HistoryKayakoy, once known as Levissi, was a Greek town until 1923 when Turkey became a republic and underwent the population exchange with the Greek government and under the Treaty of Lausanne which stated all Greek Orthodox people living in Turkey were to be exiled to Greece and all Muslim people living in Greece were to be exiled to Turkey. It was Turks living in Greek Macedonia that settled in Kayakoy during that time but as they were more accustomed to open fertile fields and not the hilly and rocky terrain with little arable land to grow food, they abandoned Kayaköy moving out to other areas.
Ruins at KayakoyThe village visitors see today is after it has deserted for many decades and because of destruction caused by a huge earthquake in 1957. During its prime there was a large enough population to support several schools and stores, plus a local newspaper and today just a few natives remain, mainly in the Keçiler and Kınalı neighbourhoods that sit 2km north and west of the deserted or “ghost town” part of the village.
HousesIn the ghost town part there are hundreds of abandoned houses that are now windowless and roofless and in partial ruin.
Fountain and ChurchesA fountain dating from 1888 can be found by the road and two abandoned churches
Follow the trail marked with red dots and once you reach the top you are offered spectacular views of the valley and sea below. The lower church and surrounding streets (or steps) have been declared a museum by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and when the ticket booth is manned you are expected to purchase a ticket; if you visit in the early morning or late afternoon it is empty and therefore free to view!
Getting to KayakoyFrequent minibuses (dolmuş) leave from Fethiye during the day from the stop at the side of a mosque on its main downtown street and during the high season they also run from Oludeniz . There is a tarmac but rather narrow winding road that links the village with Fethiye and another road in better condition that connects the village with Hisaronu which is on the highway between Fethiye and Ölüdeniz. The drive is short but very beautiful as it takes you through the valley; car and motorbike rental are available in Fethiye. It is also possible to hike from Fethiye on an 8km long cobblestone medieval path that takes you through the forest and is a fairly easy track to follow and takes approximately 3 hours to walk.
Things to do in Kayakoy
Hike to Cold Water BayThere is a red dot marked trail that leads you to Cold Water Bay or Soguksu Bay from the south-side of the ghost town part of the village although it is not very visible because of the hills the village sits against. The bay is really a small cove with a short stretch of pebble beach and is the closest access to the sea from the village. Apart from taking a swim, there is also a restaurant there that is famous for its wild boar stew and well worth a visit. The trail starts in front of the lower church and climbs up towards the hilltop.
Horse RidingAnother popular activity of Kayaköy is to go horseback riding.
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