Posted on 14 February 2011
Is Santa Claus in demand ? More than 400,000 visit Church of St Nicholas
Pilgrims and tourists alike come to the Church of St. Nicholas in the Mediterranean coastal town of Demre to pay homage to a protector of children and sailors, who has also taken his place in the popular culture as a jolly toymaker.
According to official statistics obtained from the Tourism Ministry’s provincial directorate, 422,157 people visited the church, which now serves as a museum, in the first nine moths of this year.
Tourism officials noted that revenue in the first nine months of this year was greater than last year’s total.
The restoration work in the church during the last 10 years has revealed unique paintings on the walls. Another part of the museum that attracts interest is St Nicholas’ grave. St Nicholas is believed to be Santa Claus.
Arika Melborn of the United States said that until her visit she was not aware that Santa Claus might have lived in Anatolia.
Friday, October 10, 2008 – DEMRE, Antalya – Anatolia News Agency (Abridged)