Telmessos was a very prominent city and a center of prophecy, pledged to Apollon, in the antiquity. That the city life was rich and highly cultured during the Hellenistic and Roman periods is evident from the existing monuments.
The French explorer C. Texier who first came to Telmessos is 1850 writes that the Temple of Apollo and the theatre were very well preserved at that time. Shortly afterwards an earthquake in 1856 caused these monuments to crumble. During the 1957 earthquake whatever was left standing was flattened. Today's Fethiye was totally rebuilt after that last earthquake. The oldest building still standing is the old mosque which was built by order of the Algerian Hasan Pasha in 1791. Similarly, the Turkish Bath built in 1980, which attracts tourists during summer months, and a number of old houses scattered on the slopes are interesting to see.
Today the majority of antique ruins in Telmessos are rock-tombs are the most interesting Lycion sites in the region. The tomb of Amyntas which could be considered as the ins'gnia of Fetiye strikes the eye with its grandeur onthe slope as you enter the bay.This tomb, whose facade was built as an Ionian temple based on the plan of Inantis,belongen to Amyntas,son of Hermapias,and was built durig thr 4th century B.C.Amyntas is belived to be a king or a governor of Telmesos during the Hellenistic period.Next to the tomb of Amyntas,another temple-type tomb stands with one of its columns broken,surrounded with typical Lycion rock-tombs. Again in the same region, numerous pigeon-hole type graves, which are carved into the rocks in rectangular shapes, meet the eye, the best examples of which can be seen at Pinara. Within the city there are quite a number of Lycian-type sarcophagus near the government house is worthy of notice, with its reliefs depicting warriors.
The fortress stands where the city was first founded and the existing walls are from the Middle Ages. At some places, portions of walls from the Roman period can be seen. The fortress was repaired by the Rhodian Knights during the 15th century and was used as a naval base. Similarly, the Rhodian Knights had a fortress built on the Island of Knights, within the port, and had thus command over the city. Today, walls of this fortress, of old houses and cisterns and various pieces of coloured mosaics meet the eye on the island, which is at present a summer resort and a picnic site.
The Fethiye Museum exhibits numerous archaeological findings from the Lycian, Hellenistic and Roman periods as well as ethnological works of art typical of the region.
Beyond the Fethiyefortress going south, if you follow the road climbing up the slope, some 7 kms., you come to a magnificient lowland where , on the slope facing you, houses of long ago complement each other and the general view; standing like a monument of loneliness as if a waiting to welcome the inhabitant of Kayaköy. Kaya, Levisi of ancient times, with its more than 3000 houses, two churces, shops, streets and squares, stands, deserted, destroyed by nature and human beings alike. In 1922, during the exchange of Turks in Thrace with the Anatolian Greeks, the city was evacuated and , when the new residents did not take up the existing houses, Kaya become a "City of Ghosts".
Another way to get to Kaya, where today only the Turkish portion shows signs of living, is the new 3-km. road that branches off from the tenth kilomaeter of the route of Oludeniz.
Gemiler Adası(The Island of Ships)
Following the road leading west from Kayaköy, you end up at a beautiful beach surrounded by pine and olive trees. Facing you in the Gemiler Island or Saint Nicholas with all its secret fascinations. Not much is known about Gemiler Island. It is not clear when it was founded nor who lived there.
However, especially on the slopes facing the mainland, the ruines running right down into the sea makes one believe that it was inhabited until quite recently and was suddenly vacated. The large church from the early Christian and Byzantian period, the church on the hill, the mosaics on the ground, the ruins of cisterns in the sea and the gutter pipes running down from the slope are all fascinating. Especially one wonders about the close gallery that leads from the church on the hill straight down to the shore, reaching the bath.
"According to one story, the king had a very beautiful daughter, so beautiful that one glance was enough to become overwhelmed. The king was so upset by the young men who committed suicide due to unrequied love that he finally forbade her to appear in public. The girl , who loved the sea , went swimming through this close gallery built by her father."
It is also possible that the gallery was used by priests and nuns as a passage between the church and the bath.
The Gemiler Island with is glittering sea, justifying the princess to bear all these hardships for a swim, is a spot much favoured by local and foreign yachts.
