Fethiye is an appropriate centre for excursions into Lycia. Either on your
own or by organised daily tours, you can pay visits to major Lycian cities
in the region. The Teke Peninsula of our times, lying between Fethiye and
Antalya was known as LYCIA in ancient times. The Lycians participated in the
Kadesh War together with Hittites, which indicates that they were one of the
oldest tribes of Anatolia. All through history, Lycia was invaded by the
Persians, Alexander The Great, Romans and Byzantines but was never actually
Today's Fethiye is located on the Lycian and Carian border and was called
Telmessos by Lycians. The city, which gets its name from the son of the god
Apollo, Telmessos, was very prominent and a centre of prophesies, pledged to
Telmessos was captured by the Persian King, Harpagos and was annexed to the
Carian Satrap. In the 5th BC in the tribute-lists of the Delian Confederacy,
Telmessos and the Lycians are listed separately; and in the 4th century the
Lycians under their dynast Pericles fought against the Telmessians,
besieging them and reducing them to terms. The result of this may have been
that Telmessos was then brought into Lycia.
When Alexander arrived in the winter of 334-333 B.C., he made a peace
agreement with the Telmessians, who readily joined him. Not long afterwards,
however, Nearchus the Cretan, one of his trusted 'Companions' whom he had
appointed satrap of the region, was obliged to recapture the city from a
certain Antipatrides, who had gained control of it. The two men were old
friends, and Nearchus asked permission to leave in the city a number of
captive women singers and boys that he had with him. When this was granted,
he gave the women's musical instruments to the boys to carry, with daggers
concealed in the flute-cases; when the party was inside the citadel, the
prisoners' escort took out the weapons and so seized the acropolis. At the
end of the Ptolemy's period, after the battle of Magnesia, it was given by
the Romans to Eumenes of Pergamum Telmessos continued in the Pergamene
Kingdom until that came to an end in 133 B.C.; it would then naturally be
included in the Roman province of Asia. In 88 B.C. by the Beginning of the
Roman period, Telmessos was a member of the Lycian League. After the
Mithridates wars, Telmessos was given to Rhodes. During this period
Telmessos also complained about Rhodian administration, and subsequently
Rome retook Lycia back from Rhodes.
The city, which continued its existence into the Byzantine era, lost its
significance during the Arabian raids, which occurred after the 7th century.
In the 8th century, the city's name was changed to Anastasiapolis in honor
of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius II; by the following century, it was
recognised by the name Makri, which meant 'far city' in Greek. Later on,
during the Ottoman period, the city was called Megri; subsequently Megri was
formally changed to Fethiye in 1934, to commemorate the first Turkish pilot,
It is clear that the city life was rich and highly cultured during the
Hellenistic and Roman periods is evident from the existing monuments. Today
the majority of ancient ruins in Telmessos are rock-tombs, Lycian-type
sarcophagi, the fortress and the Roman Theatre.
Today, the theatre, which was found near the quay of new Fethiye, has been
uncovered. This theatre, which was built in the Early Roman period and was
renovated in the 2nd century A.D., had the capacity to hold at least 2500
A medieval castle is situated on the acropolis hill, where the city was
first established. The bottom of the wall was erected by Rome, as well as
the upper part. The existing walls are from the 11th Century. The Rhodian
Knights used this castle as well as Sövalye Island, located in the harbour,
to control the city as a naval base.
The Tomb of Amyntas, which is the most splendid and best known of all the
tombs, is located on the east face of the city's acropolis and has become
the symbol of Fethiye. Seen from the plain below, the tomb is an impressive
size when seen up close. It is of the temple-type, in the Ionic design. Four
steps lead up to the porch with two columns between pilasters; halfway up
the left-hand pilaster is inscribed, in letters of the 4th century B.C., the
name of Amyntas, son of Hermapias. Charles Texier, who saw this tomb in the
1850's, apparently wished to document the fact that he saw it as he signed
the left upper comer of the grave door.
In the cliff-face further to the left are numerous other tombs; two of these
are temple-tombs similar to that of Amyntas, and a little less impressive.
Within the city there are quite a number of Lycian-type sarcophagi. On these
there are epitaphs in the Lycian scripture. Especially the sarcophagus near
the government office in the town centre is worthy of note. This
sarcophagus, which was erected around 340 B.C., used to have reliefs
depicting warriors on the lid and the bottom part as well, which is
understood from the drawings of both Sir Charles Fellows and C. Texier.
Fethiye Archaeology Museum exhibits numerous Archaeological findings from
the Lycian, Hellenistic, Roman and Ottoman periods as well as ethnological
works of art typical of the region.
The area around Fethiye is filled with many ancient cities.
Cadianda : The ancient city of Cadianda is located at Üzümlü Village, about
20 Km. from Fethiye. Here you'll find the best examples of Cyclops Walls of
the ancient ages, a sport complex, theatre and Heroon like temple type tombs
are all worth seeing.
Tlos: Located 28 km. from Fethiye, Tlos is one of the oldest residential
areas of Lycia and one of the few cities, which continued its existence up
to the 19th Century. Tlos is known as "the sports centre" of the Lycian
Federation and was the home of the mythological winged horse Pegasus and his
hero Bellorophonte. Acropolis, temple type tomb of Bellorophonte,
Stadium-bath complex, and theatre are some of the structures coming from the
early periods of Tlos.
Pinara: Known as the "Beauty Centre" of Lycians, Pinara is on the way to
Minare Village and can be reached by a short road branching off from the
Fethiye-Kas highway. Numerous Pigeon Holes like simple tombs are carved on
the slope of the Hill and a hearth planned Aphrodite Temple are probably the
most interesting remains of Pinara to see.
Xanthos: Political capital of Lycian Federation, Xanthos is well known as
the place of people who are believed to have heroically fought against
vastly superior Persian forces, and in 546 BC, rather than be taken as
prisoners, they committed mass suicide, Charles Fellows discovered Wanthos
in 1838, and all reliefs and the beautiful Nereids Monuments were removed to
London, to the British Museum as the part of the Elgin Marbles collection.
Letoon: Letoon is a holy city, dedicated to Goddess Leto, located at
Kumluova Village and 4 Km. from Xanthos. It is known that all holy
ceremonies were held here by priests of the temples of Leto, Artemis and
Oenanda: The recently excavated city of Oenanda is located near Incealiler
Village, about 88 Km. from Fethiye. British and Turkish archaeologists
discovered about 300 scribed tablets of the Lycian Epicurean Philosopher
Kaya Village (Kaya Köyü): Beyond the Fethiye fortress going south, if you
follow the road climbing up to the slope some 7 km. you reach a magnificent
lowland where Anatolian Greeks had lived until 1922. Greeks called the town
Levissi. In 1922, during the exchange of Turks in Thrace with Anatolian
Greeks, was evacuated and the new residents did not move into the existing
houses. Kaya become a "Ghost Town" as an abandoned town after 1923.
2 churches, chapels, numerous houses, schools, library, hospital, work-shops
and the other structures will be renovated soon as part of a project by The
Association of Turkish Travel Agencies and The Chamber Of Turkish
Architects. After the renovation, Kaya Köyü will serve as " Peace &
Friendship Village" and be protected forever.
Just like today, people hundreds of years ago liked this beautiful region
and settled in it. There are also some ancient settlements to be found at
sea in the Fethiye Gulf. Among them are Krya, above Bedri Rahmi Bay; Lissa
and Lydai, above Manastir Bay and the ancient city of Daidala in Inlice, on
the way to Göcek.