Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lycia and environs

Myra (now Demre), an old city of Lycia is around 300km from Antalya. It is reached via a circuitous coastal road passing by Mt Olympos, with citrus plantations and big greenhouses for vegetables. Myra being one of the major cities then, started on 5th century BC.Under Roman rule Myra prospered and expanded. St Paul stopped there taking ship for Rome in 60AD. Under Byzantines, it is an important administration and religious center. St Nicholas was Bishop of Myra in 4th Century and performed many miracles there, eventually martyrd there too. Now it is always a place for pilgrimage and a place of interest for Christians.

Disasters plagued Myra in 7th century AD with Arab raids, flooding and earthquake. Remaining was the largest theater with 29 rows of seats and 10,000 spectators. The necropolis built on the rocky hillside near the theater is also left preserved. The Lycians believed that a winged serpent get the soul of the departed, so they put the tombs in elevated high grounds for the serpent to easily get near. The old village is already 6m below the present ground level. Another prominent remains is the Church of St Nicholas or Santa Claus, now standing 7m below ground level. Our tourist guide said that it is the Coca Cola Co. of Scandinavia who popularized the advertisement of St Nicholas as Santa Claus, which proliferated to the present day.

The present village of Demre is sleepy in winter but becomes alive again in spring when tourists begin to appear, the sea being only 5km away.

7 comments:

  1. danda danda naman... :)

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  2. What a fascinating place. Other cultures have had cliff dwellings like that, too.

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  3. whaat a wonderful place tosee with lotsof history

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  4. Fascinating reading and seeing your brilliant photographs. Those cliff dwellings must hold so much history and could tell a tale or two!
    Thank you so much for sharing and taking me there. I think it might be one to add to my wish list!

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  5. what a beautiful place. thanks for sharing.

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  6. What a fantastic piece of human history

    Mollyxxx

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  7. Interesting archaeological site!

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