ANTALYA MYRA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
The Ancient City of Myra, located in and around the centre of the present-day Demre District, was founded on the plain of the same name. The city was connected to the sea by a convenient canal west of the Myros River (today's Demre Stream). The sea transportation and trade of the region were also carried out from the port of Andriake (Çayağzı) located on the other side of the canal. The Ancient City of Myra is especially famous for its Lycian-Era rock tombs, Roman-Era theatre and Byzantine-Era Church of St. Nicholas (Santa Claus). Rock tombs, Lycian inscriptions and coins show that Myra existed at least from the 5th century before Christ. According to the information given by Strabo, Myra, one of the six big cities of the Lycian League, is referred to as Myrrh in the Lycian inscriptions. The 2nd century after Christ is the period when Myra witnessed great development. In the city, which was the Metropolis of the Lycian League, many buildings were built and repaired with the help of rich Lycian people. During the Byzantine Period, Myra was one of the leading cities in terms of administration as well as religious aspects. His reputation, which has survived to this day, is that of St. Nicholas (Santa Clause) A.C 4. He owes it to the fact that he became the bishop of the city in the XIII century, and after his death, he reached the rank of a saint and built a church in his name. Since the 7th century, Myra lost its importance due to earthquakes, floods, alluviums brought by the Demre Stream, and Arab raids, and turned into a village identity in the 12th century. The present-day ruins are formed by the theatre located at the southern foot of the Acropolis and the rock tombs located on both sides of it.
According to the research, it is possible to come across the ruins of the Hellenistic and even the 5th century B.C walls on the acropolis hill and its surroundings, apart from the Roman Period walls, which are in a very solid condition today. Located on the southern foothill of the acropolis, the theatre reflects the characteristics of a well-preserved Roman theatre with its rows of seats and the stage building. The stage building is standing up to half of the second floor. There are embossed or flat rock tombs on both sides of the theatre. One of the most interesting examples is the tomb with a relief depicting the dead and their relatives in the Myra tombs, which are the best-adapted examples of the Lycian wooden house architecture to the rock tombs. In addition, many rock-cut tombs with reliefs or inscriptions are placed on top of each other or side by side on the south-facing side of the rock. On the way to the city centre near the theatre, the remains of the baths on the left of the road are early and interesting examples of Roman brick architecture. The city's water needs were met by channels carved into the rock on the side of the valley where the Demre Stream flowed. The fact that Myra, one of the 6 cities in the Lycian confederation with 3 voting rights, is referred to as the "brightest city" shows how important it is. It is of particular importance that the mother goddess of the city, Artemis, was represented in the form of Cybele, the oldest goddess of Anatolia, on the coins minted with her own name, as well as the coins belonging to the Lycian confederation of Myra. The fact that Myra, which was the capital of the Lycian state in the 2nd century AD, was the city where St Paul and his friends stopped, has special importance for Christianity.