Santa Claus Tomb Discovered in Turkey, Say Researchers

October 4, 2017 Updated: October 4, 2017    

Researchers believe they have discovered the tomb of the saint responsible for the Santa Claus legend.

It was earlier believed that the remains of Saint Nicholas had already been found and transferred to Italy. Researchers are now saying that was an unidentified priest, and the remains of the real Saint Nicholas are still in Turkey, the Daily Mail reported.

It is said that Saint Nicholas was born and died in what is now Turkey. Scientists are still trying to access the tomb, which lies beneath an ancient church. They discovered through electronic surveys that there was a gap beneath St. Nicholas Church in Demre, Turkey. They will have to remove the floor tiling of a mosaic to start the excavation.

When Turkey was occupied by Arabs, in the 11th century, it is believed they dug up Saint Nicholas’s bones and sent them to Bari, Italy. Archaeologists said the remains in that tomb are not of who they thought it was previously.

Saint Nicholas died in 343. He is revered for his generosity toward the poor and gift giving to children. He is said to have once climbed down a chimney to leave a donation. His good works led to his sainthood and his transformation into the character popularly known as Santa Claus.

The team is seeking the help of other to carry out the project. They hope researchers from eight different specialties can help carry out the excavation and investigation of what lies underneath the church.

During his life, Saint Nicholas was the Bishop of Myrna in the fourth century. Dutch people who came to the United States called him “Sinterklaas,” which became Santa Claus. The current perception of Santa Claus in a red and white suit with a bushy white beard and cap is believed to be the result of a large-scale marketing campaign by Coca Cola in the 1930s.

As The Public Domain Review illustrates, earlier depictions show Saint Nicholas looking as a dignified saint in traditional clothes. In some cases you can make out the furry lining of his robe that would later become the white fur of the current Santa suit. In other cases traditional, crown-like religious headgear seems to have transformed into the cap he is known for today.

From NTD.tv