Myra Ancient City
Myra is an important Lykia city, where Saint Nicholaos was a bishop and therefore maintained its reputation throughout the entire Middle Ages, and its name means “the place of the Great Goddess of the Mother”. Myra, which is known as “Myrrh” in the Lycian language, was founded on the sea-facing slope of the mountains that turned the Demre plain from the northwest. The city, which was first built from the hill on the rock tombs of today, expanded downwards and became one of the six important cities of Lykia. The city BC. IV. There is a mother goddess relief on the first coin minted in the 19th century.
Ancient sources BC. Although they talked about Myra from the 1st century BC, the rock tombs and the coins they stepped on, at least BC. It is understood that it existed in the 5th century.
Demre Stream (Myros), which runs through the city, developed sea trade, but caused pirates to easily raid. For this reason, Myrans tried to stop these raids by stretching a chain to the mouth of the river in Andriake. B.C. Brutus, who killed Caesar at 42, came to Lykia to collect soldiers, after receiving Xanthos, he sent the commander Lentulus to Myra to collect money. Although the Myra opposed it and tried to defend themselves, the commander entered the city by breaking the chains stretched to the mouth of the river. A.D. Germanicus and his wife Agrippina, who were the children of Tiberius at 18, visited here and showed their respect to Andriake, their port, by erecting their sculptures. A.D. At 60, St. Paul changes ship on Myra on his way to Rome. Old sources record that there were voyages between Myra and Limyra.
Myra M.S., the metropolis of the Lycian League. II. There was a great development in the century, many buildings were built here with the help of Lycian rich people. For example, Licinius Langus from Oinoanda gave 10,000 dinars and built the theater and portico. We also understand from the inscriptions that Iason, Rhodiapolis and Kyeanaili, also helped the development of Myra. Saint Nicholaos II was the archbishop of Myra. It is known that in the time of Theodosion (408 – 450) Myra was the capital of the Lycian Region. City, VII. Starting from the 19th century IX. It was subjected to Arab raids until the 19th century, and in 809 one of Harun El Reşit’s commanders conquered Myra. In the sea attacks made by the Arabs in 1034, Nicholaos Church was destroyed. The unrest caused by the Arab raids, the frequent flooding of Myros Stream, the filling of some structures with the soil that came due to this overflow, and the earthquakes that occurred in the meantime caused the city to be abandoned.
There is not much left in the acropolis on the mountain above the theater. Spratt, who visited Myra in 1842 and came to the acropolis, saw that there was nothing but small stones. In the city walls dating from the Roman Period, it was left from the Hellenistic Period and even in BC. There are wall remains belonging to the 5th century. On the way to the city near the theater, at the end of the road there are ruins of late periods, which may be a bath or a basilica.
Myra’s water needs were met by the canals opening to the rock face on the side of the valley where Demre stream flows. Other structures of Myra are under the ground today and they are waiting for the time to reach the light of day. While coming to Myra, in the Karabucak locality on the road, the well-preserved Roman Age grave monument to our day attracts attention.
The ancient city of Sura, which is famous for its prophecy, is located on Andriake, the port of Myra in the mouth of tea, and the ancient city of Trebenda is located in Gürses, a few kilometers from Sura. Myra’s magnificent theater has survived until today. The cavea of the theater, which was established on the slope of the steep mountain behind it, has been largely carved into the rocks.
In Myra, which is famous for its rock tombs, the tombs were collected in two places, just above the theater and in the place called the river necropolis on the east side.
Known as “Santa Claus” all over the world, Aziz Nicholaos, known mostly as Santa Klaus in European countries, is a cleric who lived in Anatolia. The importance of today’s Italy to Sicily Island, Naples, Bari, Germany’s Frieburg and even the patron saint of New York city in America is reinforced with commemoration ceremonies held on December 6 of each year.
Today, Santa Klaus is undoubtedly formed by the birth of a semi-religious and very popular type with the merging of the legend of Santa Claus, who is the protector and delight of the children of kindness in Scandinavia, and the personalities of Saint Nicholaos of Myra. It is understood that the root of this type was taken from the very old beliefs of Scandinavian countries, when Santa Claus wandered with a sled pulled by deers. However, the places where the real Myra Saint Nicholaos live are the Mediterranean coasts that never snow. His troubled children, his protective personality, a sacred presence in the north, perhaps a god lost in the darkness of the early ages, turned into a sympathetic old man who appeared at Christmas nights and brought gifts to children. No matter how unrealistic, Santa Claus lives in Christian countries as a lovable person, especially with children.
Not much is known about the life of Saint Nicholaos, as in many saints. Later, his life was decorated with many legends. It is known that he is the child of a family who trade cereals. In the religious books written about his life, it was pointed out that he was born as a gift of the sky, a fruit of his parents’ prayers and charity, the savior of the poor, and it was believed to create miracles when he was a baby.
