Şovalye Island

Sovalye Island, recognized with the names Megri Island and Fethiye island in the past; is a  long , wishbone shaped island which makes its harbour a well-sheltered place. It is the only island wih a settlement on amongst the other surrounding islands. In the west is Kızılada, in the east is Çalış Beach, in the south is Fethiye and in the north is open sea. Owing to its locaton being just in the middle of the harbour, it gets sunlight all along the day.

Sovalye Island -  almost unknown and not recognized as an attraction spot- is considered an  indispensable place by the European and Turkish escapers. No matter having been disregarded in Touristic publications, Sovalye Islands, altough yet, has always taken its own special place in British national press and promotional books.

The whole island is located at the mouth of Fethiye gulf, as if protecting it.  Its importance to  Fethiye was coming from  being the only connection to the outside world since the ancient age. The soldiers from Fethiye used to make their journeys on the sea while going to their troops. Fethiye people used to transport their goods on ships and they used to send their products also by sea. Sovalye ısland shelters the only window of Megri , namely Distant Lands which is surrounded by steep mountains,  opening it to the outside  world.

There hasn`t been any study made regarding the region but it is believed that following the fall of Menteşe Beylik in 1426, Sovalye ısland passed to the hands of the Venetian in 1473, with the rising dominance of the Popery, Venetian and Rhodos  Knights.  It was the first settlement of the Venetian  who built up a castle on the island capturing the harbour which was later called as  Sovalye ısland, until its conquery by Kanuni.

While it was a part of the mainland in geological period, Sovalye ısland, coming off Oyuktepe Peninsula, turned into an independent land giving Fethiye Gulf a natural harbour shape, by closing the very south of Ancient Gulf of Glaukos..

As per some researchers, Makri or Megri island which referred to the same meaning with Fethiye in acient times, took this name from a bishop called Markianes then living in the region in 8-9 century A.D.  Probably due to the fact that the knights of Saint John settled here for some time in middle age, the name was changed to be Sovalye (Knight) Island.

On the island consisting of two small hills, the settlement is mostly on the north and south slopes of Zeytinli Hill and relatively on flat lands between them.  The remaining city walls along the northern slope of Zeytinli Hill reaching 3mt width, are still standing upto 3 meter at some sections. Some parts of the  wall remaining from once existed church and its premisess from the 6th century A.D,  built in east-west direction at a normal height in an area close to the sea where is now covered with bushes, have been protected upto 3 meters. Eventhough some pieces from the early period were used in the construction of the church as an addmixture, all the surface ruins on the island belongs to the Byzantine period. The cisterns scattered throughout the island are amongst the structures the function of which are quite visible. To summarize, the island was a secondary settlement area for financially capable people of Telmessos or Macri cities in the ancient time (Byzantine Period)  as it is Today.

The christian society ( Today`s prospective pilgrims) setting off from European coasts and mostly İstanbul,  to visit their holy places in Palestine,  lodged on Sovalye Island  for a short time .

Sovalye ısland, having been zoned for housing in 1970s, is now a settlement connected to the 1st Karagözler Area of Fethiye. Water and electiricty suply is provided from Çalış beach through an underground system.The island is covered under the special environmental conservation area as a first and third lecvel historical and natural site. There are about 70 summer houses and accomodations on the island. The population in winter varies between 4 to 10.

Besides the summer houses, Ece Boutique Hotel with 12 wide rooms has been serving on the island since 1993 whic was formerly an apart hotel now turned into a boutique one. Ece Boutique took part in the British press for twice. (ingilizce bölümde The Independent gazetesinde iki sayfa ve The Daily Telegraphta çıkan makaleler görülebilir).The hotel is run by Handan-Erdoğan Aydın couple,  an old banker, his doctor wife  and their daughter Ece.

You can also rent apartments on the island. The very well known touristic facility of the island Hotel sovalye  has been closed due to the fall in German market and the high operational costs on the island..

Sun set cafe and restaurant run by a retired film director, is a place preferred esspecially by foreign tourists building up a reputation through recommendations and with its unique cuisine, snack and music selection. As its name evokes, the sun set is wonderful.

If you haven`t got a boat of your own,  you can use the service boats moving from Fethiye marina just opposite Akbank, close to the ancient theatre. Ece Boutique Hotel offers its own boat services free of charge..


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