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Demre - Turkey Demre
Demre is the Lycian town known formerly as Myra and is a district of Antalya Province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. It was the home of Saint Nicholas of Myra - the original Santa Claus. The district was known as Kale until it was renamed in 2005. Demre is on the coast of the Teke Peninsula to the west of the Bay of Antalya with the Taurus Mountains lying behind it. The mountains are forested and the coastal area has lots of good soil brought down by the mountain rivers. The climate is the typical Mediterranean pattern of hot dry summers and warm wet winters. Before the tourism boom began in the 1980s the local economy depended on agriculture, which is still important today. The villages of Demre grow pomegranates and citrus fruits and now a large quantity of fruits and vegetables year-round in greenhouses. With a rich history and attractions like the island of Kekova, the Mediterranean Sea and warm weather this coast is very popular with visitors from Turkey and from all over Europe. Demre still does not have the high volume of tourists enjoyed by districts closer to the Antalya Airport, but local crafts like rug weaving and events such as the annual camel-wrestling festival bring in added visitors. Ancient Myra was one of the most important cities in Lycia. Coins have been found dating back to 300 BC, but logically the city must have been founded centuries earlier. The city thrived as part of the Roman Empire and many public buildings were built. There is no substantiated written reference for Myra before it was listed as a member of the Lycian alliance from 168 BC – AD 43 but according to Strabo it was one of the largest towns of the alliance. The ruins of the Lycian and Roman town are mostly covered by alluvial silts. The Acropolis on the Demre-plateau, the Roman theatre and the Roman baths - Turkish: eski hamam have been partly excavated. The semi-circular theater was destroyed in an earthquake in 141, but rebuilt soon afterwards.

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