Kayaköy, Turkey: Travel Back In Time To Turkey's Ghost Town

Kayaköy, Turkey: Travel Back In Time To Turkey's Ghost Town

The abandoned village of Kayaköy, with roofless ruined houses once was known as Karmylassos and was inhabited by Greeks. As ancient as the village may seem, it was built in the 17th century and was abandoned after the Greco-Turkish War in 1922.

Situated only 15 km (9 miles) from vibrant and touristic Fethiye and 5 km (3 miles) from the bustling beach of Oludeniz, it is a great cultural and historic attraction protected by the Turkish Government and UNESCO. Time travel to the past, to Turkey’s ghost town - Kayaköy - where not many dare to tread.

A unique historic attraction

kayaköy, turkey: travel back in time to turkey's ghost town | a unique historic attraction

On the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey, which is bustling with tourists, traffic and life, lies a recently abandoned town. A site of archaeological and historic importance, Kayaköy used to be a village inhabited by Greeks who fled after the Greco-Turkish War and the following exchange of population of 1922. Since then, houses never acquired new tenants. Schools, churches and squares remained empty.

Today, it has become a major tourist attraction and many people come to experience this haunted village. Its unique atmosphere creates mixed feelings knowing that till very recently, it was full of life. Because the houses are exposed to all weather conditions, they seem ancient but were built in the 17th century.

UNESCO named Kayaköy a World Friendship And Peace Village. The hike around the village is very interesting and you will appreciate it more if you research its history beforehand. It will help you to imagine what it must have been like when inhabited.

Get lost among the hundreds of abandoned houses

kayaköy, turkey: travel back in time to turkey's ghost town | get lost among the hundreds of abandoned houses

The main sight of the ghost town of Kayaköy is the hundreds of abandoned houses with partially ruined walls, no roofs or windows, making the houses seem haunted. The village is built up on the hill of the Taurus Mountains creating an amazing image from the distance.

Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you will have to walk up a dirt hill road with old stone steps if you want to explore the heart of the abandoned village. Get lost in the narrow alleys between the houses, and discover the two Orthodox churches: Panaghia Pyrgiotissa in the lower part of the village and Taksiarhis in the upper part, and a little chapel on the top of the hill, about 20 minutes uphill walk from the lower church. The church of Panaghia Pyrgiotissa is fenced off and the visitor cannot enter, but the railings and the beautiful mosaic floors are perfectly visible.

As you continue uphill, you will reach the top of Kayaköy where you will have fascinating views of the valley and Oludeniz Beach. A perfect spot to gaze at the horizon, take some amazing pictures and wonder why this well situated village was never inhabited again.

The hike takes about 1.5-2 hours, so take water and avoid a midday hike when the sun is at its strongest. The walk is not very hard, and the trail is well marked with red and yellow spots along the way.

Location and access

kayaköy, turkey: travel back in time to turkey's ghost town | location and access

Kayaköy is located 15 km (9 miles) away from the city of Fethiye and 5 km (3 miles) from Oludeniz Beach. There are regular local minibuses (called dolmuş) from downtown Fethiye and Oludeniz Beach that take you directly to Kayaköy.

If you wish to go by car, then take the road from Fethiye towards Oludeniz and follow the signs towards Karymlassos. Entrance to the village costs 5 TRY (1.77 USD).

Taste traditional gözleme, a typical Turkish snack

kayaköy, turkey: travel back in time to turkey's ghost town | taste traditional gözleme, a typical turkish snack

Right at the entrance of Kayaköy there is an old lady selling souvenirs. She is also the owner of the traditional cafeteria nearby. I highly recommend stopping by for a cup of tea, a real tradition in Turkey, and taste the handmade gözleme prepared by the lady.

Gözleme is a typical Turkish pastry made by hand-rolled leaves of dough filled with spinach, parsley and Turkish white cheese. It is baked in the traditional oven. It is definitely a highlight of the Kayaköy visit!

A haunted, magical trip to the past

Kayaköy is a unique attraction located in the southern Mediterranean Coast of Turkey. The derelict buildings built up on the Taurus Mountains form a haunted, empty village. It is a very interesting experience to wander around among the hundreds of buildings and feel like you entered a time machine, visiting the past where everything is dead and you are the only one alive.

The place has a charming and magical aura that you feel as you walk up to the top. Magnificent views of the valley and Oludeniz beach are waiting for your camera to capture. Wear comfortable shoes, have a bottle of water with you and prepare your camera for this amazing adventure.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Travelling since 1999, I created my blog so my memories won't fade as time goes by. Passionate about travelling and music festivals, I try to combine them both. My motto is "I travel to live, I...Read more

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