The restoration of the Telmessos Theatre in Fethiye is the biggest restoration project taking place in the town where the Aegean Sea meets the south Mediterranean.

The theatre, that is thought to have been built in the Hellenistic period, had been devastated by earthquakes and climate so that all that remained in recent times were the ruins.

Monies for the restoration had been promised for many years so it was great news when in July 2012 provincial officials signed an agreement pledging 4.522 million Turkish Lira to the restore the antique theatre in Fethiye.

The works began on the 9 July 2013.

At that time the work was expected to take around two years and finish in March 2014.

But technical delays meant the contract had to be extended a further 5 months.

A quick look at the site earlier this week shows some great progress has been made with many of the seats now restored and other areas starting to give some clues as to how it will look when finished.

The project should now be completed by the end of the summer 2014.

History of Telmessos Theatre

According to Fethiye Museum the construction type and positioning of the theatre emulates the Hellenistic time, but the ruins reflect the Roman period.

The theatre was turned into an arena in 3-4 BC by the Romans and would have been one of the most important public buildings in the town.

The term arena, place of combat, is derived from arena or harena, the sand sprinkled on the fighting field to soak up blood and facilitate cleaning.

The arena played a significant role in Roman public life.

They would be used as the location to mark funerals and memorials, celebrate birthdays, dedications, inaugurations, victories and other occasions.

Gladiatorial exhibitions would also have been a featured event.

It would also have been used as a place where the Romans could hand down their harsh public discipline including executions to deter wrongdoing.

The theatre has suffered from many of the devastating earthquakes that have taken place over the centuries.

But it was the 1957 earthquake that caused great damage when an earth and rock slump and covered much of the structure.

When the restored theatre is opened later this year it should become a fantastic new venue in Fethiye for music, theatre amd events.

Telmessos Theatre Restoration Fethiye In Pictures

Telmessos Theatre Construction Sign
The finished design according to the sign
Fethiye Antique Theatre Works
Fethiye Antique Theatre Works
Fethiye Antique Theatre Works
Fethiye Antique Theatre Works


  1. I was just wondering what the latest news is on the theatre? We plan to visit Fethiye in late September and would love to see a live performance there is anything is planned.

    • It’s due to be completed in the late summer. That’s as specific as we can be! No published events yet but keep an eye on Fethiye Times.