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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 26 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Jeremy Seal

These ruins, anything but ancient, testify to Turkey’s fraught modern history. Kayakoy (literally Stone Village; formerly Levissi) has stood abandoned since its Greek Orthodox Christian inhabitants were expelled in the population exchanges of 1923.

Wandering this ghost town, set across a pine-clad hillside where grassy lanes lead among the grey shells of roofless homes, is a fascinating and haunting experience. The bones of former residents still lie in a basilica ossuary.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The ruins, well signposted, are plainly visible on the approach to Kaya. There are numerous routes into the them; the main footpath connects the two basilicas (churches), passing the remains of closely packed houses where fig trees now grow, to descend by broad steps to the ‘Lower Church’ and the ticket office.

The Antik Restaurant, right by the ruins, has cushioned and shaded platforms and does excellent drinks and snacks.

When to do it

Open all year round, seven days a week, except for the two basilicas which are undergoing long-term restoration. The ruins are magical at dawn and dusk when only tortoises and jays are around.

Avoid July and August when the heat of the day makes a visit to these ruins trying.

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