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Kayakoy Ghost Town: A Haunting Reminder of Greek Exodus in Turkey

Introduction

Kayakoy Ghost Town, also known as Kaya Köyü, is a deserted Greek town located near Fethiye and Olu Deniz in Lycia province, southwestern Turkey.​ Recognized as one of the largest ghost towns in Asia Minor, Kayakoy holds a unique history dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries.​ Originally established near the ancient Lycian city of Karmylassos, the town was named Livisi (or Levissi). Today, Kayakoy stands as a poignant testament to the mass exodus of Greek inhabitants due to geopolitical shifts in the 1920s.​ It is now a preserved museum village and a popular tourist attraction.​

Overview of Kayakoy Ghost Town

Kayakoy Ghost Town, also known as Kaya Köyü, is a deserted Greek town located near Fethiye and Olu Deniz in Lycia province, southwestern Turkey.​ It is recognized as one of the largest ghost towns in Asia Minor.​ The town was originally established near the ancient Lycian city of Karmylassos in the 10th and 11th centuries and was named Livisi (or Levissi).​ Today, Kayakoy stands as a poignant reminder of the mass exodus of Greek inhabitants in the 1920s due to geopolitical shifts.​ It is now a preserved museum village and a popular tourist attraction.​

Historical Background

Kayakoy Ghost Town, originally known as Livisi or Levissi, was established near the ancient Lycian city of Karmylassos in the 10th and 11th centuries.​ This Greek town served as a refuge from Arab invasions during that time. In the early 20th century, Kayakoy faced a mass exodus of its Greek inhabitants due to geopolitical changes.​ The population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923 led to the abandonment of the town, leaving it as a haunting reminder of its past.​

Establishment and Name

Kayakoy Ghost Town, originally named Livisi (or Levissi), was established near the site of the ancient Lycian city of Karmylassos in the 10th and 11th centuries.​ The town was likely founded by people seeking refuge from Arab invasions during that time.​ Over the years, Kayakoy became a thriving community with a population of around 10,000 people, including Anatolian Muslims and Greek Orthodox residents.​ The town’s Greek name Livisi eventually became Kayakoy, and it remained inhabited until the early 20th century.​

Greek Inhabitants and Mass Exodus

Kayakoy, formerly known as Livisi, was predominantly inhabited by Greek residents until the mass exodus in the 1920s. This exodus was a result of the geopolitical shifts and population exchange between Greece and Turkey. The inhabitants of Kayakoy, along with millions of others, were forced to abandon their homes and settle in their respective countries based on their ethnic backgrounds.​

The population exchange agreement between Greece and Turkey was signed in 1923 under the Treaty of Lausanne.​ As a result٫ Greek Orthodox Christians living in Turkey٫ including the residents of Kayakoy٫ were resettled in Greece٫ while Muslims residing in Greece were moved to Turkey.​

This mass exodus had a significant impact on the population and demographics of Kayakoy.​ The once-thriving community was left deserted, with its houses, churches, and other buildings slowly falling into decay.​

Today, the deserted village stands as a poignant reminder of the tragic events and the displacement of its Greek inhabitants.​ The history of their settlement and subsequent departure is an integral part of Kayakoy’s story and adds to the intrigue and historical significance of the ghost town.​

Description of Kayakoy Ghost Town

Kayakoy, also known as Kaya Köyü, is a hauntingly beautiful ghost town located near Fethiye and Olu Deniz in Turkey.​ Once a thriving community, Kayakoy now stands as a collection of over 500 abandoned houses٫ churches٫ and other buildings that are slowly decaying over time.​ The town’s deserted streets and crumbling ruins offer a glimpse into the past٫ allowing visitors to imagine what life was like in this once-vibrant village.​ The unique architecture and infrastructure of Kayakoy reflect a blend of Lycian٫ Greek٫ and Ottoman influences٫ showcasing the town’s rich history and cultural heritage.​ Despite its ghostly ambiance٫ Kayakoy continues to captivate tourists with its enigmatic charm and offers a somber reminder of the forces that shaped its destiny.​

Current State and Tourism

Kayakoy Ghost Town, also known as the Ghost Village, holds a somber and captivating atmosphere that attracts visitors from around the world.​ Today, the village is deserted, with over 500 abandoned houses٫ churches٫ and other buildings that stand as a reminder of its once-thriving community. The ruins of Kayakoy tell a story of a village frozen in time٫ showcasing Greek architecture and infrastructure.

Kayakoy has become a popular tourist attraction, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the haunting facades and experience the rich history of the village.​ As a preserved museum village, efforts have been made to maintain the authenticity and atmosphere of the ghost town.​ Tourists can wander through the narrow streets, admire the stone houses, and visit the old school and church.​

The preservation and tourism efforts have turned Kayakoy into a place of cultural significance, attracting history enthusiasts, photographers, and curious travelers.​ The village offers a unique and poignant experience, allowing visitors to step back in time and imagine the lives of the Greek inhabitants who once called this place home.​