Kayaköy, anciently known in Greek as Karmilassos, shortened to Lebessos (Ancient Greek: Λεβέσσος) and pronounced in Modern Greek as Livissi (Greek: Λειβίσσι), is presently a village 8 km south of Fethiye in southwestern Turkey in the old Lycia province. From Ancient Greek the town name shifted to Koine Greek by the Roman period, evolved into Byzantine Greek in the Middle Ages, and finally became the Modern Greek name still used by its townspeople before their final evacuation in 1923. In late antiquity the inhabitants of the region had become Christian and, following the East-West Schism with the Catholic Church in 1054 AD, they came to be called Greek Orthodox Christian. These Greek-speaking Christian subjects, and their Turkish-speaking Ottoman rulers, lived in relative harmony from the end of the turbulent Ottoman conquest of the region in the 14th century until the early 20th century, when the rise of nationalism led to persecution of minorities within the Ottoman realm and the eventual creation of modern Turkey by the Turkish National Movement.

The massacres of Greeks and other Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire during World War I (1914–1918) led to the almost total depopulation of the town's 6,500 Greek inhabitants by 1918. These former inhabitants became propertyless refugees in Greece, or died in Ottoman forced labour battalions (cf. Number 31328, an autobiography by a Greek-speaking novelist from a similar coastal town in Turkey).

Following these events the Allied victors in World War I authorized the occupation of Smyrna, which still had many Greek inhabitants, by Greece in May 1919. This led to the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, the subsequent defeat of Greece, and the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. That treaty contained a protocol, the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey, which barred permanently the return of any prior Greek Orthodox refugees to their homes in Turkey (including the previous Livissi refugees) and required that any remaining Orthodox Christian citizens of Turkey leave their homes for Greece (with an exception for Greeks living in Istanbul). This treaty also required that Greece's Muslim Turkish-speaking citizens permanently leave Greece for Turkey (with an exception for Turkish Muslims living in Greek Thrace). Most of these Greek Muslims were used by the Turkish state to settle its now empty Greek Christian towns, but Greek Muslims did not wish to settle in Livissi due to rumors of ghosts of the Greeks killed there.[1]

The ghost town, now preserved as a museum village, consists of hundreds of rundown but still mostly standing Greek-style houses and churches which cover a small mountainside and serve as a stopping place for tourists visiting Fethiye and nearby Ölüdeniz.

Kayaköy panorama
Livissi/ Kayaköy village

The village is now empty except for tour groups and roadside vendors selling handmade goods. However, there is a selection of houses which have been restored, and are currently occupied.

Kayaköy 6761
Abandoned house at Kayaköy
Kayaköy is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
Alternative nameLebessos, Livissi
LocationMuğla Province, Turkey
Coordinates36°34′29.94″N 29°5′27.94″E / 36.5749833°N 29.0910944°ECoordinates: 36°34′29.94″N 29°5′27.94″E / 36.5749833°N 29.0910944°E
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins


Kayaköy inside church
An abandoned church

Much of what remains of Livissi was built in the 18th century. Lycian style tombs can be found in the village and at Gokceburun, north of the village.

Lebessus is mentioned as a Christian bishopric in the Notitia Episcopatuum of Pseudo-Epiphanius composed under the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in about 640, and in the similar early 10th-century document attributed to Emperor Leo VI the Wise, as a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Myra, the capital of the Roman province of Lycia, to which Lebessus belonged.[2] Since it is no longer a residential bishopric, Lebessus is listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[3]

Livissi is probably the place where the inhabitants of Byzantine Gemiler Island fled to protect themselves from pirates. It experienced a renewal after nearby Fethiye (known as Makri) was devastated by an earthquake in 1856 and a major fire in 1885. More than 20 churches and chapels were built in the village and the plain (Taxiarhes – the 'Upper' church – and 'Panayia Pyrgiotissa' – the 'lower' church – St. Anna, St. George, etc.). Most of them are still standing in ruinous or semi-ruinous condition. The village population was over 6.000 people, according to Greek and Ottoman sources.

