29 Dec 2009

Turkey may seek return of St Nicholas's bones

11:31 am on 29 December 2009

A Turkish archaeologist is calling for the return of the bones of St Nicholas, the inspiration for Santa Claus, to their original resting place on the Turkish Mediterranean coast.

St Nicholas was buried in Myra, part of Greece at the time but now the town of Demre in Turkey.

After Myra was occupied by Arab forces in the 11th century, Italian sailors took his bones to the port of Bari, where they are interred today.

Professor Nevzat Cevik, head of archaeological research in Demre, says St Nicholas had made it clear during his life that he wanted to be buried in his home town, the BBC reports.

He has asked the Turkish government to approach the Italian authorities, something the minister of culture says he is now considering.