The landing place at Kaya, the beautiful beach of Bektaslar, Soguk Su (Cold Water) so named because of a natural spring that cools the sea, Kisik, with its huge cave, the Afkule on the western slope of Kisik, and the numerous little bays all make the Gemiler Island and its surrounding a unique spot. Similarly, the Island of Karacaoren with its church, tombs and coloured wall paintings is just as fascinatings as the Gemiler Island.
The site is best toured by sea. There are motorboats available at Oludeniz and at the beach of Gemiler.
"You are at the Gates of Paradise" is written on a signpost at the point where you have your first sight of the Belcekiz road. Words fail one when attempting to describe this wonderful natural beauty. You have to see it to believe it. The entrance is masked by huge pine trees on high slopes. The white-pebble beach is reached by a sharp curve of 90 and a curving, curling road leads into a bay which is like an island lake. A fascinating story accompanies this spot.
"A father and son are caught in a storm just off these sharp rocks. The son claims that if they get close to the rocks, they will find a small bay, while the father insists they will smash up if they get any closer. The argument gets heated and the father strikes the son with an oar just as they are about to be ship-wrecked and attempts to steer. Just at that instant the sea turns and churns and indeed there is a small, calm bay." That is why this place is called the Dead Sea, say the fishermen. Even in the worst stormy days, there is not a single ripple in this bay.
Oludeniz and Belcekiz, with its long beach, the pine trees lining the sands, and its ever-changing azure colour, is a world-renowned spot. The season lasts almost ten months. There are numerous camping sites, boarding houses, motels and restaurants. There are regular "dolmus" services to this center of attraction. Two kilometers south of Belcekiz, a camping site is established by the Department of Ministry at Kidrak, where you will enjoy the beach with its pines and nightingales. Again in the south, a road leading over incredibly magnificient sights end up at Faralya (Uzunyurt).
Calis Beach Calis, which is the one of the most striking residential and recreational centers in the region, is situated 4 kms. north of Fethiye. With its kilometers of beach and cool evenings in the heat of the summer, Calis is especially noted for its unique sun-sets.
Further down from Calis, Kargi, with its beautiful beach and the storax trees, is a newly developing site with a number of tourist establishments.
Calis Beach is, a few minutes minutes away from Fethiyr by minibus (dolmus). Alternatively, for a change of scene, take the bus into the mountains to Olu Deniz.
The bus station is situated at the back of Fethiye, below the Amyntas tomb. area. You can also hail a water-taxi, usually a small fishing boat, to take you to Calis and Sovalye Island. It is a small resort with hotels, restaurants and bars lining the bacahfront and holiday accomodation stretching bak along the road to a little inland village called Gunlukbasi.
The beach itself is a long stretch of sand and shingle and is blessed with a refreshing, cool breeze, usually in teh afternoons and evenings which helps to keep the temperature pleasant, even in the height of the summer heat. The breeze also makes the area perfect for most of the summer.
In the evening you can sit at a beachside bar and watch the sunset while you ponder where to have your meal. Although Calis is a small resort it offers a sufficiently wide choice of restaurants to satisfy most tastes.
Pronounced 'chalish', Calis means 'work'. But you won't be doing much of that in this relaxing resort!
KELEBEK VADİSİ (BUTTERFLY VALLEY)
One of the most striking places in the vicinity of Fethiye is the Kelebek Vadisi (Valley of Butterflies). On February 8, 1995, this valley covered with pine trees and surrounded by steep cliffs was declared a natural reserve under protection of the first degree. It is a place very difficult to reach, but once you are there, the sight of millions and millions of butterflies all over the rocks, tree trunks and leaves is so spectacular as to leave anyone appalled. At first, you are unaware of this phenomenon, you may come to think that this is part of the natural flora; but then, a slight movement or a flickering sound would send the butterflies tumbling up into the air and they would cover the sky in a second, the whole valley would fall temporarily under a dark shadow.
In order to get to Valley of the Butterflies, you have to go to Oludeniz first. From there you either rent a vessel or get on a dolmus boat which would also take you back part of the beach is a nudist camp.
