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About Kusadasi

Situated on Turkey’s Aegean coast, Kuşadası is a popular holiday resort town. Kuşadası is 95 km (59 mi) south of Izmir, and 71 km (44 mi) from Aydm. The towns primary industry is tourism.

Location

Kuşadası is situated within Aydin Province and is along a gulf of the same name in the Aegean, with the island of Güvercin Ada connected to the mainland by a narrow passage on one end, and the mountain of Kese Dağı behind.

It’s neighbours are Selçuk in the North, Germencik in the North-East and Söke to the South East. 

Kuşadası has a residential population of 64,359, rising to over half a million in the summer due to tourists, hotel and bar staff, construction workers, and drivers. In addition to tourists from overseas, there is also a significant community of foreigners residing in this area.

History of Kusadasi

 

The name Kusadasi originates from ‘kuş’ (bird) and ‘ada’ (island). It was also known as Ephesus Neopolis, in Greek (during the Byzantine era), and as Scala Nova or Thataub (under the Genovese and Venetians). It finally became Kuş Adası at the beginning of the 20th century and is now often shortened by citizens as Ada.

The area has been a centre of art and culture since some of the earliest recorded history, and has been settled by many civilizations since being founded by the Leleges people in 3000 BC.

Later settlers include the Aeolians in the 11th century BC and Ionians in the 9th century. Seamen and traders built a number of settlements along the coastline, including Neopolis.

An outpost of the ancient city of Ephesus in the ancient Ionia region, the original Neopolis, is thought to have been founded on the nearby point of Yılancı Burnu. Later settlements were probably built on the hillside of Pilavtepe, in the district called Andızkulesi today. Kuşadası was a minor port frequented by vessels trading along the Aegean coast. It was overshadowed by Ephesus, until Ephesus’ harbour silted up. From the 7th century BC onwards, the coast was ruled by Lydians from their capital at Sardis, then from 546 BC the Persians. From 334 BC, along with all of Anatolia, the coast was conquered by Alexander the Great. From that point on the coastal cities in Anatolia became a centre of Hellenistic culture.

The Roman Empire took possession of the coast in the 2nd century BC and made it their provincial capital in the early years of Christianity. Saint John the Evangelist and (according to Roman Catholic sacred tradition) the Virgin Mary both came to live in the area, which in the Christian era became known as “Ania”.

As Byzantine, Venetian and Genoese shippers began to trade along the coast, the port was re-founded (by the name of Scala Nuova or Scala Nova – “new port”), a garrison was placed on the island, and the town centre shifted from the hillside to the coast.

In 1834, the castle and garrison on the island were rebuilt and expanded, becoming the focus of the town. This was to such an extent that people began to refer to the whole town as Kuşadası (bird island). However, in the 19th century, trade began to decline in favour of other nearby cities and with the opening of the İzmir-SelçukAydın railway.

During the Turkish War of Independence, Kuşadası was occupied from 1919-1922, first by Italian troops between 14 May 1919 and 24 May 1922, and then by Greek troops. The Turkish forces eventually gained control of the city on September 7, 1922.

Under the Republic of Turkey, the Greek population was exchanged for Turkish people as part of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1922.

Modern day Kuşadası

Kuşadası caters to many tourists arriving by land, or from the port where cruise ship passengers head to Ephesus. In a controversial deal in 2003, the previously public-owned port was leased to a private company and renovated to attract luxury cruise liners and now The Grand Princess docks here, along with other cruise ships.

The area features several well-known local beaches, including Ladies Beach, the beach at the centrum, the beaches between the Batıhan Hotel and the Nazilli Site, the beach at Güzelçamlı, and the Dilek Peninsula National Park beach, referred to by locals as simply Milli Park.

The city attracts numerous investors for land and apartments as statistics show the capital appreciation on property of up to 10%.

 

There are ice-cream, carpet, leather, and software vendors, as well as bookshops selling books in English, German, Russian and other languages.

Relatively old houses near the seafront (some of them converted to bars and cafes) are the remnants of old Kuşadası, which has with time become a modern, European-like town in appearance. The hills behind have been settled with large hotels and blocks of holiday flats

Transportation in and around Kuşadası

There is public transport within the town and to nearby locations via shuttle minibuses called a dolmuş. There are bus and taxi services going to the nearby airports of İzmir and Bodrum. Day trips are available by boat from both Kuşadası and Güzelçamlı.

The city is a port of call for several cruise ships and the port is linked by a six-lane highway to İzmir’s Adnan Menderes Airport. Several state roads connect the city to its surrounding districts, such as Germencik and Aydın.

There are daily ferry services to the nearby Greek island of Samos.

Kuşadası’s bus station is a transport hub. Coach buses connect the city to various parts of the country.

Places of interest

  • The city walls – There were once three gates; now one remains.
  • Kaleiçi Camii – The mosque built in 1618 for Grand Vizier Öküz Kara Mehmed Pasha.
  • The Öküz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai is near the docks. It was built in 1618 as a strong-room for the goods of seamen.
  • Güvercin Adası (“Pigeon Island” in English) – The peninsula/island at the end of the bay, which has a castle and swimming beaches, including a private beach and cafe with a view back across the bay to the harbour of Kuşadası. Public beaches are located at the back of the peninsula, towards the open sea.
  • Kirazli – Traditional Turkish village 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from Kuşadası.
  • Yılancı Burnu – A second peninsula beyond Güvercin Ada. Possibly the location of the original settlement of Neopolis. Some walls are visible. There are beaches and beach clubs here.
  • Several aqua-parks with wave-pools and white-water slides are located near the town.
  • Ladies Beach – Very close to the town centre, one of the primary tourist attractions.
  • Kadıkalesi – Venetian/Byzantine castle, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) along the Kuşadası-Davutlar road.
  • Panionium – 25 km (16 mi) south of Kuşadası, situated along the Davutlar-Güzelçamlı road. Once the central meeting place of the Ionian League. It is believed that the ruins are in poor condition and their authenticity is disputed.
  • Dilek Peninsula-Büyük Menderes Delta National Park – About 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the city centre, the national park is adjacent to the town of Güzelçamlı. It has several coves, beaches, canyons, and a sink cave. It is one of the most diverse and protected national parks in Turkey.

Please see our Kusadasi presentation video below:

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