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This article is about Kayaköy in Fethiye district. For Kayaköy in Ödemiş district, see Kayaköy, İzmir.
Abandoned house
Kayaköy village

Kayaköy (Greek: Λεβίσσι, Levissi or Greek: Καρμυλησσός, Karmylissos, although modern English usage seems to be Karmylassos) is a village 8 km south of Fethiye in southwestern Turkey where Anatolian Greeks lived until approximately 1923. The ghost town, now preserved as a museum village, consists of hundreds of 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.

It was built on the site of the ancient city of Carmylessus in the 18th century. It experienced a renewal after nearby Fethiye (known as Makri) was devastated by an earthquake in 1856 and a major fire in 1885. After the Greco-Turkish War, Kayaköy was largely abandoned after a population exchange agreement was signed by the Turkish and Greek governments in 1923. Many of the buildings were damaged in the 1957 Fethiye earthquake.

Its 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. However, there are a selection of houses which have been restored, and are currently occupied.

An abandoned Church

Today Kayaköy village serves as a museum and is a historical monument. Around 500 houses remain as ruins and are under the protection of the Turkish government, including two Greek Orthodox Churches, which remain the most important sights of the ghost town.[1][2] There is a private museum on the history of the town. In the middle of the village stands a fountain source from the 17th century. Kayaköy was adopted by the UNESCO as a World Friendship and Peace Village.[3]


Villagers were mostly professional craftsmen. Currently the most important economic factor of the place is tourism. It is envisaged that the village will be partially restored.


Kayaköyü, the fictional Eskibahçe

Kayaköy is presumed to be the inspiration behind "Eskibahçe", the imaginary village chosen by Louis de Bernières as the setting of his 2004 novel Birds Without Wings.


  1. ^ kayakoy.info. "Kayaköy History". Retrieved 17 October 2009. 
  2. ^ The Independent (11 June 2005). "The Idyllic Town that Time Forgot". Retrieved 17 October 2009. 
  3. ^ Today's Zaman. "The province where natural beauty and history intertwine: Muğla". Retrieved 17 October 2009. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°34′29.94″N 29°5′27.94″E / 36.5749833°N 29.0910944°E / 36.5749833; 29.0910944