The persecutions of Livissi inhabitants as well as Greeks of nearby Makri (Fethiye) were part of the wider campaign against all Ottoman Greeks and other Christians of the Empire (cf. Armenian deaths in World War I). The persecutions in the area started in 1914 in Makri. In 1916, a letter in Greek addressed to Sir Alfred Biliotti, the Consul General of Great Britain at Rhodes, explained the murders and persecution of Livissi and Macri Greeks who asked him for intervention. Unfortunately, the letter was intercepted at Livissi by Turkish authorities. Later that same year, many families of Livissi were deported and driven on foot to Denizli, around 220 km away. There, they suffered various extreme atrocities and tortures, facing even death.[4]

Two more exile phases followed in 1917 and 1918.[5] In 1917, families were sent in villages near Denizli, such as Acıpayam, through forced march of fifteen days, consisting mainly of the elderly, women and children, who had remained in the area. During that death march, the roads were strewn with bodies of dead children and the elderly who succumbed to hunger and fatigue. The exiles of the next year were no less harsh.

At the start of the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) Kayaköy was already nearly empty of its former inhabitants. When this war ended in September 1922, the few remaining Greeks of Livissi and Makri were forced to abandon their homes and embark on ships to Greece. Some of them founded the refugee settlement of Nea Makri (New Makri) outside of Athens.

Many of the town's empty buildings were damaged in the 1957 Fethiye earthquake.

Kayaköy today

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 sites of the ghost town.[6][7] There is a private museum on the history of the town. In the middle of the village stands a fountain that dates from the seventeenth century.

There is mention in many sources that Kayaköy was adopted by UNESCO as a World Friendship and Peace Village.[8] This appears to be a myth. There is no mention of Kayaköy on the UNESCO website, and no trace of the term "World Friendship and Peace Village" can be found either.[9]

On 9 September 2014, the Turkish government announced plans to develop the village. It plans to offer a 49-year lease that will "partially open Kayaköy's archeological site to construction" and anticipated "construction of a hotel, as well as tourist facilities that will encompass one-third of the village."[10]


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.


Kayaköy, 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.

In 2014, Kayaköy also took centre stage in the closing scenes of Russell Crowe's film The Water Diviner.

See also


  1. ^ Elizabeth Warkentin. "Turkey's religious ghost town". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  2. ^ Heinrich Gelzer, Ungedruckte und ungenügend veröffentlichte Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum Archived 7 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, in: Abhandlungen der philosophisch-historische classe der bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1901, p. 539, nº 280, and p. 555, nº 343.
  3. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 915
  4. ^ Greek Genocide Resource Center. "Livissi (Kayaköy) and Macri (Fethiye)". Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  5. ^ Persecution and Extermination of the Communities of Livissi and Macri (1914–1918). Imprimerie Chaix, Rue Bergère, Paris 1919. p17
  6. ^ kayakoy.info. "Kayaköy History". Archived from the original on 9 February 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  7. ^ The Independent (11 June 2005). "The Idyllic Town that Time Forgot". Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  8. ^ Today's Zaman. "The province where natural beauty and history intertwine: Muğla". Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  9. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage List". UNESCO. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  10. ^ Hurriyet Daily News. "For rent from Culture Ministry: Fascinating ghost town and bargain cultural heritage". Retrieved 11 September 2014.

External links

Birds Without Wings

Birds Without Wings is a novel by Louis de Bernières, written in 2004. Narrated by various characters, it tells the tragic love story of Philothei and Ibrahim. It also chronicles the rise of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the 'Father of the Turkish Nation'. The overarching theme of the story covers the impact of religious intolerance, over-zealous nationalism, and the war that often results. The characters are unwittingly caught up in historical tides outside of their control.

The book's title is taken from a saying by one of the characters, Iskander the Potter, "Man is a bird without wings, and a bird is a man without sorrows."

