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Lycia :: Fethiye - Telmessos

Fethiye - Telmessos

Situated on the slopes of Mendos Mountain, Fethiye was established on top of ancient Telmessos on the shore of Fethiye Gulf. For this reason, the majority of the ruins have remained under this quaint district. Because of the abundance of accommodation facilities, captivatingly beautiful coves and significant development in yacht tourism in recent years, Fethiye represents the center of excursion in the Western Lycian region. Fethiye, which is located 50 kilometers from Dalaman Airport, can be reached by highway from Mugla, Denizli and Antalya and can also be reached by sea. Those staying in Fethiye, which is chock full of history , nature and sea, can easily wander out to the ancient cities in the vicinity, such as Cadyanda, Pmara, Tlos, Sidyma, Xanthos, Letoon and Patara. Here, the temperature does not go below 16° C, and one can frolic in the surf for up to nine months a year.

The town, which gets its name from Telmessos, the son of the god Apollo, was captured by the Persian King, Harpagos and was annexed to the Carian Satrap. In the Sth century in the tribute-lists of the Delian Confederacy, Telmessos and the Lycians are listed separately; and in the 4th century we fmd the Lycians under their dynast Pericles fighting against the Telmessians, besieging them and reducing them to terms. The result of this may have been that Telmessos was then brought into Lycia, since the geographer who passes under the name of Scylax, writing in the same century, reckons the city as Lycian.

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. This is described by the historian as a stratagem; others might call it sharp practice.

In 240 B.C., Telmessos was presented by Ptolemy ill to another Ptolemy, son of Lysimachus; and at the settlement in 189 B.C. after the battle of Magnesia; it was given by the Romans to Eumenes of Pergamum, but 'the lands which had belonged to Ptolemy' were allowed to remain in his hands. So far as we know, 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., we hear that the Rhodians received help 'from the Telmessians and from the Lydans', implying that the dty was not then included in Lyda. Later, certainly under the Empire and perhaps earlier, Telmessos was a normal member of the Lycian League. After the Mithridates wars, Telmessos was given to Rhodes. Like the other Lydan dties 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, had lost its significance with the Arabian raids which occurred after the 7th century. In the 8th century, the city's name was changed to Anastasiupolis in honor of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius 11; by the following century this too gave way to the name Makri, which meant 'far city'. Later on, the city was called Megri, whereas Megri was fmally changed to today's Fethiye in 1934, to commemorate the flfSt Turkish pilot, Fethi Bey.

C. Texier, who saw Telmessos in the 1850's, indicated that the Apollo Temple and theater could be second devastating quake just over one hundred years later, in 1957, these ruins were completely destroyed. Today's Fethiye is what was built up after this second temblor more than forty years ago. Today, the theater, which was found near the quay of new Fethiye, has been uncovered. This theater, which was built in the Early Roman period and was renovated in the 2nd century A.D., had the capacity to hold 5,000 people.

A medieval castle situated on the acropolis hill, where the city was first established, is surrounded by a wall. Today, one can see the bottom portion of the wall, which was erected by Rome as well as the upper part, which was constructed during the Middle Ages. Whereas, the Rhodian Knights used this castle as well as Sovalye Island, located in the harbor, to hold the city under their control.

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, it gives a great impression of size from up close. It is of the temple-type, in the Ionic order. 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. C. Texier I 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 little less impressive. There are also a number of Lycian-type sarcophagi within the city. One of these is situated on the street directly below these stone monuments, while the other stands besides the municipal building near the quay. The sarcophagus next to the municipal building is one of the few sarcophagi with reliefs that has managed to remain intact to the present. Both sides of the lid and of the surmounting crest carry reliefs showing rows of warriors with shields in their hands, with a man sitting in an armchair wearing long clothing on the right side. The ends of the lid are divided into four panels. This sarcophagus, which was erected around 340 B.C., used to have reliefs on the bottom part as well, which is understood from the drawings of both Sir Charles Fellows and C. Texier. In addition, there are two sarcophagi from the 4th century that are located in the Cumhuriyet District, one of which has reliefs. However, these reliefs are in poor condition. The area around Fethiye is filled with many ancient cities. For instance, to the north-west of the E~n Stream, about 45 kilometers outside Fethiye, lie the Pmara ruins in the village of Minare, which have some interesting Lycian rock tombs. Here ancient structures, such as the theater, odeion and temple are practically all intact. Again, in the ruins of Sidyma, which are found in the village of Dodurga to the south of E~en Stream, are some tomb monuments worth seeing. One should also pay a visit to the ancient city of Tlos, which can be found in the village of Yaka about 40 kilometers outside Fethiye. Tlos, which was one of the six major Lycian cities, offers a striking view with its theater, baths, agora and stadium.

In the cliff-face further to the left are numerous other tombs; two of these are temple-tombs similar to that of Amyntas, and little less impressive. There are also a number of Lycian-type sarcophagi within the city. One of these is situated on the street directly below these stone monuments, while the other stands besides the municipal building near the quay. The sarcophagus next to the municipal building is one of the few sarcophagi with reliefs that has managed to remain intact to the present. Both sides of the lid and of the surmounting crest carry reliefs showing rows of warriors with shields in their hands, with a man sitting in an armchair wearing long clothing on the right side. The ends of the lid are divided into four panels. This sarcophagus, which was erected around 340 B.C., used to have reliefs on the bottom part as well, which is understood from the drawings of both Sir Charles Fellows and C. Texier. In addition, there are two sarcophagi from the 4th century that are located in the Cumhuriyet District, one of which has reliefs. However, these reliefs are in poor condition. The area around Fethiye is filled with many ancient cities. For instance, to the north-west of the E~n Stream, about 45 kilometers outside Fethiye, lie the Pmara ruins in the village of Minare, which have some interesting Lycian rock tombs. Here ancient structures, such as the theater, odeion and temple are practically all intact. Again, in the ruins of Sidyma, which are found in the village of Dodurga to the south of E~en Stream, are some tomb monuments worth seeing. One should also pay a visit to the ancient city of Tlos, which can be found in the village of Yaka about 40 kilometers outside Fethiye. Tlos, which was one of the six major Lycian cities, offers a striking view with its theater, baths, agora and stadium.

