Kayakoy The Ghost Town
At the beginning of the 19th century, Kayakoy was in full flow. Schools, churches, shops and business operated in harmony. Life was good. The village was thriving as a community.
The twist and most important part of its history lie in the fact that within the village, Greeks and Turks lived side-by-side. The Greeks called the village Levissi while the Turks called it Kayakoy.
The loss of the First World War, the end of the Ottoman Empire and the attempted Greek occupation of the Anatolian region, all combined to force the decline of Kayakoy. Greek Christian citizens were forced to go to Fethiye harbour for deportation and Muslim Turks were expelled from Greece.
Most of the returning Turks did not want to settle in Kayakoy. Of the ones that were already there, well they left when the earthquake hit. The point is though, a combination of historical events forced people to leave their friends, neighbours, homes and uproot their children. Whole lives changed forever when the signing of the treaty for the Turkish Greek Population exchange, took place.
With an effort to move on from the past, UNESCO named Kayaköy a world friendship and peace village.
Now Kayakoy Ghost Town in Turkey is open-air museum with 3.5 thousand preserved houses and three churches. The largest of them is the Basilica of Panayia Pyrgiotissa (has been built in 1888) is located on the right of the main street – it is really difficult to pass by this impressive building in the Gothic style. It takes your breath away when you come inside and see nobody but the bare walls.