Continuing west out of Kekova, you come to Kas, a lovely spot surrounded on three sides by mountains.
Today's Kas is a coastal city of the Lycians. "Phellos" is the Greek word for "stony place" and this name is very well suited to Kas. Its well preserved rock tombs and theater are well worth seeing. Kas today is a small and charming coastal resort.
The friendly local fishermen are happy to run a water taxi service to take you to a favorite bay, cove or beach along the coast. The swimming and diving are excellent in the clear cool water around Kas.
At about 10 km. beyond Kalkan on the Kalkan-Fethiye highway you turn south and continue 10 km. along the road to Patara. The painted ceramics found in the acropolis prove that the city existed in the 5th century B.C. Patara opened its doors to Alexander the Great, thereby earning the status of an important harbor city, in addition to having been the birthplace of St. Nicholas. The triple gateway through which one enters Patara is thought to have been built in 100 A.D. One of its most important edifices is its theatre which is now buried in sand.
This is the oldest and the largest city of the mountain province of Lycia, settled in the valley of the Xanthos river. Until the Persian invasion it was an independent state. When the people of Xanthos, who had bravely tried to defend their city, realized that they could not repulse the invaders, they killed their women and committed mass suicide by throwing themselves into the flames. About 80 surviving families and people who immigrated there rebuilt the city, but a fire which broke out about 100 years later razed it to the ground. In spite of this, the city was again rebuilt and, as a result of establishing good relations with the west, was considered as an important center.
However, Xanthos again met with an unfortunate end. As a result of resisting the taxes the Athenians wanted to impose on them in 429 B.C., the city was largely destroyed and the inhabitants were drawn into a war. And thus Xanthos became "a city of disasters". The city itself consists of the Lycian acropolis and the parts remaining outside it, as well as the Roman acropolis. The most interesting building is the Roman theatre and the edifices of the theatre's western shoreline. Of these the most famous is the Harpy Monument, which is a family sarcophagus situated on a rock. The original of this relief-decorated sarcophagus is in the British Museum, and a very good copy of this is in its place. Close by can be seen very interesting Lycian sarcophagi from the 6th and 1st centuries B.C.
To reach Letoon, you turn west one kilometer beyond the road from Kınık to Fethiye and continue 1 km. The history of Letoon is closely linked with that of Xanthos. It is known to have been one of the most important religious centers of the Lycian region. Due to the rising water level, archeological digs have been suspended. The remains unearthed indicate that they belong to the period between the 7th century B.C. and the 6th century A.D. The most important edifice is the Greek style theater which has been preserved until our day.
Situated between Finike and Kas, Myra is 25 kms. from Finike and 48 kms. from Kas. It was one of the most important cities among the other six Lycian cities. It was settled in the 5th century B.C. Although it was originally a coastal town, it has retreated from the sea because of the alluvium from the Demre stream. It was abandoned in the 9th century A.D. after the Arab invasion. The rock tombs, the theatre and St. Nicholas Church have survived to make it a place worth visiting. St. Nicholas, born in 245 A.D. in Patara near Fethiye (known variously as St.Nicholas, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Heilige Nikolaus and Pere Noel) died in 363 A.D., having spent his life in Anatolia. Son of a wealthy family and of good education, he devoted himself to mankind. Because of the assistance he rendered to those around him, St. Nicholas was known as the protector of children and sailors, and to this day the legend of Father Christmas has continued to live as vividly as ever.
Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Noel Baba... whatever you call the beloved symbol of Christmas, you probably imagine him living in the North Pole, surrounded by elves and reindeer.
But the real St. Nicholas lived in a warm, sunny town on the Mediterranean Sea, in what is now Turkey.
St. Nicholas, born in 245 AD in Patara near Fethiye died in 363 AD., having spent his life in Anatolia. He lived during the 4th century in Lycia, a province in the south-west of Asia Minor. When he was young, his father died and left Nicholas a great fortune. Instead of spending it on himself, Nicholas started anonymously giving the money to the needy, especially children. He traveled to Egypt and Palestine as a young man.
Nicholas eventually became the Bishop of Myra ( modern day Demre in Turkey ). As the Bishop of Demre, by his religious and social work, he solved the problems of the people in a humane way. Because of the assistance he rendered to those around him, St. Nicholas was known as the protector of children and sailors, and to this day the legend of Father Christmas continues to live as vividly as ever.
After he died he was buried in Demre and a church was built there in his memory. Devotion to him spread throughout the Christian world, and he was chosen to be patron saint of Russia and Greece. Thousands of churches throughout Europe have been named for him. In 1087 Italian pirates stole some of bones and took them to Bari which became a crowded pilgrimage center in his honor. In their haste they left a few behind and these are today on display in the Antalya Museum.
He was credited with many miracles including saving sailors from drowning and resurrecting three boys who had been killed by an evil butcher. In one story he saved three officers from death by appearing to Constantine in a dream. In another legend he provided bags of gold to a poor man as dowries for his three daughters. Today, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children, sailors, teachers, students and merchants. In a number of countries the death of St. Nicholas on 6 December is commemorated by special ceremonies and by giving presents to children, and in fact it takes on the significance of a new year.
It was in the years 1951-55 that it was realized that St. Nicholas was Santa Claus ( or Father Christmas ) and this drew a lot of attention to Turkey, with articles in the papers and items on the radio, and in 1955 a Father Christmas stamp was issued. After that date celebrations for Father Christmas started to be held regularly. The first Father Christmas symposium ever was held in Antalya between 5-7 December 1983. This is now held annually and is attended by religious and scientific people from all over the world. At these symposia, and in keeping with Anatolias St. Nicholas' love of humanity, a call is made to people of different religions and beliefs for peace, friendship and brotherhood.