Today called as “Demre”, Myra was one of the largest parts of Lycian alliance since 168 BC and was at the same time the metropolis of Lycia in early Christian times.

The town is mostly associated with Santa Claus or Saint Paul who was the protector of the sailors and who changed ships in Myra’s port on his way to his trial in Rome in about 60 AD, as considered to be his hometown.
The exact date of Myra's foundation is still unknown.  There is not a literary mention of it before the 1st century BC. It is believed to date back much further however. The earliest church of St. Nicholas in Myra was built in the 6th century.

The Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II made Myra the capital of the Byzantine Eparchy Lycia until the city fell to the Harun Ar-Rashid in 808 AD after a seige and went into decline.  Then, early in the reign of Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118 AD), Myra was overtaken by Seljuks. Because of the terrible plague, muslim raids, flooding and eartquakes, Myra was mostly abandoned by the 11th century.
Besides the Church of St. Nicholas, the city is also well known for its amphitheatre (the largest in Lycia with 13.000 seats capacity) and the plethora of rock-cut tombs carved in the cliff above the theatre. Lycian tombs were always placed at the top of hills or on the cliffs upon the belief that the dead would be transported to another world by a wing liked creature…