Archaeologists discover Saint Nicholas' grave - the original Santa Claus

Saint Nicholas Church, Demre.
Saint Nicholas Church, Demre. Photo credit: Getty

Christmas may have come early for a group of Turkish archaeologists, who believe they've discovered Santa Claus' true grave.

Saint Nicholas, the inspiration behind the Christmas icon, was remembered after his death for his acts of generosity and gift-giving to the poor.

Using electronic surveying, experts have now identified a secret tomb beneath the Saint Nicholas Church in Demre, which they believe contains his remains.

"We will reach the ground and maybe we will find the untouched body of St Nicholas," director of Antalya Surveying and Monuments Cemil Karabayram told the Hurriyet newspaper.

His bones were thought to have been smuggled from the church into Italy in 1087, now at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Bari.

Every year, the clergy collects liquid that seeps from the tomb, believing it to have special powers.

However, scientists are now wondering whether the wrong bones were stolen.


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