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1. The churches

2. Side streets

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The ghost of a Greek past

Kaya, Turkey

There are not many places as strange as Kaya, a ghost town telling about the gruesome truth about the birth of the Turkish republic, yet with a sympathetic twist. The history, which is so awful that Turkish authorities have imprisoned anyone telling about it, is that with the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks wanted a purely Muslim country. Only problem was that some 5-6 million Christians lived there. This caused the first Holocaust, beginning 1915 when the Armenians and Assyrians were driven out of their homes and towns or simply killed. But in the west, the largest Christian population remained, the Greeks. First in 1923 did they have to leave their homeland, where they had roots predating Turkish presence in Turkey and even Islam.
Levissi was a fairly recent establishment, people moved from the Dodecanese Islands just offshore in the 18th century.
The story about Kaya, although possibly exaggerated, is one of friendship between people of different religions. The local Muslims did not want their Christian neighbours to leave, but international politics made them. The village of Levissi was entirely Greek, and when abandoned, Muslim friends made sure that it was not demolished or taken over by others. One detail from the story tells that the Greeks handed the Turks keys to coffins containing treasured belongings, awaiting their future return. What is true from the story and what is added in later times, is actually hard to tell. But local sentiments indicate good relations.
What remains here now is a village of 400 ruined houses together with 3 churches.
The village was intended to be turned into a tourist complex in the late 1980's, but protests successfully managed to stop this from happening.
Outside Athens, Greece, there is the town of Nea Levissi; this is the home of Kaya's original population.

Kaya, Turkey


Kaya hotels

Selçuk Pension (t. 618 0075) Swimming pool Good value for money

Villa Rhapsody (t. 618 0042) Swimming pool Good value for money

Admission into the area is 5 lira, opening hours 9.00-19.00.
As accommodation goes, there are two immediate options at Kaya. Both are very nice, and charming.
Eating at Kaya is also good, there are a few places to choose from.
Getting to and from Kaya, involves either travelling by minibus to Fethiye, 30 minutes or to Ölüdeniz also 30 minutes. Connections to Fethiye run twice an hour in high season, once in low. Travelling to Ölüdeniz, there are only a few direct daily, alternatively you travel to the village Hisarönü to change minibus.

By Tore Kjeilen