7 November 2014
 Fethiye, Turkey: Land of Lights

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Fethiye is not going completely off the beaten path, but the modern city of 70,000 is in a slightly less visited region of Anatolia.

It is built on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos, the ruins of which can be seen in the city, including a Hellenistic theatre nearby the main dock. Telmessos was the most important city of Lycia, with a recorded history starting in the 5th century BC.Marmaris Turkey BLOG 25Oct2014-8567

Photo by Corey Sandler

The region fell to the Turks, coming under rule of the Anatolian beylik of Menteşe in 1284. The renamed town of Beskaza became part of the Ot­toman Empire in 1424, and was held for the next five centuries. The town grew considerably in the 19th century, with a large Greek population.

With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the first World War, Greece and Turkey engaged in a massive exchange of ethnic populations. Nearly all of the Greeks of Makri were sent to Greece where they founded the town of Nea Makri (New Makri) northeast of Athens.

Coming the other way were Turks moved from Greece.

In 1934, under the newborn Republic of Turkey, Makri was renamed one more time, as ‘Fethiye’ in honor of Fethi Bey, one of the first pilots and first fatalities of the Ottoman Air Force, which participated in the Balkan Wars and the first World War. At its peak, the Ottoman Air Force had about 80 planes.


The ancient cities of Xanthos and Letoon were the home of the ancient Lycians back in the 8th century BC and later by Greeks and then Romans.

Like much of the archeological shoes of Turkey, more lies in the ground than haa yet been revealed: perhaps only 10 percent had been explored.

We ventured 90 minutes up into the foothills of the Taurus Mountains to do our own exploration.

Fetihye BLOG Xanthos Letoon 08Nov2014-9018

Fetihye BLOG Xanthos Letoon 08Nov2014-9007

Fetihye BLOG Xanthos Letoon 08Nov2014-8994

Fetihye BLOG Xanthos Letoon 08Nov2014-8981

Fetihye BLOG Xanthos Letoon 08Nov2014-8973

Fetihye BLOG Xanthos Letoon 08Nov2014-8975

Fetihye BLOG Xanthos Letoon 08Nov2014-8967

Fetihye BLOG Xanthos Letoon 08Nov2014-8966

Photos by Corey Sandler.


Today, Fethiye is one of Turkey’s most popular tourist resorts, apparently of special appeal to Britons.

Beautiful scenery, fine climate, and a relatively inexpensive cost of living. About one in ten residents, about 7,000, are British citizens. And about 600,000 Britons visit every summer.


About 45 minutes away is the town of Dalyan, and the rock tombs near Caunos. At Caunos you can see Hellenistic fortifications, remains of tower and a gateway on Acropolis Hill, a Palaestra, Theatre, and Byzantine Church. And most dramatic, a set of tombs carved into the rocks near the town.


Kaunos was an important sea port which may date as far back as the 10th century BC. Because of the silting of the former Bay of Dalyan and the formation of İztuzu Beach, Kaunos is now located about 8 kilometers or 5 miles from the coast.

Today, the most unusual site of the Kaunos region are the Rock Temples. There are about a dozen of them; six rock tombs on the Dalyan river date from the 4th to the 2nd century BC. The façades of the rock tombs resemble the fronts of Hellenistic temples with a pair of Ionian pillars, a triangular pediment, an architrave with toothed friezes, and acroterions shaped like palm leaves.

The rock tombs were burial chambers for kings and queens of that era. Behind tall columns that stood next to the entrance is the main chamber where royalty was buried with their possessions.

Lycians believed that a winged creature would carry them into the afterworld. At least that was the path for the royalty of the time.

Putting the tombs on the high cliff faces make it easier for the airborne travel.

All photos by Corey Sandler.  All rights reserved.  If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.


6 November 2014
 Limassol, Cyprus: One Nation, Two Governments, Four Militaries

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Cyprus is south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt and east of Greece.

Choose your metaphor: fortress, warehouse, aircraft carrier. Cyprus was right in the middle for the movement of ancient Greeks, the Romans, Christians from the Middle East, Muslims in their path, the Crusaders, the Byzantines, the Ottomans, the Venetians. In more recent times the winds of World War II.

And modern Cyprus is one island–that much is not disputed. But it has two governments, two currencies, and four militaries.

On July 15, 1974, the Greek military junta engineered a coup d’état in Cyprus, with the intent of achieving enosis, the union of the island with Greece. That did not sit well with the Turks, and five days later the Turkish army invaded the island on the pretext of restoring the constitutional order of the Republic of Cyprus.

And that is where we are today. About 37 percent of the island is administered by Turkey and its proxies; most of the other two-thirds by the Republic of Turkey. And in between is a United Nations peacekeeping force and the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a set of British military bases that predated the troubles.


Kolossi Castle dates from 1210 by the Franks, latee used by the Knights Hospitaller who were in and out of the Holy Land during the Crusades.

Limassol BLOG Crete 07Nov2014-8919

Limassol BLOG Crete 07Nov2014-8932

Limassol BLOG Crete 07Nov2014-8935

Kolossi Castle. Photos by Corey Sandler

Limassol BLOG Crete 07Nov2014-8939

An olive tree in Limassol.  Photo by Corey Sandler

Limassol BLOG Crete 07Nov2014-8959

Saint George Church in Limassol.  Photo by Corey Sandler

Limassol BLOG Crete 07Nov2014-8942

Limassol BLOG Crete 07Nov2014-8950

The Limassol Museum. Photo by Corey Sandler


The Tombs of the Kings is a large necropolis very close to Paphos harbor. The underground tombs, many of which date back to the 4th century BC, are carved out of solid rock, and are thought to have been the burial sites of Paphitic aristocrats and high officials.

So, no known kings were buried in the tombs; the name is said to come from the magnificence of the tombs. Some tombs feature Doric columns and frescoed walls.

The burials sites also often included amphora—jugs made to hold wine, oil, or other material—amongst the offerings. Many were imported from Rhodes, and archeologists have found manufacturing markers on the handles which allows them to date the tombs.


In the same area are several ancient villas, including the House of Dionysos the home of a 3rd century Roman nobleman. Now protected from the elements by a roof, you can see spectactular mosaics from the home depicting Roman legends and scenes from Greek mythology.

Nearby the tombs is the decidedly modern town of Paphos, a popular seaside holiday resort with cafés and shops.

Cyprus House of Dionysos Paphos 31Mar2012 DSC_4074 Cyprus House of Dionysos Paphos 31Mar2012 DSC_4078 House Dionysos House of Dionysos2

All photos by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.