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VINTAGE TURKISH POSTAGE STAMP
Out of circulation. Single stamp
65 kurus stamp printed in Vienna (Wien), Staatsdruckerei. Has a drawing of the historic Saint Nicholas Church (Santa Claus Church) in Demre, Turkey.
The Church of St. Nicholas in ancient Myra (modern day Kale or Demre) is a ruined Byzantine church containing the tomb of St. Nicholas of Myra (the inspiration for Santa Claus), as well as many fine mosaics and murals.
St. Nicholas was born in Patara around 300, became bishop of Myra, and died around 350. Only these basic details are known to history, but legends abound concerning the life of the saint. A much-embellished hagiography (life of the saint) was written by Simon Metaphrastes in the 10th century. St. Nicholas is said to have been born of wealthy parents and to have traveled to the Holy Land in his youth.
Many of the legends of St. Nicholas involve him helping young people and the poor. In one tale, a butcher lured three boys to his house during a time of famine. While they slept, he killed them, cut them up and placed the pieces in a barrel of salt, intending to sell them for food. Nicholas, who was told of this horrendous act by an angel, hurried to the butcher's house and restored the boys to life.
The saint was buried in Myra upon his death, and a church may have been built over his tomb soon after. If so, it would have been badly damaged in the earthquake of 529 and repaired along with Myra's other buildings later in the 6th century under Emperor Justinian. Damaged in the Arab raids of the 7th century, the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra was rebuilt in the 8th century; it is this structure that largely survives today.
After his death, Nicholas became the patron saint of sailors and seafarers, and many pilgrims came to visit his tomb. Over the centuries, the legends and great popularity of St. Nicholas of Myra led to the Christmastime figure of the bearded man who secretly brings toys to children. He is still known as St. Nick in most of Europe, but in America he came to be known as Santa Claus.
Kurus was worth 100th of a Turkish Lira (TL) before the removal of the 6 zeros from the end to start the new lira. It has been long out of circulation.