Turkish town cashes in on Saint Nick legacy





The hometown of the man who inspired the legend of Santa Claus is a long way from the snow and arctic lights of the North Pole.

The land Saint Nicholas is originally from rarely sees snowflakes -- it is a village of palm trees and orange groves on the Mediterranean Sea in what is modern-day Turkey. Nicholas, patron saint of sailors and children, lived and died there nearly 18 centuries ago.

The legend of the 4th century bishop who gave gifts to the poor has spread since the earliest days of Christianity.

Eventually, Saint Nicholas evolved from the bald and bearded man depicted in Orthodox icons -- dressed in long robes and clutching a bible -- to the more rotund and secular character of jolly old Saint Nick.

Though Santa Claus is today inextricably intertwined with Christmas, hardly any of the residents of Saint Nicholas' hometown celebrate the holiday....



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