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Archaeologists in Turkey Believe They Are Digging Up the Original Santa Claus

Santa isn’t just a myth made up for kids on Christmas. He did exist and he did give generous gifts, though not via chimneys on Dec. 25, as popular legend tells it. By this time next year, you may even be able to visit him in his original setting, say Turkish archaeologists. What we know today as Santa Claus was originally Saint Nicholas, and he was traditionally celebrated on Dec. 6, the anniversary of his death. Born in the village Petara in Asia Minor (now Turkey) in the late third century, Nicholas was known for his literal and spiritual generosity. He inherited great wealth but gave away his riches, joining the Christian church and becoming a bishop in the the city of Myra.

If Santa Is Buried in Turkey, Who Has Been Delivering the Presents?

Turkish archeologists announced this week that they may have discovered the bones of St. Nicholas, the saint better known to the world as Santa Claus. The remains were unearthed beneath a 4th-century structure in Demre (ancient Myra), the traditional location of Nicholas’ birth. The discovery of St. Nicholas raises a whole host of unpleasant bedtime questions. If Santa is buried in Turkey, who has been delivering the presents?  The discovery was made after digital analysis of the ground beneath the church. Archaeologists currently believe that the tomb has gone undisturbed since antiquity, but the mosaics on the floor make it difficult to excavate there. Cemril Karabayram, the head of Antalya’s Monument Authority, explained that specialists are unable to confirm the story until the floor of the church (which depicts scenes from the life of Nicholas of Myra) can be carefully removed.

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