Saint Nicholas in Turkey

St. Nicholas, the 4th century Christian saint who influenced so many Christmas traditions, is thought to have lived and died in Myra, Turkey. His remains were removed to Bari in southern Italy in the 11th century. Now Turkish officials would like to see Nicholas' basilica restored.

Residents of Demre in South-west Turkey hope more tourists will visit the area which also features an amphitheatre, remains of an acropolis and a large grain store. Of special interest are the tombs cut into the cliffs. "We get many Russian visitors here in Demre," says businessman Hassan Ocal. "They are here because of the saint and take home small sacks of earth in his memory." Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia and of the Orthodox church.