"The world's cultural heritage is like a big puzzle each monument, each object, is an irreplaceable part of the overall picture which gives us insight into our origins, our development and our lives today. It helps us to understand and appreciate other cultures. Each discovery, each new interpretation adds to the puzzle and makes the picture clearer. We must ensure the protection of every single piece today, so that future generations may have the opportunities to enjoy the puzzle"
International Organization for Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ICCROM).
However many places in the world to which you might have travelled you will not have visited anywhere with the same combination of coasts, mountains and history. En route you can explore the remains of ancient settlements, stunning views over the Mediterranean and breathtaking sunsets.
Historical sights while en route: FETHIYE The grave of Amyntas, which is considered as the symbol of the city, is noticeable on the rock face back drop of the city centre. On the southern peak there are ruins of a fortress, which was built by the Knights of St.John's over the foundations of the acropolis of Telmessos. Walking through the centre of Fethiye, you will come across a sarcophagus decorated with reliefs of warriors and not far from there, directly behind the pier is the excavated Telmessos amphitheatre, with its 2500 seating capacity. The Ottoman structures in Fethiye are the Old Mosque (1791), along with the Hammam or Bath house with its 14 domes and 6 vaults. The Museum of Fethiye is also the must-see sight in the town centre, with a collection of archeological artefacts from the Lycian, Persian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods.
KAYAKOY Kayakoy was built on the site of the ancient city of Karmylessus in the 18th century. Today Kayakoy village serves as a museum and is a historical monument. Around 500 houses remain as ruins and are under the protection of the Turkish government, including two Greek Orthodox Churches, which are the most important sights of the ghost town. There is also a private museum on the history of the town. In the middle of the village stands a fountain source from the 17th century. Kayakoy was adopted by the UNESCO as a World Friendship and Peace Village.
SIDYMA Sidyma is interesting not only for its ruins, but for the fact that the lovely village of Asar has been built among the remains, charmingly reusing pillars and other ancient pieces in the villagers' houses and other structures. The site is virtually untouched and gives visitors the chance to see a Lycian site much like those seen by the first European explorers.
Although the city is recorded by geographers throughout history to Byzantine times, only one story is recorded of its history. While still a simple soldier, the future emperor Marcian Augustus (450-457 AD), fell ill while on his way through Lycia and was left behind in Sidyma. He was befriended by two brothers who took him into their home and nursed him back to health. When he recovered they all went hunting and while taking a siesta, one of the brothers awoke to see a huge eagle shielding with Marcian Augustus its outstetched wings. He later asked: Marcian "If you become emperor, what favor will you do us?" Marcian replied that in that unlikely event he would make them Fathers of their city. When he did indeed become emperor, he did one better and appointed them to a high position in Lycia.
XANTHOS Xanthos is the Greek appellation of Arñna, a Lycian city. The Hittite and Lwian name of the city is given as Arinna (not to be confused with the Arinna near Hatussa). The Romans called the city Xanthus, as all the Greek -os suffixes were changed to -us in Latin. Xanthos was a center of culture and commerce for the Lycians, and later for the Persians, Macedonians, Greeks, and Romans who in turn conquered the city and occupied the adjacent territory.
Strabo reports the original name of the river as Sibros or Sirbis. During the Persian invasion the river is called Sirbe which means "yellow" like the Greek word "xanthos", which also means yellow. The river usually has a yellow hue because of the soil in the alluvial base of the valley. Today the site of Xanthos overlooks the modern Turkish village of Kınık. Once over 500 m long, the Roman Kemer Bridge crossed the upper reaches of the river near the present-day village of Kemer.
A Greek legend is that the river was created by the birth pangs of Leto, whose temple, at the Letoon, is on the west bank of the river a few kilometers south of Xanthos. The Letoon has been excavated in the 20th century, and has yielded numerous Lycian, Greek, and Aramaic texts. A notable trilingual text, known as the Letoon Trilingual, in all three languages was found and has been found to contain a reference to king Artaxerxes. The Letoon has been designated as a UNESCO Worls Heritage Site. In the Iliad Xanthos is the name given to the river God, (known as Scamarder or Skamandros to mortals) who attempts to drown Achilles in book XXI of the Iliad. Also in the Iliad, Xanthos is the name of one of Achilles' semi-divine horses who, when rebuked for the death of Patroklos, reminds Achilles of his pre-destined demise. The Trojan War heros, Lycian leaders Glaucus and Sarpedon, are described in the Iliad as coming from the land of the Xanthos River.
PATARA Patara was a very wealthy city due to trade and was one of the six principal cities of Lycia. Patara’s oracle at the renown temple of Apollo (not yet found) was said to rival that at Delphi and the temple equaled the reputation of the famous temple on the island of Delos. It was believed that Apollo lived at Delos during the summer but spent his winters at Patara. Omens were interpreted in these two towns during the respective seasons. A large bust of Apollo, discovered on the hill beyond the City Gate, indicates the existence of an Apollo Temple which has not been yet found.
During the Roman period, Patara was the judicial seat of the Roman governor, and the city became the capital of both the Lycian and Pamphylian provinces at one time. Patara was frequently called "the chosen city" and "the metropolis of the Lycian nation." This was made apparent from excavations of the 2nd century BC, in the inscriptions on the monument built in honor of one of the first general governors, C. Trebonius Proculus Mettius. Around 138 BC Patara had a population of about 20,000 and ranked among the top cities of Anatolia after Ephesus. Emperor Vespasian visited Patara, as did the emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina (exalted by the Patarans to "new Hera"; both emperors made contributions to the city.
In Christian history Patara is famous for being a place of St. Paul’s missionary work at the end of his third missionary journey as he changed ships en route to Jerusalem. Patara was also the birthplace of St Nicholas (born c.260-280 AD), bishop of Myra and the future Santa Claus. In Byzantine times, Patara became a Titular see of Lycia and a suffragan of Myra.