A Ghost Town Forgotten by History
Just 90 years ago, Kayakoy was a prosperous town overlooking a fertile valley not far from Fethiye on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. The inhabitants had tended their fields together over many generations, Greek-speaking Christians alongside Turkish-speaking Muslims. Like so many others, this happy community was destroyed forever in the aftermath of the invasion by a Greek army intent on annexing western Turkey in the period 1919-1922, following the collapse of the Ottoman empire.
After the defeat of the Greek armies by the Turkish forces led by Kemal Ataturk, the subsequent peace treaty determined that the Greek and Turkish populations should be "exchanged", each nationality repatriated to a motherland that few of these unforunate people had any connection to.
View towards lower church, showing the start of the lush fields beyond in this sheltered valley.
With the majority of the population expelled to Greece, a once thriving community was broken and destroyed. The town itself has fallen into empty ruin, a mute witness to this ethnic tragedy. Louis de Bernieres visited Kayakoy some years ago, and was inspired by the location to write a wonderfully moving novel, 'Birds Without Wings'. This is one of my favorite novels, and it is just coincidental that we find ourselves living close to this historic - and tragic- town. You can find out more about the book and the author at 'Birds Without Wings' - A Ghost Town Remembered.
Ruined house walls with remaining traces of brightly coloured plasterwork.
The town is slowly succumbing decay from the weather and vegetation. Here a gnarled old fig tree is growing up through the ruins.