Kusadasi, a Turkish port off the Aegean Sea is translated as Bird Island, due to how the peninsula that it is situated on looks from the sea – like a bird’s head above sea level. The primary reason for people going to Kusadasi is its glorious beaches, busy nightlife and its strategic position to many historical sites like the ruins of Ephesus. Everything in Kusadasi is more or less driven towards tourism; it’s the main source of income.
Every summer the population of around 64,359 people increases to over 500,000.
This includes the tourists as well as the many different employees needed to cater for that number of visitors.
Along with the beaches, there is plenty to see in Kusadasi. At one point there were three main gates to the city walls, but now only one gate remains and is a big tourist pull.
The Town of Kusadasi
Another big attraction is the Guvercin Adasi, otherwise known as Pigeon Island. This is the peninsula at the tip of the bay, and it has a cafe that has views overlooking the bay from the back, a castle and swimming beaches.
It also has a private beach heading to the open Aegean Sea, and there are some public beaches as well.
The Pigeon Island of Kusadasi
There are many throwbacks to the early days of Kusadasi, such as the old shore-front houses, many of which are now cafes.
Ephesus, the Key Reason for Visiting Kusadasi
Ephesus was at one time an Ancient Greek city, during the Greek Empire’s reign over most of the world. When Rome conquered the Greeks, it became a major city in the Roman Empire. It is situated near present day Selcuk in the Izmir Province of Turkey.
During The Classical Greek era it was one of 12 cities that made up the Ionian League. Due to its large population of well over quarter of a million people it was one of the busiest and biggest cities in the Mediterranean during the 1st Century BC.
Ancient Greek City Ephesus near Kusadasi
The city of Ephesus is probably most famous for its addition to the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World in the form of the Temple Of Artemis. This was completed in about 550BC.
The Temple was known as Diana and was dedicated to the goddess that Greeks referred to as Artemis.
It had to be completely built three times in its lifespan, before it was destroyed in 401. The remains in Ephesus today are only sculptural pieces and parts of the foundations.
The Temple was discovered in 1869 by John Turtle Wood, who after 60 years of looking led a British Museum-funded expedition.
Once discovered, the excavations of the area continued until 1874. At a later point between 1904 and 1906 more sculptural pieces were found by excavations led by David George Hogarth.
The sculpture pieces taken from the 4th century rebuild and some from an earlier temple were reassembled and displayed at the British Museum in the Ephesus Room.
At the actual site of the original temple there is only one column of parts found around that area.
Ancient Ruins in Ephesus, Kusadasi
From 50AD onwards Ephesus was a central point of Early Christianity. The apostle Paul stayed in Ephesus between 52 and 54 AD. Paul worked with the Ephesian congregation.
He wrote his letter to the Corinthians from what came to be known Paul harbor where he was imprisoned in Ephesus at around 53 to 57 AD, and subsequently his letter to the Ephesians in 62 AD while he was in imprisoned in Rome.
In other interesting Christianity-related history, it is thought that Mary, the mother of Jesus, spent the last years of her life, where she was looked after the apostle John.
Ephesus, as well as being a central point in Christianity’s history, also contains a large collection of ruins from the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean.
The amazing thing is that only about 15% of it has actually been excavated. But, the ruins that can been seen give hints to the size, grandeur and splendor of the ancient city.
Library Of Celsus in Ephesus, Kusadasi
The Library of Celsus was built in 125 AD to commemorate Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemeanus. The library was built using Celsus’s own wealth and held roughly 12,000 scrolls.
It was built facing east so that the reading rooms could be used in the morning.
The remaining pieces of the ruins were used to build one facade that can be visited today as a reminder of the great building.
Along with this there is the Basilica of St John that was built at the location where it is thought that the apostle John was buried. This is now modern day Selcuk.
Where is Kusadasi?
- 60.7 miles/ 97.7 km from Izmir, Turkey
- 240.4 miles/ 387 km from Athens, Greece
- 352.3 miles/ 567 km from Istanbul, Turkey
- City Beach
- Pigeon Island Beach
- Yilanciburnu Beach
- Ladies Beach
- Kustur Beach
- Tuscan Beach
- Pigeon Island
Kusadasi might be considered as the access port to explore the ancient Ephesus.
However, it has a lot to offer, so do make sure to enjoy its taverns, bars and the Turkish way of life after the full day of ruins!
We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!