In the province of Aydın, just south of Izmir, Kuşadası is a popular holiday town on Turkey’s Aegean coast. It is located on one of the important coasts that connect Anatolia to the Mediterranean Sea. In antiquity, Kuşadası was known as Neopoli.
Today, Kuşadası hosts a modern cruise port. The port offers access to see gorgeous Ephesus, one of the world’s largest and most important ancient archaeological and religious sites, the House of the Virgin Mary, the Basilica of St. John, and peaceful Şirince, a small village famous for its wine and architecture.
Kuşadası hosts natural beauties alongside important historical sites. The Büyük Menderes Delta National Park is a huge natural reserve that is home to 209 different bird species and almost all plant species endemic to the region from Anatolia to the Caucasus.
From the cruise ship pier in Kuşadası Harbor, the town looks beautiful. Passengers can walk between cafés and shops, and climb to Kale district, inside the old city walls. The island of Güvercinada (Pigeon Island), connected to the mainland by a relatively narrow causeway, awaits visitors with a Genoese fortress.
The ancient port city of Kusadasi presents a perfect blend of sea, sun and the unspoilt beauty of nature. The outcome is a holiday destination that promises an unforgettable experience.
EPHESUS ANCIENT CITY
One of Turkey’s top tourist attractions, Ephesus is the most important and best preserved ancient city. It is an outstanding universal value of the world for all time, and its history dates back to 6000 BC.
The ancient city of Ephesus consists of temples, theatres, libraries, houses and statues.
The impressive Library of Celsus, the 24.000 capacity grand theatre, the Temple of Hadrian, the Temple of Artemis which is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Terrace Houses of Roman nobles and the Cave of Seven Sleepers, the parliament building, commercial and state agoras, baths, city gates, monuments, fountains, public toilets and even a brothel are among the most magnificent archaeological sites in Ephesus.
Ephesus, which is one of the Seven Holly Churches mentioned in the Bible, particularly important for faith tourism.
Ephesus was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015.
HOUSE OF VIRGIN MARY
House of Virgin Mary is located on the top of the “Bulbul” mountain 9 km ahead of Ephesus, the shrine of Virgin Mary enjoys a marvelous atmosphere hidden in the green. It is the place where Mary may have spent her last days. Indeed, she may have come in the area together with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. Mary preferred this remote place rather than living in crowded place.
The house of Virgin Mary is a typical Roman architectural example, entirely made of stones. In the 4th century AD, a church, combining her house and grave, has been built. A front kitchen fell into ruins and has been restored in 1940’s. Today, only the central part and a room on the right of the altar are open to visitors. From there one can understand that this building looks more like a church than a house. Another interesting place is the “Water of Mary”, a source to be found at the exit of the church area and where a rather salt water, with curative properties, can be drunk by all.
Paul VI was the first pope to visit this place in the 1960’s. Later, in the 1980’s, during his visit, Pope John-Paul II declared the Shrine of Virgin Mary has a pilgrimage place for Christians. It is also visited by Muslims who recognize Mary as the mother of one of their prophets. Every year, on August 15th a ceremony is organized to commemorate Mary’s Assumption.
Sirince, which is one of the loveliest Aegean villages in Turkey, literally means cute and adorable. It is located within the borders of Izmir province. Set on a hillside above Selcuk town and within easy reach of the ruins at Ephesus, the village retains most of its lovely old wooden houses with their red tiled roofs. Up here the air feels fresh and the restaurants serve fruit flavored wines.
Sirince is a mesmerizing village and very different from other in the vicinity. Originally, the village was built by Greeks, but after the population exchange between Turkey and Greece in 1923, the Greeks who had to leave Anatolia were replaced by Turks from Thessalonica. Today the village prospers through agriculture (olive oil, wine, peach, apple, fig, walnut) and tourism. It is well protected and a rare and attractive example of Ottoman Turkish architecture.
Sirince is a village full of nostalgia with its locally produced wine, traditional cuisine and authentic life style. While walking around the village, you will feel as if you have stepped straight back into the 19th century.