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From when Pastor Ed was in Turkey on his well deserved Sabbatical - Kayakoy

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

Hey . . . I've got an hour or two to kill . . . . and as I can't move any parts of my aching muscles I'm going to go ahead and tell you about my day . . . juice within easy reach, sketchy Wifi connections aside.

As I mentioned last time, these Turkish places are completely deserted . . .

transport is pretty much non-existent and I'm walking hours in the heat, guessing on directions, begging for help and guidance from locals who believe they are dealing with an alien crazy man (their assessments aren't far from the truth . . .)

Though I'm staying in a place called Oludeniz on the Mediterranean. beach, I wanna tell you about Kayakoy . . . I was exhausted by the time I found it and could have spent four hours walking through the village . . . or kind of a village, I guess.

Kayakoy, known in Greek as Lebessos (or Livissi), is a village 8 km south of Fethiye in southwestern Turkey in the old Lycia province. (The last time I wrote you was from the tombs in Fethiye.) From ancient Greek, the town name shifted to Koine Greek by the Roman period, evolved into Byzantine Greek in the Middle Ages, and finally became the 'modern' Greek name still used by its townspeople before something incredible happened in 1923.

In late antiquity (200 AD-ish) the inhabitants of the region had become Christian-ish and, following the East-West Schism with the Catholic Church in 1054 AD, they came to be called Greek Orthodox Christians. They were all over the place in Turkey. Especially in the southwest where I'm at now.

But, you know, history - like Schisms and such - will catch-up with you one day or maybe - like in this case - in a thousand years . . . but sooner or later.

I got to see the results of the 1054 decision walking hour after hour through Kayakoy. It really was quite incredible/shocking actually. My back complained the whole time but my will was even more determined to see it . . . perhaps 'feel' it. Nations/peoples do shitty things to each other.

These Greek-speaking Christian 'subjects', and their Turkish-speaking Ottoman rulers, lived in relative harmony from the end of the turbulent Ottoman conquest of the region in the 14th century until the early 20th century. (A lot of crappy things happened in the 20th century. Spoiler alert.)

Following the Greco-Turkish war between 1919 and 1922 . . . (the last pandemic period) . . . and the subsequent Lausanne Treaty in 1923, town’s Greek Orthodox residents were exiled from Livissi. Like, at gun point. That treaty contained a protocol - get this - that there be a population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Sounds nice. Almost like a hostage exchange.

10's of thousands of Greeks were booted out of Turkey (except for the ones in Istanbul for some reason) and the few Turks in Greece 'returned' to Turkey. This essentially meant the end of Christianity in Turkey and Muslim influence in Greece. All over Turkey, Greek churches were destroyed or 'let go' or re-invented . . . perhaps Mosques were destroyed in Greece (not sure of that).

Muslim inhabitants exiled from Greece and arriving in Turkey found the land in Livissi (Kayaköy) inhospitable and soon decamped, which left the hillside town abandoned for a second time. (I can sort of attest to the inhospitable part.) There are well over 500 houses, structures dotted through the hills. This was a vibrant community. Though the houses were built close to each other, apparently they were mindful that every house was given sunlight . . . in other words, no houses in the shade.

However, walking through the ghost town today, I saw a few structures that were rebuilt and a turtle guarding one of the places . . . I caught him a little off-guard though . . . I told him I was from Canada . . . he seems impressed and marched off . . . well, maybe not marched off . . . he waddled off . . he moved as slow as a . . . well, a turtle. No offence. But three-minutes later he was still waddling off.

Believe it or not, the town is preserved as a museum village today (probably so they can collect money from tourists); as you can kinda of see, it consists of hundreds and hundreds of rundown but still mostly standing (sort-of) Greek-style houses and churches which cover the small mountainside and serve as a stopping place for crazy tourists visiting Fethiye (which I wrote about last time) and nearby Oludeniz where I'm writing from today . . .

It's no secret that the Turks and the Greeks really dislike each other. Cyprus is a great example of their divided-ness. As Turkey is a poor country . . . perhaps their leaders would be wise to consider ways of reaching out . . .

Here's a nutty idea: if I were Turkey, I would say to the Greeks, have the mountain side back . . . make it come alive with your culture, a heritage site maybe . . . have at 'er. It would bring $$$ to the region, tourism, hotels . . . language, history . . . everyone wins. And perhaps move the countries together a bit. Get the young people to help with the re-building. Let's move to the 21st century.

Ok . . . my hour is done . . . my juice is done and so is my energy. I'm not much of a cold shower guy . . . but here . . . it's doable.

I continue to continue on . . . I'm willing myself to leave the past and some of its ugliness . . . concentrate on launching myself into a new future. Now sure my mind is able to trick itself towards that thrust . . . but . . . we'll see.

Please excuse the grammar and spelling. I don't wanna check it . . .

Blessings, Ed.

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