Kusadasi is located in a beautiful cove set, founded on the site of a settlement of Ionians and identified as ancient Neapolis. Nearby were the other two Ionian cities and Phygale Marathesion, but mighty Ephesus Samos with Marathesion swapped for Neapolis. Ephesus and Samos were both part of the Ionian Confederacy, whose counsel, the Panionion was held at the foot of Mount Mycale (today near Güzelçamlik *).
After the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman rule Neapolis was ruled by the Byzantines. After Ephesus lost its former prosperity and had his port was totally from the alluvial deposits of the river Cayster (Küçük Menderes) silted up, the Byzantines were looking for a new port and a new road that would be suitable for trade and chose Neapolis, then renamed Ania instead.The city was an important port with Greek, Jewish and Armenian merchants, and was called Nueva Scala 15th Century by the Venetian and Genoese colony of merchants who had founded there. After the battle Manzikert in 1071 the Seljuks in Anatolia was spreading widely. During their decline in 1284, the emirate Aydinogullari set in the region and it was Kusadasi in the early 14 Century built.But the Turks prefer mainly inland on foot near the ancient settlement known live Andizkule.
Ottoman Sultan Mehmet I finally conquered the region in Kusadasi 1413th The city of Kusadasi has his “present” form during the early 17th Century under Öküz Mehmet Pasha, the Grand Vizier during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I and Osman II was. Öküz Mehmet Pasha Caravanserai, Kale içi Bath and Kale içi mosque, all built within the city walls date from this period. In 1920, the reign of Izmir and its surroundings, which was Kusadasi, to Greece by the Treaty of Sèvres was granted. During the Revolutionary War in September 1922 it was again taken over by the Turkish armed forces and the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) gave back to Izmir and its surroudings to the new Turkish Republic.
Kusadasi, which the “Bird Iceland” was called, after the small island far away from the harbor where cruise ships and liners are next to the name. The Ottomans, who “Güvercin Ada” (Pigeon Iceland) renamed using this strategic island for military purposes, as the Byzantines, who had already built a fortress to defend against the pirates. Today Pigeon Iceland, the country is connected by a sea wall (10 minutes walk from the port), is the ideal place to enjoy a panoramic view of Kusadasi with a drink in the garden café.
Öküz Mehmet Pasha Hani, the largest caravanserai in the Aegean region, is removed at the beginning of Harbour Street near the Grand Bazaar and the Orient. Since its restoration in 1967 it was been used as a hotel and a shopping center, and special “Turkish nights” are held in the courtyard of the building in summer.
Barbaros Hayrettin Street, in a traffic free pedestrian zone, is one of the most popular place to shop.
A long promenade runs between the port, where a few fish are retaurants, and the marina. Many restaurants of all kinds, cafes, bars, pubs everywhere in Kusadasi can be found.
The specialty of the region of Kusadasi is the “cop sis” small pieces of lamb done on tiny wooden skewers, a kind of miniature sis kebab.
Today Kusadasi has become a most sophisticated and well equipped holiday resort. It is an ideal starting point towards the famous places of interest of the region: Ephesus, Miletus, Priene, Didyma, Aphrodisias, Pamukkale…
Ferries link Kusadasi to Greek Samos Island whose coasts can be easily seen from Kalamaki in the Dilek National Park located 28 km/ 17.5 miles south of Kusadasi.
In the north-east of Dilek Peninsula, near Güzelçamlik, at the foot of Mount Mycale (today Mount Samsun) on the site of ancient Melia stood the Panionion, a meeting place in Priene’s lands and under its management, where the cities of the IonianConfederacy held their council and celebrated a yearly festival (end of summer) called Panionia in the sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon Heliconios. For the improvement of their cities, the members would discuss politics, business, trade, farming processing, art, science etc… and would share their problems, trying to find appropriate solutions. The commercial and cultural influence of these cities spread over Anatolia where they opened new trading posts.
Excavations conducted in 1913 and 1957-58 have revealed the remains of a circular wall which are thought to belong to the Panionion. Also remnants of Melia’ s rampart walls which protected Panionion as well as a long thin structure measuring 18×4/ 60×13 inches, have been brought to light.
14 km/ 8.7 miles east of Kusadasi and 12 km/ 7.5 miles south of Selçuk is Çamlik village, famous since 1991 for its Steam Engine Museum (Buharli Lokomotif Müzesi) which displays one of the largest steam engine collection in Europe. Çamlik station was on the former ORC line, the oldest line in Turkey. As it is located at the highest and most difficult part of the line, with steep gradient and sharp curves, the station has been disused (except for a slow local train operating between Selçuk and Ortaklar) since the Izmir – Aydin main line has been following a new route . The museum also displays two interesting hand powered quay cranes among other miscellaneous items.