The book includes a vivid and detailed description of the horrors of life in the trenches during World War I. Some of the characters are also present in the author's earlier novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin.


Carmylessus or Karmylessos (Ancient Greek: Καρμυλησσός) was a town of ancient Lycia, described by Strabo between Telmissus and the mouth of the Xanthus. After Telmissus, he says, then Anticragus (Ancient Greek: Ἀντίκραγος), an abrupt mountain on which is the small place Carmylessus, lying in a ravine.

The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World identify Kaya, Fethiye as the location of the ancient city, while the Lund University Atlas of the Roman World tentatively place it at Kayaköy.


Fethiye (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈfethije]) is a city and district of Muğla Province in the Aegean region of Turkey with about 147,000 inhabitants (2016).

Greek genocide

The Greek genocide, including the Pontic genocide, was the systematic killing of the Christian Ottoman Greek population carried out in Anatolia during World War I and its aftermath (1914–1922) on the basis of their religion and ethnicity. It was instigated by the government of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish national movement against the indigenous Greek population of the Empire and it included massacres, forced deportations involving death marches, summary expulsions, arbitrary execution, and the destruction of Eastern Orthodox cultural, historical, and religious monuments. According to various sources, several hundred thousand Ottoman Greeks died during this period. Most of the refugees and survivors fled to Greece (adding over a quarter to the prior population of Greece). Some, especially those in Eastern provinces, took refuge in the neighbouring Russian Empire.

By late 1922 most of the Greeks of Asia Minor had either fled or had been killed. Those remaining were transferred to Greece under the terms of the later 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey, which formalized the exodus and barred the return of the refugees. Other ethnic groups were similarly attacked by the Ottoman Empire during this period, including Assyrians and Armenians, and some scholars and organizations have recognized these events as part of the same genocidal policy.The Allies of World War I condemned the Ottoman government-sponsored massacres as crimes against humanity. More recently, the International Association of Genocide Scholars passed a resolution in 2007 recognising the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire, including the Greeks, as genocide. Some other organisations have also passed resolutions recognising the Ottoman campaign against these Christian minorities, as genocide, as have the parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, Armenia, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.


Hisarönü is a tourist resort village in the Fethiye district of the Muğla Province of Turkey. It is situated at the western extreme of the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and the southern extreme of the Aegean coast. The resort has grown from a very basic village in 1990 to the large resort with its neighbor Ovacık since then. In 1992, the road through Hisaronu to Kayaköy was paved for the first time.

Hisaronu was originally intended to provide accommodation for nearby Ölüdeniz (where new building work is quite restricted), but Hisarönü has now become a holiday resort in its own right and is popular with British holidaymakers in particular.


Idebessos or Idebessus, also known as Edebessus or Edebessos (Ancient Greek: Ἐδεβησσός) or (Ancient Greek: Ἐδεβησός), was an ancient city in Lycia. It was located at the foot of the Bey Mountains to the west of the Alakır river valley. Today its ruins are found a short distance to the west of the small village of Kozağacı in the Kumluca district of Antalya Province, Turkey. The site, 21 kilometres north-northwest of Kumluca, is overgrown with forest and hard to reach.

Kayabaşı, Mut

Kayabaşı is a village in Mut district of Mersin Province, Turkey. It is situated in the Toros Mountains at 36°36′N 33°38′E . Its distance to Mut is 42 kilometres (26 mi) and to Mersin is 127 kilometres (79 mi). Population of Kayaköy was 131 as of 2012.

Kayaköy, İzmir

Kayaköy (literally "rock ville") is a town in İzmir Province, Turkey

List of ancient settlements in Turkey

Below is the list of ancient settlements in Turkey. There are innumerable ruins of ancient settlements spread all over the country. While some ruins date back to Neolithic times, most of them were settlements of Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Ionians, Urartians, and so on.

