10 Abandoned Churches Destroyed by War

abandoned-church-kayakoy-2 (Image: Orderinchaos, cc-sa-3.0)

When war devastates a community, often the most lasting ruins are churches and cathedrals. Houses are demolished or rebuilt in order to provide shelter, but places of worship have sometimes been left, intentionally or unintentionally, as sombre reminders of lives lost. Whilst many communities lack the resources to reconstruct large churches destroyed by war, or simply need to relocate to another area, others preserve their crumbling heritage and treat the ruins with an added reverence. But throughout history, due to many communities keeping their records within the very places of worship that have been destroyed, there is limited information on many abandoned churches, leaving myriad anonymous structural skeletons of these beautiful buildings to be forgotten. This article examines 10 abandoned churches destroyed by war and conflict.

The Abandoned Orthodox Churches of Kayaköy, Southwestern Turkey

abandoned-church-kayakoy-3 (Image: Darwinek, cc-sa-3.0)

Less a victim of bombing and more a victim of war time diplomacy, the deserted village in Southwest Turkey has been preserved as a ghost town and a reminder of a time long forgotten. Kayaköy was home to thousands of Anatolian Greeks, and was built on the site of the ancient settlement of Carmylessus. The stunning churches and other buildings were ravaged by an earthquake in 1856, a major fire in 1885, and were then stripped and abandoned following the population exchange agreement signed in 1923 after the Greco-Turkish War. Another earthquake in 1957 has wreaked havoc on the already devastated remains of the churches but they are still accessible for those willing to make the trip.


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About the author: Morgan Pinder



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