Saturday, September 23, 2017

Discovering St. Nicholas along Turkey's Coast

Hello.  It feels like ages since I wrote you all of you.  I hope you had a good end to the summer and a great start to autumn.  I'd love for you to go along with me on a little adventure today.  It was an unplanned adventure for me and one that I will never forget!

We're going to start from Alanya on Turkey's central Mediterranean coastline in the Antalya province and we will travel to Fethiye in the Mugla province.  Fethiye is a beautiful fishing village with a lovely natural harbor situated on Turkey's Aegean coastline.

It's late afternoon and after driving along a narrow road above the city of Fethiye, we continue on the road and take a right turn which puts us on a newly paved, well marked two lane road.  We continue along, going over the mountain top until we can see a lovely valley below.

We end up in the village of Karakoy.  We spy a sign that points us to St. Nicholas  Church; not sure since the sign was in Turkish! With the blue and white colors, it feels like I'm truly in the Aegean.  There are signs of Ataturk all over Turkey since he's the father of modern day Turkey. 

Look at this view from the mountain top.  Stunning, natural, untouched beauty...

It turns out that this little village is a hot spot for tourists with their many boutique style hotels/pensions.

Driving slow through the village, we spy these amazing sheep grazing on the side of a lovely Turkish style home...

After a few more minutes drive, we arrive at the entrance to where we are going.  Maybe I should reword that, we are not sure where we're going but luckily we found the right place!  After paying 25TL; approximately $7.00, we find ourselves at the water's edge.  Across the water, tucked along side the edge of this island are the remains of churches and other buildings dating from the 3rd to 6th century.  This is where St. Nicholas was originally buried.

It's late in the afternoon and although the captain of the small dingy boat offered to take us ashore, we didn't have time to explore.  And, for sure you need proper footware!

Back to present day; I was so excited to have found the original place of where St. Nicholas was buried.  I'm Orthodox and I took my catechism at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Tacoma, WA.  It holds a special place in my heart.

Time to get back in the car and make our journey back home to Alanya after spending three delightful days in Fethiye.  St. Nicholas' body was moved 25 miles to the East to the ancient city of Myra.  St. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra.  Myra is now known as modern day Demre, named for the Demre River.

Driving along the beautiful coast highway outside of Fethiye, we spy another sign for St. Nicholas church.  Making our way into the city, we find the church and following the road a little ways to where we see this huge area. . .We have found the ancient city of Myra!

We're greeted by an icon of St. Nicholas (notice that all the signage is in Russian).  I'll try to explain.  Turkey has a rich history that includes the ancient Church.  Modern day Istanbul was ancient Constantinople and is still home to the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church.    

There are many ancient Christian sites in Turkey.  Due to a political situation, the Greeks are not frequent visitors to Turkey.  The next large Orthodox group of 
Christians are the Russians.  And, the Russians love to come to Turkey on all inclusive vacations.  Hence, the Russian marketing at St. Nicholas site.  It's sad that more people are not aware of this amazing place.

This is the entrance to Myra.  It dates from the first century BC and you can still see the remains of the amphitheatre.

Can't you just image this area centuries ago?  It quite fascinating to think about it.

One of the most spectular scenes are these cliff dwellings.  Or, I should saw, rock cut tombs cared on the cliff side.

St. Nicholas became bishop of Myra in the 4th century.  Also, St. Paul changed ships at Myra's port on his way to Rome.   You can read more about St. Paul and St. John in Turkey here.

The sun was starting to set and we still have a three hour journey before we reach home in Alanya.  You can now sit back and rest awhile. . .

I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into this fascinating part of Turkey's history.  It really was by chance that we discovered these ancient places.  

Many people have asked me about Turkey and whether it is safe, etc.  We have always been treated very well and never have had any problem.  Of course, it depends were you are, like any place in the world.  Our goal when we are in Turkey is to be a part of the country, meet and make friends with Turkish people and learn more about this fascinating country.  And, of course, respect their country and culture.

I will be back soon with another post about Turkey.  Thank you everyone for visiting my blog.  And, Lilly thanks you too for your comments from her blog post :)

With my best wishes,


Pat

PS...Our modern day Santa Claus is derived from St. Nicholas!





6 comments:

  1. that's really special!!! I love St Nicholas too!!! God has really blessed you to be able to take that trip!!! thanks so much for sharing!

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  2. Lovely photos of your special visit. Glad you enjoyed your stay. Interesting to learn about St. Nicholas. Have a good week, Cx

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  3. We loved living in Turkey and traveled a lot in the area you've so beautifully photographed.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos and history of Turkey. It's beautiful and amazing. Interesting information on St. Nicholas. I love the carved tombs in the hillside. Hugs xo Karen

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  5. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful carved tombs and the view from the mountaintop. ♥

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  6. Thanks for this beautiful post, Pat. Did I tell you that I attended St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Portland for nearly a year? I'm so glad you had a good trip! I am still catching up from all my travels this year :) xx

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