|• Mayor||Mehmet Esat Altungün (CHP)|
|• Kaymakam||Mustafa Esen|
|• District||224.60 km2 (86.72 sq mi)|
|• District Density||400/km2 (1,000/sq mi)|
Kuşadası (pronounced [ˈkuʃadasɯ]) is a resort town on Turkey's Aegean coast and the center of the seaside district of the same name in Aydın Province. Kuşadası lies at a distance of 95 km (59 mi) to the south from the region's largest metropolitan center of İzmir, and 71 km (44 mi) from the provincial seat of Aydın situated inland. Its primary industry is tourism. The district neighbours on the northeast to Germencik district, on the southeast to Söke district, on the west to the Aegean Sea, and on the north to Selçuk district.
The city stands on a bay in the Aegean with the peninsula of Guvercin Ada sticking out into the sea at one end, and the mountain of Pilav Dağı behind.
Kuşadası has a residential population of 64,359 rising to over half a million during the summer when the large resort fills with tourists (from Turkey itself, northern Europe and the Balkans), plus the hotel staff, bar staff, construction workers, and drivers who are needed to work in the restaurants servicing all these visitors. In addition to the visitors from overseas there is a substantial community of foreigners resident in the area.
The name comes from 'kuş' (bird) and 'ada' (island) as the peninsula has the shape of a bird's head (as seen from the sea). It was known as Ephesus Neopolis, in greek (Ἔφεσος Νεόπολις) during the Byzantine era, and later as Scala Nova or Scala Nuova under the Genovese and Venetians. Kuş-Adası was adopted in its place at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, citizens of Kuşadası often shorten the name to Ada.
The area has been a centre of art and culture since the earliest times 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. Originally seamen and traders the Ionians built a number of settlements on this coast including Neopolis.
An outpost of Ephesus in ancient Ionia known as Pygela (Πύγελα), the area between the Büyük Menderes (Maeander) and Gediz (Hermos) rivers, 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. In antiquity it was overshadowed by Ephesus, until Ephesus' harbor 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, and from 334 BC along with all of Anatolia the coast was conquered by Alexander the Great. From then onwards the coastal cities in Anatolia were a centre of Hellenistic culture.
Rome and Christianity
The Roman Empire took possession of the coast in the 2nd century BC and made it their provincial capital and in the early years of Christianity. St John the Evangelist and (according to Roman Catholic sacred tradition) Mary (mother of Jesus) both came to live in the area, which in the Christian era became known as "Ania".
Later the port was a haven for pirates.
As Byzantine, Venetian and Genoese shippers began to trade along the coast the port was re-founded (as Scala Nuova or Scala Nova - "new port"), a garrison was placed on the island, and the town centre moved from the hillside to the coast.
The Turkish era
From 1086 the area came under Turkish control and the Aegean ports became the final destination of caravan routes to the Orient. However this arrangement was overthrown by the Crusades and the coast again came under Byzantine control until 1280 when first the Menteşe and then the Aydinid Anatolian beyliks took control. Kuşadası was brought into the Ottoman Empire by Mehmet I in 1413. The Ottomans built the city walls and the caravanserai that still stand today.
In 1834 the castle and garrison on the island was rebuilt and expanded, becoming the focus of the town, to the extent that people began to refer to the whole town as Kuşadası (bird island). However in the 19th century, trade declined in favor of İzmir with the opening of the İzmir-Selçuk-Aydın railway, as Kuşadası had no rail connection.
Under the Turkish Republic the Greek population was exchanged for Turkish people as part of the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1922. It was a district in İzmir Province until 1954 and become the district of Aydın Province. Until the first holiday apartments were built here in the 1970s Kuşadası was a fruit-growing rural district, it then grew into a small resort town with holiday flats. These were built as housing co-operatives, membership sold to families in Ankara, İzmir, Denizli and other Turkish cities. From the mid-1980s Kuşadası grew again into the centre of mass tourism that we have today.
In 2005, the town was the location of a bomb attack causing five casualties, three Turkish nationals, British citizen Helen Bennett and the Irish student Tara Whelan.
Kuşadası caters to tourists, arriving by land, and as the port for cruise ship passengers heading 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. The Grand Princess docks here, along with other cruise ships.
There are beaches including the Ladies Beach, the beach at the centrum, the beaches between the Batıhan Hotel and the Nazilli Site, Guzelcamli Town beach and the Dilek Peninsula National Park beach.
Agents sell holiday flats and villas.
There are vendors of ice-cream, carpets, leather, and software, and bookshops selling books in English, German, Russian and other languages.
Old houses near the seafront, some of them converted to bars and cafes, are the remnants of old Kuşadası, which has become a modern-European looking town. The hills behind are built up with big hotels and blocks of holiday flats. The building boom in the late 80s and onwards has been continued into the hinterland of Kuşadası.
Kuşadası's bus station acts as a transport hub. Buses connect to various parts of the country.
Places of interest
In the town
- The City Walls - There were once three gates. One remains today.
- Kaleiçi Camii - the mosque built in 1618 for Grand Vizier Öküz Kara Mehmed Pasha.
- The Öküz Mehmet Pasha caravanserai is near the docks. It was built in 1618 as a strong-room for the goods of seamen.
- Guvercin Adası or "Pigeon Island" in English - the peninsula at the end of the bay, has a castle and swimming beaches, including a private beach and cafe with a view back across the bay to the harbour of Kuşadası. There are public beaches at the back of the peninsula, towards the open sea.
- Kirazli Village - 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.
- Pygale - 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north. The settlement once used by Agamemnon for healing his soldiers and repairing his ships after the Trojan War. Not yet excavated.
- Several aqua-parks with wave-pools, white-water slides are located near the town.
- Ladies Beach - near town.
- Kadıkalesi - Venetian/Byzantine castle, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi)along the Kuşadası-Davutlar road,
- Panionium - 25 km (16 mi) south of Kuşadası, on the Davutlar-Güzelçamlı road. Once the central meeting place of the Ionian League. The ruins are in poor condition and their authenticity is disputed.
- Dilek Peninsula National Park. South of Kuşadası, begins at the town of Güzelçamlı. Bays and beaches, including the bay of Kalamaki.
- An annual song contest has been held. It was once won by Cem Karaca.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Kuşadası is twinned with:
- Batumi, Georgia
- Gjorče Petrov, Macedonia
- Marl, Germany
- Monterey, California, USA
- Sinaia, Romania
- Vathy, Greece
- "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
- "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- "Kusadasi Guide".
- St. John - History
- Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
- "Kuşadası'nda Kurtuluş Coşkusu" (in Turkish). Haberkapısı. 7 September 2010.
- "Batumi - Twin Towns & Sister Cities". Batumi City Hall. Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2013-08-10.