Gemiler Adası, St. Nicholas Island




The Gemiler Adası seen from Gemiler Beach  

The Gemiler Adası (Island of Boats) is a Byzantine monastery island, of which many archaeologists assume that the original tomb of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, was located here and were brought to Myra around 650 AD for protection from the Arab fleet, where they were stolen by southern Italian merchants in 1087 and abducted to Bari.



On the island there are extensive Byzantine and certainly also late antique settlement remains. Three church buildings from the 5th and 6th centuries A.D., a large basilica from the 7th century A.D. and an approx. 160 m long cloister (corridor) between churches III and IV. There are also quays, remains of extensive residential buildings, a large cistern, remains of a fortification wall and an extensive necropolis.


The Aspis of the Church II  

The basilica on the highest point of the island, the Church IV, was dedicated to the tradition of St. Nicholas of Myra.



Passage to church II


The big cistern  



It is not certain whether the island is identical with Lebisso's Byzantine bishopric. This thesis is controversially discussed.
A team of Japanese archaeologists carried out initial investigations on the island in 1990. Between 1995 and 2003, a group of archaeologists from the Fethiye Museum and Osaka University carried out extensive excavations on the Gemiler Adası and the island of Karacaören, 1,500 m away, on which Byzantine settlement remains are also located.



The cloister between Church III and IV





The cloister between Church III and IV


The cloister, also called "tunnel", is one of the most interesting ruins. Some parts of the 160 metre long building have collapsed. The cloister is supposed to symbolize the way of Jesus on his way to the crucifixion on the hill Golgata. The pious monks remained in prayer at a total of 17 stations along the corridor.




You can reach the island via the city of Fethiye. Follow the signs for Ölüdeniz. After 5 km uphill, in Ovacik, the next town, drive the lower road, Atatürk Cad. through the town and follow the signs to Kayaköy. Follow the signs to Gemiler Adası/Af Kule. About 7 km after Kayaköy you will reach Gemil Bay. Here you have to use the paid parking lot. Small boats are available in the bay for private ferry services.

Photos: @chim    
Translation aid:    
Source: Wikipedia and others