The Death of St. Nicholas.
Archaeologists in Turkey may be on the cusp of solving a mystery thousands of years in the making after they stumbled on a tomb beneath the remains of an ancient church they believe contains the remains of Saint Nicholas—known popularly as Santa Claus.
A portion of the site believed to contain the undamaged grave was discovered in St. Nicholas Church, located in Turkey’s southern Antalya province. The Demre district in which the church can be found is known to be the revered Christian saint’s birthplace.
The head of Antalya’s Monument Authority, Cemil Karabayram, told the Turkish press the shrine was discovered during electronic surveys which showed gaps beneath the church.
“We believe this shrine has not been damaged at all, but it is quite difficult to get to it as there are mosaics on the floor,” Karabayram told Cemil Karabayram. In the excavation process, archaeologists will have to loosen each tile from the mosaics and remove them together in a mold.
The claims over the 1,674-year-old remains of St Nicholas would compete with differing narratives that place the original saint’s relics as far away as Italy and Ireland.