We had a group trip out with 18 of us from the Marina organised by Maggie. Our first stop was the Ancient City of Myra. There are Lycian Tombs carved into the hillside from the 4th century BC and were for VIP’s. On the outside walls of the tombs there are carvings, some of which are funeral scenes and others showing the daily life of the deceased.
The Greco -Roman Amphitheatre is the largest theatre in Lycia It has 38 rows of seats and its facade was richly decorated with theatrical masks and mythological scenes.
Turkey is a Muslim country and doesn’t celebrate Christmas. However, we didn’t realise that St Nicholas was born in Myra. Although at the time of his birth Myra, now known as Demre, was part of Greece not Turkey.
The next segment is about Father Christmas, so if you don’t want your illusions burst then don’t read the next bit!! ……
St Nicholas, AKA Father Christmas and in Turkey he is known as Noel Baba, was born in Patara, and died on 6th December 343, contrary to popular belief he isn’t in the North Pole. He was the Bishop of Myra and is patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and unmarried people. Legend says amongst many other things he stopped a violent storm to save doomed sailors and donated money to a father who was forced to sell his daughters into prostitution. His tomb is in St Nicholas Church, Demre, however, some say that a group of sailors came to Demre from Bari in 1087, opened his tomb and took his bones to Bari in Italy for protection. The bone fragments, which were believed to belong to St. Nicholas that were not taken to Bari, are exhibited in the Antalya Museum.
We visited St Nicholas Church on the anniversary of St Nicholas’ death on 6th December. This day is a big occasion and a service is held in commemoration. A priest from either the Greek or the Russian Orthodox Church visits and conducts the service. Pilgrims travel here every year on the anniversary and there was quite a crowd. They all took holy communion and then kissed the cross the priest was holding which was quite a surprise considering we were in a pandemic!
SAFE TO START READING AGAIN – the story about St Nicholas, AKA Father Christmas, is over.
After a spot of lunch, we headed the Lycian Civilisation Museum which has only been open for a couple of years. There are various ruins and displays of artefacts that have been found in Lycian cities. The museum sits on the port of Andriake and was used until the 7th Century AD. It is now a swamp and access to the sea has been cut off.
Finike has quite a big marina community and there are the usual Friday night Happy Hours and Sunday BBQ’s. We also had regular training sessions where Sarah took us through our paces and bridge twice a week, this does sound very middle aged!
We also had some musicians amongst us and the week before Christmas they put on a concert for us where songs were played and some sea shanties were sung.