluvial mud over the centuries, has recently been uncovered.

The custom of hanging stockings at Christmas stems from a story about Saint Nicholas where he secretly provided three bags of gold as the dowry of three daughters of an impoverished merchant.  One of the bags of gold, which was tossed through a window at night, happened to fall into a stocking hung by the chimney to dry.

And there ends the tale.

I always bring this card out at Christmas time and hang it in a frame because it is so pretty.

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