At the beginning of the summer, local artist Isabelle Cordes, opened an art café on the ground floor of her home in Kayakoy, appropriately and simply named, Isabelle.
Like all the houses in Levissi, the abandoned town that clings to the hillside in Kayaköy, the windows look out over the valley.
Most of the houses are crumbling and in the process of being reclaimed by nature but Cordes is one of the privileged few to have found one that was restored and habitable.
Isabelle (the café that is) proves the adage that quality is more important than size: the small garden terrace, complete with shady seating areas, leads onto a galley style bar-cum-reception area.
This in turn opens up into a delightful airy room with tables, chairs and, unusual in these parts, a piano.
But perhaps most noticeable is the wealth of art on the walls – and all of it’s for sale.
Cordes has done what many local residents do in the valley; open up her home to passing trade.
She will serve a range or meze, or snacks, exceptional coffee and drinks.
If her customers like, they may also buy a work of art for their wall at home or, more modestly, a pebble but one bearing an exquisitely delicate miniature or pattern.
For anyone looking for a small gift, here is something authentic, creative and made in Turkey.
Transforming the old ‘Rum evi,’ (a house once lived in by Ottoman Christians) into a home, Cordes has made it sympathetic to her artistic character but also to the surroundings.
Throughout the process she has been helped and inspired by Iranian artist, Parisa Agahi, and the two of them have created, from what would have been a functional space, a beautiful gallery, café and home.
Last year, Dutch born Cordes had two exhibitions together with Parisa Agahi, in Kaş and Antalya.
This year they will continue to exhibit jointly: their recent exhibition at Sarnıç Restaurant, Kayaköy was a sell out and they are in the process of planning an exhibition in the Aegean town of Çesme.
‘Isabelle’ is about 100 metres past the main ticket office, slightly elevated from the road and opposite a wooden taxi kiosk.
There is parking close by and the entrance to the café is accessed via a series of steps cut into the hillside.
The café is open every day from 11am – 8.30pm
Photos by Anita Kuehnel