Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

I've been wanting to see Kayakoy since I've been to Fethiye last year, it's just that I ran out of time and I always hesitate going to a place where figuring out getting there comes with complications, at least that's how some people on the internet described the process.

I always have this apprehension that's getting into me and giving me anxieties.  It's hard to explain but it works like this - whenever I'm planning my trips, I start to read information on places I want to see. Although I know for a fact that it's not hard to navigate places in Turkey, still I'm getting alarmed visiting places that sounds like hard to go to, based on some people's descriptions.

In actual, it's always the opposite -- it's as easy as, I don't know...hmmm..ordering burgers at some rude-staff at KFC along Istiklal Avenue? Sorry KFC, but that's the only scenario I could think of right now.

A fancy restaurant below with the ghost town above.

Third day in Faralya, it left my itinerary empty as I’ve seen most of the surroundings already, so I headed early morning at the main highway, waited for a dolmush (shared public transportation van) heading to the town of Fethiye.  The dolmush stopped to wait for passengers about 5 minutes at the bus depot beside the beautiful turquoise beach of Oludeniz, also popularly known as Blue Lagoon.

Inside the van I chatted with a lady from Italy who happen to have stayed at George House couple of weeks back and Kabak Valley where I also stayed after the butterfly valley later.  I can’t help to notice how peaceful her face was although she seemed to have started a mild flu yet I also can’t help to notice that she has a heavenly breath.  She told me she had a great time in Faralya and that she also had gone to Kayakoy.  I said goodbye to her when the bus stopped at Hisaronu where I’m catching a connecting dolmush on the way to Kayakoy.

I waited at the junction right at the roundabout for the next van, I even asked the guy at the souvenir shop to make sure I was waiting at the right spot, the van arrived.  I hopped in and before I get off at Kayakoy I asked the driver for the schedule of the dolmush coming back to Hisaronu, so it’s by the hour until I think 6 or 7pm.  I don’t want to get stuck at the place, after all it’s called a ghost town, whatever that meant.  I saw a picture of Casper “the friendly ghost” where I got off.

Casper - the friendly ghost?

I was about to walk my way through the entrance when a lady started yelling, not only at me but a couple of tourists, directing us to her booth to buy the entrance ticket.  I felt a little embarrassed, well, can’t blame me, I was unaware of the ticket booth.  I paid TL8 before heading to the bathroom near the entrance where I also paid TL1.  I don’t want to pee at any bushy corner around the place so I’d better empty my gall bladder.

Greek church.

Inside the abandoned Greek church -- spooky!

I walked up the cobbled uphill steps that led me to the big Greek Church, on the way there I encountered an herd of sheep grazing around the place.  So here’s the story of how this place became a ghost town.

Kayaköy (previously known as Levissi) was a Greek town until 1923, when a population exchange between Greece and Turkey sent its inhabitants back to Greece. The Greek Macedonian Muslims who were settled in their place didn’t stay for long, they found the place difficult to cultivate so they moved somewhere else.

The town were left empty and the buildings started to collapse which was further aggravated by the 1957 earthquake, lending the place an air of melancholy if not a bit creepy.  It was then converted by the Turkish government into a tourist attraction which proved to be an income generator for the residents.  Some travelers with a taste for the bizarre would spend hours exploring the site, I did.

I went to the highest point way past the big church, sat there for a couple of hours enjoying the eeriness of the place after most of the tourists left, very few would venture anyhow on where I was sitting.

Just down below the abandoned town is a small modern town where most residents cater to the needs of visitors.  There are restaurants, mini stores, and couple of hotels.

So it isn’t a place where you hunt for ghosts, but try staying late in the afternoon, past the closing time, perhaps…

Getting there:

Hop on a dolmuş from Fethiye or Ölüdeniz to Hisaronu and catch another dolmush that goes to Kayakoy.

Entry Fee:  TL8.


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