It's got to be said that we feel very privileged to be able to watch the developments around the excavation and restoration of an ancient theatre so close to where we live. Of course, we're alluding to Fethiye's Telmessos theatre. Back in September of this year, the road passing the site was rerouted and the restoration started. At the time, we could see nothing more than a bit of wire fencing and a closed off road, but it was exciting all the same.
Then, a fortnight later, we posted photos of an already different-looking Telmessos Theatre. Scrub had been cleared and the site looked huge. A couple of days ago - the beginning of November - we decided to return to see what, if anything, looked different.
Let's scale the walls of Fethiye's Telmessos Theatre
The wire fencing surrounding the theatre is now also covered in green mesh fabric so it's difficult to see exactly what's going on. However, people still need access to their homes which surround the perimeter walls, so we decided to take a circular stroll along their access routes to see if we could see anything more. We could!
Watching these guys revealing previously covered sections with their pickaxes gives us a good impression of how painstaking this work is. Above is on the west wing of the theatre and this is where most of the digging is going on at the moment.
This is the bit that really fascinates. Huge rocks and pillars have been laid out on the opposite side of the road and are being are being labelled and recorded, one by one, by the restoration team. How do you tell one rectangular slab from another?
Continuing the climb around the perimeter, you get a sense of the size of the theatre, and of the size of the job. We've been told recently that the restoration could take two years. We don't know how true this is but, looking at this scene, two years seems like a sensible time-scale to us!
When restoration is complete, those who are lucky enough to get the back row seating for any performances are also going to get these beautiful views of the gülets in Fethiye marina and the lights of the town, just to the right of the shot above.
Now we're at the very top and curious people have already, conveniently for us, pulled back the mesh fabric that was obscuring the views. Much discussion and pointing going on down below us between restoration team members with clipboards.
And we come full circle, back down to ground level along the east side of the theatre. Visible progress over the next few months is probably going to be minimal, but we've created a Fethiye Telmessos Theatre Restoration Project photo album on our Facebook page so we'll be adding photos there as and when, if you want to keep up with developments.