Fethiye is located on the Lycian and Carian border and was called Telmessos
in ancient times. The city was very prominent and a centre of prophecy, pledged
to Apollon. 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.
The peninsula lying between Fethiye and Antalya was known as Lycia in the
ancient times. Lycians were natives of Anatolia and sea-faring people as
mentioned in Homer’s Iliad and Kadesh War Peace Agreement document.
The tomb of Amyntas, which could be considered as the insignia of Fethiye,
strikes the eye with its grandeur on the slope as you enter the bay. This tomb,
whose façade was built as an Ionic temple based on the plan of in antis,
belonged to Amyntas is believed to be a king or a governor of Telmessos during
the Hellenistic period.
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 house is worthy of notice, with its relieves depicting warriors.
The fortress stands where the city was first founded and the existing walls are
from the 11th Century. At same places, portions of walls from the Roman period
can be seen. The fortress was repaired by the Rhodesian Knights during the 15th
Century and was used as a naval base.
Telmessos Ancient Theatre stands opposite to the commercial quay at Fethiye town
centre. Typical Roman type theatre was built in 2nd. Century on the remains of a
Greek style previous one. The site was escavated by the Fethiye Archaeology
Museum in 1993 and a restoration project was made to renovate the theatre’s
cavea and stage.
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.
There is a new project to be realised in 2001—2002 for a new “open-air Museum
complex with the ancient theatre”. Fethiye Municipality and the Directory of
Museum are leading this project to reform the centre of town with the idea of
protecting natural and cultural environments of Fethiye.
The Teke Peninsula of our times, lying between Fethiye and Antalya was known as
LYCIA in the ancient times. In fact the Lycians participated in the Kadesh War
together with Hittites, Which indicates that they were one of the oldest tribes
of Anatolia. All through the history, Lycia was invaded by the Persians,
Alexander The Great, Romans and Byzantines but was never evacuated. 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.
Fethiye has always been a major area of settlement throughout the history.
This is due to the fact that the region is opulent in all aspects of subsistance.
It bears the stamp of all the people living here in various periods, The region
was known as ''Telmessos" during the Lycian times until the Roman Empire, when
it was referred to as "Makri" (Megri), meaning far-off !and. In 1282 Mentese Beg,
the founder of the Mentese Principality, fought with the Byzarithians and
onquered Makri, PUR-suant to this dote, although in the official documents name
Makri (Megri) was still in use, the popular name among the residents was "Iskete"
or "Beskaza". The name Iskele was derived from the use of this town by the
Ottoman Empire for sailing out to Rhodes and the out side world.
Similarly, the name Beskaza was in frequent use during the Ottoman times. As the
central government had a hard time to dea with local matters, five regional ad
ministrations were established. Under the auspices of the central administration,
the five kadhis (local gover- nors) of Uzumlu, Yaka-Doger, Yakabag-Esen; Oren
and Kaya were appointed. The name Beskaza was very popular and there are several
folk dances and song bearing this name.
In the year 1914, a new name'appears. At that the Megri Municipal Council
proposed changing. The name of "Megri" to commemorate Fethi Bey, the first
Turkish pilot who was killed in a. crash near Taberiye This proposal was
approved by the Council, presided by the Mayor of the time, Musaoðlu Mehmet cen,
and the name "Fethiye" was used in all documentation However, due to the First
World War and the subsequ ent Independence War, the Council of Ministers 2
approval could be obtained only in1934.