maloutim (9473) 2013-12-05 09:28:56In 2005, the Demre town council replaced the previous statue with a bright bakelite Santa Claus.
Demre officials said Santa is universally recognized and more popular, because he belongs to the whole world.
It is also believed they didn't want such a popular Christian Saint being worshipped in a Muslim country.
This change caused great controversy. International protest came from Russia, the EU and the US.
Despite pressure from the Turkish foreign ministry wanting to preserve good relations with Russia, Santa still stood until December 2008.
maloutim (9473) 2013-12-05 09:16:58The most recent image, (which also appears on the main post) shows a "Turkish Santa" which was unveiled on Christmas day 2008.
Sculptor Necdet Can called the statue "the authentic Santa of Lykia". He said he was careful while making the features of the face, trying to make it look like Turks.
Another Turkish sculptor, Fray Okhan, commented that the statue doesn't look like St Nicholas who lived in the 4th century, while the Turks didn't arrive in Anatolia until the 11th century.
So the controversy continues : Who is St Nicholas, and how is he considered in his hometown ?
Explanation of the sculpture : Saint Nicholas is depicted on a raft. Bronze waves lap around the raft, which is pulled by two sea horses, with a little Lycian sailing ship at the front, the emblem of Demre. On Noel Baba's left shoulder sits a little boy, and a girl stands on the raft to his right, both holding gifts.
The sculptor thought a raft was more suitable than a sleigh, in Antalya, where it's sunny even at Christmas.
tyro (15717) 2013-12-04 14:10:40Hi Craig,
I hope I've not overcooked it this time, but I've tried (using a layer mask) to lighten the little girl's face just a tad so as to allow us to see that right eye of hers just a little more clearly. Not done very expertly at all but see what you think of it as an idea anyway.
I had to reduce the image to 800 pixels wide because I've found that workshop pictures lose their right sides if they're over that width.