For rent from Culture Ministry: Fascinating ghost town and bargain cultural heritage
Located a few kilometers south of Fethiye, Kayaköy was abandoned after its Greek inhabitants returned to Greece in the population exchange between the two countries in 1923.The Culture and Tourism Ministry will hold an auction on Oct. 23 to rent the deserted Greek ghost town of Kayaköy, one of the most intriguing cultural heritage sites on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, for 49 years in return for its restoration.
The auction will also partially open Kayaköy's archeological site to construction and includes plans for the construction of a hotel, as well as tourist facilities that will encompass one-third of the village.
The total cost of the project is expected to reach 30 million Turkish Liras. Two companies have already offered a bid for the auction.
Local officials have praised the move, stating that restoring 5,000-year-old village through renting it would turn the ghost town into an “international brand.”
Located a few kilometers south of the popular coastal town Fethiye, Kayaköy was abandoned after its Greek inhabitants returned to Greece in the population exchange between the two countries in 1923.
Today, the town features almost-intact houses and churches and has become an important cultural center, home to festivals and many international events each summer.
The current project has been on the agenda for several years and a first auction was organized last year without success. Critics of the project claim that the town, like many other Mediterranean resort towns, could lose its authenticity and originality at the hands of investors seeking to maximize profits.
Legal experts point out that the town does not have a construction plan designed to protect its cultural assets. During the first auction, activists launched a Facebook page called “Save Kayaköy,” urging for any restorations to be carried out in coordination with Greece, and for them to be suitable for the environment and the area's history.