History, Culture and Religion on the Turquoise Coast

History, Culture and Religion on the Turquoise Coast

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The Blue Cruise in the warm waters of Turkey guarantees a unique experience. Hospitality, history and culture rolled into one.

Ucagız Village Kekova TombsThe history of this region is rich and varied. The Lycian Empire pre-dates Christ and although Turkey is a Muslim Country there are remnants of other religions as well as of the various civilisations that once existed in this stunning landscape. The modern road along the south west coast of Turkey is recent in historical terms. The best means of transport over the years has always been the sea. The sea now offers a unique experience for those enjoying cruising with the chance to anchor wherever passengers wish.

Demre

The modern town of Demre west of Antalya and Kemer was once the site for the ancient Lycian City of Myra, the original home of Saint Nicholas who was the man who in more recent years is identified as Santa Claus. The town has a number of enjoy deserted houses which were the homes of Greeks who left almost a century ago in the forced Greek-Turkish population exchange.

201408031738400V3MkhW1-934xPrior to the enormous growth in tourism the immediate region was known primarily for its agriculture which still guarantees the wonderful fresh produce that accompanies local fish to delight tourists, many of them Christian wanting among other things to visit the Demre Turkey Saint Nicholas tomb.

The town now has a population of around 15,000 that welcomes visitors by road or sea.

Lycian Empire

The Lycians lived between the Greeks in the West and the Near East. There was little in the way of conflict between their cities, in sharp contrast to the regular conflict between Greek cities. They had their own language before adopting Greek during the 3rd Century BC. The region was the last on the Mediterranean Coast to be incorporated into the Roman Empire. Their lasting legacy is the wonderful rock tombs that are found throughout the area that they once inhabited.

Saint Nicholas

It seems strange that Santa Claus whose modern day image is often surrounded by snow and whose trips before Christmas to the icy north actually is someone who lived in the warm climate of Southern Turkey. Saint Nicholas was Bishop of Myra in the 4th Century. His status is recognized in many religions; Anglican, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran among others. To Russians, he is an icon and his image usually appears as an old man with a white beard. A bronze statue of Saint Nicholas was donated by Russia and stands in a corner near the renovated Church. The construction of today’s Church began in the 8th Century with a monastery added three centuries later.

He is the patron saint of sailors and merchants as well as such things as children and students to archers and repentant thieves. There are a number of legends relating to him and the whole subject of his life and the aftermath is fascinating.

History

Other than the tomb of Saint Nicholas and the Church bearing his name, there are a number of things dating back to the Roman Empire which will interest anyone interested in history. Coins have been found dating back to 300BC, there are the remains of a Roman Theatre and ruins of the old settlements of Andriake and Simena.

Simena Castle KekovaIn contrast there are also ruins that are now under water; Kekova which is found amongst the islands close by.

The whole of the Coast of Turkey is stunning.  This area is towards the eastern end of what is regarded as South West Turkey. All the way from this region, past Kas, Fethiye, Marmaris, and Datca round to the Western Coast and the Aegean, cruising is a delight.  Visitors can join a Blue Cruise Bodrum Turkey as well as enjoy the many Greek Islands so close to the Turkish Coast. Any publicity that the Greeks and Turks are intolerant of each other is clearly nonsense.

The climate is very predictable. Anyone visiting this region in the main summer weeks is guaranteed cloudless skies and plenty of warm sunshine. Even spring and autumn are warm and pleasant with any rainfall unlikely to spoil their enjoyment. The temperature of the sea drops only marginally as well. There are many compelling reasons for a holiday with a difference enjoying a wonderful climate, great cuisine as well as going back in history.

 

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