During our week in Kaş, my husband and I set out on our own sightseeing adventure. We drove to the neighboring town of Demre, formerly known as Myra. It was about a 45 minute drive – beautiful greenery, mountains, and sea side. Our first stop was the Church of St. Nick, THE St. Nick, Santa Claus!!
An ancient Byzantine Church . . . its usage is dated between 5th-12th centuries. It is most notable for being the burial place of St. Nicholas of Myra, who was the Eastern Orthodox bishop of the ancient city of Myra in the 4th century, and is an important religious figure for Eastern Orthodox Christians.
The visit doesn’t take long, maybe an hour. There were many Orthodox making pilgrimages while we were there.
Outside of the Church grounds, the town of Demre was kind of desolate for a tourist attraction town. There were many places to shop for religious items and mementos in walking distance. But not much else.
We stopped at one of the few restaurants in town. Priced normally, not for tourists, and with normal kebab type fare. We were happy and satisfied. I wish I could remember the name to give it a plug. I do remember the name of the restaurant across the street, Gazientep. DON’T GO THERE! They had a board outside with a short menu and no prices. We had stopped there first. We asked to see a menu, so we wouldn’t get gouged. The man in the front yelled back to a woman sitting at a table with her friends. He asked her to bring a menu. Her response? “They are looking at it.” She didn’t even bother to get up, or say it nicely. She barely turned her head over her shoulder as she sat with her back to us. Her restaurant was empty. We walked away as the man called after us. Their loss – our gain.
You can read more about the Church and the Center by clicking here to view its website.
If you are going:
- Just follow the signs to Demre. It’s hard to miss.
- Stop by the Myra Ruins as well. (Photos coming soon). It’s easy to do both and have lunch in about 4 hours.
- There are no regulations as to what to wear – but it is a Church.
- The Turkish Muze Kart is accepted.
. . it’s been a long time since we were last there and it certainly looks as though it’s been tarted-up!
living along the Thames rim, I quite lie the rough edges of Demre, it is what it is, a working town catering for the often low paid Turks who work in the surrounding poly tunnels and green houses, and the tourist industry along the coast. At first glance it can appear grim but like most places if you get below the surface it can be a friendly place, it is worth a visit if only to get an idea how the average Turk lives. Long ago it was designated to be a tourist town then some bright spark came up with the poly tunnels and they have grown like topsy and total destroyed the look of the place. Sadly the area around Xanthos which used to be stunning is beginning to go the same way, and the nearby town of Kinik is nearly surrounded by poly tunnels, and beginning to resemble Demre.
The area around the church of ST Nicholas in Demre is awful, and mainly caters for the Russian tourists who are bussed down from the Antalya region to visit the church, and have a boat trip, and eat a packed lunch. Many seem hung over from the free all inclusive drink. I feel these all inclusives are a curse, no matter where they are, it is global capitalism at it worse. The tourist on them spend little in the local economies, yet lap up local resources, especially water, and when they get over the hotel wire, they are shepherded around like dumb sheep. (apologies to Larry the Lamb, baaaa)
Having said this, compared with Kas or even Finike, Demre is a sorry sight, a better example of a working town is Kumluca further up the coast.