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They discover in Turkey the tomb of Saint Nicholas, the prototype of Santa Claus


Turkish archaeologists have unearthed the remains of an ancient basilica from the 3rd century in which Saint Nicholas was bishop.

Archaeologists discovered, under a Byzantine church in Turkey, the tomb of Saint Nicholas, venerated by Orthodox Christians and known in Western popular culture as Santa Claus.

The Saint Nicholas’s tomb was discovered when Turkish researchers unearthed the remains of an ancient temple dating back to the 3rd century that was flooded in the Middle Ages by rising Mediterranean sea levels, local news agency Demirören quoted the chairman of the Board as saying. Antalya Regional Cultural Heritage Preservation, Professor Osman Eravşar.

The saint, who lived between 270 and 343 d. C., is known for his donations to the poor, and in particular for the delivery of bags of gold to three girls to save them from prostitution, according to legend.

Saint Nicholas lived and died in what is now Turkey. Eravşar pointed out that the Byzantine church was built in the 7th-8th centuries on the old foundations of an early chapel in which the saint was a bishop and that it became a place of worship for Orthodox Christians.

“In fact, this is the soil of the time in which he lived, and we are talking about the soil that the feet of Saint Nicholas stepped on. This is an extremely important discovery, the first find of that period”, affirms the professor.

The authorities related to the Turkish cultural heritage have plans to preserve the find and prepare its exhibition.


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