Just like today, people hundreds of years ago liked this beautiful region and settled in it. There are also some ancient settlements within the Fethiye Gulf. Among them are Krya, above Bedri Rahmi Cove; Lissa and Lydai, above Manastir Cove and the ancient city of DaidaIa in Inlice, on the way to Gocek.

The fabulous coves can be explored in Fethiye, which is complimented by nature and history. There is a natural beach that stretches 4 kilometers long, as well as those of Calis and Karagozler, within the city limits. Just as one can enter the sea around here, one can also take a daily excursion boat ride to check out the Fethiye coves. This 12-isIand excursion is like a dream. In addition, Gunluk, which is 19 kilometers away, Kucuk Kargi, famous for its trees, Katranci Cove, which is 17 kilometers away from Olu Deniz and Kidrak, which is 3 kilometers away from Belcekiz, is an ideal place to relax with its refreshing sea and dense pine forest. Also, Butterfly Valley, which is situated amongst the mountains 5-6 kilometers away from Olu Deniz about 350 meters high, possesses unique beauty.

As for Olu Deniz, that is a excursion route of its own. The stone houses of nearby Kayakoy, which was a large city up to the year 1925, were emptied of its Greek inhabitants after the establishment of the Turkish Republic when they returned to their homeland. Modem accommodation facilities and a shopping center have been built in Hisaronu, which is seen on the way to Kayakoy. In addition, there are enough remains on both Gemili Island and Karacaoren Island which prove just how important they were in days of antiquity. One can visit the museum in the center of the administrative district. Those who have had enough of the heat should head 50 kilometers outside of Fethiye for world-famous Sakli Kent Canyon, an 18-kilometer long trek of spectacular natural beauty. If that's not enough, then go on up to the Fethiye plateaus or even Yaka Park near Tlos to cool off. For sports lovers, one can parachute off Babadag Mountain overlooking alii Deniz, go scuba diving 12 months a year, or even paddle a raft or canoe down either Dalaman or Esen Streams. Fethiye is one of those rare spots where history and nature come together in a splendid way.

Olu Deniz

Olu Deniz is situated 17 kilometers from Fethiye and is famous for its splendid coves as well as its history. Once you come from Fethiye and pass through Hisaronu, which has become an entertainment and shopping center in recent years, you will encounter Olu Deniz' myriad of blue hues with all the beauty of the splendid hotels nestled amongst the lush greenery. It is also possible to reach Olu Deniz through Kayakoy, known in ancient times as Carmylessus. Kayakoy has remained deserted since 1925, when the Greeks living here immigrated back to Greece as a result of the population exchange that took place between the two countries. Buildings such as homes and a church in Kayakoy, which was once a relatively large town, are all in dilapidated condition.

As for getting from Fethiye to Olu Deniz by sea, a course that would take you past both Sahin Burun and Dokukbasi Burnu to the Karacaoren Islands and from there, to Gemili Island. Gemili Island is an ideal location to drop anchor. This island as well as the Karacaoren Islands are full of Roman and Byzantine ruins. There are ruins of a palace with mosaics at the top of the hill on Gemili Island, whereas there is also a 500-meter long tunnel that runs from the palace to the shore. In addition, one can make out the ruins of a church and a house amongst the island flora. An earthquake struck the island in 240 A.D., knocking a portion of it into the sea. The island is also known as the Island of St Nicholas from a church with the same name which is situated on it.

Olu Deniz, which reminds one of paradise with its motionless sea surrounded byevergreen pines, is a tourism center known throughout the world. Besides the sea and the extraordinary hotels, one can also do some parachute gliding off the top of Mt Babadag, which towers above Olu Deniz at a height of 1,975 meters. Next to Olu Deniz is the wide sandy beach of Belcegiz. Three kilometers beyond Belcegiz is Kidrak Cove with its sparkling sea which is surrounded by pine forests. Stretching back from this cove about 3-4 kilometers is Butterfly Valley, which is an interesting canyon with steep cliffs up to 350 meters high. It is called Butterfly Valley because of the fact that a particular species of butterfly called 'Jersey Tiger' is seen here every summer from July to September. The other cities of antiquity that are near here can be visited as long as one is spending the night in Olu Deniz.

The reason this heavenly place is called Olu Deniz ("The Dead Sea"' is attributed to the following legend; Once upon a time, a father and his son were caught in a storm here and were in danger of sinking. The son claimed that if they approached the rocks on the shore, they could take shelter in a cove. In the meanwhile, the father asserted that their ship would be driven onto the rocks and break up and that there were no coves around here anyway. Fearful of running aground onto the rocks, the father knocked his son, who was at the helm at the time, into the sea with an oar and took over the helm himself. Just as the ship was about to smash up on the rocky point, a calm bay opened up in front of him. This is why they say the bay is called Olu Deniz. This bay, has a point at the back part of it, whereas vessels are not permitted inside the bay, which keeps water pollution to a minimum.

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