Only one hour away from Fethiye is the ruins of the ancient city of Tlos. Tlos is one of the oldest religious centers in Lycia, dating back over four thousand years. One of the earliest Lycian cities, Tlos, in modern-day Turkey, dates back to the Bronze Age. It was established around the year 2000 B.C. This ancient metropolis was the crown jewel of the Xanthos valley. According to the Hittite Chronicle (written around 1400 B.C.), it was initially a part of the Hittite empire.
Tlos was one of the six main cities in ancient Lycia. When it was at its peak, it was known as 'the most glamorous metropolis of the Lycian Union' and was the sporting capital of the Federation. Tlos, an ancient city, joined the Roman Empire at that time. When the Byzantine Empire was at its greatest, it became the seat of the bishops. Tlos was home to locals until the XIXth century. It has a long and illustrious history. There is a castle, rock tombs, a patio, and an amphitheater among the ruins.
How to explore Tlos?
- There are remains 35 kilometers southeast of Fethiye, on a hill with a beautiful view of the river Esen.
- There are Roman ruins (the Agora and the amphitheater) at the base of the hill, Lycian art (the Lycian tombs) on the slope, and the Ottoman castle of Bloody Ali at the peak of the mountain.
- Towards the foot of the hill is where you will find the most well-known Lycian burial site. They say this is the royal tomb of the Tlos dynasty and that the name Bellerophon, a legendary hero, is the source of the genus. King Iobates of Lycia once commissioned Bellerophon to relieve the area where Chimera, a monster who breathed fire, had terrorized. For assistance on his quest, the gods bestowed upon Bellerophon the winged horse Pegasus. As he rode off on his steed, the courageous Bellerophon slew the Chimera and went on to wed the - king's daughter. The dynasty that ruled Lycia belonged to their family tree. Bellerophon's supposed tomb in Tlos, which no longer seems accessible, is widely believed to be his final resting place. Yet, it is visible from the road.
- The rows of seats in the old Roman amphitheater at Tlos, perched on a hill, remain in primeval condition, making it one of the most impressive sights in the city's extensive collection of relics.
- The view of the Acropolis and the ruins of Tlos from the amphitheater is breathtaking.
- In addition to the Byzantine basilica with seven doors, there are also reconstructed Roman baths. The Basilica remains remarkably intact despite centuries of use. The ruins of Tlos, in particular, are breathtaking as the sun goes down.