As a follow up to Monday’s post about Kayaköy, I wanted to devote another post solely to the abandoned churches left standing here.
In this “ghost town” near Fethiye, there are two Greek Orthodox Churches that date back to the 17th Century. After buying your 8 TL admission ticket, first you will approach the large-domed Lower Church (Aşağı Kilise).
|The Lower Church (Aşağı Kilise) of Kayaköy.|
It is possible to walk around and inside of the lower church, which features an inscription of 1888, which is believed to indicate the last time the church was restored.
Inside the church, parts of the walls are painted a Robin’s eggshell blue, and you can see some religious frescoes and stone carvings if you look up.
|Once upon a time, this was a beautiful church in Turkey.|
|Religious frescoes inside the Lower Church (Aşağı Kilise) of Kayaköy.|
|Floor mosiac inside the church.|
Behind the lower church, you will find an eerie surprise at the bottom of an old stone cellar – human bones! Well, if you’re curious like we are, you must look down the hole to see what’s inside.
|Eerie! An old bone depository behind the Lower Church (Aşağı Kilise) of Kayaköy.|
According to the posted sign in Turkish, English and German, the bones were kept in this cellar when the graves needed to be reused. The locals washed the bones in wine and left them to air-dry. An odd custom! We hope they saved the good wine for drinking at least.
|I climbed up a stone wall to capture this view of the Lower Church in Kayaköy.|
If you trek up the hill from the lower church about 20 minutes, you will find a non-descript little chapel perched above the hilltop. You’ll also be rewarded with a stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea and the valley, which is what we did.
We could see another whitewashed chapel in the distance, but you had to hike up a much larger hill, filled with a dense forest. We didn’t have the time.
Later, after wandering through the crumbling houses of Kayaköy, we stopped at the High Church (Yukarı Kilise). The churches were aptly named because of their relative elevation difference to each other.
|The courtyard outside of the High Church (Yukarı Kilise) of Kayaköy.|
The High Church, unfortunately, looks like it has been stripped of much of its former beauty, especially when compared to the Lower Church.
|Inside the High Church (Yukarı Kilise) of Kayaköy.|
Still, it’s worth a look to visit an old church that probably saw hundreds of baptisms, first communions, weddings and funerals in the past.
Are there other churches you recommend seeing in Turkey?
Other places I’ve seen churches in Turkey:
- Cunda Adası
- Istanbul - Oh, there’s also several churches in Istanbul I still need to photograph.
|View of the surrounding countryside from the High Church in Kayaköy.|