Fethiye Belediyesi

08 March 2020

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St. Nicholas Gemile Island

Gemiler Adası is an island located off the Southwestern coast of Turkey in the beautifully blue Gemiler bay, which is found just west of the town Ölüdeniz. In addition to its beautiful views, the island is home to several church ruins dating back to between the 4th and 6th centuries and is believed, by archaeologists, to be the location of Saint Nicholas’ tomb, hence its Christian name being Saint Nicholas’ island.

1. Getting There

Because it is an island, you must take a boat. The name Gemiler Adası means “island of boats”; a fitting name for the many boats that travel to and from this picturesque island. There are a variety of options when it comes to what boat to take to get there. Some offer simply the transportation to and from the island throughout the day, others provide an evening service that takes you to the island so that you may relax and enjoy a gorgeous sunset over the serene waters and between the ruined stones of ancient churches.

2. The Ruins

The Gemiler Adası, or St. Nicholas Island, contains rich history. On the island are five ruins of churches built between the 4th and 6th centuries AD along with a covered, processional walkway extending 300 metres. One such church found on the island was carved directly from the tallest rock on the island. Due to its proximity to the Lycian Way, it is a common stop on that trek. Scattered across the island are several other ruins of Christian tombs and roughly 40 ecclesiastical structures. The island is believed to have served as a resting point for Christians making the pilgrimage to the Holy Lands.

This island is also believed to be the original location of St. Nicholas’ tomb. It is believed that St. Nicholas and his followers possibly settled on this island as a place of refuge from the Romans. Given that St. Nicholas was the Patron Saint of sailors, it seems appropriate that he settled and was buried in a such a place, surrounded by sailors. His remains have since been relocated due to the threat of pirate raids, but it is still possible to see his initial resting place. If you are looking for an immersive, historic experience, this island is the place for you. Its impressive ruins that still stand across the island paired with the beautiful views of bright blue water and lush land make it a unique and exciting destination. The adventure awaiting you here is limitless!

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