List of archaeological sites by country

This is a list of notable archaeological sites sorted by country and territories.

For one sorted by continent and time period, see the list of archaeological sites by continent and age.

List of municipalities in İzmir Province

This is the List of municipalities in İzmir Province, Turkey as of October 2007.

List of populated places in Manisa Province

Below is the list of populated places in Manisa Province, Turkey by district. In the following lists first place in each list is the administrative center of the district.

List of populated places in Muğla Province

Below is the list of populated places in Muğla Province, Turkey by the districts. In the following lists first place in each list is the administrative center of the district.

List of populated places in Samsun Province

Below is the list of populated places in Samsun Province, Turkey by the districts. The first four districts (Atakum, Canik, İlkadım, Tekkeköy) are actually parts of the city of Greater Samsun. In the following lists, the first place in each district list is the administrative center of that district.

List of populated places in İzmir Province

Below is the list of populated places in İzmir Province, Turkey by district. The first 21 districts (Aliağa-Urla) are parts of Greater İzmir. In the following lists, the first place in each is the administrative center of the district.


Lycia (Lycian: 𐊗𐊕𐊐𐊎𐊆𐊖 Trm̃mis; Greek: Λυκία, Lykía; Turkish: Likya) was a geopolitical region in Anatolia in what are now the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of Turkey, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and Burdur Province inland. Known to history since the records of ancient Egypt and the Hittite Empire in the Late Bronze Age, it was populated by speakers of the Luwian language group. Written records began to be inscribed in stone in the Lycian language (a later form of Luwian) after Lycia's involuntary incorporation into the Achaemenid Empire in the Iron Age. At that time (546 BC) the Luwian speakers were decimated, and Lycia received an influx of Persian speakers. Ancient sources seem to indicate that an older name of the region was Alope (Ancient Greek: Ἀλόπη, romanized: Alópē).Lycia fought for the Persians in the Persian Wars, but on the defeat of the Achaemenid Empire by the Greeks, it became intermittently a free agent. After a brief membership in the Athenian Empire, it seceded and became independent (its treaty with Athens had omitted the usual non-secession clause), was under the Persians again, revolted again, was conquered by Mausolus of Caria, returned to the Persians, and finally fell under Macedonian hegemony upon the defeat of the Persians by Alexander the Great. Due to the influx of Greek speakers and the sparsity of the remaining Lycian speakers, Lycia was rapidly Hellenized under the Macedonians, and the Lycian language disappeared from inscriptions and coinage.

On defeating Antiochus III in 188 BC the Romans gave Lycia to Rhodes for 20 years, taking it back in 168 BC. In these latter stages of the Roman republic Lycia came to enjoy freedom as a Roman protectorate. The Romans validated home rule officially under the Lycian League in 168 BC. This native government was an early federation with republican principles; these later came to the attention of the framers of the United States Constitution, influencing their thoughts.Despite home rule, Lycia was not a sovereign state and had not been since its defeat by the Carians. In 43 AD the Roman emperor Claudius dissolved the league, and Lycia was incorporated into the Roman Empire with provincial status. It became an eparchy of the Eastern, or Byzantine Empire, continuing to speak Greek even after being joined by communities of Turkish language speakers in the early 2nd millennium. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century, Lycia was under the Ottoman Empire, and was inherited by the Turkish Republic on the fall of that empire. The Greek and Turkish population was exchanged when the border between Greece and Turkey was negotiated in 1923.

Population exchange between Greece and Turkey

The 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey (Greek: Ἡ Ἀνταλλαγή, romanized: I Antallagí, Ottoman Turkish: مبادله‎, romanized: Mübâdele) stemmed from the "Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations" signed at Lausanne, Switzerland, on 30 January 1923, by the governments of Greece and Turkey. It involved at least 1.6 million people (1,221,489 Greek Orthodox from Asia Minor, Eastern Thrace, the Pontic Alps and the Caucasus, and 355,000-400,000 Muslims from Greece), most of whom were forcibly made refugees and de jure denaturalized from their homelands.

