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Kusadasi is a coastal resort town on the west coast of Turkey. Due to its large coastal bay, beautiful looking harbor, all year around temperatures and stunning sunsets, it is a stopping point for Cruise Ships from around the world. It is also very popular for Turkish visitors too, especially during weekends and holiday periods. The port area is full of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops and it is just as busy at night as it is during the day!
The region is easily accessed, as it is only a 30 minute car journey from Izmir Airport, which is only a 40 minute flight from Istanbul. Turkish Airlines have regular flights to Istanbul, Izmir and all Turkish airports.
There are many hotels to choose from, but the Suhan 360 Hotel is one of the best and most popular. It is a boutique style hotel, so never overcrowded and its cliff top location with views of the Aegean Sea, town and harbor, make it much sort after. It has easy access to the town center, with a regular (every twenty minutes) bus service there and back. It has pools, bars, restaurants and balconies to rooms. In addition, it has a very large spa, indoor pool and gym, with ancillary treatments available too. The staff are very friendly and professional and go out of their way to ensure that all visitors enjoy their stay.
Turkish delight is a well-known dessert/sweet and the LOKUMART brand already an established name in Turkey is now looking to expand around the world. The artistic imagery and packaging carefully demonstrating this rich ‘cuisine art’. It accompanies all coffee and teas, but especially Turkish, but is also a delicacy on its own. The LOKUMART assortment is vast and interesting and includes aromas and ingredients to excite all tastes. LOKUMART are activity looking for distribution and sales partners around the world, so get in touch if you are interested.
ATURJET is the local association of the World Federation of Travel Journalists and Writers (FIJET) and is always looking for new members and organisations to collaborate with, in order to promote and increase exposure for the country.
The reason why a lot of tourists stay in Kusadasi is that it is a very good destination to use as a base to visit several famous and popular tourist attractions nearby.
The most famous of them being Ephesus, which is on the outskirts of Selcuk, in Izmir province. It is a Greek and then Roman city, which dates back to the 10th century BC. It was mentioned in the Book of Revelations, was one of the Seven Churches Of Asia and it is believed that the Gospel of John was written in Ephesus.
In 33 BC Mark Antony and Cleopatra gathered the fleet of over 800 ships in the harbor in Ephesus before the battles of Actium and Octavius.
It used to be the most important city in the region; due to the large bay and busy harbor, thus being the center for trade and finance. Over many years the bay began to ‘silt-up’, getting narrower and eventually turning the whole area into marshland and inaccessible to boats. The Romans built a canal through this land, to again give access to the sea and regain the cities importance, but again over time, that too turned in to marshland. Over the following years several earth-quakes destroyed large parts of the city and resultantly many occupants suffered from malaria. These factors took its toll on the city and all the important trade, finance and business, that once thrived, left the city, so it eventually fell into ruin.
Today, it is one of the best examples of a Greek and Roman city, as there are so many buildings, artefacts and remains. It has houses, theatres, churches, odeon, stadiums, shops, amphitheater, roads, arcades, baths, toilets and even a brothel. The sewerage in the city was very effective (and has been unearthed to show this fact), as the water would flow down from the mountains into the clay pipe system and then flush the waste-water into the sea. The most impressive building in the city is the Library of Celsus, which has been restored and stands high and proud in the middle of the city. The amphitheater is an impressive structure and was just used for meetings and gatherings, until the Romans added a stage and ‘orchestra area’, whereby musical and entertainment performances were held there too. Leading direct from there is a long walkway, called The Arcade, it used to have shops either side and gave access to the harbor. Depending on how much visitors love Greek and Roman history and culture, will depend on how much time is spent in Ephesus, but an average tour takes approximately 2 hours, but some visitors stay all day.
It is strongly advised to use the services of an established and professional Tour Company when in Ephesus, in fact throughout any stay in Turkey, so visitors can get the best out of these amazing attractions and this stunning country. Pienti Travel and Tour Operator is the best in the business, so is highly recommended.
