It is now the season...season for Santa Claus! We all know him, and most children in the world know him. His presence with us is maybe as old as the Christmas tree, although i haven't searched that. Commerce use him to the fullest, with lots of his images of all sizes, as well as the gifts he will be giving yearly. And there is even a Santa Claus University. In 2011 alone, there are 2000 enrollees in one University of Santa Claus in South California. And because there is the idea that he is from North Pole, there is even a Santa Claus Village at the University of Lapland in Finland, and says that he lives in that village.
It was also told that Santa enters the house through the chimney. How about kids in the tropics, where chimneys are not a part of the house! I wonder if you experienced waking up at midnight trying to spy on Santa Claus. But most kids, as they grow-up, learn that Santa Claus is either their moms or their dads who put the gift in that famous sock, which contains Santa's gift when they wake up every Christmas mornings.
But Santa Claus is a real person in history, who is actually St. Nicholas. I happened to visit Myra, Turkey in 2009, the home of Santa Claus and his church. Rather than explaining it here, these photos will give you clearer information.
St Nicholas in front of his church in Myra, Turkey
Left: St Nicholas Church painting on the wall; Right: remnants of the old floor
Left: The columns of the original church; Right: the church basement passages
Different rooms of the church. More church photos HERE
I enlarged the above epitaph below to be more readable.
St Nicholas is born on the 2nd half of the 3rd century AD, and he was the Bishop of Myra. The basic story why St Nicholas became Santa Claus, HERE.
Please take note of the different rooms in the church, and there is even a room for the Infidels
Most of the roads to Myra from Antalya are along the shore of the Mediterranean
The rock tombs of Lycia are also in Myra (This is a very good reading reference)
The old theater is just beneath the rock tombs of Myra
Beside the old theater, below the rock tombs are the modern vegetable production areas, using modern cultural management practices and modern hybrids. Turkey supplies most of the fruits and vegetables for some European countries. The very old and the very new scenery exist side-by-side in Myra. The old towns during the time of St Nicholas are buried by earthquakes about 8 meters under these modern vegetable farms.