About Demre, Myra Ancient City

The Ancient City of Myra was once the capital city of the Lycian people, it lies 1.5 kilometers inland from the modern farming town of Demre, the main produce in the region is tomatoes and the flat land south of Myra is now packed with greenhouses. The city sits at the base of a sheer cliff face, outstandingly ornate tombs have been built into the rock and high above, on the cliff top is a ruined byzantine castle, a Turkish flag flies above the ruins. The impressive site boasts thick defensive walls as well as a largely restored amphitheatre and the Lion's tomb, or Painted tomb, with 11 life sized figures depicted on the inside walls. Large rocks with extensive carvings of animals and grotesque faces lay scattered about the site. 
Myra was once a much larger site containing the grandiose temple of the Goddess of Artemis Eleuthera but it was destroyed in the 4th century AD, during the time of St Nicholas who endeavored to remove all trace of paganism from the land. The Church of St Nicholas is located in Demre, it was once served as a resting place to the saint and now hosts as small museum.  
Although there are no historical record of Myra before the 1st century BC, the grand city is thought to be among the 6 major cities of the Lycian Union, the other 5 are all located in southwest Turkey, between the modern city of Antalya and the quirky port town of Fethiye. Xanthos, Patara, Tlos, Pinara and Olympos can be visited from either of these locations and some are connected by Turkey's first long distance hiking trail, The Lycian Way.