"Cruising the Lycian Shore" is our first cruise in Turkey since October 2019, On this occasion, to give an impression of the experience, we are providing a kind of travel diary on our blog, following precedents from Greece and Ireland. Rather than describing every day in detail (you can check our itineraries on www.petersommer.com for that), every day we will pick one image we took that day, accompanied by some explanations and thoughts.
On the last evening of the cruise we are in the marina of Fethiye, our gulet's home port.
Our last day of cruising was a very beautiful one, beginning with a long and leisurely crossing from our two-day cove to the Bay of Fethiye, on the very edge of ancient Lycia. It was a fine trip with extraordinary clear views along the coasts of Caria and Lycia and across to the Greek island of Rhodes. We spent much of the day at anchor near some cliffs and a small beach, a final chance to enjoy the blue Mediterranean water.
Later, we moored in Fethiye and set out to explore this historic town with its four historic identities. We strolled through the vibrant and colourful markets of modern Fethiye, the name the city has borne since 1934, in honour of Fetih Bey, a famed Ottoman aviator. We then walked through some old neighbourhoods that were once part of Makri, predominantly populated by Greeks until the early 1920s, but under Ottoman control since 1425 (the Ottoman version of the name Makri was Meğri). Prior to that, the city was Byzantine, and we looked upwards towards the large Byzantine castle that towered above Makri and for a brief period around AD 800 above Anastasioupolis, named for one of the emperors in far-distant Constantinople. Anastasioupolis was itself a re-foundation of the ancient city, Telmessos, and the tombs of the ancient rulers of Telmessos were our goal.
Carved into the steep cliffside above Telmessos, or Anastasioupolis, or Makri, or Fethiye, are a series of ancient rock-cut graves. The earlier ones are typical Lycian tombs of the façade type and probably date from the fifth and fourth centuries BC, showing that the area was part of the Lycian cultural sphere at that time. They are outshone, however, by three more recent and much more unusual monuments, likewise rock-cut, the Temple Tombs of Telmessos. Dating to not long before 300 BC, or a generation after Alexander's Macedonians took control of Anatolia, these are large structures, with façades modelled on Greek temples of the Ionic order. The type is not otherwise common in Lycia, but famously in Caria to the west, especially at Kaunos. Probably indicating a changed cultural alignment, they surely were the graves of local rulers or nobles, and the largest (not the one shown in our image) bears an inscription referring to one Amyntas, perhaps a Lycian who had adopted a Macedonian name, or a Macedonian blow-in?
This final exploration was followed by a farewell dinner of superb fresh seafood - one more time that our onboard chef showed off her skills.
Tomorrow, we'll say farewell.