36.25916666666729.985277777778Koordinaten: 36 ° 16 ' N, 29 ° 59 ' E

Myra is an ancient town in Lycia. The place is now called Demre ( Kale earlier - the Turkish word for fortress ), and is located in the province of Antalya in Turkey. Myra is known as a place of pilgrimage because of thence derived Nicholas of Myra (* 280/286 in Patara in Lycia; † 345/351 ).


Myra was already in the classical period of significance and from the time of the Hellenistic one of the six largest cities of the Lycian Federation. After the separation of Lycia Pamphylia under Emperor Theodosius II ( 401-450 AD) was Myra 's administrative capital and ecclesiastical capital of the region. Artemis Eleuthera ( Cybele ) in Myra had a cult center, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 141 AD. An inscription of Opramoas of Rhodiapolis, who financed the reconstruction of the theater, featuring their temple in Myra as the largest and most magnificent. This was reported also a legend of a handwritten outline of the sanctuary by Bishop Nicholas in the 6th century AD

Myra was a bishop 's seat, from 300 officiated as Bishop Nicholas of Myra.

809, the town was plundered by Arab troops led by Harun al -Rashid and subsequently lost in importance. During the reign of Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118) was Myra temporarily conquered by the Islamic Seldschukenherrschern. Italian merchants from Bari took advantage of the restless time to transfer the relics of Saint Nicholas in their home, where they arrived on May 9, 1087. Bari was then on a pilgrimage site of St. Nicholas cult.

The city was buried over the centuries under the mud of the Demre River; its ruins have been explored in the years 1965 and 1968 by the German archaeologist Jürgen Borchhardt.

On 6 December 2007, the Turkish Culture Minister Ertuğrul Gunay allowed the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, Opel, in the church dedicated to St. Nicholas of Demre to celebrate a religious service according to the Greek Orthodox liturgy. The last church service in the basilica had taken place in 2002. Although the Patriarchate presented each year an application, but received five years no permission. In addition, noted the Minister of Culture 25 000 euros as a donation to enable the basilica, which is in poor condition, can cope restored.


The first church of Saint Nicholas was built in the 6th century. Today's three-aisled basilica comes in the core from the 8th century. Constantine IX. Monomachos (1000-1055) and Empress Zoe renewed the church. A monastery was built in the second half of the 11th century, the monks the care of the pilgrimage was transferred.

Nicholas ' remains were removed in 1087 by Italian merchants to Bari. Thus, the Church lost its importance not completely, even later pilgrims sought them.

The Church, which for centuries has been sunk in the mud of the Demre River, was acquired by the Russian Tsar Alexander II in 1863 and partially restored. In 1963, the eastern and western side of the church was excavated. Since the 1990s, there will be other, Turkish excavations at the church. In its interior there are Byzantine frescoes and architectural sculpture and Roman sarcophagi, which were reused as spolia. Outside the church is a modern Nicholas Memorial.

Other attractions of the city are the Roman theater and the Lycian rock tombs.

The old port of Myra, Andriake, 5 kilometers south-west of Demre ( now called the Bay of Çayağzı ) is silted today. It is an early Hellenistic foundation. The Apostle Paul moved here in the year 59 AD on his journey to Rome the ship. The port infrastructure was massively expanded in the middle imperial times. In late antique - early Byzantine period the port flourished. In addition to the six churches, two public baths were built in this period. In the early Byzantine period was purple when Granarium won, which still bears witness to a vast waste hill which partially covers the former marketplace. In the early Middle Ages the settlement appears to have been abandoned, with the reasons for this development are not known, but they may be related to the increasing siltation.

Worth seeing is the old granary, granary, in which up to 6000 cubic meters of grain could be stored.

Also worth visiting the nearby village Üçagiz ( Kekova ) and the adjacent village Kaleköy are ( Simena ). Lycian rock tombs and sarcophagi tendrils are there - relatively well preserved - see.

In the coastal region the diving is prohibited but for snorkeling, the area is attractive around Kekova.