Ionian or Lycian Ruins Around Fethiye
Even though we reached our hotel in Fetihye pretty late in the afternoon, we rebounded in time to get a tiny bit of sightseeing in. I read somewhere online that there are Lycian tombs right above the city, and because of their location, the best time to see them is at sunset. Of course, that also means that you get to see the sunset over the city of Fetihye, which is a beautiful harbor town at any time of day but especially nice at dusk. The tombs generally face the west, and I think their locations were chosen to give the occupants a pleasant vista for their afterlife.
We climbed, first in the car and then on foot, all the way up to these tombs. Nobody is sure exactly who was buried, and since they’re so old (from 350 B.C.) nothing easily removable is still left – thanks, tomb raiders.
We did find this inside:
After checking out the tomb, we walked back down the hill right into a restaurant overlooking the town, and since we were all hungry and thirsty by this point, and quite happy to delay driving back through the twisty walled streets, we stopped for dinner. This was our first meal in Fetihye, and it was a good sign of what was to come. The drinking and eating on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast is superb! The restaurant owner also gave us a list of things to check out while we were in town. He devised a six-stop driving day, of which we only got through two sites! None of us are early risers when we have the option not to be, and it gets pretty hot for touristing later in the day.
So, late morning the next day, we set out for Saklikent Gorge. We weren’t particularly energetic and hadn’t worn the appropriate footwear to really appreciate the gorge, which you do by walking through the freezing water and holding on for life, against a strong current, to two sets of lines. There is a series of these as you enter the gorge and make your way through. We walked as far as we could with dry feet and then watched other visitors scramble for a while.
Our next stop was Tlos. This is a pile of ruins in the mountains above Fethiye. At the base and around the mountains are old Lycian tombs. On top of that are various iterations of a Roman city, with an Ottoman fort built on the very top of it all. It’s one of those sites that is still under excavation and has very little posted in the way of explanation. Your interpretation of the various piles of rocks is almost entirely dependent on your imagination and any prior knowledge you may have.
Luckily we got a little extra when we stopped for a quick lunch across from the site. After we ordered cold lemonades and a sandwich, a kid approached our tables with some books about the area and a gave us a quick overview. He introduced himself as Nail (pronounced Na-hil) but said we could call him Neal Diamond for short, and then, like a young archaeologist in training, he explained a couple of the legends of the areas, most of which involved a tomb that’s pretty difficult to reach and best viewed from the road. Then he left us with the books, which we perused while waiting for our order. When we finished eating he came back to collect the loaner books and was truly impressed that my mom had found his picture in one of them, and clearly proud that she had bothered to read a few of the passages. So, if you’re ever by Tlos and hungry, stop by the restaurant closest to the parking on the hill and look for Neal Diamond – he’ll charm your socks off!