THIS IS A FIRST RATE ANCIENT SITE,IT IS FOUND SOME 24K FROM FINIKE ON THE FINIKE TO KAS COAST ROAD.
THERE ARE A EXERLENT ROCK TOMBS TO BE SEEN ,AND A VERY WELL PRESERVED THEATER,ALL THIS AND THE CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS[SANTA CLAUS]WITH PLENTY OF SHOPS AND A MARKET TOO.
St Nicholas, yes the Santa Claus actually came from Patara in Turkey and he died in Myra around 350 AD. Stories of his charitable works became legendary and by the 10th century St. Nicholas was the most popular folk saint in the Byzantine realm, counting as the patron saint of children, poor virgins, innocent prisoners, sailors and Russians.
His tomb in Myra became a place of pilgrimage and the original church of St Nicholas was built around it in the 6th century.
UPDATE: for our visit in 2007 I was amazed at the change in the town, camel rides so many more souvenir shops and market stalls (mainly selling icons of St Nicholas) around a white stepped square with a tacky father Christmas statue - really a case of touristic overkill and apart from the ice-cream enjoyed here I was glad to escape to Simena.
The original church of St Nicholas was destroyed in an Arab raid and the church was rebuilt in its present form with the help of Constantine IX and Empress Zoe in 1043. It later fell into disuse in Turkish times until 1862 when Czar Alexander I bought the edifice and began restoring it. Further restorations have been carried our in more recent years by the Turkish government.
Its a really interesting place to visit and often combined with the nearby rock tombs at Myra.
UPDATE: In 2007 when we re-visited this area the church was under a large canopy - for the ongoing restoration work - obstructing the view of the front façade. We didn't go inside again to see the beautiful frescoes - photography inside is not allowed either. From the rear through a wire fence you can see the older part of the church ruins.
As you wander around the rubble and rocks of the theatre strewn at you feet are fragments from the façade, which was richly decorated with theatrical masks and mythological scenes. They make for great photo opportunities of modern faces against the old! Keep an eye out for macabre set of three carved masks.
Just down the coast from Kale is Myra where some impressive and well preserved Lycian monuments can be seen. In particular there are collection of rock tombs and an imposing 2nd century theatre. Well worth a stop here - once you get past the thronging souvenir market stalls which have appeared since our first visit here - a shame it is now overly touristic and crowded but still a fascinating place. There are two main groups, one above the theatre (see next tip) and the other in a place called the river necropolis on the east side. The tombs were once coloured blue, yellow and red, according to Charles Fellows when he discovered he city in 1840 - must have been such a colourful sight. Most of the tombs are from the 4th century BC, and contain funeral scenes in relief, some scenes portraying the daily life of the deceased. Look out for the House tomb (pic 3) - sited to the left hand side of the main cliff tombs and a carving in the rock of a man holding hands with a child (pic 4).
In later years the theatre at Myra was used for gladiator fights. This Greco-Roman theatre with its 38 rows of seating is the largest theatre in Lycia and enjoys a fine backdrop with the tombs in the cliff face behind. The site is a bit of a jumble with loose rocks and rubble strewn around the place - most of the seating is intact but the stage building is partly collapsed. Climb to the top of the theatre for impressive views and to hear the wonderful acoustics.
Ok you just have to see this place - situated roughly between Fethiye and Antalya on the southern Turkish coast. We were so glad to return here and actually visit the village rather than just sail past. as in our first visit to this area. The approach to Kalekoy from the sea harbour of Ucagiz is so delightful and the water really is that blue!. The crusader castle sitting high on the hill is surrounded by the remains of the ancient city - picture perfect. Its a bit of a steep climb up crumbling rocky steps to the castle, especially in the heat but only takes about 15 minutes. On the way up you'll have to negotiate your way past the local sellers plying their craft of colourful scarves and jewellery.There is an entrance fee to the castle too of a few Turkish lira - worth it for the view. On the way down enjoy a cold drink at one of the many bars with terraces overlooking the sea.
As well as the sarcophagi lining the hills this half sunken one in the bay of kekova is a popular sight to be photographed with. its such a strange sight to see this tomb in the water. Its easier to see from the water - in 2007 we had to trek up and down the hillside to reach the spit of land where we could view the rock tomb closer up. Plus it was so hot that day we were soon glad to reach some a restaurant for a cold drink.
The ancient city of Simena once consisted of two parts - an island and a coastal part of the mainland. The coastal part today is an idylic fishing village with its crusader castle on the hill. Across the bay are the islands where half-submerged ruins of the residential part of Simena can be seen - the result of terrible earthquakes of the 2nd century AD. Notice the staircases descending into the water. Foundations of buildings and the ancient harbour are also seen below the sea. Most of the ruins are truthfully hard to see, you have to use your imagination a bit as they are quite sunken - its not quite the lost city of Atlantis!
The earliest church of St. Nicholas at Myra was built in the 6th century. The present-day church stems mainly from the 8th century; a monastery was added in the second half of the 11th century.In 1863 Czar Alexander II of Russia bought the building and started to have it restored, but the work was never finished. In 1963 the eastern and southern sides of the church was excavated, in 1968 the former burial of St. Nicholas was roofed over. The floor of the church is made of opus sectile, a mosaic of coloured marble, and there are some remains of wall-paintings. A Greek marble sarcophagus had been reused to bury the Saint, but his bones were stolen in 1087 by merchants from Bari, and now held in the cathedral of that city.
The Demre Santa wouldn't go to New Zealand. Just a hundred metres or so from his old church, near where the tour buses park, there is a giant bronze sculpture of St Nick standing on a painted globe.
Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa, is a legendary gift-giving icon who distributes presents to sleeping children and adults who have been "good" all year; traditionally during the night of December 24, Christmas Eve. The popular American form Santa Claus originated as a mispronunciation of Dutch Sinterklaas, which is a contracted form of Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicholas).
It is believed that Kale (Simena) and Kekova are often called the "sunken city" due to the numerous ruins and sarcophaguses halfway underwater.
But along the shore of Kekova are also the remains of an old city ruined following a earthquake during the byzantine period.
Parts of old houses and walls are half above and half under the water, while probably the most impressive is the staircase going... who knows where?
The crystal clear water allows also a wonderful view of the ruins which are now under the water level.
Due to its location the Island of Kekova is relatively unknown to tourists.
The best way to get to Kekova and see the surrounds is by boat. We took one fisherman boat from Ucagiz and had a great trip around the island, to see the remains of the suken city.
Kekova is actually a group of little islands and bays that form an oasis of peace and calm.
The most important attractions are the Lycian tombs, some of them halfway underwater, the sunken city and the ruins of fort Kalakoi.
The theater located in the beautiful medieval fortress on the hill of Kale is the smallest in Lycia.
With places for only 300 persons, the small theatre is carved in stone and has only seven rows of seats.
Another important place to see in Kale is the one with the ruins of a bath with a polygonal wall construction, located on the shore. According to the inscriptions found here it was dedicated to Emperor Titus.
The modern village of Kale, ancient Simena, can be reached by the coastal road from Demre or from Ucagýz, is one of the most charming Lycian sites.
With old tombs, the well preserved medieval fortress and the underwater ruins, Kale is a wonderful destination for a pleasant trip.
About Simena it is said that in Roman times it was a member of the Lycian federation, but the town was founded much earlier.