D E M R E
Area: 473 km²
Population: 26.180 (2015)
Demre is a district of Antalya Province. Demre is the Ancient Greek town of Myra, the home of Saint Nicholas of Myra the original Santa Claus. The district was known as Kale until it was renamed in 2005. Demre is on the coast of the Teke peninsula, west of the bay of Antalya, with the Taurus Mountains behind. The moutains are forested and the coastal strip is made of good soil brought down by the mountain rivers. The climate is the typical Mediterranean pattern of hot dry summers and warm wet winters.
Before tourism boom began in the 1980s the local economy depended on agriculture, which is still important today. The villages of Demre grow pomegranates and citrus fruits and now a large quantity of fruits and vegetables all year round in glass houses. Also with its rich history, attractions like the island of Kekova, the sea and warm weather this coast is very popular with holidaymakers from Turkey and all over Europe, although Demre still does not have the high volume of tourists enjoyed by districts nearer Antalya airport. The local cuisine predictably includes fish and seafood from the Mediterranean.
See Myra for details of the history and archaeology of the city of Myra (today’s Demre) and the history of Saint Nicholas of Myra (Santa Claus). Myra was one of the most important cities in antique Lycia. Coins have been found dating back to 300 BC but logically the city must have been founded centuries earlier. The city thrived as part of the Roman Empire and many public buildings were constructed.