St Paul in Demre

Demre was the first port that the ship St. Paul was boarded on the way to Rome to be tried put down anchor.

Even though Patara was his actual birth place Demre has a special association with the protector of children and sailors - Santa Claus. St. Nicholas, known throughout the whole world as Santa Claus, was born in Patara and served as the Bishop of Dernre. St. Nicholas did what he could to help all people, not only children as is believed nowadays. His sarcophagus decorated with fish scale patterns can be seen in the church built for him. The annual tradition of giving presents throughout the Christian world dates back to his leaving gifts outside the door of poor families for the first time in the year 270. The fish scale patterns on his tomb show that he was as much the protector of sailors as he is of the poor. Every year on December 6th, the date on which it is believed that he died, there are ceremonies in which children from all over the world participate at the church where his tumb is housed.