The Fethiye Heads – Who Are They?

Along Fethiye harbour there are numerous bars, restaurants, street gyms and parks. There’s also a monument known to many as the Fethiye heads or more simply, the heads.

It’s not that we don’t take notice of the Fethiye heads. We do. They’re a perfect meeting place, ‘We’ll meet you at the heads at 12.’ They’re also a useful navigational source for helping people when they’re a bit lost. ‘Walk as far as the heads and then take a left.’ Everyone in Fethiye knows the heads.

Fethiye Heads

Each bust represents a person who has a role in Turkish an Ottoman history

But last winter, with a blog post about the heads in mind, we suddenly realised that apart from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who sits proudly aloft in the centre, we had never even stopped to look at who the other heads belong to.

A busy summer ensued and the heads were unintentionally relegated to the back of our minds – until today. Today, we needed to walk into town, passing the heads en route. I took my camera along and stopped to photograph each one of the sixteen busts, making sure their name plaques were also in the frame.

Already, this has been a most revealing exercise because we’d assumed that the busts were those of various sultans of the Ottoman Empire. Incorrect assumption!

While we recognise and know a little about some of these figures, a bit of research needs to be done about others to find out why they were so important in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey before we do this series of posts. But already, in just stopping to take a few photos this afternoon, we know more about Fethiye than we did this morning when we got out of bed.

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  1. Just ask my husband. He’s a history buff and could probably tell you information on most of the heads including DOB & deaths. 😛
    One of his favourite places.

  2. @ Donna: Ha ha. I’m quite into my history too but we’ve just never stopped to look at the heads. We might bump into you there one day while you wait for your husband to finish analysing. 😉

  3. It is the first place I went in Fethiye when the owner of my apt took me for a big grocery outings in the area and she stopped there to invite me for a coffee by the water.
    I also was curious as who those heads belong to and always meant to stop for a photo when I trott along the promenade on my e-scooter going to town from Gulunkbashi. A suggestion to you for the winter Julia, maybe photos of window and shop signs, some of them are just so funny or humoristic!

  4. @ Suzanne: Well hopefully, you’ll be finding out who they all are in due course. 🙂 Will have a look around at the shop and window signs, thanks. Enjoy the rest of your time in Turkey.

  5. I was there the other day and recognised a few names. Was really chuffed to see Rumi’s head. However I am the same as you and would have to investigate the others.

  6. @ Natalie: Shame we couldn’t meet up. Glad you visited the famous ‘heads’ though. They’re an institution! Research should keep us out of trouble over winter. 🙂

  7. What a curious fountain, even though I can’t read the name plaques and I certainly don’t recognize the faces.

  8. Can’t wait to see the heads.

  9. @ Italian Notes: It looks quite good at night when the fountain is on and the heads are lit with a green light.

    @ Mark: Bet you can’t. We have all the top monuments in Fethiye. 😉

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