The population exchange was envisioned by the new state of Turkey as a way to formalize, and make permanent the flight of its native Greek Orthodox peoples following their genocide (1914–1922), while initiating a new exodus of a smaller number (400,000) of Muslims from Greece as a way to provide settlers for the now depopulated Greek Orthodox villages of Turkey; Greece meanwhile saw it as a way to provide propertyless Greek Orthodox refugees from Turkey with lands of expelled Muslims.This major compulsory population exchange, or agreed mutual expulsion, was based not on language or ethnicity, but upon religious identity, and involved nearly all the indigenous Orthodox Christian citizens of Turkey (the Rûm "Roman/Byzantine" millet), including even Turkish-speaking Orthodox citizens, and most of the native Muslims of Greece, including even Greek-speaking Muslim citizens. Each group were citizens, and mostly native peoples, of the state seeking to expel them, and neither had representation in the state purporting to speak for them in the exchange treaty.

Çakırcalı Mehmet Efe

Çakırcalı Mehmet Efe (1872–1911) was a Zeybek, who was active as an outlaw in the region enclosing İzmir, Aydın, Denizli, Muğla and Antalya in modern western Turkey, from 1893 to 1910. Born in Ödemiş in 1871, he went out to the Aegean mountains at the age of 22 seeking revenge for his father, Çakırcalı Koca Ahmet Efe, who was murdered by an Ottoman sergeant.

While the political standing of Çakırcalı is controversial, he is generally recognized as a legendary efe, who was protective of common people, fought against authority, and established justice in regions of his control. He also called by the Ottoman Empire "kirserdar" in other words commander-in-chief (of an army) a military rank in Ottoman Empire. But he decided to be in charge on his own. In 1911, he was killed by Ottoman security forces during a fight and decapitated by his own men in order to prevent the identification of the body.

Until the year 1948 his body was on the mountain where he was killed; his younger daughter Hatice Akkas brought his body to the graveside Ödemis Kayaköy where her family has a glebe.

There are stories about him that he killed more than 1000 people.

The most famous folk song about him is "Izmir'in Kavaklari". It used to be sung as "Ödemis'in Kavaklari".

In 2010 the Ankara State Ballet portrayed his life on stage for the first time. There are also many movies about his life. The first one, Çakırcalı Mehmet Efe (1950), was directed by Faruk Kenc. The part of Efe was played by the famous Turkish actor Sadri Alışık. There was a sequel to this film, entitled Treasure of Çakırcalı Mehmet Efe (1952). In 1957, Fikret Hakan starred in another film about Efe: Dokuz Dağın Efesi. And in 1969 another film about him was released, starring Kartal Tibet.

The movie Tsakitzis, Protector of the Poor (1960) directed by Kostas Andritsos and starring Andreas Barkoulis is not about Çakırcalı's life but inspired by his life and is accompanied by the songs about him.

The book about Çakırcalı Mehmet Efe's life is written by Yasar Kemal called Çakırcalı Efe* (The Life Stories of the Famous Bandit Çakircali) (1972).


Ödemiş is a district of İzmir Province of Turkey, as well as the name of its central town (urban population 75,577 as of 2012), located 113 km southeast of the city of İzmir.

About 4 km north of Ödemiş town are the ruins of Hypaepa. The historical importance of the region is also reflected by the small town of Birgi, east of Ödemiş, which was the capital of the Anatolian Turkish Beylik of Aydın and it has outstanding examples of Seljuq and Ottoman architecture. Birgi has been on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list since 1994, and points of interest here include Çakırağa Mansion, İmam-i Birgivi Medrese and Sultanşah Mausoleum.

Ödemiş is famous for its potatoes, which has the best quality in Turkey, as well as its "Ödemiş Kebab". The city is the biggest potato grower of Turkey with its annual 350.000 tons of potato production.

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia


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