Monday, July 23, 2012


Seeing images of ghost towns around the world filled with abandoned buildings recently sparked a memory.

Last year, when we visited Fethiye, a popular resort city along Turkey’s Mediterranean Sea coast, we spent a few hours exploring the “rock village” of nearby Kayaköy. I promised to share more photos from our trek and I didn’t, but I am now.

Kayaköy, perched up in the hills outside of Fethiye, is filled with hundreds of abandoned stone houses, two churches and several chapels in what once was a thriving Greek village. The village’s roofless buildings stand quietly on the steep hillside, aging and crumbling, but open to those who like to explore.
Kayaköy, Turkey 
In 1923, Kayaköy, known as Levissi in Greek, was abandoned because of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Today, several houses have been restored and are occupied by local residents.
One of the restored village homes in Kayaköy.
You’ll also find a few small cafes and restaurants in the area as well as a pansyion or two if you want to stay the night.

Exposed to the elements and the effects of the 1957 earthquake in the area means the buildings have fallen into ruin. Still, it’s possible to identify certain features such as staircases, the kitchen area, several chimneys and entryways of the stone houses.


Former hearth and chimney at one of the homes in Kayaköy.






Taking a well-worn cobblestone path, my husband and I walked up to the top of one of the hills and were rewarded with a spectacular view of the sea. I wonder if donkeys or goats once were led up this same path.
I think the sign was referring to the long hike down hill to Ölü Deniz seen at the bottom right.
Although it saddens me to think about all the residents who were forced to leave here, Kayaköy is beautiful in its own way.

And it’s eerily silent if you can avoid the tourists.

We pretty much had the village to ourselves during our Sunday hike. When we returned to the otopark, there was a large group of tourists eating lunch at one of the cafes.

We sat down at a table and ordered two Efes beer and shared a gözleme. Not a bad way to end a wonderful morning together before we headed back to Istanbul.
A Turkish woman rolling out fresh dough for our gözleme.
Kayaköy Admission: 8 TL

Here’s the recent article about ghost towns that inspired today’s post: 28 Freaky Ghost Towns You Can Visit on Matador.

You can read more about Kayaköy on Turkey’s For Life, written by fellow Turkey bloggers Julia and Barry, who live in Fethiye.
I've seen these in Greece too! Using old oil containers for flower planters.

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14 comments:

Julia said...

We'll never tire of going to Kayaköy, whether it's to wander through the ruins or to have a village breakfast. you did well to avoid the crowds on a Sunday. Well done! :) Thanks for the mention, too, by the way. :)

Joy said...

@Julia, happy to mention you guys! You've had some great posts about Kayakoy. Great area to explore!

Anne Mackle said...

Hi I enjoyed your post and photos especially as I will be pending a week in Kayakoy in September . Hope to take some photos of my own.

Joy said...

Hi Anne, it's a really lovely area. It's easy to take tons of photos esp. if you come across some of the local lambs! Enjoy your trip!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i would love to visit that place. i would love to live there!

Joy said...

@Joyce, great photographs at least. One of the old houses would just take a bit of restoration work! ;-)

Dwight Long said...

Nice post and good photos. Small point. Karmylassos was the name of the Lycian city in the valley [though even that is uncertain]. The Greek name for the ruined town you saw was Levissi

Joy said...

@Dwight, Thanks so much for the correction. The internet is a blessing and a curse at times esp. when it comes to research for things I don't know. I will correct!

Ozlem's Turkish Table said...

Lovely post Joy, brought back so many memories - I was there a few years ago, it is a mesmerising place. It certainly has a soul and you feel it - many thanks for sharing this.

Joy said...

Thanks Ozlem! We really enjoyed our time in Kayaköy. Hope to see you soon!

Erica (Irene) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erica (Irene) said...

Very nice post and great photo's. Maybe one day when in Turkey I'll visit....Love the oil cans...my Greek neighbour has a few. She plants her herbs in them.

Kaya Koyu Walker said...

We lived in the Kaya Valley for 6 years and I got to know the ruins and pathways around the area fairly well. You're right about the donkeys and goats being led up the paths.You'll notice that, as you climb the paths to the top of the hill, the houses become larger and slightly less crowded together. The more affluent lived in the higher houses and were able to take advantage of the slightly cooler and clearer air.

Joy said...

@Kaya Koyu Walker, Thanks so much for your detailed information. I didn't realize that about Kaya. And how wonderful you got to explore the village and the Lycian trail nearby. It's really a lovely area!

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