Saint Nicholas Basilica

Kaya / Levisi / Kayaköy Turkey

[Orthodox—Ecumenical Patriarchate]

One of two basilicas in the Greek ghost town of Levisi, now Kaya, in Turkey. The thriving commercial city of 6,500 was evacuated when religious minorities were exchanged following the Nationalist Turks defeat of Ottomans and Greeks in 1922. All Christians were deported to Greece and Muslims living in Greece came to Turkey. These Muslims did not settle in the town as they preferred to be on more fertile agricultural land. So the town has been left abandoned—the buildings now roofless, without windows, gradually deteriorating. The Saint Nicholas basilica, the upper church, is one of the better preserved buildings, though it has suffered thievery and the icons of saints mutiliated. The church is known as Panayia Pyrgiotissa, Most Holy Mother of God.