23 August 2013

Kayaköy: The Ghost Village

Kayaköy, a forgotten village located four miles away from Fethiye holds many secrets. I love this place for its peaceful atmosphere, there's no doubt in my mind that this village is great. Climb every mountain or take a stroll through the modern day village, truth be told its not that modern really. There's just something about Kayaköy that I find quite inspiring!

Hailed the 'Ghost Village' this eerily quiet place has a lot to tell. Once occupied by a large population of Greek Catholics until approximately 1925 when they were ordered to leave Turkey. The last to two times that I visited I walked up to the top of the hill and through the abandoned houses but this time I chose to walk through the village closer to my hotel. I would urge anyone that visits Kayaköy to trek up through to the top for there is an abandoned church like building that looks over the mountains. I would like to say that being on holiday should really be a relaxing time but I've been quite busy seeing new places and catching up with friends, I needed to make time for myself. Kayaköy is a protected village so its not seen much development over the years, there's so much history. I'ts lovely to kick back and relax, well partially because this village is too good not to explore. No ghosts!

Staying at Muzzy's Place for overnight, I've stayed there three times including my last visit. At night the temperature sometimes drops significantly, maybe those ghosts want to come out to play? It's always nice to escape from the tourist traps in favour for the peace and tranquility of Kayaköy. Take the Dolmuş from Fethiye heading towards Kayaköy and Hisarönü, look for Muzzy's Place for all the sights captured in the photo above are right their waiting for you. Do I sound like a droning reel of information? Being away from Turkey for two years enabled me to see some amazing places but I feel equally blessed to have had the chance to revisit this Turkish gem. From the contrast of the busy city streets of Istanbul to the sleepy hills of Kayaköy I have seen a lot of the same but all its all been a crazy and beautiful adventure. Kayaköy has the benefit of being in a bowl affect its cocooned by the hills and mountains so the sun is tolerable. Oh, why do I have to leave?!

Kaya Village is now a UNESCO registered site as a 'World Friendship and Peace Village'. Amongst the ruins there is an abandoned Greek Orthodox church, which can be visited for a small charge due to been a protected site. I went to this church the first time that I visited Kayaköy and was amazed by the detail that was still left inside the church. Walking through the hilly village brings many surprises but also plants many seeds of thought too. How would you feel about being ordered to leave your home and the country that you were living in? I wouldn't of been too impressed either! Nevertheless, a walk up the hill brings the best view in town, as captured to the left you can see Gemiler Bay in the distance. In the summer's heat the view from the top is worth it! Considering Turkey is a four hour flight from England it feels a world away. Leave the Brits abroad in Marmaris, this village welcomes you!

Kayaköy has many identities, known by its Turkish name firstly. Levissi, the Greek name for Kayaköy was used during the Greek occupation but was fittingly changed back to Kayaköy after the transition period. I must admit that the heat of the day feels cooler in Kayaköy, this place has a vibe that really chills you out I mean complete relaxation. How could you not love a place with a story? After all we all love a bit of drama? Turkey has so many hidden gems, across this vast country that make Kayaköy more loveable! We have to give thanks for the laws and legislation that protect Kayaköy from being altered or changed in any way. A government move I believe to be more than worthwhile. The world has seen many conflicts and evictions of races but the abandoned houses that still occupy the hillsides still look eerily beautiful, I admit what happened probably wasn't good for the Greek people but the houses looks breathtaking even now. Kayaköy you're a beautiful sinner!

Kayaköy has a lovely little village centre, complete with everything a local villager could possibly need. There's a barber shop, convenience store with a Turkish pancake corner and also a restaurant across the road. The main roundabout centres around the main amenities of Kayaköy so you would be a fool to get lost! To mix things up this year I took a walk from Muzzy's Place to the heart of the village, I wasn't climbing no hill! I didn't see the Levissi Wine Garden on my travels but I did stumble upon many quaint country lanes, which all exuded the perfect measure of character. I believe that horse riding is a great activity to capture the best of Kaya village. The Village is a popular spot but not to the point where it gets crazy! Love Kayaköy! 

Tourism can be a help and a hindrance in the same breath. I suppose the village is quite large so even the largest coachload of tourists probably wouldn't completely disturb the calm?! What do you think? Finally, I leave Kayaköy with more timeless memories that will stay with me for a long time. There goes another relaxing and thought provoking trip I guess I will see you next time Kaya Village! Concluding my 2013 Turkish holiday I look to this deserted paradise with the date of my return flight back to Birmingham Airport looming not with a heavy heart, but with a smile because its been a great four weeks in the sunshine of Turkey! Getting back to the Köy was amazing, its a place that I won't forget! Kaya has a secret to tell you! Kayaköy, I told you I ain't afraid of no ghost! You fool!

I Love Turkish Ghost Villages!

Joseph Harrison

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