A Glimmer of Hope for Fethiye’s Ancient Theatre

We came across an interesting article the other day which gave us a little glimmer of hope for some of Fethiye’s crumbling ruins. The article focused on the rock tombs of Dalyan and said that nanotechnology is going to be used to restore and protect the rock tombs from further erosion; the first time nanotechnology will be used in Turkey for the protection of archaeological sites.

I read the article through to the end, in the hope that Fethiye’s Lycian tombs would get a mention. They did! They’re apparently going to receive the same treatment as the rock tombs in Dalyan which is fantastic news. And what about this for a double whammy; Fethiye’s ancient Telmessos theatre is also going to be restored.

As you can see from the photo above, it’s not before time. We first visited Fethiye in 1998 and the theatre had visible seating and, although not restored, was quite a sight. Since then, the greenery has crept further and further down towards ground level and what (we think) could be a significant feature in Fethiye is now almost unnoticed by visitors. Whenever we walk past that area, I always feel sorry for it. It cries out for help.

Telmessos Ancient Theatre, Fethiye

Fethiye’s ancient Telmessos Theatre needs some professional tlc

We’ve been in Turkey long enough now to know that just because someone says restoration work is going to begin on Fethiye’s theatre soon, it doesn’t necessarily mean work is going to begin on Fethiye’s theatre soon. But, the funds are apparently being released this year by the powers that be in Muğla.

We can start to at least imagine the future for the ancient Telmessos theatre. Concerts? There has been the odd one in the past. How fantastic it would be to be able to watch a show in the restored theatre, overlooking Fethiye harbour. That would be a good crowd puller for Fethiye, surely? At the very least, it would be great to see it sympathetically restored to some sort of former glory.

We’re not quite holding our breaths in anticipation of all of this exciting restoration in Fethiye beginning any time soon, but when this continual heavy rain decides to stop for a while, we’ll be off up to the theatre so I can take some photos. Well, ‘before’ and ‘after’ could be very interesting. If you’re in the Fethiye area at all this year, it might be a good time to visit the site as in its yet-to-be-restored capacity, it sits on the edge of the street and is free to enter. You just have to use your imagination while you’re wondering around.

Fethiye’s Ancient Theatre – More Info

  • Fethiye’s theatre is situated on Fevzi Çakmak Caddesi, opposite the harbour where you board the catamaran for Rhodes.
  • At the time of writing, there is no entrance fee.

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  1. I think that`s great news, always think its a shame as its never mentioned as a tourist attraction.

  2. When I first visited Fethiye in the late 80s I knew it had an amphitheatre but I could never find it. It must have been totally overgrown back then. When I went last year I was surprised how prominent it was. I must have walked past it a dozen times without realising.

  3. Hi Julia!! I am so excited that I can actually post a comment on your blog!! I got a VPN in the end and it is brilliant. It’s been wonderful communicating with you via Facebook throughout these weeks so thank you for all your supportive comments.The ban is still on, however. How you managed to keep going throughout, I don’t know!
    The amphitheatre looks a bit sad, surrounded as it is by all those apartment buildings.. you are right: don’t hold your breath for anything to happen soon.

  4. @ Rob: We can only live in hope. We just think so much money could be made from it, too. It doesn’t make sense on all counts! 🙂

    @ TonyS: I think the site was completely excavated in 1994 – hence, maybe why you didn’t notice it in the ’80s? It is easy now to walk past it without noticing it. Sad.

    @ A Seasonal Cook in Turkey: Hooooorraaaay! Welcome back Claudia! :)) Glad you got a VPN. Yes, the ban was supposed to have been lifted by now but it appears nothing much has happened – hopefully, that won’t be the same situation with the Telmessos amphitheatre. 🙂

  5. That is so cool! I always hear about nanotechnology, but to see it in action. Okay, maybe I don’t “always” hear about it, but still great to see it being used for some good. :>)

  6. Such great news! I hope that the restoration will really happen and that it will be sooner rather than later. Sounds like it would be lovely to go to a concert in the restored amphitheatre overlooking the harbor.

  7. I really hope the restoration will be successful, Turkey’s history is so precious that it’s very important that everything is preserved!
    I’m absorbing Turkish culture through the many friends from Turkey I have in Shanghai, literally we are always together! Definitely the best people to hang out with 😉

  8. It sounds like people in Turkey has a bad working efficiency…
    That’s like my home country, Malaysia! Ha ha…
    But they know how to collect taxes fast!!

  9. Turkey has a number of ampitheatres in many main cities all in need of preservation. So hopefully it’s the start of a general scheme to look after them all.

  10. Looks like a beautiful area, hope they get started on the restoration as fast as possible!

  11. Kuei-Ti Lu says

    We can think this from a different perspective: Because it is not a famous destination, it is preserved well. It should be good that its reputation comes with its restoration!

  12. This is very good. I am interested to learn more about the restoration techniques to which you refer, and am excited for you and other projects like it! What a location your local theatre is in – views out to sea etc. Amazing!

  13. I hope the nanotechnology makes it to Fethiye’s ampitheatre.
    I must say I was disappointed by the article. I was hoping little microscopic robots would rebuild the ruins but it sounds like they’re just going to use finely-ground talcum powder. What an anti-climax!

  14. At least they are thinking about restoring the amphitheatre. The one in Caesarea is often used for concerts by the top artists in the country.

  15. I have a confession. When I went to Fethiye a few years back, I admit, I wasn’t all that impressed with the ruins of the amphitheater and well, mostly ignored them. It’s truly a shame because I do love history and visitig ruins. At the time I said it was because I was filling my boots at so many other sites, but maybe because the ruins of Fethiye are in such a state that I didn’t really pay them the attention they deserve. In any case, I’m glad to hear that the Turkish government is taking notice and starting to do something about it! Hopefully next time I return to Fethiye, I can really appreciate the ruins!

  16. What good news. Amphitheatres have such good acoustics, a concert – or a theatre performance would be excellent there, I’m sure.

  17. Sad that these sites can disappear I hope this one is saved!

  18. Cool! Hopefully by the time I make it there it’ll be done (granted, that probably won’t be for another five years– enough time??)

  19. How wonderful if it is finally restored!

  20. What a beautiful location it’s situated at. So right to restore it.

  21. @ Raymond: We’d never heard of it. Will be interesting to see how it’s used.

    @ Cathy: It would be great to attend a concert at the amphitheatre. Great acoustics and fabulous views over the harbour.

    @ Angela: Glad you’re enjoying hanging out with your Turkish friends. Are they the ones you did the blog post on a while back?

    @ Everyone: Thanks for all your comments on this post. Kelly, we may well be waiting five years for this restoration to even start! 🙂 It would just be amazing if it became a significant feature of Fethiye.

  22. That’s great to hear! I hate to see so many of Istanbul’s old walls just crumbling around here!

    On a side note, I’ve been reading about the theater and ruins at Aphrodisias. We are going to make a drive this summer to explore there. Have you been?

  23. @ Joy: There’s a lot to be done everywhere, I think. We’ve not been to Aphrodisias but a couple of friends drove up there last year while visiting Pamukkale. They loved it.

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