Fethiye is located in the Aegean region of Turkey, on the ancient city of Telmessos. In 1958 an earthquake levelled the city, leaving only the tombs from Telmessos. It is a well known tourist destination in the summer, for its excellent natural harbour. Many people visit Fethiye to board, or once they have finished a Gulet cruise. The summer weather is magnificent and the city is perfectly protected from storms, by an island; Sovalye Adasi. The larger outer bay has a further 11 small islands.
The Fethiye region has many interesting places to see, including both beautiful beaches and ancient ruins.
Telmessos was the most important city in the ancient Lycian times. It is thought that the history of the city reaches as far back at the 5th century BC. A Lycian legend explains the source of the name Telmessos as follows: & quote; God Apollon falls in love with the youngest daughter of the King of Finike (Phoenike), Agenor. He then disguises himself as a small dog and thus gains love for the shy, withdrawn daughter. After he reappears as a handsome man, they name their son 'Telmessos' (the land of lights).
The city, with its name believed to have come from that of Telmessos, - son of God Apollon-, formed the first state of the Persians after being invaded by the Persian King Harpagos in 547 BC, along with all other Lycian and Carian cities. Telmessos then, joins the Attik-Delos Union established in the mid 5th century BC and although it later left the union as an independent city, it continued its relations until the 4th century BC.
There is rumour that the city was invaded by Alexander the Great on his Asian cruise in the winter of 334-333 BC has. Another legend says that Alexander the Great, on a mission to invade Anatolia, entered Telmessos harbour with his fleet. Their commander Nekros asks permission of Antipatrides, ruler of the city, for his musicians and slaves to enter the city. On getting permission the warriors with guns hidden in the flute boxes capture the acropolis during the feasts held at night.
In 240 BC the city had been handed over to the son of Lysimachos by Ptolomy III. In 189 BC a treaty was been signed after the Magnasia war and the Romans left the city to Eumenos the King of Bergama (Pergamon) and the Kingdom collapses. In 133 BC Telmessos joins the Lycian Federation and is one of the six most important cities in the group. In the 8th century Telmessos was renamed Anastasios II. The city is taken over in 1284 by Menteseogullari and receives the name Megri meaning far city after its inclusion in Ottoman land in 1424. In 1934 the city was finally named 'Fethiye' to honour Fethi Bey a martyr Pilot.
Throughout the town there are Lycian stone ruins. The tomb of Amynthas, is one of the most splendid examples of the Lycian civilisation. This tomb is in the form of a temple built in Ion style, and has a landing with adjacent pillars at the two sides, with four steps leading to it. In the middle of the leftmost pillar, & quote; Amynthas: son of Hermapias & quote; is engraved in 4th century BC letters. At the top, there is a head piece with three actoters, one in ruins, at the bottom there is a dentile fresco. Three stone benches go along the three walls of the flat-topped tomb chamber, with a door leading into it that has iron nail-like joints carved out of stone at its four corners. Although two of the numerous other tombs at the left of the hill look like the Amynthas tomb, they are much smaller. Within the town and in the vicinity many more tombs may be found, some sarcophagus tombs and some cut from pieces of rock. One of the best examples of these sarcophagi is located to the east of the government building. Both sides of its arched gothic style lid are decorated with war scenes and the two-storey front face has carvings that look like wooden square joints.
At the high acropolis hill behind the city is a medieval castle, believed to be the remains of Saint John's knights. There is not much in the castle except some writings carved on the walls and a cistern of unknown origin. Another old building in Fethiye that has remained up to this day is an ancient mosque that Cezayirli, Hasan Pasha ordered it to constructed in 1791. An ancient peculiarity of the city is that it has been famous for its soothsayers. It is known that the soothsayers of this city were devoted to the God Apollon.
Fethiye museum is also worth a visit, with interesting exhibits including small statues and votive stones.