Modern Gemiler Island (by the way, in Turkish – ship island) it has old name – St.Nicholas Island.

The name of the island appeared during the spread of Christianity in the Byzantine Empire and directly related with life of St.Nicholas, archbishop of Myra or as it is called “people” – Santa Claus.

Gemiler Bay (Oludeniz, Fethiye, Mugla, Turkey)

From early Byzantine period (IV century) and up to XII century Gemiler Island was inhabited by people, seaport was of great importance in the region, especially for ships with pilgrims, traveling from Italy and other countries of the western Mediterranean to the Holy Land in Palestine.

Gemiler Bay (Oludeniz, Fethiye, Mugla, Turkey)

What you can see on the island of St.Nicholas

Now St.Nicholas Island – open-air museum with exhibits 4-7 century:
– 4 great churches;
– arched corridor with steps, connecting the two churches (by the way, there is a legend about this corridor, but about it - later);
– in one church (it is the biggest and it has a name – church of St.Nicholas, VII century) the floor is decorated with beautiful frescoes and mosaics, the initiate to Saint Nicholas (unfortunately, entrance for inspection of mosaic is closed);
– more 40 various city buildings (tanks, granaries, wells, necropolis), and fortifications - high walls, house of guard and protection;
– in the northern part of the island are located the sunken ruins of the pier and warehouse.

Legends and facts of St.Nicholas Island

1. The first settlement on the island founded St.Nicholas, when he is hiding from the Romans during the persecution of Christians (303-313 years).
2. Gemiler island was the center of the spread of Christianity in this region during the Byzantine Empire (IV century).
3. After death of St.Nicholas he was buried on this island not far from his hometown Patara (35 km by sea). And only during raids of the Arabs (VII century) relics were transported and hidden in church, in where St.Nicholas served in the Myra (Demre).
4. All the churches on the island were looted, and then burned by the Arabs in the VII century.
5. After the death of St.Nicholas Gemiler Island has become a haven of Christian pilgrims from all over Europe.
6. Most unusual – “about princess”. Once upon a time on Gemiler island lived a princess. Her skin was very sensitive to the sun, so, that she could swim in the sea, from her palace to the beach was built a covered, decorated with arches, way. It is assumed, that arched corridor between the churches is the "princess road".

How to get to the island of St.Nicholas

To the island of St. Nicholas can be reached in several ways:
– overland. You need to go through ghost-town Koya Koy – there is just one road to the right Gemiler Bay. The road is good and the beautiful, 8 km – and you're in the Bay. From the bay to the island to get only by boat, there is no fixed price, so who as agreed ))
– by sea. From Oludeniz and from Fethiye in the morning tourists are taken to the island as sea tours , but, generally, not for the purpose of the tour, just swim )) If all still want to wander around the island, in this case need take boat for individual tour.

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

St.Nicholas Island (Fethiye Turkey)

NOTE: after, you should buy a ticket (5 TL) and can start your walk around the island, travel around the island only on the trodden path – you can easily go astray, on the island are very steep slopes.

St. Nicholas Island on the map

Text: Evgeny Nazarenko