At night, you may sleep in a corner in your sleeping-bag. If not, you may go back on the same boat which brought you here. There are no amenites for staying overnight. In summer, a country restaurant struggles to survive here. Its owners can be of great help to you in providing information on the valley. Inexperienced trekkers or those who are not fit, should avoid climbing to the higher parts of the valley. Climbing up to the first waterfall should be fairly satisfying. If those who have self-confidence or those who cannot resist the call of the valley, continue to climb. They willwitness the scene we have described above. The valley has been closed and then re-opened again to the public a few times. We can't say for sure whether it could be open or not when you get there.
Oyuk Tepe (Hollow Hill)
On this peninsula bordering the west of the Port of Fethiye, there are numerous bays like karacaagac, Samanlik and Boncuklu, where the sea meets and envelopes the pine trees. Most of these bays are picnic sites for a quiet, peaceful day, all lined up on a six-kilometer road circling the peninsula.
Further on from the Oyuk Tepe peninsula, Kalemye, Icmesu and the Turunc beach which is reched by sea, are beautiful little bays.
On a hot Fethiye day which may chastise you unbelievably, do something totally different and escape your fate: walk on icecold waters; go to Saklikent...
You can reach Saklikent by taking off from the Fethiye-Antalya road. Going through a deep approach the depths of the mountains. This place is 50 km to Fethiye, near Kayadibi Koyu. If you don't have private carriage you can either join one of the tours organized by travel agencies or catch a dolmus there. Esen Cayi / stream runs through a canyon almost 17 km long. You advance through the canyon, sometimes across wooden bridges and at times by walking through the water. Since the creek bed is covered with stones, wearing a suitable footqear is advisable. If you don't have anything of the sort, don't worry, you can always purchase a pair from "the mobile shop of plastic footwear" - a service offered by the "tourism sector" which defies any canyon, But what you see up to the place you can go to, is impressive enough. Your feet may feel a little too cold in the water but when you get out, youcould be feeling great. Now is the time to eat alabalik (trout). It would be a real feast under the shade, feeling the cool of the water.
This site is also operated as a camping site by the Directorate of National Parks and its renowned for its storax (liquid-amber) trees which grow only in the Mugla region. The Mugla-Fethiye and there are numerous little bays around this spot. Again on this same route, Katranci, with pine trees stretching right up the shore, is an ideal place with camping facilities.
Göcek is a small fishing town on the road to Mugla. It is also a port for exports of chromium ore belonging to Etibank and boasts of a well protected landing place for sizeable ships. The village is surrounded by various bays and islands and is a frequent port of call for yachts to provision. It is also center of attraction for amateur fishermen.
The Kapidag peninsula and the islands, called by fishermen as "the Inside of Darkness" are at the west end of the Fethiye bay where blue water voyagers spend a few days without fail. The clear clean sea is a pleasure for swimmers, the mild wind ideal for sailing and other water sports and the sea-food is abundant. Hamam (Bath) bay is a must for blue water voyagers, with all its natural beauty. On the eastern face of the isthmus separating the Kurtoglu Point from the mainland there are ruins in the sea of an ancient building. It is not certain whether this is a monastery or a public bath ftom the Byzantian period. According to one story, Kurtoglu, after whom the point was named, was a pirate and had his mansion here of which the ruins are part. The silvery stones and walls are buried in the azure waters. Around the bay, covered by pine trees and shrubs, there are various other ruins. The Kursunlu bay, where a long, tall wall cuts across from the isthmus, is very handy for yachts staying overnight.
The antique city Lydae is reached by a half-hour walk from Yavansu. Water can be procured from Taskaya where Bedri Rahmi Eyupoglu painted a fish on a rock during one of his famous blue water voyages, where one can also visit Lycian rock-tombs on the slopes. The Island of Tersane is most suitable for anchorage with its port closed to all winds and where one can wander among old, run-down houses. At the bay of Gobun, roasted fresh fish and bread are available. At the Boynuzbuku swimming in the chain of inlets is an experience. These are just a few of the pleasures you can enjoy in this unique region where the green and the blue vow everlasting love for each other. It is a deep pleasure and an incredible delight to participate in daily boat trips to seek out these sites, which crown the dreams of yachting people. In this paradise of bays bejewelled with yachts, the unmatchable beauty and wonders of nature and the azure-coloured water brings joy into human lives.
Museum of Fethiye Tel:614 11 50 open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday except Mondays Antiquities found in Lykia, Kaunos and Konya, plus enthnographic, plus ethnographic works are on display here.