Hiking the Lycian Tombs Fethiye, Turkey
I have always wanted to hike the Lycian Tombs Fethiye and to see the ancient graves. I can’t explain why. It might seem random to want to see these tombs enough to take a trek to southern Turkey. Or it might seem like an unusual place for a vacation. But, it is well worth it. The tombs and the Lycia history which are also Roman history is partially my motivation. It inspired me enough to take this trip. So when I went to Southern Turkey I had to hike the Lycian Tombs.
Ancient Ruins Carved into Cliffs. The Lycian Tombs Fethiye, Turkey
I learned about the monuments in art history class and read about the Lycians in the Bible. Most Lycian tombs are elaborate funeral chambers carved directly into the rock face. Usually, the cliff tombs line the entrance to a town or city like cliff tombs that line the entrance to Petra. These Lycian tombs carved into the rocks are copies of ancient Lycian wooden houses of the time. I couldn’t wait to see them up close and personal. It didn’t dawn on me it would be a hike.
How to Go to the Lycian Tombs
In Fethiye, Turkey the pace is laid back. So, I went to the Fethiye taxi stand the day before my hike and negotiated a half day – rate for a cab driver to the tombs and beyond. If he gave me extra time, I hoped to see the area around the tombs which is a group of local villages. Success! I booked an excellent taxi driver. So, at 6:45 he picked me up, it was an early morning even for me. The sun had just risen. The light made it worth getting up early because the light was extraordinarily beautiful. Off we went to see several sights in about three hours. Another option is to hire one of the hotel staff before they start work, might take you around to see the sites.
Lycian House-type Tombs
Lycian house-type tombs usually housed an entire family of bodies. The Lycian tombs are one to three stories high. The ones outside of Fethiye are three stories. The tombs even copy the pegs that joined different beams in the wooden homes. Sometimes there is a Gothic (pointed) arch in the roof line. In the 5th century BC., the rock-cut tombs were carved.
Up until the time of Constantine, Turkish Christians were persecuted mercilessly in this region of Turkey. In those days when the Romans inhabited the towns, the Christians were persecuted because they didn’t want to give sacrifices to the Roman gods.
The hike to the tombs is not hard. But the paths are not well kept. You should walk in pants and bring some water – even when you start early. Going to the Lycian Tombs in Fethiye, Turkey can be an exhausting hike. You might have to battle the brush and be willing to get scratched legs if you wear shorts.
Where to Stay
You can easily find a place to stay on Booking.com. I stayed at the Alesta Yacht Hotel. It’s a very short, 5-10 minute walk from the ferry to the hotel. The pool is minuscule – but it doesn’t matter because the hotel has a boat which regularly goes to the hotel’s private beach. One day I relaxed on the beach, went swimming and read my Kindle for hours – super relaxing!
I would go back to the hotel and area, and spend more time there if given the opportunity. The market is close by and an easy walk. I went to the market every day, went boating during the day and ate fresh fish every night for dinner. Lots x-pats stay in the area during the summer months. You will meet lots nice, friendly, interesting people.
Country Road to Lycian Tombs Fethiye, Turkey
Town surrounding the Lycian Tombs Fethiye, Turkey
Water was and is valuable around the coast and near the Lycian Tombs Fethiye, Turkey.
Another well near the Lycian Tombs Fethiye Turkey.
Top of the Well
A fresh view of the upper part of the water well.
Precious Water Well
Here is another well heading to the Lycian Tombs Fethiye, Turkey.
Mosque on the Way to Lycian Tombs Fethiye, Turkey
The local Mosque in the town’s edge as exiting the village and approaching the Lycian Tombs Fethiye Turkey.
Lycian Tombs Fethiye, Turkey
Another View of Lycian Tombs Fethiye, Turkey
How Did They Do That?
The Lycian builders of the tombs started at the top and carved down the rock front. By hammering posts into the rock and putting planks across the posts to create a scaffolding to stand on to carve the tombs. As they carved from top to bottom, they stood on the rock that had accumulated. The holes where the posts had been disappeared as they worked their way down.
Camera Gear and the Hike
When I hike a step or narrow trail like the one to the Tombs, I don’t take my good camera. Didn’t take it on this hike because I was walking alone and didn’t want to get into a dangerous situation. The trail is narrow, and I didn’t want to risk hurting my buddy – my camera. I also didn’t want to wear myself out with the extra weight. Bring a hat and sunscreen and a camera you that is rugged.
I felt it was a good value. I would recommend doing this if you want to see the tombs, area and hike.
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