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Gemiler Island, Fethiye

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Island Ruin
Gemiler Island is an island located off the coast of Turkey near the city of Fethiye. On the island are the remains of several churches built between the fourth and sixth centuries AD, along with a variety of associated buildings. Archaeologists believe it was the location of the original tomb of Saint Nicholas.HistoryThe Byzantine ruins of five churches built between the fourth and sixth centuries AD remain on the island, along with a 350m processional walkway. Other remains from the same period include around forty other ecclesiastical buildings and over fifty Christian tombs. One of the churches was cut directly from the rock at the island's highest point, and is located at the far western end of the processional walkway. It is possible that the Island was used by Christian pilgrims en route to the Holy Lands.Modern archaeologists believe that the island may be the location of St. Nicholas' original tomb. The traditional Turkish name for the island is Gemiler Adası, meaning "Island of Boats", which may be a reference to St. Nicholas's role as the patron saint of sailors; the island was also referred to as St. Nicholas Island by seafarers in the medieval period. Archaeologists believe he was interred in the rock-hewn church following his death in 326. His relics remained there until the 650s, when the island was abandoned as it was threatened by an Arab fleet. They were then moved to the town of Myra some 25mi to the east.EconomyThe island is currently a popular destination for large Turkish gulets, bringing many tourists to the island as well as many smaller private boats since the crescent-shaped bay can be used as a safe anchorage. The Byzantine ruins can be seen from the sea. A small makeshift restaurant stands in the bay for the summer sailors. The owners do not live on the island, but return to the mainland when there are no boats around. A charge of 8TL is currently levied upon visitors to the ruins.
Take a look at our Fethiye family vacation planner to schedule your visit to Gemiler Island and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Where to stay in Fethiye

The multifaceted seaside region of Fethiye offers an equally diverse array of accommodations. In the immediate town, guesthouses with basic rooms or dormitory-style accommodations sit just a short walk from the marina, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. North of town along the coast, you'll discover a strip of many inexpensive seaside hotels. For a more secluded holiday, venture inland among the valleys and hills to one of the guesthouses or fully equipped cottages. If it's authenticity you're after, seek the privacy of a secluded inn in the heart of the local villages. Here you'll trade convenience for coziness and hospitality.
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  • We anchored here and had help with our line ashore by a local guy in a dinghy. As a result we decided to eat dinner in his restaurant on the beach in the evening. What a mistake that was. There was no...  more »
  • Great place to go, just off the tourist trail. Can get there with Dolmus or hire a car. Head out to Kayakoy from Hisaronu and take a left turn on roundabout after The Ruins. Follow on for a few miles ...  more »
  • Gemiler Island (Turkish: Gemiler Adası) is an island located off the coast of Turkey near the city ofFethiye. On the island are the remains of several churches built between the fourth and sixth centu...  more »