Kuşadası ( Bird Island )
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.
How to Get
For most long-distance bus journeys, it is necessary to change at
Izmir, 90 minutes away, which has many more choices. Smaller buses
make regular trips to Bodrum (2 hours), Pamukkale (3 hours) and
Selcuk (30 mins), and dolmuses run a shuttle service to the beaches
to the south of Kusadasi. There is a bus service that stops near
Izmirs airport. Buses either depart from the bus station, or from
the town centre.
Bus Station Tel: (90 256) 614 3981.
There are two main harbours in the town. Cruise ships arrive
throughout the year, and there are sailings to the Greek island of
Sisam (Samos) with daily departures between April 1 and October 20.
In the new yacht harbour the largest and best-equipped northwest
of Marmaris with a capacity of 650 the Blue Voyage boats organise
Marina, Kusadasi Setur Tel: (90 256) 614 17 52,
Fax: 614 1758
The nearest airport is Ismirs Adnan Menderes, 90 minutes by road.
There are many domestic flights to Istanbul and Ankara, as well as
European charter flights.
Airport Tel: (90 232) 274 2187
Where to Visit
Güvercin Adası (Pigeon island)
This tiny island off the west coast of the town is just a few
hundred metres from the mainland, and connected by walkway. It
contains a fortress, which was constructed by the Ottomans and
restored and strengthened in 1834. Kusadasi was an important
defensive port along the Ottoman Aegean coast, and the fortress
helped prevent attacks coming from the islands. It is now a relaxing
place with landscaped terraces and several teahouses and snack bars.
CRUISER and YACHT PORTS
There are two wharfs, where tourist ships are approaching and
also a yacht port with 650 yacht capacity in Kuşadası. Ships are
approaching to Kuşadası Port during all seasons. Passenger motor
voyages are regularly organized from Kuşadasi port to Greek Island,
Sisam (Samos) during spring and summer months (Every day between 1st
April and 20th October), and during winter months these voyages are
turned as charters. There are daily and hourly picnic touring
passenger motors in the port, and
Blue Tour organizing yachts are also in the yacht port.
MOSQUE and CARAVANSERAIS
Kale İçi Mosque
It is constructed on 1618 by Grand Vizier Öküz Paşa.
Öküz Mehmet Paşa Caravansary
Built in 1618 by Grand Vizier Okuz Pasa, there are artillery holes
still visible on the external walls, in an effort to protect the
city against pirates. It is now a luxury hotel.
The most famous beach in the area is Kadinlar Denizi (Ladies Beach),
3km south of town and well connected by dolmus, which is very
crowded in high season. Guvercin Adasi has rocky shores but it is
possible to swim, and there is a small beach 500m north of Yilanci
Burnu peninsula. A better beach is Pamucak,15km north on the road to
The most important thermal springs in the area are Ciban (Yavansu),
Venus and Guzelcamli.
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South of Izmir on the south Aegean, Selcuk has been transformed
since the 1990s into a major tourist destination, mainly as a base
to visit the famous ruins of Ephesus a few kilometres away. The
ancient classical city is one of the best preserved in the eastern
Mediterranean and is a great example of Roman architecture.
Selcuk has many historical remains of early Christianity,
including a house which many believe to have been visited by the
Virgin Mary, and Ayasoluk Hill where St John write his Gospel. There
are many small hotels and guest-houses, restaurants and shops which
makes the town a good base to explore the area. The town gets busy
during the famous annual camel wrestling festival, held in Ephesus
According to ancient inscriptions, Ephesus is thought to have
been inhabited since around 3000 BC, roughly the same time as Smyrna,
and evidence of Ion, Roman, Byzantine, Seljukian and Ottoman
civilisations are still seen today. The ancient city was a good
centre for trading, mainly because of its location close to coast,
and religion. It was known for the cult of Cybele, the Anatolian
fertility goddess, then later for Artemis, the virgin goddess for
which a temple was built in her honour.
