The unique houses at the ancient site of Kayakoy in western Mugla province are being threatened by the trees and plants growing in, on and around them, officials warn.
Eight kilometres away from the province’s Fethiye district, Kayakoy, or Karmylassos as it was known in the ancient era, is home to a number of old structures. During the Ottoman era, the city was populated by Greeks, who left after the 1923 population exchange, abandoning the city. Many of the newer, wooden structures in the city have since decayed, and Kayakoy became known as a “ghost city.”
In 1988, a project was made in collaboration with the Turkish Architects Chamber and the Turkish-Greek Friendship Association for Kayakoy to become a “Friendship and Peace Village.” Kayakoy has since become a first-degree archaeological site.
Recently, it was reported that trees growing in and around the houses in Kayakoy had been damaging its ancient walls, and had even caused some to collapse.Fethiye Architects Chamber Representation Executive Board member Hilal Polat said the biggest problem in Kayakoy was the destruction of the environment. She said the growth of a number of plants, particularly fig trees, has had a negative impact on the structures. “Trees have burst through the walls of the structures; some buildings should be restored and become an open air museum. Some buildings should not be touched because we need to preserve history,” she said, adding, “We don’t want Kayakoy to be a touristic hotel. Infrastructure works, electricity and water installations damage the natural structure.”
Fethiye Architects Chamber Representation Executive Board President Gokhan Gungor said they hoped to restore some parts of Kayakoy while leaving others in their original state and turn the site into an open air museum.
He said some buildings at the site could bring a “cultural richness” to the region. “There were many Greeks who had to leave Kayakoy during the population exchange. Some part of the buildings should not be touched in memory of these people,” he said.