Discover the Mystical Af Kule Monastery: An Adventure Through Time and Nature in Turkey
Imagine a place where you can experience the perfect blend of cultural heritage and nature.
A location where time seems to have stopped, where history and mystery come together, and where ancient ruins whisper stories of the past.
Welcome to the enigmatic Af Kule Monastery and its surrounding area, Kayakoy Village.
This article will guide you through the history, significance, and beauty of this unique location, as well as providing you with helpful tips on how to get there and what to do during your visit.
The Af Kule Monastery: A Glimpse into the Past
Located within the abandoned Greek village of Kayakoy, also known as the Kayakoy Ghost Town, the Af Kule Monastery holds great historical significance.
The story behind the creation of the Af Kule Monastery is one that captures the imagination and showcases the enduring human spirit. According to legend, in the 11th century, a monk named Ayios Eleftherios discovered this stunningly beautiful and remote location.
Enchanted by its natural beauty and tranquility, he believed that it would be the perfect place to worship God and immerse himself in deep contemplation.
With a strong determination and driven by his faith, Ayios Eleftherios began to build a small monastery on an area of 10 square meters next to a steep slope, using only the simplest of tools.
Demonstrating incredible ingenuity, he partially carved the monastery into the surrounding rocks, making the most of the natural environment.
It is said that by constructing the monastery, Ayios Eleftherios sought to offer repentance before God in complete solitude.
It was here that he spent the remaining years of his life, living in total seclusion and continuously working on the construction of the monastery.
This fascinating story of the Af Kule Monastery’s humble beginnings adds to its allure and timeless charm. The dedication, passion, and resilience of Ayios Eleftherios not only created a place of worship but also left a lasting monument that has captivated visitors for centuries.
The Af Kule Monastery boasts a two-story structure. Upon entering the ground level, one can immediately notice a rectangular chamber to the left, which houses a rainwater harvesting tank.
An interior staircase grants access to the second floor, which contains a pair of rooms – the first bearing resemblance to a hall.
Situated slightly below the monastery is a structure erected by the monk’s disciples following his demise.
In close proximity to the monastery lie the remnants of a chapel, where only fragments of its walls remain intact, while the roof and apse have long since vanished.
As you explore the ruins of the monastery, you can feel the presence of its creator and the many years of devotion that went into its construction, allowing you to truly connect with this extraordinary piece of history.
Finding Your Way to Af Kule Monastery: A Journey of Discovery
Reaching the Af Kule Monastery requires taking a dolmus (local bus) in Fethiye bound for Kayakoy. Arrive at the final bus stop, which is marked by a soccer field featuring a goal, to begin your journey to the monastery.
As you make your way along the Gemiler asphalt road, about 1 km from the starting point, you’ll come across a junction with signposts directing you towards Af Kule Monastery and Gemiler.
Although the Af Kule sign might have ‘2 km’ scratched into it, the actual distance is closer to 3 km. Fear not, the walk is absolutely worth it, and you’ll be amazed at the stunning destination that awaits you. Initially, the forest path reveals nothing of the breathtaking sight that lies ahead, leaving you in suspense as you continue along the trail.
Upon reaching a clearing about 1 km up the wide forest track, you’ll need to bear right and start ascending a short rubble donkey track.
Keep an eye out for red and yellow striped paint marks, which serve as helpful guides along the way.
Much of this stretch is shaded by towering pine trees, but don’t forget to look around as you’ll occasionally catch a glimpse of the majestic Babadağ (Father Mountain) in the distance.
As you make your way higher, you’ll begin to feel as if you’re standing on the edge of the world, with butterflies fluttering in your stomach.
Af Kule Monastery remains hidden below you for now, adding to the sense of anticipation. Continue zigzagging down the steep footpath, which features steps in some places.
After a couple of minutes, a section of Afkule and its awe-inspiring setting is unveiled before you.
The descent from the top of the hill to the grassy clearing, where you can finally admire Af Kule, is around 150 meters. Once you arrive, take out your camera, picnic, or book and soak in the astonishing beauty of your surroundings.
From the monastery’s terrace, visitors are treated to a stunning panorama of Fethiye’s renowned sights, such as Cape Kurdoglu and Iblis.
On days with optimal visibility, one can even spot the island of Rhodes in the distance. The awe-inspiring vista makes the ascent to this vantage point unquestionably worthwhile.
The humbling setting of Af Kule Monastery is a testament to the rich history and natural wonders that await those who venture to this extraordinary destination.
The adventure of discovering the enchanting Af Kule Monastery and the mysterious Kayakoy Village is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t want to miss.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply someone seeking a unique and memorable holiday, this magical location is sure to leave a lasting impression.
So, why wait? Start planning your visit to Af Kule Monastery and Kayakoy Village today and embark on an unforgettable journey through Turkey’s rich history and stunning natural beauty.