There is good news and bad news. Turkish archaeologists' recent discovery might have solved the mystery round St. Nicholas, popular as Santa Claus, but it also destroys the hope of millions of children who believed that Santa Claus still exists.
Archaeologists in Turkey claim that they have discovered the tomb of Santa Claus beneath the ruins of an ancient Saint Nicholas Church in the south-west province of Antalya. The place where the ruins of the church are found is said to be the birthplace of St. Nicholas.
Cemil Karabayram, the director of Antalya's Monument Authority, said that the shrine was discovered during scientific and technological works.
"The temple on the ground of the church is in good condition. We believe that it has received no damage so far. But it is hard to enter it because there are stones with motifs on the ground. These stones should be scaled one by one and then removed," Karabayram told Hurriyet Daily News.
Karabayram said that they have appointed academics to carry out the excavation work, reach the ground, and possibly find the untouched body of Santa Claus.
"The world's eyes will be set on here. We claim that St. Nicholas has been kept in this temple without any damage. We are at the last stage. If we get the results, Antalya's tourism will gain big momentum. We will start discussions at an international level after the excavations," Karabayram said.
Until now, it was said that the remains of Santa Claus were transferred from Demre, formerly known as Myra, to Bari, Italy, by Italian merchants. The remains were transferred after the Seljuk Turks invaded Myra.
But archaeologists now believe that the bones transferred belonged to a different priest and not St. Nicholas.
"We studied all of the documents from between 1942 and 1966. There were some notes there. According to these notes, this church was demolished and rebuilt. During the reconstruction, traders in Bari took the bones. But it is said that these bones did not belong to St. Nicholas but to another priest," Karabayram said. "One of those to have said this was Professor Yıldız Ötüken, an academic of Hacettepe University's history of art department. She says that St Nicholas is kept in a special section," he added.
Santa Claus, the legendary figure, was known for his kindness and is famous as Father Christmas who gives gifts to children.