The temple was destroyed in 356BC, and when Alexander the Great
passed through in 334 BC he offered to pay for the cost of a new
construction, provided it was dedicated to him. The Ephesus people
declined, and rebuilt it with great success.
When the Romans made Ephesus their provincial capital, it became
a busy town with great commercial, trading and political importance,
and a population that grew to around 250,000. A significant
Christian community grew, and the city was visited by St John the
Evangelist in the 1st century, then by St Paul, who was there
between 51-53 AD and wrote some of his epistles. It was also the
venue of two Ecumenical Councils.
But the success of Roman Ephesus began to dwindle, mainly because
of problems connected to the harbour, which was the main source of
trade. The Cayster River was pushing silt up the harbour and despite
attempts to dredge it and rebuild the harbour, the sea was pushed
back to Pamucak, 4km away, and therefore Ephesus lost its source of
wealth. By the 6th century, the city was unliveable and was shifted
near to St Johns Basilica, and by 1090 it was taken over by the
Similar to a typical Mediterranean climate, the region has hot and
dry summers, reaching around 30 degrees. The winters are cool and
wet, and the nights can get cool and drop below 10 degrees.
Selçuk Ephesus Archeology Museum
With a fine collection of statues, mosaics and artefacts, the museum
in the centre of Selcuk helps shed a little more light on the
Ephesus ruins. Many found before World War I were taken to the
Vienna Museum, but wherever possible, most were returned after World
The museum shows around 50,000 exhibits, in chronological order,
from the Miken, Archaic, Roman, Byzantine and Turk periods, and is
split into Archaeological and Ethnographic sections. The most
interesting items include the Myken vases found at Ayasuluk Hill,
pieces from temple of Artemis, a tomb from the Belevi Mausoleum, two
statues of Artemis, an embossed image of Theodosius from Hadrian
Temple, and many more statues and portraits from early Christianity.
The ethnographic section is set up in an arasta (row of shops) with
examples of Turkish and Ottoman daily life.
Museum Tel: (+90 232) 892 60 10.
Opening hours: Summer 08.3012.00 & 13.00-19.00. Winter
08.30-12.00 & 13.00-17.00.
Çamlık Open-Air Rail Museum
The village of Camlik, around 10km from Selcuk, is the location of
this museum, which exhibits over 20 steam locomotives in a 160-acre
site that was the sidings of a train works. Ataturk had his
headquarters here and kept his special white train at this station
during Aegean manoeuvres, controlling them by being in close
proximity to the coast. Most of the engines, some dating back to pre
World War I, are German made (it was the Germans who built most of
the Turkish railways) but there are also those made in Britain,
America, France and Sweden.
Saadet Hatun Public Bath Museum
The origin of the Turkish Hamam comes from the Roman public
baths, as the bathing culture has a significant part in Roman
culture, preserving its importance until the middle of the Byzantine
period. It later was forgotten in Mediterranean countries and Europe,
but reappeared more actively in Turkey.
There are seven known hamams in the Selcuk region, one of which
is the Saadet Hatun Hamam, according to its inscriptions. The exact
identity is unknown, but she is thought to be a noble woman from the
Aydinogullari governmental lineage. The hamam dates back to the 16th
century and contains most of the traditional features, including the
three sections of cold, tepid and hot water. The baths were in a
state of disrepair until 1970 when they were restored in 1972 by the
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This huge site, one of the best preserved ancient cities in the
Mediterranean, will take most of the day to see every part in detail.
It is easily approached by road from Selçuk, or by public transport
Vedius Gymnasium and Stadium
Soon after the entrance to the site are the ruins of Vedius
Gymnasium, which was built by a wealthy local businessman in the
late 2nd century, in the name of Vedius Antonius. It is a
magnificent structure, built as a venue for sporting and cultural
education and contains exercise fields and covered rooms, baths,
changing rooms, a courtyard and ceremonial room in the centre. To
the south is the Stadium, where races, games, and Olympic events
There is a building dated to 6th century BC on a hill known as
Acropolis at opposite side to stadium. There is a temple dated to
years of 350 BC at north - west of the hill.
