In the southwest of Turkey, just a few km south of the town of Fethiye, is an abandoned ghost village consisting of hundreds of empty stone houses…
Now called Kayaköy, meaning ‘rock village’, the town was previously known as Levissi, and was the the home to thousands of people.
We visited following Sameer’s research deep-dive, which meant that I had no idea what to expect from the experience.
As we walked along the road to the site, we first came across a few empty houses….
… as well as some of the local inhabitants, who seemed quite adamant about their right to the road.
But after a few more metres of walking, we came across the actual village.
You have to climb a bit to see the scale of it all- hundreds of houses stretched over a hillscape.
Although known as ‘the abandoned village’, Kayaköy wasn’t exactly that….
Rather than being abandoned, the village was ‘depopulated’, with its 6,500 or so Greek orthodox inhabitants forced to leave as part of the messy end of WWI and the Treaty of Lausanne (1923)’s population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
Walking through 100 years later, you can definitely feel that this was not just a bunch of houses, but an actually community, complete with schools and churches:
But by now, things have definitely began to crumble…
… and the village is standing mostly as a reminder of the past.