Kayaköy set to host festival featuring tours, movie screenings and local food

25th, 2013
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191202Kayaköy, an abandoned Greek village close to Fethiye, is preparing to host a two-week-long program to celebrate the diverse history of the village. Set to kick off on April 27, the 2013 Cultural Connections festival will comprise free and ticketed lectures, guided tours and workshops. The small village just eight kilometers south of Fethiye is effectively a history lesson in the period leading up to the population exchange agreements between the Turkish and Greek governments in 1923. The intermingling of populations previous to the population exchanges imparted a richness of culture to the area that can still be found today. Drawing on the area’s heritage, the Cultural Connections celebration aims to make connections across cultures and to hearken back to a time of cultural diversity through art, literature and food.

The festival will kick off with a guided walk through to ruins of Kayaköy with “Birds Without Wings” author Louis de Bernières. The celebrated novel tells the story of an ill-fated courtship in the fictional village of Eskibahçe. Kayaköy provided the inspiration for the setting while the political rise of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the battles of World War I and Gallipoli are the background for the plot. At designated stops along the tour, Bernières will read portions of his acclaimed novel conjuring images of the abandoned stone buildings’ former inhabitants. Last year Bernières led more than 100 people along the same route, and the positive response from it contributed to the organization of this year’s festival. The tour will cost TL 20, the profits of which go to support the Kayaköy Village School.

After the tour through the Kayaköy ruins, the festival will hold a free showing of “Dedemin İnsanları” (My Grandfather’s People). The film, written and directed by special guest Çağan Irmak, depicts the effects of the population exchanges on one family and their social circle. A discussion will be held after the film with Irmak and the producer, Mustafa Oğuz.

In order to acquaint visitors with the history of Kayaköy, events celebrating the literature, art, food and history of the village in Fethiye will be held throughout the festival. Most events will be centered around Günay’s Garden, a vacation spot-cum-function hall. Rebecca Keskin, who owns Günay’s Garden with her husband, and Jane Akatay have organized the festival with the hopes of sharing their love of Kayaköy and its traditions. With its mixture of Greek and Turkish elements, the festival will cover traditional cuisine through cooking workshops with local, organic food, music through a free open-air concert, and the arts through demonstrations on carpet weaving, ebru (Turkish paper marbling), lace-making, painting, pottery and digital photography.

In addition to Bernières and the men behind “Dedemin İnsanları,” the festival will welcome English authors Sofka Zinovieff, author of “The House on Paradise Street,” Victoria Hislop, author of “In the thread,” and Jeremy Seal, whose most recent book will be on his travels canoeing the Büyük Menderes.

Please visit culturalconnectionsfestival.com for more information.

Resource: Today’s Zaman

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