Cultural Heritage Across Borders: A Comprehensive Examination of the Restoration of the St. Nicholas Memorial Museum (2021-2023)




Demre St. Nicholas Church, Byzantine architecture, Architectural restoration, History of architecture, Cultural heritage


St. Nicholas Church is a remarkable Byzantine structure located in the Demre district of Antalya, in the southern region of Türkiye. The church and its accompanying tomb were built in the 5th century AD in memory of St. Nicholas after his death. It became a sacred cultural center and a pilgrimage site throughout the Middle Ages. Throughout history, the church underwent multiple reconstructions and substantial repairs necessitated by invasions, earthquakes, and other factors. During the Late Middle Ages, a flood of the river Myros submerged the church under approximately 6meters of alluvial deposits. The excavations, which began in 1862 and have continued intermittently to this day, have uncovered significant remains, which were subsequently restored in accordance with the conservation approach of their respective periods.  However, certain ruins persist within privately owned areas. Although the church largely maintains its structural integrity, ongoing excavations within the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s designated areas in the monastery complex continually contribute new insights. This article aims to provide data on the restoration efforts undertaken on the church and its ruins, which now function as a Memorial Museum, preserving their original values during the restoration period of 2021-2023. The primary goal is to contribute valuable insights for future restoration initiatives. Furthermore, the article seeks to advocate for the inclusion of the monument in the World Heritage List, the establishment of Site Management, and the enhancement of its global recognition. By making the newly unearthed spaces accessible to visitors, particularly for Russian pilgrims for whom the church holds significant religious importance, it is envisioned that this will not only foster faith and cultural tourism but also enrich the perception and interpretation of this historic structure.


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Author Biography

Serap Sevgi, Karabük University

Serap SEVGİ. After graduating from Selçuk University in 1996, Serap Sevgi completed her master's degrees in building science (1999) and restoration (2012), followed by a PhD in Cultural Heritage Preservation from Gazi University in 2020. She worked at the General Directorate of Foundations and the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums until 2023, managing restoration projects for heritage sites and engaging national and international cultural heritage preservation. Since 2023, she has focused on academic research in historical environments and architectural restoration.


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How to Cite

Sevgi, S. (2024). Cultural Heritage Across Borders: A Comprehensive Examination of the Restoration of the St. Nicholas Memorial Museum (2021-2023). ICONARP International Journal of Architecture and Planning, 12(1), 316–338.