Inside the untouched Turkish ghost town where Russell Crowe filmed The Water Diviner (and the hotel where he threw wild parties for hundreds of guests)

  • Crowe filmed latest film in Kayakoy, near Oludeniz in south-west Turkey
  • Once a thriving village, it was deserted following the Greco-Turkish war
  • Actor stayed at the nearby Yacht Classic hotel, where he enjoyed high life

Turkish hotel owner Mustafa is recalling the time he woke up to find Hollywood star Russell Crowe outside his bedroom window.

'I opened my curtains and said, "Bloody hell!" I could see a film crew 300 yards away,' he says, pointing towards the hundreds of abandoned stone houses lining the hillside.

We're in Kayakoy, one of the world's spookiest 'ghost towns' near Oludeniz in south-west Turkey, where Crowe filmed scenes for his latest movie The Water Diviner.

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The ghost town of Kayakoy was chosen as a location as it has remained largely untouched since the 1920s

The ghost town of Kayakoy was chosen as a location as it has remained largely untouched since the 1920s

Crowe plays Australian farmer Joshua Connor, who travels to Turkey to discover the fate of his three sons, who went missing at the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

Crowe chose Kayakoy as a location as the area has remained largely untouched since the 1920s.

It was once a thriving village but the population exchange agreement of 1923, following the Greco-Turkish war, saw Kayakoy's mostly Greek inhabitants sent to Greece, while attempts to settle Turkish-speaking people from Greece in Kayakoy failed.

Crowe plays Australian farmer Joshua Connor, who travels to Turkey to discover the fate of his three sons, who went missing at the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War

Crowe plays Australian farmer Joshua Connor, who travels to Turkey to discover the fate of his three sons, who went missing at the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War

The lower church in Kayakoy is closed for restoration. When it will reopen is anybody's guess

The lower church in Kayakoy is closed for restoration. When it will reopen is anybody's guess

Although Kayakoy has been a protected archaeological site since the 1980s, there are plans to develop it.

Opponents fear it will lose its authenticity and have set up a Facebook group to save it. Louis de Bernières, whose novel Birds Without Wings was inspired by the setting, is one of those uncertain about the ghost town's future. For now, there are few signs of mass tourism.

A handful of restaurants sit at the entrance to the town, and the only attempts to lure tourists are souvenir stalls and a sign advertising camel treks.

Looking for a nearby beach, try the beautiful heart-shaped sands of the Blue Lagoon in the Bay of Oludeniz

Looking for a nearby beach, try the beautiful heart-shaped sands of the Blue Lagoon in the Bay of Oludeniz

Russell Crowe stayed at the Yacht Classic hotel in Fethiye, in one of its water villas

Russell Crowe stayed at the Yacht Classic hotel in Fethiye, in one of its water villas

When my husband and I enter, we discover the lower church, where Crowe filmed, is closed for restoration. When it will reopen is anybody's guess. It has been locked up for months with no sign of work. Locals shrug and say: 'Turkish time.'

We follow a walking map that takes us round the town. It's 9.30am but already the sun is blazing and I feel my heart pounding as we take the steep, rocky path up the hill.

The air is still except for the chorus of crickets. We stop to peer into one of the houses - its roof is missing and a tree is growing inside.

A lizard scurries up one of the walls. It's hard to imagine the lively place this once was.

After an hour of exploring, it's back to civilisation in nearby Fethiye and our luxury hotel, the Yacht Classic, where Crowe stayed in one of its water villas.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Anatolian Sky Holidays  offers seven nights at the Yacht Classic Hotel in Fethiye from £659 per person. This includes return flights from Gatwick, transfers and B&B accommodation.

Tours of Kayakoy can be arranged for £28 per person.

Daniel Craig  stayed in the penthouse while filming Skyfall and it was renamed the 007 James Bond Penthouse

Daniel Craig stayed in the penthouse while filming Skyfall and it was renamed the 007 James Bond Penthouse

He's not the only famous guest. Daniel Craig stayed in the penthouse while filming Skyfall and it has been renamed the 007 James Bond Penthouse. 

At nearby Koca Calis beach, where Skyfall's beach scene was shot, every bar claims to be 'the 007 bar'. In reality, the film's purpose-built bar has long since been dismantled. 

Locally, it's worth visiting the blue lagoon at Oludeniz, taking a '12 islands' boat trip, and going to one of newsreader Michael Buerk's favourite restaurants, Oztoklu, in Fethiye. 

Here the owners take us to the neighbouring fish market to choose our dinner before it is cooked using a family recipe.

Yacht Classic owner Banuhan Argin tells us that Daniel Craig stuck to a diet of sea bass, salmon and spinach during his stay, while Russell Crowe loved a big steak.

'They had different styles,' she says.'Daniel wanted to be alone but Russell had parties with 200 guests. There were wine barrels everywhere. I think they both loved Fethiye because when they were checking out, I saw the smile.'