Myra and Kekova (150 km south-west of Antalya) are one of the most popular tourist attractions at the resorts of the Anatolian coast. Myra is an ancient city where you can visit the Church of St. Nicholas, as well as a Lycian necropolis dating back to VI century B.C. and a Roman amphitheater. After a visit to Myra tourists are taken to the island of Kekova. On the way to Kekova they can see the flooded Lycian cities from the ship.
For about a thousand years before Christ the whole peninsula south of Antalya was occupied by Lycia. So, during a visit to Myra and Kekova you may also see the monuments of this ancient civilization. Xanthos (7 km from the sea) was the largest city of Lykia, and Myra, together with Andriake (an ancient city and the port of Myra), was the largest coastal city. The port was protected by Simena Castle and the city of Dolihiste located on the Kekova peninsula (now it is an island).
Later, Myra was sequentially under the rule of the Persians, Alexander the Great, the Seleucids, and the Romans. In II century Myra was heavily destroyed by an earthquake, and the cities of Kekova were flooded. After that, Myra was also badly damaged by mudflows of the Miros river.
The Church of St. Nicholas is a have-to-visit sight of Myra. In 300 Nicholas of Patara became the rector of the Christian church of the city. Five years later, in 345, he died and was buried in a sarcophagus in this temple. During his lifetime they began to call him the Wonderworker, and over time Nicholas of Myra became the most revered Christian saint. The Orthodox Christians call him Nikolaos the Wonderworker, and the Catholics – Santa Claus.
A Lycian necropolis (VI century B.C.) and a Roman amphitheater (III century A.D.) are not far from the church on the side of the mountain range. The necropolis is hollowed in the rock and is very similar to a multi-storey building.
After a visit to Myra tourists go to the flooded cities on the island of Kekova. There you should see at least 3 places: the flooded city of Dolihiste (it occupies a narrow strip along the island), the bay of Tersane (there are many ruined Lycian houses under water and on the coast) and Simena, a castle and a necropolis.