Kekova, Myra & Santa Claus

Today I went for a boat ride over the Mediteranean Sea to the island of Kekova. It's known for sunken city ruins. An earth quake in the second century brought the ancient city down into the water, though ruins are still visible along the coast. This would be a nice place to dive. The ruins weren't that much to look at, what was nice was just being on the boat on a very sunny day. It was very relaxing.

What I found out on this trip that I wasn't aware of was that St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) is from Turkey. At least that's where he lived and died; in Myra, an ancient city of Lycia. I thought it would be nice to visit the Church of St. Nicholas, which once housed his remains. I read that it had amazing frescos, and I wasn't disappointed, they were all over the church walls. St. Nicholas is well known for giving to the poor, hence why Santa Claus brings presents at Christmas. His way of helping the people also involved converting them to Christianity, which meant destroying a lot of ancient temples in order to stomp out paganism in the area.

The day concluded with a visit to the Myra ruins, within walking distance of the church. Impressive tombs are carved right into the mountain side, and they are the highlight. Unfortunately it is not possible to get very close to them. Viewing them is only possible from below. The site also has an intact theatre. The theatre was open to the public, but compared to the other theatre ruins I've seen so far on this trip, this one was nothing special.

Today I met some other visitors to Turkey. Ursula and Karen (mother and daughter) from Germany and Heather from the Isle of Man. They accompanied me for much of the day. It was so nice to have some company and share stories of travel. It's a great way to learn and pass the time on the bus.

Tomorrow should be interesting. I will be leaving Antalya for Anamur. I'll make my way to the local bus station and attempt to book a trip on my own. So far touring companies have been doing that for me, because I've been lazy. The bus stations here are insanely busy! In the bigger cities they're like giant malls with a dozen bus companies competing against each other. Though that makes it easier to get good prices, it makes it a lot more confusing for the foreigner.

Fearless Turkish captain of the boat to Kekova Island:

The sunken city of Kekova Island:

Kale, near Kekova island:

The Santa Clause worksh... err church:

Ceiling frescos in the Church of St. Nicholas:

Myra tombs in the mountain side:

Myra theatre with tombs in the background:

Turkish O Cristo Redentor -- actually it's just me with the Meditteranean Sea in the background: