Fethiye: The city of light

Fethiye (Telmessos) has thousand of stories to tell, as its history starts almost 3000 years ago and that’s as far as we know. The first known civilization on this beautiful peninsula was established by the Lycians. These unique people had an amazing system of a federation consisting 50 major settlements. Fethiye was one of those cities; surrounded by the range of the Ancient Taurus Mountains which had created the name Makri or Meğri meaning the Unreachable… The hidden paradise valley where one of the first very original civilization of the world appeared: the Lycians. Their kingdom on this peninsula with the 50 cities all connected with good roads, providing easy and safe journey from one city to the other; all by reach of a day.

Old Fethiye main town view

You would need to go to Xanthos if you needed any administrative help or consultation regarding your water rights or land-share issues. The court houses were also in Xanthos naturally.  Letoon would be the place to pray and worship some Roman or local Gods, sacrifices were offered, blessings prayed.  Tlos was the city of sports and health; where actors and athletes were raised and trained. Pinara was actually an old people’s home; a retirement city. All after a certain age would retreat in this tranquil corner of the peninsula.

But you would have had to go to Telmessos (Fethiye today) when you certainly needed fun. Plenty of stages, jugglers, dancers, whores and fortune tellers. Very comfy and nice inns and temples where all pleasures of the world were gifted to you. Again when one needed to consult a seer; he or she should have stayed sober before going to the oracles and there by the power of the ancient knowledge; some secret part of their lives would be revealed to them. Above all it was the Oracle of Telmessos who had declared the birth date of Alexander the Great decades before his birth. Obviously Telmessos had a lot of gambling houses too as even today gambling is very popular among the locals whom are believed to have a certain historical connection to the original Lycian people; especially amongst the nomads living in the highlands.

Lycian Rock Sacraphagos; still in the town

Lycian Rock Sacraphagos; still in the town

Fethiye or Megri used to have a railroad for transporting minning

Fethiye or Megri used to have a railroad for transporting minning

So when we refer to today; it is hard to understand people who would flee their ancestors’ lands ; the Lycians simply chose death; instead of being slaves some form of refugee today; crying under the feet of other nations.

After the Lycian era comes a shadowy part of the history for the peninsula as most of the Lycian settlements became ruins. Fethiye or Telmessos is one of the few surviving; the life went on here; no matter rulers changed; rules changed; gods replaced. In the early stages of the Republican Turkey, the city was given a new name after the famous pilot Mr. Fethi Bey. Slowly after that the city starts to grow again; even Atatürk; the founder of the Turkish Republic visits this tiny forgotten village. The agriculture gains a boost and more and more farmers are trained to raise better product; especially tomatoes. Slowly and steadily growing Fethiye was hit by an Earthquake in 1950’s causing a huge disaster mainly in the buildings. This natural phenomena caused the growth and improvement to decrease.

Fethiye prepared to welcome Atatürk the founder of the Turkish Republic

Only after the tourism came to the area in late 1960’s the city started to grow again. The charm and the beauty of the region attracted more and more tourist every year. This reached a peak when the Blue Lagoon/Ölüdeniz was discovered in touristic terms. In 1970’s there was one hotel; now 77 hotels with different class and categories are serving to many nations from all around the world.

As so rich with the history, so is the fauna and the geography of the peninsula.