Archaeological sites in Fethiye during your yacht charter in Turkey
Fethiye is one of the best places to visit in Turkey's Mediterranean and the perfect launching pad to explore the Turquoise Coast.
The harbor-front town of Fethiye is one of the best places to visit in Turkey’s Mediterranean and the perfect launching pad to explore the mesmerizing sites along the famed slice of lush coastline known as the Turquoise Coast. When planning your luxury yacht charter in Turkey, make sure Fethiye is part of your itinerary. Fethiye, the ancient Telmessos, is a very pleasant town with a large esplanade. The town is surrounded by Lycian tombs carved out in the rocks.
The port of Fethiye is lovely for a stroll around the quay to observe the fishermen at work and take in all the daily hustle and bustle. Fethiye itself is a prosperous but laid-back kind of place and the port is surrounded by picturesque shops, restaurants and bars, just what you need to return to after a day’s sightseeing.
The abandoned village of Kayaköy
After an espresso at one of the outdoor cafés in the port, your private driver will take you and your friends and family to the town of Kayaköy, that snakes across the hillside, eight kilometers south from Fethiye. Completely abandoned since 1923, hundreds of stone houses slowly give into dilapidation in the hot sun. Once known as Levissi, the abandoned village of Kayaköy was home to around 10,000 people living together for centuries, including Anatolian Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians, within a thriving and harmonious community. With origins in the 14th century, Kayaköy was forcefully abandoned at the end of the Greco-Turkish War when a population exchange meant that Muslims and Christians were exchanged between Greece and Turkey so that each country could claim one major religion in the path toward ethnic and national homogeneity. As such, Levissi became Kayaköy, or Rock Village, when the more than 6,000 Christians suddenly left, leaving only their beautiful stone homes and churches behind. Left untouched, the hillside homes, schools, chapels, churches, shops, and cafés continue to stand today as if to protest their abandonment. Having gained museum status and adopted by UNESCO as a World Friendship and Peace Village, Kayaköy has made some headway. One of the most poignant reminders of the village’s thriving past is the Kato Panagia Church, in which faded frescoes and vaulted ceilings and arches tell the story of another era. Even though the museum village appears ancient due to the effects of harsh winds and winters, its mysterious, ghost town atmosphere continues to make it an inspiring find and worth a visit to get a glimpse of the past and take some truly unique pictures.
The Tomb of Amyntas
Among the numerous rock tombs carved into the steep slopes of the southern hills of Fethiye which are easily seen from the valley below, the most famous one is the tomb of Amyntas. The tomb is worth a visit for the spectacular view alone and can be reached by a staircase leading up the mountain. This impressive looking tomb, which has been dated back to the 4th century BC, was named after the Greek inscription on the side of it which reads “Amyntou tou Ermagiou”, meaning “Amyntas, son of Hermagios”. The tomb was built by the Lycians, the people who lived in this area of Turkey at the time. The Lycians were never members of a specific country, but rather a tightly-knit confederation of independent city-states, which included Telmessos. Compared to many other tombs carved into mountainsides in the area, the interior of the Tomb of Amyntas is very spacious.
Given Fethiye’s archaeological wealth, a visit to the town’s museum has to be part of today’s agenda. This surprisingly good museum covers the Lycian kingdom and is particularly interesting now that you have already visited the historic sites of the area earlier.
The compact museum offers high quality artefacts from the Bronze Age through the Archaic, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Of note are several very delicate terra cotta pieces and glass, in an outstanding state of preservation, next to coins, jewelry, amphorae, pottery and architectural fragments. You can admire a complete tomb, brought here from the ruins in Tlos, but their most important showcase is the “Trilingual Stele”. This piece has identical inscriptions in Lycian, Greek and Aramaic and has been the key tool to help decipher the Lycian language.
After all this exploring around town, it is time for some fun in the sun! Around the headland, a mere ten kilometers south of Fethiye’s old town, you will be pleasantly surprised by a scene of rare beauty. Ölüdeniz Beach is a crescent of white pebbles, with clear waters a mesmerizing shade of turquoise that glows in the sunlight. The sky-scraping mountain of Babadağ, with a peak just shy of 2,000 meters, rises only five kilometers in from the coast and dominates the scenery inland. Paragliders launch themselves off the peak as the aerial views of lush forested hills and turquoise blue water have made Ölüdeniz one of the most renowned tandem paragliding destinations in the world. If you would rather stay grounded, the calm turquoise water, sheltered from the sea, with its white-sand beach rimmed by dense pine forest, is impossibly perfect and calling your name.
Your chief stewardess has set up a picnic for you and your loved ones in the shade and is waiting for you with cold towels and even colder refreshments. After sampling all your favorite dishes, cool off in the sea by going for a swim or pick up the snorkeling gear to find out what is going on under water. Your captain made sure your yacht is right within your view and when you are ready for some action, the crew will put your favorite water toys in the sea for you to enjoy. Would you like to watch the sunset at the beach or back onboard on deck? Either way, it will be perfect and only the beginning of an unforgettable night in the Turkey’s Mediterranean!
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