The North Pole it is not.
But researchers in Turkey believe they may have uncovered the real-life Santa Claus, or at least the man who inspired the jolly legend.
In the same region where St. Nicholas — the patron saint of children, among other things — is believed to have been born and lived during the fourth century, a church may have become his final resting place long before his legend landed him down chimneys on Christmas Day.
Turkish archaeologists say a previously unknown tomb has been found under a church in the country’s southern Antalya province.
It’s long been believed that St. Nick’s remains were stolen from the St. Nicholas church in Demre by Italian crusaders in the 11th century.
However, archaeologists now have reason to doubt the looted tomb contained the saint’s remains.
“The temple on the ground of the church is in good condition,” Cemil Karabayram, Director of Surveying and Monuments in Antalya told the Hurriyet Daily News. “We believe that it has received no damage so far. But it is hard to enter it because there are stones with motifs on the ground. These stones should be scaled one by one and then removed.”
The archaeologists surmise that the stolen remains were those of a priest. As they excavate the previously unknown tomb, they hope to find the remains of St. Nicholas untouched since his death in 343 A.D.
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