Byzantine Public Baths
After Stadium way coming across to the Byzantines public baths.
Church of St Mary (Double Church)
Near the Byzantine public baths, this Church holds a special
importance in Christian history. Built between the 2nd and 4th
centuries AD, it was originally a museum and venue for lectures and
debates. It was destroyed by fire in the 4th century and rebuilt as
a church, which became the venue of the third Ecumenical Council in
431. It is the first church to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Port Public Baths
The public baths first built at 2nd century AC, it restored and some
changes made on building at the 4th century empire in empire
Arkadiane (Port Street)
Beyond the church is Arcadiane Way, a huge wide street over 500m
long and 11m wide. Named after 5th century Byzantine Emperor
Arcadius who renovated it, it was the street which ran towards the
port, and where kings were greeted and religious ceremonies took
place. The 400m long Marble Street, also known as Sacred Way, begins
at the base of the theatre and runs alongside the agora and Serapis
Temple, and was rebuilt during the 5th century.
This is one of most beautiful and best preserved of all the ruins,
and is used as the venue for the annual Ephesus Festival. With a
capacity of 25,000, it was built during the Hellenistic period, with
reconstruction continuing during Empire Claudiuss times, and
finalised between 98-117 AD.
Marble floored street that starts from Magnesia gate placed at south
- east of Ephesus and lie towards the Koresos gate placed at north -
west of city, approximately 400 m long street is rebuilt at the 5th
Library of Celsus
The library is adjacent to the commercial Agora, built by Asian
consul Gaius Julius Aquila, in 135AD, in memory of his father who is
entombed here. In a building showing all the characteristics of
Roman architecture, the front is ornately decorated with replicas of
statues of four women between the front columns, symbolising mind,
destiny, science and wisdom. The originals are in the Vienna Museum.
When you go up from marble street, at the cross section point with
Kuretler street Love house can be seen. This interesting house dated
to first century AC, consist of one main hall and many rooms
connected to this hall. It is estimated that the mosaic girl
portraits found in love house are figures of working girls in this
building. It is very interesting that in the love house there is and
heating and cooling system present equivalent to today's air
condition system. It is known that there were wine granaries, huge
ovens, public baths, pools, bed rooms, conference saloons and a
Skolastika Public Bath
A wealthy Roman woman, Skolastika, restored these baths in the 5th
century, although they were probably built 400 years earlier. They
were heated by a central heating system, and are an interesting
example of the use of marble. Her headless statue adorns the
This is one of the most beautiful buildings on Curetes Way, although
only the front façade remains today. In the architrave is an
interesting mythological scene, depicting Andoklus killing a wild
Next to the Gate of Hercules and near the Temple of Hadrian, is the
Trajan Fountain. There used to be a huge statue of the emperor
decorating the fountain, which is now exhibited in Ephesus Museum.
Near the Library of Celcus, at the bottom of the slope of the mount,
is a row of houses that were thought to be the residences of the
wealthy people of Ephesus. The recent restorations pay close
attention to their original form of opening straight onto the street
with wide stairs, walls decorated with mosaics and frescoes, and
Temple of Domitian
This is the first temple to be built in the name of an emperor,
dedicated to Emperor Domitian (AD 81-96). Opposite this was the
governmental agora, which was placed in the most central and
beautiful place in the city. The head and arms are the only
remaining pieces of the huge statue, which are exhibited at Izmir
Archaeology Museum, and the entrance pedestals are at Ephesus Museum.
City Hall (Prytaneion)
On the right of the assembly palace, a Hestia altar with a sacred
fire burning continuously is accepted as a holy site. This was the
venue of political duties, important ceremonies and official
greetings, and one of the most important religious places in Ephesus.
Odeon tat built by Publis Vedius Antonius a rich man of ephesus at
2nd cemtury AC, cover was wooden plated at its times.
