It’s been a while coming – at least quite a few months longer than anticipated – and it’s not been without its controversy but the new-look mountain road between Fethiye and Kayaköy is now fully open.
The wide swathe of black asphalt is as smooth as a racetrack, can comfortably accommodate two vehicles travelling in opposite directions and, finally, wends its way through the pine forests between Abdi İpekçi – affectionately known by many as Lovers’ Lane in Fethiye – and Keçiler in Kaya.
For some, the racetrack bit is a worry; with a much better surface, traffic may be travelling faster but, with no crash barriers or road markings yet installed and only flimsy reflective posts marking the edge of the road in the dark, some claim the potential for accidents remains.
Others too have mourned the loss of over 500 trees, axed to make way for an extra carriageway, and concerns have been expressed over whether this could be the harbinger of more development in the peaceful and historic Kaya valley.
Anticipating an increase in trade
But, on the whole, existing businesses in Kayaköy are anticipating an increase in the amount of trade as more visitors from Fethiye use a road which presents fewer challenges to their vehicles’ suspensions or their passengers’ nerve.
Indeed, locals say there has already been a marked rise in weekend day trippers in 2017; the ruined “ghost village” appears to have benefitted most from the extra footfall so far rather than the bars and restaurants, but Kurban Bayram, in particular, is reported to have tested the capacity of the village streets this year.
One well-known village restaurant has also recently relocated to take advantage of the extra traffic the improved route may bring while a luxury Sertil Deluxe Hotel has purchased a recently renovated site in the middle of Kayaköy in preparation for 2018.
Kayaköy had evolved quite a bit
“Kayaköy has evolved quite a bit since the 1980s when it was still a remote rural village where the majority were employed in tobacco farming; tourism plays a much larger party in its economy now and the new road is a reflection of that,” said one senior villager.
A special place
“The concerns expressed by some are heard and respected but there are already controls in place to prevent the valley from being overdeveloped and no one wants that anyway. Kayaköy is now open to visitors from all over the world but it is a special place and no one who lives here wants that to change.”