Not far from Ephesus is the House of Virgin Mary, where, due to a large amount of evidence, she is believed to have lived and spend her last years? The story starts with Jesus asking John the Apostle to look after Mary, when he was on the cross, which he promised he would. John moved to the region of Ephesus sometime later, where he did live and died, spreading Christianity throughout the region. Close to where he lived was a very small and hidden community in the hills, where a female called Mary, who was friends with John lived, this community as well as the nearby villages all followed Christianity too. Locals over the centuries have always known it to be Virgin Mary’s house and never questioned it. It was also mentioned by Epiphanius of Salamis in the 4th century AD. Anne Catherine Emmerich a stigmatized nun, had a vision that Mary lived the hills near Ephesus although she did not even know where this location was. In the 1890’s five French missionaries, who were working in their area, heard of Virgin Mary’s House and were immediately taken to the building and small community by the locals. After researching this further, it was discovered that the building dated back to exactly the period when she would have lived and then died there. In other words, there is no unequivocal prove that this was her house, but when you add up all the evidence, it is enough for many thousands of people? Add this this, the fact two Popes have visited the house and blessed it and for many years on the 12th August locals commemorated Virgin Mary’s death at the site, which is now also done around the world. This serene and beautiful place is visited by thousands of not only Christians, but people from many religions, including thousands of Turkish Muslims. Visitors pray in the house and in a nearby chapel. They also kiss the outside of the building and leave written messages on a wall in front the house, which are collected weekly and burnt – ‘Ashes to Ashes’. On an interesting and non-religious note, a viewing window was put in the male public toilet at this location and provides what might be one of the best scenic point in any ‘gents’ in the world?
The nearby town of Selcuk is a lovely quite place for the more budget-type tourist to stay and use as a base, as it gives access to all the important attractions nearby. Situated on a hill top location above Selcuk is John the Apostle’s Basilica, which is a popular venue and visited by thousands every year. The nearby Isabay Mosque (which actually translates to mean Lord Jesus Mosque) and Selcuk Fortress (built in the 1400 hundreds) are also in this location and are popular for tourists too. This area first became popular and attracted a new community, when occupants from Ephesus were escaping outbreaks of malaria. Having fresh mountain air, running clean water and the important religious buildings and fortress at its core, they felt healthier and safe.
At the bottom of the hill are the remains of the Temple of Artemis, which is also known as the Temple of Diana. It was a Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It took 120 years to build and had 100 marble columns that stood 56 feet high, although now there are only some of the structures remaining at this location.
A short drive away is Sirince, which is a quaint and charming little village. Originally the elders of the village used to call it the ‘ugly village’, so no one would even try and visit. Eventually, local officials visited the area to see why it had such a bad name and discovered the exact opposed, so renamed it Sirince. The word ‘sire’ means cute, therefore it is the cute or beautiful village. It has cobbled streets and traditional buildings, which are positioned between green and colourful trees, bushes and flowers. It is popular at the weekends for Turkish people from neighbouring towns and cities to visit and enjoy a brunch (koy), lunch and/or dinner. The local fruit wine, honey, olive oil, food, art and crafts are sold in the village, so a great place for visit for the day.
DIDUM is a small town and popular seaside holiday resort. It is the district of Aydın Province on the Aegean coast of western Turkey. It is only an hour drive from Kusadasi and is easily accessed from Bodrum and Izmir Airports. Didim is the site of the antique city of Didyma, with its ruined Temple of Apollo. This coast has become a very popular holiday resort, known for its long sandy beaches, clear blue sea and ancient ruins. It has its own microclimate, benefiting from hundreds of days of sun annually and warm winters, allowing residents and visitors to use the beaches and engage in water sports even in January. The best accommodation in the region is the fabulous Aurum Didyma Spa & Beach Resort, which has all the facilities expected of such a high-class venue and is highly recommended.
Kusadasi has an unbelievable contrast of stylish harbor and cruise ships, but also memorable Greek and Roman history too. Therefore, mix and match the days and nights and get a bit of everything, all in one destination.