Fethiye is known as the "Turquoise Coast" of Turkey and a picturesque bay nestling at the foot of mountains sheltered by green pine and cedar forests. It's a beautiful resort with a developed tourist infrastructure located 48 km from Dalaman airport. Seeped in history stone sarcophagi from the Lycian period can be found in the town and along the coastline. One of the most famous is the eye-catching tomb of Amyntas located high up in the rock face which has long been recognised a symbol of Fethiye. Amyntas is believed to have been a king or governor of Telmessos (the ancient name of Fethiye) during the Hellenistic period.
There is a large collection of archaeological finds located in the Fethiye Museum which is well worth a visit. Another attraction is a medieval castle located on a hill in the south of Fethiye. According to legend it was built by the knights of the Order of St. John.
Modern day Fethiye is a bustling market town with an international flair, impressive marina and beautiful promenade. It’s a resort for those who love nature, clean air and beautiful views. With majestic mountains and abundance of bays and islands on the rugged coastline it has created an excellent base for yacht tourism. The area is known too for its clear waters where sea temperature rarely drops below 19 degrees Celcius and underwater caves that are great for diving! Cafes and restaurants are everywhere offering a wide choice of deliciously cooked food and traditional Turkish mezes. No trip to Fethiye is complete of course without a visit to the fish market where you can choose and buy your fish and take to one of the many restaurants inside the market to cook. The atmosphere buzzes, musicians serenade while you eat and the air is full of delicious aromas. Just because you don't
eat fish doesn't mean you can't join in the merriment as many of the restaurants offer meat and vegetarian dishes too.
Paspatur which is the old part of Fethiye town is very atmospheric day or night with many of the shops staying open until late selling everything from souvenirs, leather goods to beautiful handicrafts, ceramics and hand- made carpets. Stroll down the maze of side streets and you will come across small restaurants and bars tucked away. Paspatur is a little gem and if you're looking for a lovely laid back atmosphere without the crowds then look no further!
The Tuesday market in Fethiye sells everything from fresh produce to genuine fakes. Here you can try your hand at bartering and haggling!
Along with foreign tourists Turks travel here for their holidays too which makes Fethiye a wonderful multi-cultural and multi-national experience for all visitors and creates a warm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
A brief history of Fethiye
Modern Fethiye was known to the ancient world as Telmessos and used to be the most important city of the ancient Lycian civilization. Despite the lack of information about its founding historians agree the appearance of the city dates back to the 5th century BC.
Lycian legend explains the origin of the name Telmessos as the god Apollo who fell in love with the shy and beautiful daughter of the King of Phoenix. To gain her trust and to win her love he transformed himself in to a little dog and after this Apollo transformed himself back and their son Telmessos was born. The name Telmessos translates as "the land of lights".
The city has been widely known as a centre of prophecy and its predictors had a strong influence on the course of history. The fact that life in Telmessos was culturally rich in the Hellenistic and Roman periods is confirmed by surviving monuments such as Lycian sarcophagi stone tombs, the Rhodes fortress and the Roman Theatre.
In 547 BC along with all the cities of Lycia and Karya, Telmessos was captured by the Persian general Harpagos and the city of Apollo's son joined the Persian Empire. Earlier Telmessos was part of the Attic Maritime Union also known as the Delian League founded in the second half of the 5th century BC. Over time the city left the union but continued to maintain a relationship with it up to the 4th century BC when it became independent.
Later, Alexander the Great appeared in Telmessos and according to one legend in the winter of 334-333 BC the city surrendered to him of its own will. According to another legend during his Asian campaign Alexander the Great attempted to take over Anatolia by sending his powerful fleet to the bay of Telmessos. The commander of Alexander’s fleet asked the city governor for permission to allow his musicians and slaves to enter the city. After receiving permission his soldiers who were disguised as musicians and slaves then seized the acropolis of the city during the night festivities.
In the year of 240 BC Ptolemy III passed the city of Telmessos to the son of King Lizimakhos. Further, according to the agreement signed in 189 BC after the Magnesia battle the Romans passed the city to king Eunenes of the Bergamon kingdom. After the fall of the Bergamon kingdom the city of Telmessos in 133 BC joined the Lycian League and was one of the six most important cities of the union. In the 8th century AD the rule over the city fell into the hands of King Anastasios II.
The city of Telmessos was captured in 1284 by the principality of Menteseogullari and renamed Makri which translates as "remote city". In the year of 1424 the city became part of the Ottoman Empire.
Finally in the year of 1914 it got its present name - Fethiye - in honour of Fethi Bey the first Turkish combat pilot who died tragically in accident.