February 3, 2009

The Greek Ghost Town of Kayaköy
Fethiye, Turkey

Guvenc and company

Guvenc, my CouchSurfing host's flatmate, and his young cousins (who arrived yesterday and are sharing the guestroom with me) ventured out on a day trip of our own today.

Some eight kilometers south of Fethiye is a city where the Anatolian Greeks lived until about 1923. The lost city, now preserved as a museum village, consists of around 3,5000 rundown but still mostly intact Greek-style houses and churches which cover a small mountainside and serve as a stopping place for tourists visiting Fethiye and nearby Ölüdeniz.

After the Greco-Turkish War, Kayaköy was largely abandoned after a population exchange agreement was signed by the Turkish and Greek governments in 1923. The residences have been generally stripped of wood by the Turks for firewood, with structures initially built around the area but not overtaking the homes because of the perceived instability of the territory.

The city's population in 1900 was about 2,000, almost all Greek Christians; however, it is now empty except for tour groups and roadside vendors selling handmade goods and items scavenged from the former village.

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