Have we found Santa’s bones? Archaeologists looking for St. Nicolas in Turkey say yes
Where is Santa Claus?
Definitely not at the North Pole—but archaeologists still remain divided about the final resting place of St. Nicholas.
A team of Turkish researchers think they have found new insights into the possible grave of the real man who inspired the Christmas icon. Beneath the mosaic-covered floor of a church in Turkey’s southern Antalya province, Turkish archaeologists have conducted scans they believe indicate the presence of a previously unknown tomb.
The church is located in the Demre district of Antalya, the same region in which St. Nicholas is believed to have been born and lived during the fourth century. Tradition holds that St Nicholas was famous for giving aid and gifts to the poor.
(Over the years, his reputation as a generous saint persisted and he began to be called “Sinterklaas” in the Netherlands. You can thank 19th century author Washington Irving for the modern portrayal of St. Nicholas that persists today. Read more about Santa’s evolution here.)
Like his reputation, the location of his bones depends on who you ask.
Traditionally, it was believed that the bones of St. Nicholas were stolen by Italian sailors during the 11th century. Demre—called Myra in ancient times—was occupied by Arab forces during this period. And the stolen bones were believed to have been taken to the crypt of the Basilica di San Nicola on the southeast coast of Italy.
This article continues at [National Geographic] Could the Remains of Santa Claus Be in This Turkish Church?