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Kayakoy

The ghost town of Kayaköy – a cluster of about a thousand centuries-old stone houses scattered across a hillside – has a poignant history. Formerly inhabited by Greek citizens of the Ottoman Empire and known by the Greek name of Levissi, it was abandoned in 1923 after the Greek-Turkish population exchange that took place after the founding of the Turkish Republic. The story of the village (renamed “Eskibahçe”) and its inhabitants has been fictionalized by Louis de Bernières in Birds Without Wings, a sweeping novel that takes place during the late Ottoman Empire and WWI. Walking among the crumbling, empty houses and through the narrow lanes can be rather eerie, but the deserted village has a surreal beauty to it. There are a couple of churches and chapels, of which the most significant is the Panayia Pyrgiotissa (built in 1888), where a few fragments of frescoes and mosaics can still be seen.

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