Archaeologists in Turkey have made a discovery which could settle a century-old debate and disappoint millions of children around the world.
An intact tomb has been found underneath St. Nicholas Church, in the Demre district of Turkey’s south-west province of Antalya. Demre was built on the ruins of Myra, where St Nicholas was thought to have lived in the 4th Century.
The bones of St Nicholas were believed to be in Bari, Italy until now.It had been thought they were taken by Italian merchants in 1087 when Myra, at the time a Greek town was invaded by the Seljuk Turks.
Cemil Karabayram, Antalya Director of Surveying and Monuments, said recent scientific and technological studies had revealed the existence of an intact tomb under the church.He also said that during a study of old documents they had found notes saying the bones taken to Bari had belonged to another priest.He said he is very optimistic about uncovering Saint Nicholas’s remains, but warned it will take some time to scale each tile one by one and remove them as a whole in a mold.
A CT scan, a geo-radar and eight academics had been brought in for the final stages of the excavation work.
He added, “The world’s eyes will be set on here. We claim that St Nicholas has been kept in this temple without any damage. We are at the last stage. If we get the results, Antalya’s tourism will gain big momentum.”