Fethiye rock tombs offer a glimpse into ancient Lycia
The Lycians liked to keep their dead close by - unlike other cultures who preferred to have their cemeteries out of town. This is lucky for us as the tombs are not only striking, but completely accessible on foot. The Lycians also believed that their dead would be conveyed from their resting place to the afterworld by a winged creature, which is why tombs were found at the top of cliffs.
You won’t have a problem finding your way to the tombs: they’re carved into the cliff face, right above Fethiye Town and you’ll spot them with ease. The walk up to the entrance and then the highest tomb is easy enough, providing you have a moderate level of fitness.
If you choose to walk up to the entrance from Fethiye Town, you might find that by the time you reach the tomb entrance, you’ll be puffing and panting after the climb. Although you might not notice it as you’ll be distracted by the incredible vista of Fethiye Town, the marina and the harbour. You might even want to make a quick stop at the Kings Garden Restaurant, right by the tombs entrance, to fully appreciate the wonderful views.
After stopping to catch your breath, you’ll find you have a few steps to climb. These take you to the Tomb of Amyntas. This dates back to the fourth century BC. It’s fairly typical of a Lycian tomb: carved into the shape of a temple portico. The tomb’s uppermost status and its grandeur indicates that Amyntas was undoubtedly someone to be reckoned with at the time. This tomb is also the only one that is relatively accessible; the others aren’t so easy to examine up close.
Heading back down the hill, angle towards Fethiye and you’ll pass by the other tombs. These resting places of less distinguished Lycians are grouped together in the rock face.
Just before you reach Fethiye, turn back for a final striking view of the tombs behind you.
You can see the tombs from many places but if you want to go right up to the Tomb of Amyntas you’ll need to pay a fee to ascend the steps.
Fethiye’s most striking mainland feature is well worth the uphill climb. Although the area has been built up, with new Fethiye property being built in the surrounds, the ancient tombs still majestically alone in their station overlooking modern-day Fethiye Town.