Ergün Tos / Fethiye, Oct 5 () - Ancient tombs dating back to the 4th century B.C. have been cleaned by officials of the Fethiye Museum, after news emerged that they were being used as storage space by locals in the western province of Muğla’s Fethiye district.
The Amintas tombs in Fethiye are among the many ruins in the area from the ancient Lycian site of Telmessos that have survived until today, and the Amintas Imperial Tomb is acknowledged as the symbol of the touristic town of Fethiye.
Despite their historical significance, a number of the tombs were being used by inhabitants of the Cumhuriyet neighborhood as store houses for various wares.
From plastic bottles to rubber ties
In the 1.5 meter-long, 2 meter-wide tombs, which are cool during summer months and warm during the winter, people collected material ranging from plastic bottles to carton boxes and even rubber tires.
Some of the tombs have been covered with bushes and grass, where local dogs shelter.
A professional tourist guide in Fethiye and the Fethiye Deputy Head of the Turkish Travel Agencies Union (TÜRSAB), Salih Taşçı, said the Amintas rock tombs were among the most important remnants from the Lycian city of Telmessose.
A "desperate situation"
Taşçı also added that some of the tombs were in a “desperate situation” and badly damaged the image of the town among tourists.
“I tour the town with tourists on certain days of the week. Examining the historical artifacts in the region, European tourists sometimes say Turks do not respect history and protect it,” he said. “These areas are centers of attraction in Fethiye, so the protection of these tombs is very important.”
Last week, a number of ugly images of the unkempt ancient tombs stirred debates, as many foreign and domestic tourists flock to the area every year.
Nearly one ton of wastes removed
Following news in the press about the condition of the ancient tombs, the Muğla Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate took action, with Fethiye Museum officials going to the area and starting to clean the tombs.
As part of the cleaning work, nearly one ton of rubber tires, plastic bottles and carton boxes were removed from the tombs.
Those responsible for the mess could not be identified, but officials said a new environmental arrangement would be made in the area and local residents would be warned.