Kayakoy ( Ghost Town )

Kayakoy was a Greek town originally known as Lebessos and Lebessus.  In 1922 the Greek population who lived there had to leave Turkey and relocate to Greece. The town was then left empty and is now an historical site.

Kayakoy Turkey

Walks around Kayakoy

If you walk through the abandoned houses in Kayakoy you will see signs for Oludeniz. This is one of the nicest small walks I have ever done taking you over the hills and through thick pine forests. Ending up at the Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz. It is quite easy to wander off track if its your first time walking the path. This page  “Kaya to Oludeniz” shows you quite a good guide to the walk. Look out for the markings that look like arrows marked on the rocks. They are actually an instruction to turn. Allowing you to follow the path as it meanders up and down the hillsides. It’s easy to go right off course if you get them wrong. There is also a walk that takes you up to Ovacik  this one I have yet to do.

Kayakoy From Drone

Further on from Kayakoy following the road towards Gemiler beach is another walk. From just outside the hamlet of Kinali to a deserted monastery overlooking the sea the Af Kule Monastery.

Staying in Kayakoy

Kayakoy has quite a few hotels. There are also quite a few cottages that can be rented. In the evening it is much quieter than the bright lights of Hisanoru. or the Strip in Oludeniz. Kayakoy  has a very the laid back feel, Similar to what Oludeniz had years ago. Often when I visit Turkey we travel to a few places all around the Mugla province. One of our favorite things is to book our last few days in Kayakoy. So we have a really relaxing end to our stay in Turkey.

Kayakoy April 2009 Tortoise Kayakoy April 2009 Hiking

Mick Scarsbrook  has made numerous videos showing the beauty of this region of Turkey. Here is his youtube video showing Kayakoy look out for his other videos on Youtube. Especially if you have never been before and are intending to visit.

Kayakoy History

Kayaköy, anciently known as Lebessos and Lebessus (Ancient Greek: Λεβέσσος) and later pronounced as Livissi (Greek: Λειβίσσι) is a village 8 km south of Fethiye in southwestern Turkey in the old Lycia province. Anatolian Greeks inhabited the province until approximately 1922 when they either perished or fled to Greece. The townspeople were subsequently barred from returning by the 1923 Population exchange between Greece and Turkey. The ghost town is now preserved as a museum village. And consists of hundreds of rundown but still mostly standing Greek-style houses and churches. Which cover a small hillside and serve as a stopping place for tourists visiting Fethiye Ovacik and nearby Ölüdeniz.

Its population in 1900 was about 2,000, almost all Greek Orthodox Christians; however, it is now empty except for tour groups and roadside vendors selling handmade goods. There are a selection of houses which have been restored and are currently occupied.

Livissi was built around the 18th century on the site of the ancient city of Lebessus. A town of ancient Lycia. The Lycian tombs can be found in the village and at Gokceburun. Wich is north of the village.

Many of the abandoned buildings were also damaged in the 1957 Fethiye earthquake.

Kayaköy today

Today Kayaköy village serves as a museum and is a historical monument. Around 500 houses remain as ruins and are under the protection of the Turkish government, including two Greek Orthodox Churches, which remain the most important sites of the ghost town.  There is a private museum on the history of the town. In the middle of the village stands a fountain that dates from the seventeenth century. Kayaköy was adopted by the UNESCO as a World Friendship and Peace Village.

On 9 September 2014, the Turkish government announced plans to develop the village. It plans to offer a 49-year lease that will “partially open Kayaköy’s archeological site to construction” and anticipated “construction of a hotel. As well as tourist facilities that will encompass one-third of the village.”

Kayaköy is presumed to be the inspiration behind “Eskibahçe”, the imaginary village chosen by Louis de Bernières as the setting of his 2004 novel Birds Without Wings.

In 2014. Kayaköy also took centre stage in the closing scenes of Russell Crowe’s film The Water Diviner.


Church In Kaya Camels In Kayakoy