Destination Guides Turkey.

Kayakoy

Few times in my life have I so physically felt the collective void of a people vanished, the expectant silence that hangs over the empty houses of a missing population. Once was while wandering through the empty barracks at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, and the other, walking through the largest and best preserved ghost town in all of Asia minor – Kayakoy, Turkey. Once a thriving Greek village, this town of over one thousand houses, two churches, fourteen chapels, and two schools, was completely deserted in 1923 when the 25,000 Greek inhabitants living there, along with more than a million other Greeks living throughout Turkey were repatriated to Greece through a massive government mandated population exchange between the two countries following the Greek war of independence. Since then, the village of Kayakoy, as it is called in Turkish, or Karmylassos, as it was called in Greek, which had been continually inhabited since at least the 13th century, has stood empty and crumbling, with only the breeze from the mountains and mist from the sea blowing through its empty houses and streets. Historically, Turks and Greeks had lived together in this region for centuries, the Turks as farmers in the Kaya valley and the Greeks living on the hillside dealing in crafts and trades. A Greek presence in this region goes back for centuries...