Wandering The Ruins Of Kayaköy – Recording A Village In Photos

A few weeks ago, we took advantage of the fact that the Müzekart had been made available to foreign residents in Turkey by shelling out 50 TL for a Müzekart+. And recently, we actually made use of it, showing it to the lady in the ticket booth amongst the ruins of Kayaköy. This year, entrance to Kayaköy costs a very reasonable 5 TL, so it might only be a small dent we’ve made in our Müzekart+ fee – 5 TL down, 45 TL to go – but it’s there, all the same.

This year, it was announced that Kayaköy has been earmarked for tourist and local development by the government and we’ve heard and read various accounts of what this proposed development is going to entail. Well, just as we’ve been photographing the changes and restoration of Fethiye’s ancient Telmessos Theatre, we’ve decided to capture as many images of Kayaköy as we can…so it looks as though our Müzekarts are going to come in very useful!

Kayaköy, Fethiye, Turkey

Strolling the narrow pathways of Kayaköy

Because we really don’t know how Kayaköy is going to change, we want to record as much as we can in photographs, as it is now. When a friend was out recently, we went for a good wander around the ruins – he’d never been before so it was a good excuse to take our time and walk along pathways we haven’t ventured along in many years and begin the photo taking process – not that I ever need much of an excuse to take too many photos.

Lower Church, Kayaköy, Fethiye

The interior of the lower church

Over recent times, the ruins of Kayaköy have become more of a thoroughfare for us as we make the short climb up the hillside before dropping down more gradually to the lagoon on the Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz walk. We’re usually with friends who also know the ruins well, so we trudge along the same path, past the same ruins and via the higher church. It was good to be able to spend a few solitary moments in the lower church on this visit.

Lower Church, Kayaköy, Fethiye

Entrance porch to the lower church

The last photos we have of this building are from 1998 and we’re not even sure where they are, anymore. From what we can remember, not a lot has changed. The remaining paintwork on the interior of the building makes it one of the more colourful constructions in Kayaköy and it’s still easy to imagine a Greek Orthodox congregation in here, taking part in the church service.

Trekking Signs In Kayaköy Village

New waymarkers amongst the ruins

While strolling through the ruins, it’s not difficult to come across the waymarkers for the path that takes you over to Ölüdeniz, and this newly erected one also points the walker off in the direction of Ovacık, just above Hisarönü. We’ve never walked this route but it’s been added to our mental list as a result of this.

Wild Flowers In Kayaköy, Fethiye

Wildflowers in Kayaköy

Inevitably, we ended up on the footpath towards Ölüdeniz because our friend wanted to see inside the higher church which is along the route. Barry and our friend walked off with purpose but I hung back to get more photos of places previously unnoticed, places we’ve walked past countless times. There’s a certain melancholic serenity about spring wildflowers growing amongst the ruins. You can visit this post for more photos of spring flowers in Kayaköy. It’s our favourite time of year to visit the village.

Fireplace, Kayaköy, Turkey

There are quite a few buildings still with their chimney breasts intact

And this chimney, still intact. Quite imposing, in fact. How many times have we walked past this, heads down, concentrating on the route ahead without stopping to take time and reflect on the past.

Pathways of Kayaköy, Turkey

Typical pathways of Kayaköy

When we first visited Kayaköy in 1998, it was with virgin eyes and we soaked all in. As the years have progressed, while we’ve grown to love this area and visited many times, we know we’ve lapsed into accepting our surroundings for what they are. This visit, a couple of weeks ago, has marked the beginning of looking at and photographing Kayaköy with brand new eyes, once again.

We’ll be there again at the weekend, hopefully, for the Kayaköy Cultural Connections Festival – more photos are, of course, inevitable.

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  1. Anne Mackle says

    Last year in Kayakoy I never actually walked through the ruins ,this year we are staying right next to them so I will definately be walking through and taking my camera.

  2. @ Anne Mackle: Amazing the things we don’t get round to doing isn’t it? Definitely take your camera as Kayaköy could well look completely different in the near future.

  3. . . read somewhere that more than a third of the site has been earmarked for hotel accom/and trinket shops that will no doubt come and go at some speed. Shudder at the thought of what ‘development’ really means.

  4. I’m looking forward to seeing Kayakoy again. I haven’t been for about 20 years.

  5. Just checked out the proposed development. Permission for a 300 bed hotel, restoration of the ghost town and associated tourist developments. As the song says, call some place paradise and then kiss it goodbye. I just hope it does not happen.

  6. @ Alan: That’s one of the stories we heard, re the accommodation. Also heard the accommodation would be separate and also heard there may be a big hotel. Not ruling anything out till we see definite plans – which we probably won’t see – and live in hope that all this is done sympathetically.

    @ BacktoBodrum: You’ll just love Kaya again and nice you’re going to see it again before the changes. 🙂

  7. I hope the news that a restoration is in the works is good news… regardless, I am glad you are documenting that amazing place. Kayaköy really made an impression on us. The story that goes with the place contributes to the mystique. Cheers!

  8. Andrew Graeme Gould says

    What a beautiful historical site. Very well captured in your photo series!

  9. @ MBS01: The development proposals are really vague. Some places are saying 300-bed hotel but others are saying ‘capacity for 300 beds.’ This could be in the form of bungalows etc rather than one big hotel. Also heard that the ‘beds’ may be in the ruins themselves. We just don’t know. Let’s see…

    @ Mark: It looks like the plans for Kayaköy are definite so we’re all just hoping it’s a happy ending. 🙂 We want to get as many pics as possible just because this is how we’ve always known Kasyaköy…and all of a sudden, you realise it might not be like that soon.

  10. @ Andrew Graeme Gould: Kayaköy’s a very special place and great to walk around – especially with a camera.

  11. I love the Kayakoy ruins. I was staying here in 2011 and my son found a perfect white and undamaged human adult molar tooth in the earth in doorway of the lower church. We laid it to rest in the little place where all the leg bones are. Another interesting thing is the bohemian type Turkish man who renovated the house of the family of a Greek friend and displays it as a tribute to ideas of conflict and peace. He also sells unique but inexpensive jewellery which he makes himself using semi precious stones like turquoise and cleaned olive stones.

    • Thanks for your comment, Rina Allen. Yeah, Kayaköy is very special, even just as a place to spend time with friends. Lovely story about the tooth and the guy with the house. He’s been there some time, hasn’t he. 🙂

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