The day of death of St. Nicholaos is considered to be December 6 by all Christians. However, it cannot be said that this date is based on a certain source. VI, the oldest sources mentioning the saints. The “Vita Sionitae” and “Vita de Stratelatis” works of the century do not give an exact date of death. In these sources, it was recorded that only the birthplace of the saint was Patara, the biggest port of Lycia. The fact that Apostle Paulos continued in Patara in the first years of Christianity, gave Patara one of the cities mentioned in the Bible. This episode explains that after the third trips with Apostle Paulos’ friend Luke, they stayed in Patara while returning from Miletos to Jerusalem and where they continued their journey, possibly by getting on a bigger ship.
AD Nicholas III. It is said that he was born in Patara at the end of the century and he spent his youth in Patara until he became a pastor to Myra. In his youth, travels to Palestine and Egypt were mentioned, the period he lived in, Emperor Constantine period or III. IV by the end of the century. It is stated to be the beginning of the century. After his death, churches were built in many cities of Europe, among which VI. Built in Istanbul in the 19th century, the Basilica is the most striking structure. Recognized as the most respected Saint of Russia and Greece, he was respected as the guardian of children prisoners, seafarers and travelers.
His reality and miracles will be discussed, his reality will be discussed, and countless stories have been told. It is said that the decision to become a bishop was made based on the prophecies or election meeting decision, based on being the first man to enter the church the next day. Other stories relate to the suffering he suffered during the persecution of Christians during the reign of Emperor Dioeletianus (284-305). He was arrested and chained by judges because of his belief, and was released by Christian Emperor Constantine a few years later to return to Myra.
In another story, Azizin I.S. It is said that he attended the Council, which was convened in Nicaca (Iznik) in 325. Once, he enters the dream of Emperor Constantine and tells him to release those who have been unfairly sentenced to death.
Once, Myra saved her people from hunger with the grains she bought from a ship traveling from Egypt to Istanbul. However, when the ship arrives in Istanbul, there is no decrease in its load. This is perhaps one of the miracles that were attributed to Aziz being the boss of the sailors. Because it was a tradition for the sailors sailing in the Mediterranean to say “Keep the rudder of Saint Nicholaos” as a good wish to each other before sailing. The Lycian beaches where Aziz worked as a cleric in his health were the most important maritime center of the Mediterranean, and the inhabitants were the famous seafarers of the Mediterranean. For this reason, many miracles of Aziz about the sea are also found in religious books.
The two stories also show that he was the patron saint of children. In one, when people are starving, the butcher breaks down in their sleep to invite and sell three young people to their home. Saint Nicholaos rushes to the butcher’s house as soon as he hears this and revives the youth. Another poor trader thinks of selling them when they can’t afford to marry their daughters.
Aziz Nicholaos saves the girls from falling bad by throwing three bags of money into the merchant’s house. This story is believed to be the reason why children received gifts on the day of Santa Klaus, and that hostages in Europe were the source of the tradition of hanging three golden balls in their shops. The reason why Aziz’s painting is depicted in icons with three golden balls is also based on this story.
Myra Excavations started in 2009 under the presidency of Nevzat Çevik and continue. According to Çevik, Myra’s early name is Muri. Although some researchers think that Myra is the same settlement as Arzawa’s Mira, there is no proven connection. There is no written source about Myra before Myra became a member of the Lycian alliance (168 – 43 BC); According to Strabo (14: 665), it was one of the biggest cities of the alliance.
The Greek people worshiped Artemis Eleutheria, the goddess of the city. Zeus, Athena and Tike were also worshiped.
Most of the ruins of the city, which belongs to the Lycian and Roman periods, are under alluvial deposits. The acropolis on the mountain above the ancient theater has been heavily destroyed. Near the theater are the late ruins that can be a bath and a basilica. The open-air theater was destroyed in an earthquake in 141, but was later reconstructed.
There are two Lycian necropolis in Myra, they are gathered on the rock on the theater and in the east of it called the river necropolis. Most of the rock tombs look like a big house from afar, and some are in the shape of a temple. The most remarkable grave of the river necropolis is the “Pictured Grave”, which the traveler Charles Fellows said that when he saw the rock tombs in 1840, he could still choose red, yellow, blue and purple colors, and today there are only traces of red and blue colors. Another noteworthy thing in this grave is the figure of eleven people made in real relief.
The Myrans chained the mouth of the river to protect Andriake against the raids of the pirates. This chain was broken when entering the city by commander Lentulus Spinther, who was sent to Myra by Marcus Junius Brutus in 42 BC.
In the early times of Christianity, Myra was the metropolis of Lycia. St. Paul changes ships in his port on his way to Rome in 60 AD. He was the head of the empire between 408 and 450. It is known that in the time of Teodosius, Saint Nicholaos was the archbishop of Myra and Myra was the capital of Lycia.