Kayakoy: The Ghost Town of Turkey - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Kayakoy: The Ghost Town of Turkey

Ghost Town of Kayakoy, Turkey

Once upon a time, there was a bustling Lycian era town in South-Western Turkey that enjoyed great maritime trade and a beautiful location. Known as ‘Karmilassos’ (Lebessos) in ancient Greek and pronounced as Livissi in modern Greek, this town of craftsmen enjoyed prosperity and happiness from the ancient Greek era, Byzantine period to the late Ottoman empire. Made up of Greek orthodox Christians and Turkish Ottoman Muslims, they lived in peace till the early 20th century when religion based cleansing took place. Around that time, either the Greeks were killed or they were forcibly converted to Islam. Those who converted to Islam and came to be known as Greek Muslims refused to stay in this village due to fear of ghosts of those who were killed. Thus, began the abandonment of this village. All that is left today is a ghost town called Kayakoy.

Exploring the ghost town of Kayakoy near Fethiye, Turkey

Much of its current streets and buildings were built in the 18th century, but they lie in a dilapidated state today. The roofs are missing, the buildings look weather-beaten and the paths worn out. Two Greek orthodox churches, fountains, cisterns and about 350 homes now sit empty in this famous ghost town of Turkey. In spite of all this, the ghost town of Kayakoy has a unique charm to it. This could be due to the eerie quietness, its grey stone buildings, its hilly surroundings or its horrendous past. But, there is something about it that begs attention and evinces interest.

The abandoned city of Kayakoy on the southern coast of Turkey

I didn’t know much about this ghost town before I landed there as part of my Lycian way trek, but after seeing it up close and live, I think it deserves a visit if you happen to be exploring Fethiye, Oludeniz or trekking the ancient Lycian way route. It is not often that you come across such abandoned towns that are surrounded by stunning land and seascapes. Do not miss the trek to Oludeniz when visiting Kayakoy for those legendary aerial views of the coast.

On the hiking trail from Kayakoy to Oludeniz, Turkey

How to get here:

The nearest airport is Dalaman and it is about 45 minutes away from Fethiye. The nearest large city would be Fethiye and it has good road connectivity with the rest of Turkey.

If you are driving from Fethiye, Kayakoy is about 15 kms or 25 minutes away.

If you wish to trek from Oludeniz, you can follow a 2.5 km trekking trail over the mountains while enjoying some stunning mountain and sea vistas.

Scenic views on the hike from Kayakoy to Oludeniz

Where to stay:

If you prefer to stay in a city, opt for any of the many accommodation options in Fethiye. If you like luxury and prefer a beach side resort, opt for Oludeniz. If you like staying with locals, opt for remote homestays on the ancient Lycian way for a truly authentic experience.

Beautiful southern coastline of Turkey

Nearby tourist attractions:

1) Oludeniz beach town

2) Lycian way trek

3) Fethiye rock tombs

4) Island hopping from Fethiye, Marmaris or Bodrum

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