Christmas Alert: The tomb of original Santa Claus found, claim archaeologists

10_03_Nicholas

The head of Antalya's Monument Authority Cemil Karabayram told the daily that they came across an untouched shrine while conducting digital surveys below the surface of the church.

"We have obtained very good results but the real work starts now", Mr Karabayram said.

According to the current researchers' hypothesis, none of these bones belonged to Saint Nicholas, however - as the grave they were taken from (pictured above) was not his, but that of another anonymous priest buried in the church. Some believe that St. Nicholas was laid to rest at St. Nicholas church, while others claim his remains were smuggled by Demre sailors to Venice or Bari, Italy during the Crusades.

The existing church is located in the Demre district of Antalya; a region that was built on the ruins of the historic Myra, the city where Saint Nicholas is believed to have lived.

Saint Nicholas, a.k.a. Santa Claus, has become one of the most popular, gift-giving figures associated with the Christian holiday of Christmas today.

Until archaeologists are able to fully excavate the tomb, it's unclear whether St. Nicholas' remains are actually there. What were believed to be his remains were placed in the Basilica di San Nicola, a site regularly visited by Christians.


If they do find the 1,674-year-old remains it would contradict locals' narratives which suggest the relics are in Italy.

He says he optimistic about finding Santa's corpse in the new crypt.

"The name Santa Claus evolved from Nick's Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas)". He is said to have once climbed down a chimney to leave a donation.

According to the St. Nicholas Center, much of Europe celebrates St. Nicholas' Feast Day on December 6 each year, where they exchange gifts as per his tradition.

He was popularised in 16th century Europe as Father Christmas, who gave presents to young children.

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