Hidden Gems

Enjoy a ‘ghostly’ experience while sailing in Turkey

By Jenny Wilson
on  June 05, 2015

There are many places that you will never forget visiting after sailing in Turkey but for history-lovers, Kayaköy is likely to be near the top of the list. There are few places on earth where the past is as tangible as it is here.
Sail Turkey - charter a yacht and explore historic sights
The Kayaköy of today is effectively a ghost town, having been completely abandoned by the 1920s as a result of the Greco-Turkish War and a strategy of exile and torture, but that does not mean it has been forgotten. It is a popular tourist destination and there are a small selection of homes that are now inhabited after being restored.

The village, which sits just eight kilometres to the south of Fethiye, is now an historical monument and museum, popular with visitors from across the world. There are around 500 ruins to explore, along with a pair of Greek Orthodox Churches. Some of the buildings were damaged in the locally-famous Fethiye earthquake of 1957.

Kayaköy is a UNESCO World Friendship and Peace Village and is home to a private museum. Central to the settlement is a fountain source that dates back to the 17th century.

The village dates back to ancient times when it was Lycia and there are Lycian tombs still in existence. More recently, it was the home of Anatolian Greeks. In 1900, it had a population of around 2,000 people.

Kayaköy still exists as a means of keeping in touch with the past but it also looks set to enter a new era in the future.

In September 2014, the Turkish government revealed plans that will see a third of the village being developed to offer more tourist facilities, and there is a vision that some areas will be partially restored to their former glory.

If you get a sense of déjà vu when visiting Kayaköy, it could be that you watched the last scenes in The Water Diviner, a Russell Crowe film, which saw the village taking a starring role.

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