This seaside resort town has grown immensely in the last 30 years, and is especially popular with package holiday-makers from Europe. From a population of 6000 in the 1970s, it is now closer to 50,000, although a high proportion of this are part of the tourist industry and here only for the summer. Many cruising ships travelling around the Aegean Islands stop here, especially because of its close proximity (20km) to Selcuk. Kusadasi is a good base to explore this and other ancient cities like Priene and Didyma.
Although there is little of historical interest in Kusadasi itself, the town is popular predominantly because of its many hotels, restaurants, souvenir and carpet shops, and lively nightlife. The Kale district has some old traditional houses and narrow streets, and gives some indication of what the town used to be like. The most famous beach is Kadinlar Plaji, 2.5km south of the town, dominated by huge hotels and can get very crowded in summer. There are several small beaches further south, and
closer to town is Yilanci Burnu, the peninsular.
Ephesus / SELCUK
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John The Apostle
Ephesus- Very probably the largest archeological site in Turkey, it rises on the north slope of Mount Pion extending southward to the slope of Mount Koressos. First founded some 2000 years before Christ, it was rebuilt in the year 1000 B.C.. Lysimachus, left here by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. fortified the city by walls for the fist time. Third after Alexandria and Antiochia, during the Roman period it was designated as the capital of Asia Minor. Paul came to Ephesos for a first short visit in 51 A.D., but was back for three years from 54 to 57 A.D.. Among other things, in Ephesus there are the remains of the first church to be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, where the Third Ecumenical Council was held in 431 A.D.. Saint John lived here and wrote his Gospel and the last Book of the New Testament, the Apocalypse or Revelation. The first letter of this Book is addressed to the community (church) of Ephesos. He died here at a very old age and was buried on Ayasulug Hill, where the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century build a famous basilica, now in ruins.
THE HOUSE OF THE VIRGIN MARY (MERYEM ANA EVI)
The House of Mother Mary is on the top of Bulbul DaÄŸ (the Mount of the Nightingale), seven kilometres south of the ancient city of Ephesos. Here the Blessed Virgin is said to have lived her last years on earth. It was reconstructed on the foundations unearthed in 1891 by the Lazarist Fathers following the detailed description given by a German bedridden pious lady who claimed to have been shown this neighbourhood during visions of the Virgin Mother with which she has been pridileged. Soon after, this place started to attract pilgrims and today this is visited by pilgrims who come from all over the world. Pope John XXIII visited this shrine many times during his stay as Apostolic Delegate in Turkey while Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II came here as pilgrims in 1967 and 1979 respectively.
The ideal place to escape from town fuss and noise is a well-merited rest and beach afternoon in the national park (since 1960's) of Kalamaki in the " Dilek Peninsula ". Located approx. 30 km South of Kusadasi, it is only 1-2 km far from the Greek island Samos.
The Kalamaki beaches count several bays of which the most important ones are Icmeler (1st bay and only sandy one), Kavakli and Karapinar. Winters are mostly rainy and Summers dry. This explains that water sources are the main place where fauna gathers for drinking. The most dense specie is the wild pig so do not be bewildered when you see a wild pig family wandering around in the afternoon.
Due to its clean environment, Kalamaki is also ideal for picnics. All necessary facilities have been thought of : water from the mountains, lavatory and picnic tables and benches. And while you walking around, according to the season, look at the various kinds of flowers in almost any color and do hesitate to taste the wild strawberries.