Explore The Abandoned Village Of Kayakoy Turkey

Fed up with doing the same old thing on holiday? Why not try something different and take a journey into Turkey’s past with a visit to Kayakoy? This ghost town is eerie and steeped in so much history that it takes a while to really soak it all in. Although it was once a bustling town, the quiet streets and crumbling homes make that hard to imagine today. Nestled in the Taurus Mountains, Kayakoy Turkey is a historical town to add to your bucket list.

Even if you’re not a huge history buff, you can’t help but feel as though ghosts from the past are watching as you wander through the old streets and explore inside the abandoned homes scattered throughout the site. The good news is that you’re not too ‘out of the way’ in Kayakoy and there are plenty of nearby restaurants in the area where you can stop and dine. If you’re tempted to uncover the secrets of the village of Kayakoy for yourself, here’s everything you need to know.

History of Kayakoy

Kayakoy was built in the 1700s and once had around 20,000 residents. Things were going well for a long time and both Turkish and Greek villagers lived a quiet and peaceful existence together. Of course, nothing lasts forever and sadly a lot of Greeks were killed during World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. So many Greeks and Christian minorities were massacred during this turbulent time that by 1918, thousands of inhabitants had died. Many fled the violence and those that survived the chaos abandoned the town for good. Many moved to Greece and never returned. Then in 1957, a huge earthquake struck the village, which led to even more devastation to the town’s buildings.

Nowadays, there are at least 350 abandoned homes in Kayakoy Turkey. Most of them have lost their roofs now but a surprising number are still in great condition. Although Kayakoy has a sorrowful past, it’s become one of the most famous ghost towns in the world. It offers a great day out with plenty to see and explore. Remember to pack your camera and snap lots of images when you go; who knows, you might even spot a ghostly figure lurking in the shadows!

What you can see and do in Kayakoy

As you explore Kayakoy, you’ll discover many of the homes are without windows and roofs. Most of the walls are damaged too but there are a few buildings in town that have been well preserved over time. Walk around the crumbling stone walls, step over broken steps and explore the remains of this once happy and peaceful town. Take your time and discover the old churches, cafes, schools, shops and homes of a bygone era.

One of the main things to see in Kayakoy is the old fountain dating back to 1888. It sits near the tarmac road and has become one of the most important sights in the town. The two abandoned churches are an incredible sight, too. You can get inside both of them to see the original structure from within. Weeds and moss have crept up the stone walls, giving the buildings an almost mythical feel. Kato Panagia is the church in the lower part of town, which has vaulted ceilings. It’s here that celebrations like christenings and marriages took place before the carnage of World War I.

The upper church is a small chapel perched on top of the hill. If you’re starting from the bottom, it’ll take around 20 minutes to walk up to this church. It’s well worth it for the amazing views of the surrounding valley and coastline. Near the town, you can find a few restaurants to grab a bite to eat with some fun activities on offer such as hiking and horse riding through the countryside.

How to get there

Kayakoy is one of the main attractions in this part of Turkey with day trips to the town available from a number of resorts. If you’re making your own way instead, it’s just a short drive from Olu Deniz. And, if you’re fit enough for the trek, you could even walk to the village, which will take you around two and half hours. Or, if you’re coming from Fethiye, you can catch one of the frequent minibuses to Kayakoy; they leave from the mosque on the main street.