Modern Fethiye is located on the Lycian and Carian border on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos, the ruins of which can still be seen. The city was very prominent and a centre of prophecy, pledged to Apollon, with a recorded history starting in the 5th century BC.
A Lycian legend explains the source of the name Telmessos; the god Apollo falls in love with the youngest daughter of the King of Phoenicia, Agenor. He disguises himself as a small dog and thus gains the love of the shy, withdrawn daughter. After he reappears as a handsome man, they have a son, whom they name ‘Telmessos‘ (meaning the land of lights). The city became part of the Persian Empire 547 BC, along with other Lycian and Carian cities.
The oracle of Telmessos had great impact on the course of ancient history and it says that Alexander the Great, on a mission to invade Anatolia in the winter of 334–333 BC, entered Telmessos harbour with his fleet. The commander of the fleet asks permission of King of Telmessos for his musicians and slaves to enter the city. On getting the permission, the warriors with weapons hidden in the flute boxes capture the acropolis during the feasts held at night.
His empire fell in 133 BC and the remains of this historical period can be found in several rock tombs overlooking the city – one of the most spectacular is the tomb of Amyntas. The tombs have been carved out into the rock faces behind the city, some with inscriptions dating back to the 4th century B.C.
By the 10th century, it came to be called Makri, after the name of the island at the entrance to the harbor and became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1424.
In 1934, the city was renamed ‘Fethiye’ in honor of Fethi Bey, one of the first pilots of the Ottoman Air Force, killed on an early mission.
The Fethiye Museum, which is very rich in ancient and more recent artifacts, displays and testifies to the successive chain of civilizations that existed in the area, starting with the ancient Lycians.
Now a thriving harbour town, Fethiye is one of Turkey‘s well-known tourist centres and in the last ten years has become a magnet for British citizens. Apart from its climate and natural beauty, the Britons are attracted by its less expensive lifestyle and the hospitality of the local people. The British population in Turkey is between 34,000 and 38,000. As a result of the large British population and the high numbers of Britons going there for holiday, Fethiye-Öludeniz was chosen as the best tourism centre in the world by The Times and The Guardian newspapers in 2007. Over 7,000 British citizens permanently live in Fethiye property, while approximately 600,000 British tourists visit the town every summer.
Fethiye has a Mediterranean climate consisting of very hot, long and dry summers with an average of 34°C (93°F) in the daytime, winters are cool and rainy with a daytime average of 16°C (61°F).
Today the Fethiye Region encompasses many areas (as described below), each with their own atmosphere and style. Though the Region has grown considerably in the last ten years, it will never become the size of many of the European holiday destinations due to the natural limitation of the area. The Region is surrounded by a pine clad mountain range, all of this area is protected and no development is allowed which means that Fethiye can continue to improve and update its existing platform while keeping its original character and beauty.