Hidden Gems

Telmessos magic with Turkey sailing holidays

By Jenny Wilson
on  December 03, 2016

If you are exploring the Turquoise Coast with Turkey sailing holidays, you will almost certainly find yourself in the port of Fethiye. This modern bustling city lies on the remains of one of the most important locations in ancient Lycian civilisation, Telmessos.

Visit Turkey's tourist hot spots - See civilisations of the past

Taking its name from the son of the sun god Apollo, Telmessos is thought to date back as far as the 5th century BC. Ruled variously by Persians, Romans and at one time possibly even Alexander the Great, its prime location made it an ancient destination of great political and cultural significance. An earthquake in 1958 levelled much of this impressive city; however, several of the fascinating Lycian tombs remain.

These tombs were caved directly into the rock, high on hillsides in accordance with the belief that the closer the tomb was to the sky, the more easily a soul could ascend. The most famous example in Telmessos is undoubtedly the Tomb of Amyntas, which is adorned with impressive pillars and an elaborately carved headpiece. Various sarcophagi can also be found throughout the town, including notable examples near the government building with plenty of Gothic detail. Other fascinating remains include the ruins of an ancient Roman theatre and the still-visible foundations of a fortress on the old acropolis.

Whilst last century’s natural disaster unfortunately demolished many of the Lycian buildings found here, the elevated location of the spectacular tombs means it is still easy to appreciate the craftsmanship and majesty of the architecture of this most fascinating city.

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