If you go past Hisarönü and continue on for five kilometres along the road through the pines trees you get to “Hayaletköy” (Ghost Town), more usually known as Kayaköy (Rock Village). Here you will find 3500 old Greek houses on the hillside, sited so as to not to block the views of the other. As the Anatolian Greeks were good farmers they placed their houses not in the valley but on the hills where agriculture was not possible. Kayaköy is a village that was based on this mentality. Up until 1922, approximately 25,000 people used to live here. After the Independence War during the population exchange program following, the Greeks migrated to their homeland. It is known that there had been a Christian settlement in the village since the 13th century. The village was repopulated by people that moved from Western Trace to Turkey as part of the population exchange. However, these people established their houses on the flat land in front of Kayaköy.
Now there is a population of 2000 people living in the area, but the old houses above have left into lonely moods with their doors and windows broken. All of the houses are now protected but you will see that this decision was taken a bit too late. In the village, whose old name was Levissi, there were two churches and 14 chapels. The Taksiyarhis church is now derelict, its wooden door on display in the Fethiye Museum. The Panagia Pirgiotis Church (the Church Beneath) is in better condition and has interesting frescoes that are worth seeing.
In 1990, a priest from Rhodes and the Muslim Imam Ali from Fethiye held a joint prayer service in the Shrine of Virgin Mary in the name of peace and friendship. The Galata Group, founded by the Chamber of Architecture and students studying architecture, conducted some significant work in the old village. Sectoral organisations such as TÜRSAB (The Association of Turkish Travel Agencies) have given support to the restoration work. The restoration of the two churches continues despite financial problems. Before the population exchange the village was a very lively settlement with two schools, one for girls and one for boys, a doctor and pharmacies and an abundance of shops. In the Greek time the village even had its own paper. The Muslim refuges that came with the population exchange did not like the place much and moved to other locations like Thrace and Manisa. Those Greeks who moved back to Greece were located in a remote wild area near Athens. They made this place prosperous and named it “Neo Makri”, in other words New Fethiye. Some of the houses in the lower part of the village have been restored.
The project to reverse Kayaköy into a village of “Peace and Friendship” is now being processed by the civil organizations but there is the “Kayaköy Arts Camp”, established as a part of the wider project (Tel: 0252 616 65 74). Here students, including foreigners, study the arts of sculpture, ceramics and photography. You can also make pottery in the Pottery House workshop. There are also small gifts and souvenirs on sale and a display of some old tools, to be found in the garden of the Poseidon Restaurant.Climbing up the stone paved road you get to the chapel on the hill and can enjoy a panoramic view overlooking Soğuksu Cove. Even if the weather is very hot elsewhere, on the top of this hill there is a constant breeze that make you feel cool.
On you left there is an old house from the village that was restored and converted into a restaurant called Dibektaş.
The other restaurant there is the Poseidon, which is family run. You can have food, coffee, tea or alcoholic drinks here. The village women also prepare fresh gözleme (the flat Turkish bread stuffed with a variety of ingredients) on their low wooden tables in the gardens of their houses. The gözleme is made of dark flour and can be stuffed with spinach, cheese, parsley and a mix of local herbs. You can have tea or an ayran (a drink made of yoghurt).One of the restaurants which is now typical with Kayaköy is the Cinbal Restaurant. Cinbal is the oldest restaurant in the area which gives barbecue service in a tranquil atmosphere of a garden full of flowers and fruit trees all year round.A large selection of meals of Turkish Cuisine and the friendly staff can make your lunch or dinner, one of the unforgettables of your holiday.
In Kayaköy there is always a constant breeze and there are no mosquitoes. Following the side path next to the old village, you can get to Ölüdeniz. The road within the forest is seven kilometres through the pine trees and marked by orange points up to Ölüdeniz. Three kilometres to the west (in the Gemile direction), and 400 metres above the sea level, on a hill that slopes into the sea you will see the remains of a monastery. According to the legend, the 10 metres square monastery, known locally as Afkule, was carved into the rock at a cost of a lifetime of suffering by a monk named Ayios Elefeterios. This location has a spectacular view, from which you can see İblis Point, Kurdoğlu Point and, if the weather is fine, even the island of Rhodes. The nearest location where you can swim in the Kayaköy region is Soğuksu (Cold Water) Cove. Its name does not refer to the temperature of sea but possibly to the spring water boiling into the sea. You can walk from the church following the path up the hill and then down to the water, the stroll taking half an hour.
Walking to Gemile Cove
Walking to Gemile Cove – (Gemile Koyuna yürüyüş)
There is a six kilometres long road linking Kayaköy to Gemile Cove. Those who have cars can take this road to get to Gemile Cove and have a swim. Since the beach is in a sheltered area it is highly popular. Right opposite of the cove is Gemile Island.
How to get there? – (Nasıl ulaşılır)
In summer, minibuses run from Fethiye to Kayaköy regularly from 7:00 am to 22:00 pm and the last return trip from Kayaköy is at 23:00 pm. Other than the summer times, the minibuses run until 17:00 pm.
If you travel with your own car follow the Ölüdeniz road, through Ovacık to get to Hisarönü, the distance being 16 kilometres. There is also a shorter way where you drive from Fethiye to the hill where there are the rock tombs and follow the road below the castle, going over Şıkman Hill. The distance on this route is seven kilometres.
Please note, being an open-air museum, you are charged an entrance fee in the entrance to the old houses, Upper Church area of Kayaköy.
Where to stay? – (Nerede kalınır)
In Fethiye, Hisarönü or in Ölüdeniz there are all manner of hotels. If you wish you can also stay in pensions in Kayaköy.
What to eat? – (Ne yenir)
In the makeshift restaurants of Kayaköy you can have gözleme, ayran, grill meat and tandır (Turkish type of tandoori meat). If you want you can also have an open-air barbeque, cooking your own meat. Those into barbeques in winter can make use of the closed-in barbeques in the houses.