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It is known that first ephesus settlements was built around these
temple place. Temple collapsed by an earth quake than ephesusians
built temple more imposing by the support of Roman empire. Ephesus
Artemis Temple known as one of the seven wonders of world today only
base ruins remained.
St. Jean Basilica
Basilisca that built by Byzantine Empire Justinyen for the name of
St. Jean at 6th AC, is take place on Ayasuluk hill. Cross planed
building have entrance at west is 40 X 110 m. sized, and an domed
According to rumour, before the acceptance of Christianity as an
official religion, seven young men fled from Ephesus in the 3rd
century and took refuge here. They sealed up the cave and fell
asleep, and were woken up 200 years later by an earthquake which
broke the seal. When they awoke and walked into the town, they
realised that Ephesus was now an official Christian city. It was
deemed to be a miraculous event, and when the young men died they
were buried in the same cave, which is now a Byzantine-era grotto.
The adjacent building is named after them and has a large monument,
many rock-engraved tombs, two churches and catacombs.
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The Virgin Mary House
Beyond Ephesus and on Bulbul Dag (mountain), 8km southwest of Selcuk,
the monument is thought by some to be where the Virgin Mary died,
and is visited by Christian and Muslim pilgrims from around the
world. The small stone house is now a chapel, and probably dates
back to the 4th century, although the foundations are thought to be
It was not until a German nun, Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824)
claimed that she had visions of Mary living in a small, stone house
in even though the nun had never left Germany. Following her
descriptions, 19th century clergy discovered the foundations of the
house, which was then verified by a Papal visit in 1967. It has
since been accepted that Mary spent her last few years here until
she died at the age of 101.
The Feast of Assumption, on August 15, is celebrated here by the
Orthodox Greeks, and Mass is said daily. The church can only be
accessed by car, as no public buses come through the dense forest
MONUMENTS and TOMBS
Situated on the Izmir highway 13km from Selcuk, this mausoleum is in
the town of Belevi, and one of the biggest and highest monuments in
Anatolia, after the Halicarnassus Mausoleum. It dates back to the
Ayasuluk Hill and Castle
This hill was protected well forticicated castle during the early
Christian, Byzantine and Seljuklian periods. The rampart which still
out standing, built at early Christianity period than take an big
restoration in Seljuklian period.
The aqueduct, which can be seen around the train station, is a
relic of the Byzantine times. The canal brought water from the east,
through Ayasuluk hill. This aqueduct and its immediate surrounding
area have become a breeding and nesting place for storks, which have
become a modern day symbol of Selcuk. There is another aqueduct 6km
along the highway to Aydin, known as the Gaius Sextillius Pollio
On the valley slopes outside Selcuk, Sutni Cave has stalactites and
stalagmites that drip white water into the cave. The belief is that
mothers of new-born babies who have insufficient milk should drink
the water from the cave.
MOSQUES nad PUBLIC BATHS
İsa Bey Mosque Near the Artemision are the mosque and baths,
examples of very distinguished Seljuk monuments. They were built by
Isa Bey in 1375 and boast innovative architecture that combines
Seljuk and Ottoman style, with a courtyard and hoop stalactite
vaulting over the entrance. The hamam has classical Turkish features,
and is also domed.
The water at the Selcuk Gevekirse lake is a bird protection and
breeding area, in a 1000 hectare site between Ephesus and Pamcak,
north of Ephesus. There are between 30 and 40 species of birds and
mammals living here, including divers, pelicans, many types of ducks,
woodcocks, as well as wild boar, foxes and jackals.
This small village 7km through the hills from Selcuk is
attractive for its setting among fruit orchards, old-fashioned stone
houses with red tiled roofs, and narrow streets. It is also famous
for its home-made wine, and lace made by the local women.
Once known as Kirkince, the village was built the Greeks around
800 years ago and since the population exchange in 1924 has since
been inhabited by Muslims from Salonica. The village has a few guest-houses
and restaurants, and is popular with foreign and Turkish tourists to
experience a taste of traditional village life in a peaceful
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