Fethiye’s Ancient Telmessos Theatre Suddenly Got A Whole Lot Bigger!

After a busy time in the kitchen last week with our Turkish Food & Recipes Feature Week, it’s time to get back to some sort of routine, for a short while at least. While we were cooking, we also found time to wander around Fethiye with camera – and we’ve always got a camera of some description to hand as Fethiye is very much a changing place!

Restoration of Fethiye’s Telmessos Theatre

Just over a week ago, our Friday photo was a series of photos because we were excited to see that, finally, after years of speculation, the restoration of Fethiye’s Temessos Theatre had started. The road had been rerouted and mesh fencing had been erected around the restoration site.

Fethiye Theatre Restoration Work

Removing earth to expose the perimeter walls

We’ve now decided we’re going to photograph developments with the theatre and we’ll do intermittent blog posts, backed up by a dedicated photo album on our Turkey’s For Life Facebook page. That’s because we were amazed when we walked along the harbour a few days ago…

For as long as we can remember, the ancient Telmessos Theatre has been a few rows of stone ‘seating’ backed by scrub land and nothing much else. But as we passed by there recently, a handful of workmen had removed all the scrub and were still working carefully with picks, revealing the rear walls at the top of the theatre.

Fethiye Theatre Restoration Work

Fethiye’s Telmessos theatre looks rather large, all of a sudden

Whilst there are definitely larger ancient theatres in Turkey, Telmessos Theatre is certainly a sight – and it’s going to be a prominent feature in Fethiye. It looks huge, and, all of a sudden, a hidden archaeological relic is commanding the scenery of the area. Not many theatres have the setting of Telmessos theatre either, right on the edge of Fethiye harbour, overlooking the sea.

Fethiye Telmessos Theatre From Karagözler

Telmessos theatre viewed from the Karagözler

We said in our previous post that the restoration was going to be a long job. It’s probably going to be longer than we imagined – because the site is bigger than we imagined – amazing what the clearance of a few weeds can do!

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister, Ertuğral Günay, said in this Hürriyet article that he wanted the restoration project to move as quickly as possible because Telmessos Theatre has been neglected for too long. We have no idea what ‘quick’ means when it comes to restoration of an ancient theatre, but we’ll definitely be watching developments with interest…and updating on here, of course.

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  1. So what would happen to those existing buildings?
    Will local government demolish them to make way for the excavation?

  2. @ London Caller: The apartments have been there for a long time and presumably will stay. They’re the lucky ones who get the pretty views over the theatre and Fethiye harbour. The perimeter walls, as they are now, are just below the apartments.

  3. That is no small project there. Wow – this is going to be pretty cool…want to see how it will look like.

  4. i can’t wait to see this when it is finished. a great project for the town!

  5. Having seen the ‘before’ just 4 weeks ago, I am looking forward with interest to seeing the ‘after’!!

  6. @ Belinda: We’re excited too. The Fethiye theatre has looked so small and neglected for such a long time.

  7. @ Jaz: Hopefully, this will be perfect for Fethiye. Not just for tourism but for all who live here, too.

    @ A Seasonal Cook in Turkey: We’re interested, too. Hopefully, we’ll be keeping people updated on progress via photos on Facebook as well as on here. 🙂

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