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History of Kusadasi

Strabo's "Geographica", which was written not long after the birth of Christ reads;

"If a person comes from the sea, passing through the Strait of Samos near Mykale mountain, he will reach the shores which are owned by the people of Ephesus. A part of these shores is also owned by the people of Samos. Once on the mainland, the first place that person will reach is Panionion, three stadias from the sea, the center of the Ionian Union, where a traditional festival is held every year. Sacrifices are offered to the Poseidon of Helliconia during this festival and the people of Priene serve as priests during the ceremonies."

"Further on, there is Neapolis, which used to be owned by the people of Ephesus, but which, after an agreement with the people of Samos, was exchanged with Marathesion because it was nearer. Further on, there is the small town of Pygela, which was founded by Agamemnon. e had stationed some of his soldiers in this town than the name Pygela comes from an illness which caused Agamemnon's men to suffer boils on their backsides. "Phygale" means backside in Greek."

"After Phygale, there is the harbor of Panormos where the temple of Ephesus is to be found, and then there is the city of Ephesus itself. Somewhere high above the sea, there is a small and very beautiful forest of cypress trees, which is called Ortygia.

The Kenkhiros stream passes through this forest. This forest is the place where Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. The sacred place where Godmother Ortygia first gave her milk and the olive tree in whose shadow Leto rested is also here."

Kusadasi means "Bird Island" and the town takes its name from the little island (whose name in Turkish means "Pigeon" or "Dove Island") that is in the harbor and is now connected by a causeway to the shore.

The little fort on the island was built in 1834 as a military outpost during the Morean rebellion. About the only other old buildings worth examining are the Kaleici mosque, built in 1618 and the Ottoman Caravanserail built by Okuz Mehmet Pasa in 1618. The latter has been restored and is now used (appropriately enough) as a hotel.

Accommodations are what Kusadasi really stars in and there are numerous hotels, motels, and holiday villages located in and around the town that cater to every taste and pocket. Thanks to the marina and good harbor, Kusadasi is a favorite calling place for yachts and tour vessels with the result that are many good shopping opportunities to be found.


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