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Fethiye Travel Guide

Fethiye History

Fethiye or Telmessos as was known in the ancient times was an important harbour in the Lycian and Karyan border. Although there are no documented evidences, it is believed that this area dates back as far back as the Trojan War. According to Philosophical facts the city was born in the 6 century B.C. The origin of his name “Telmessos” is explained with a Lycian legend that says that in the early years of the Trojan War, the Lycian god Apollo fells in love with the timid daughter of the King of Finike, Agenor. To attract to the girls, Apollo disguises himself as a small a lovable dog, once the girl was attracted, the god revealed its real appearance and seduced her. As a result of that love was born Telmessos, and in his honour was founded the city of Telmessos.

During the Lycian times the city was called Telebehi, as it can be seen in the translations of the Lycian language of the coins found, that were minted in the 5th century.

Telemessos was invaded by the Persian King Harpagos in 547 B.C. and annexed to the Delian Confederation like the other Lycian and Carian cities. In the tribute list of this time Telmessos appear as an independent city and is listed separately of the other Lycian cities. During the reign of the Lycian Pericles the region was besieged in the 4th century and fells under the Lycian sovereignty. There are two versions of how the city was captured by Alexander the Great in his invasion of Anatolia during the winter of 334-333 B.C., one of they mention that the city has surrender to him for its own will, an the second mention that was invaded by the commander Nekros, who having asked the permission of Antipatrides, the governor of the city, to enter with his musicians and slaves, captured the city in the festivities held in the night with the guns that were hidden in flutes and boxes.

In 189 B.C. Romans passed the city to the sovereignty of Eumenes, the King of Bergama (Pergamun). After the end of Pergamene Kingdom, the city returned to the Romans power and included in the Roman province of Asia. At the ends of the 1st century the city become as member of the Lycian League and shared the fate of the other Lycian cities. During the Byzantine times the city had some importance until the Arabics raids in the 7th century. In the 8th century the city was renamed Anastasiapolis in honour of Anastasius II and afterwards took the name of Makri, which meant 'far city' in Greek. During the Ottoman period, the city was renamed to Megri, and finally took its actual name of Fethiye in commemoration to the first Turkish pilot, Fethi Bey in 1934.

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