Located in the Demre district of Antalya, St. Nicholas Church attracts a lot of attention from both local people and tourists. It is also known as Santa Claus Church by the people. Because St. Nicholas is believed to be Santa Claus.
It is assumed that St. Nicholas lived in the region of Myra at Antic Age, which is now called Demre. It is known that he helped the elderly, the needy, and especially young children in the ages thought to have lived. After his death, he received the title of Saint for his benevolence. Nicholas, who is assumed to have lived in the Lycian city, was born in the city of Patara. There is also historical evidence that it is not just a myth. It is said that he was born as the son of a wheat merchant and traveled around Palestine and Egypt as a bishop since his youth. He distributed the inheritance from his father to the poor and became an understanding person towards everyone. Many churches were built in memory of St. Nicholas.
Although it is known that many people believe in the spiritual power of St. Nicholas, most sailors emphasized the importance of receiving his prayer. Before a sailor embarked on a voyage, they expressed their good wishes with these words: "Let Saint Nicholas take the helm." Especially the sailors in the Mediterranean made this wish and believed that they would bring good luck and open their way. Although the exact year the church was built is not known, it is said that it was first built as a basilica in the 9th century. Although the bones of St. Nicholas were stolen by Italian traders during the Crusades and taken to the city of Bari, it is thought that the bones that remained are still in the museum in Antalya. While it has been damaged by many natural disasters over the years, it has been kept alive with continuous renovations. It carries different historical traces from every period due to these renovations.