Saturday, 27 April 2013

A Modern Ruin

After the Turkish War of Independence in 1923 there was a mass exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece, supervised by The League of Nations.

As a result, all of the Orthodox Christians of Kayakoyu (Greek name Levissi) moved near Athens, and this hillside town has been deserted ever since.

The earthquake of 1957 devastated this ghost town and created a modern ruin.

Sometime in the 80's a property developer wanted to convert the whole town into a holiday village, but the Turkish authorities put a stop to that. Now it has been declared an open air museum, admission is charged and the proceeds apparently go to cementing good relations between Greece and Turkey.

The interior of this church was impressively spooky.

My plan was to explore the town for an hour and then follow The Lycian Way to a village by a lagoon called Oludeniz.
The walk was to take about 3 hours, but this time I was carrying my full pack and not just a daybag filled with cucumbers.
A local goat herder pointed out the way for me and once again I was looking for red and white markers as I strove uphill through the ruins. It was a scorcher so I was glad of my new hat, though it seemed to alarm Turkish people.
At the top of the hill looking back

The top of the hill was wooded and flat. The path was covered in a thick bed of pine needles and the shade from the sun was much appreciated. Then I emerged from the forest onto a dry, rock hillside overlooking a stunning bay. I had a rest.

The next hour of the walk was tough. The markers were further apart than I liked and I kept having to retrace my steps and scramble around looking for the correct path. Once, it took 20 minutes of trial and error before I was back on the Way. All of this in searing heat with a backpack.
The only other people I met on this hellish hillside were coming up! A Geordie couple in their 30's, both fashionably overweight and glowing scarlet.

"I can't believe you're heading UP this bastard."
A long pause for breath.
"Fuckers at our hotel told us it wasn't far. Are we near the top yet?" Pleading.
"About an hour. Max." Not what he'd wanted to hear.
"What's up there?"
"A nice view."
"Oh, and a shady forest and a ghost town. That'll be all downhill for you. You can get a taxi back from there, too"
Hope glimmered in his eyes.
"Taxi yes. Then I'm gonna have a fucking talk with our hotel."
I felt a reckoning was coming.

He told me they'd been walking for 4 hours already and that some of it was "bastard steep". I looked at the sun and wondered if I'd make it before dark. I started trying to hurry. Ridiculous idea that resulted in me careering down a scree and destroying my right shoe. I was quite sad about that, I'd had those shoes for nearly 5 years.

On and on, then I glimpsed the lagoon in the distance.

This spurred me on and I managed to get to the shore just before it got dark.

Oludeniz lagoon
I was so thankful to be off that hillside that I checked into the first place I found and ended up in a caravan.
I slept long and hard and was awoken in the morning by a thunderstorm. Rain was leaking into the caravan in a couple of places - one directly above my backpack.

Next morning

I had breakfast then caught a bus back to Fethiye again to go shoe shopping at the market.

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