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Demre and Surroundings

Myra, today known as Demre, lies at the confluence of the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea and had a great reputation for its harbour and as a centre of worship. Large and small streams descending from the mountains up north converge as the Demre River in the Myra Canyon and flows to the sea. The plain where Demre was founded consists of the alluvial soil that was formed through the flow of the river passing through the Myra Canyon. At the eastern edge of this plain lies Dalyan, notable for its extraordinary landscape and a spawning area for many species of fish. At the western edge of the plain at the mouth of the Kokarçay River lies Andriake, the renowned historic harbour town, and on the northern edge you can find the ancient town of Myra.

Nature and History

Myra, which is surrounded by high mountain ranges, owed its wealth to the Elmalı Valley situated to its north and to the existence of good quality timber trees. This wealth rested on the high production capacity of the region and the imperial grain silos of Andriake. If the region had not enjoyed this production capacity, neither Myra nor Andriake, where one of the three imperial grain silos was built, could have attained their splendour. It also explains the presence of Myra’s striking theatre and rock tombs that leave visitors spellbound. If ageographical location is recognised for its productivity and wealth, its patron saints will also be acknowledged and respected.

Once Apollo, the God of Light and the protector of ancient seafarers fell from grace, sailors began to espouse Saint Nicholas as their patron saint instead and refused to set sail without attaching his icon to their ship’s wheel. It was these sailors who spread the cult of Saint Nicholas and made him a worldwide phenomenon.

A few nautical miles west of Demre are Kekova Island known for its submerged ruins and the ancient settlements of Theimiussa(Üçağız) and Simena (Kale) nearby. These are among the sites that must be seen by local and foreign tourists.

Demre and the Sea

The Çayağızı Beach is the foremost beach preferred by visitors and is located at the spot where the Kokarçay River empties into the sea. This river also flows through Andriake, which was the harbour of Myra in ancient times. However to really enjoy the sea in this region, you need toswim above the submerged ruins of the ancient towns in Kekova Island and Simena. These beaches on the west coast of the Gulf of Antalya are visited by almost all tourists who are on holiday in this region. They are truly a natural and historical marvel.