It is the ancient name of Fethiye which
is the largest and the most beautiful town of Mugla, dating back to 3000 B.C. It
is one of the oldest sites of settlement in Anatolia.
Like Patara, Telmessos was famous for
its prophets and a center of prophecy. During the Byzantian dominance, after the
Mirea Metropolitan, the second prominent bishop was from Telmessos which
indicates the significance of the city. The Telmessos coins were first minted
during the last quarter of the sixth century B.C.
A brief summary must be given on the
antique works in existence at Fethiye. The works of art constructed in Ionic
style indicates that Anatolia was influenced by the Athenean school. During 600
B.C., the Ionian masters and the elegant and variable Ionian style were
preferred to the coarse and monotonous Doric art, resulting in exquisite works
of art. These are in various types and the scholars classify them as follows: a)
freestanding graves, b) graves carved into rocks. Later the free-standing graves
were also divided into sub-groups. Benndorf and his colleagues classified them
as a) rock tombs, b) sarcophagi, c) plied tombs and d) Grecian tombs.
Primitive Rock Tombs (Pidgeon holes)
These are rectangular holes carved into the rocks the faces of which were closed
by cut stone blocks and fired earthen plates. Most of these tombs are located at
the left edge of the 40-columned tomb at the necropolis, along the pebbled belt
of the northern tip of a rock at Taşyaka district, and next to the water storage
tank along the Kaya road.
House-type tombs These are forms of
civilian architecture reflected on the rocks. The wooden material used in houses
is devastated by nature in time while their samples carved into rocks have
reached us. These tombs represent the front of a wooden house with simple panes.
On the facade, the jutting common joists and cornerstones join the horizontal
beams of the roof,
supporting the ceiling. The ends of
thick joists, projecting outwards over the horizontal
beams of the roof, are reminiscent of
the exterior section of the Ionian structure. Six samples of this type stand to
the east of the tomb with 40 columns, some of which are broken and damaged by
fires lit in the interior. The most significant of these tombs is beside the
road, on the right hand side of the steps leading to the Tomb of Amintas. The
tomb is reached by the steps carved ino the main rock. The joists and the
horizontal beams are in relatively good condition, and over the door, 42x164 cms.
there is an incription in Greek. In the interior there are three wide couches.
Another tomb of this type stands next to the inscribed tomb at Acropolis, making a total of eight.
Tombs with the facade of temples There
are three of this type at Necropolis. On one of them has the inscription "Amintas,
the son of Hermapias". None of them has sarcophagi. Instead the rock is carved
as a couch for the corpse to be laid on. These tombs were built during the reign
of Alexander the Great in late fourth century B.C.
Amintas Tomb The tomb built in Ionian
style is called popularly and in historical records as the Amintas Tomb, due to
the name in the inscription. The base of the column is 71 cm. long and the upper
parts are destroyed. On the upper portion of the wall projections of the tomb
there is a series of decorations in the form of three rosettes. Higher up, there
is a pediment with three acroteries in the form of human heads, two of which are
ruined. Beneath this there is a series of serrations.
In the inscription half-way on the ante
wall on the left, Amintsas, son of Hermapias is mentioned. Passing through the
columns, there is a door with two wings, each wing resembling wooden structure
in two parts.Only the lower section of the right wing is open. The borders of
this opening, which must have supported a sliding stone or umber in the old
times, are broken. I he heads of the nails for the winq of the door are still
discernible, the grave chamber is reached by stepping over a 40 cm. threshold of
fhe door. there are three couches with a height of 80 cm. each. They are
relatively narrow with an elevation serving as a pillow. The hollow part in the
middle of the couches were for the gifts brought to fhe tomb.
Due to the height and the width of the
Amintas tomb, many people tend to believe that the people of the time were
big-framed. However, the length of the couches inside the tomb are similar to
the height of present-day people.
The Telmessos antique city is fhe only
center where there has been continous settlement from the time it was first
constructed along the Mediterranean coastline until today, Based on some
philological studies, it is believed that the city dates as far back as the
third century B.C., However, no concrete evidence has yet been found to support
The oldest ruins in the city, which was
demolished at every turn-over and devastated by earthquakes from the antique
period onwards are comprised of rock tombs. The most prominent rock tomb is the
one known as .the. Amintas tomb, based on the inscription halfway on the eastern
ante wall where "Amintas, son of Hermapias" is mentioned. The Telmessos fortress
was constructed during the Hellenistic period. However there is no trace of
this, except for some blocks from that period. In subsequent years, during the
Roman, Byzantian and Ottoman eras, the fortress was used for military purposes.
surviving at present are from the Middle
Ages and the Ottoman period. Some repair work was undertaken in recent years
around the entrance door of the northern city wall, but this has been on a very