We recently visited the abandoned Greek village of Kayaköy in south western Turkey. This village, like many others in the area, was home to a community of Greek speaking Christians and was handed over to the Turks as part of the “population exchange’, with the inhabitants being forced to go to Greece. It’s a sad and eerie place to visit; so many people forced to give up so much… Dotted among the houses are a number of small chapels and in some of the houses you can see where the original fireplaces were. Unfortunately the two major churches in the village are deemed to be dangerous and are no longer open to the public. Hopefully they will be restored and will re-open at some point in the future. According to an information leaflet we read, the layout of the village and the construction of the houses was designed in such a way that no house blocked the view of another – an idea that modern urban designers would do well to emulate.
The nearby resort of Ölüdeniz is a far cry from Kayaköy. It’s now a major centre for paragliding. While we were there the 14th international Air Games festival was in full swing with paragliders descending on to the promenade (landing strip) every couple of minutes – a photographer’s dream. It’s possible to do tandem descents with a number of companies (the whole descent can be filmed for you) and we were told that the experience was fantastic. One more thing to add to my bucket list.
Ölüdeniz (lit. Dead Sea) refers more properly to the blue lagoon at the far end of the beach. It’s an inshore lagoon more often referred to as the Blue Lagoon. Famous for its beautiful colour and it’s one of the most photographed places in Turkey. Although part of it is now a national nature park there are a number of beach clubs on the far side of the lagoon where it’s possible to spend a lazy day in the sun and swim in the water. Oh how it’s changed since we first visited about 30 years ago when we parked the car under the shade of the pine trees at the top of the beach and Oludeniz was nothing more than a few houses and cafes….
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