The History of Kusadasi, the Ionians and Byzantines

Looking at the past of Kusadasi, the first people we notice are the Ionians. At the region today called Yılancı Burnu, the Ionians built a settlement called Neopolis. And also in the same region, they built Andizkulesi on the slopes of the mountain called Pilavtepe.

For a period, the coastline of Kusadasi was inhabited by the Venetians and the Genoese. Later, Andizkulesi was moved to flatter lands and by doing so, they created the foundations for Kusadasi.

This new settlement was called Scala Nuova, meaning New Pier. As you might know, the name of the Ege Port in Kusadasi is nowadays also called Scala Nuova.

The History of Kusadasi and the Aegean Coast

Historians gather a lot of information about Kusadasi by researching the Aegean coast. Every corner of the coastline is filled with history, arts and cultural remains from many civilizations. These historical sites understandably attract many tourists from all over the world. We made a little list of the civilizations who inhabited the Kusadasi region, to give you an impression:

3000 B.C. – The Leleg Civilization

11th Century B.C. – The Aeolian Civilization

9th Century B.C. – The Ionian Civilization

7th Century B.C. – The Lydian Civilization

546 B.C. – The Persian Civilization

334 B.C. – Alexander the Great

2nd Century B.C. – The Romans

15th Century – The Venetians and Genoese

1086 – The Seljuk Empire

1280 – Menteseogullari

1397 – 1402 The Ottomans

1402 – 1425 Aydınogullari

1425 The Ottomans

1919 – 1921 The Italians and later on the Greek

1922 Turkey

The History of Kusadasi and the Hellenistic Age

The Hellenistic Period has been of great importance to the history of Kusadasi. During this period the ancient cities of Ephesus, Miletus, Priene and Didyma were built. There are a great deal of remains from these cities left. Tourists from all over the world are attracted to come and see these magnificent pieces of history and art.

The House of Virgin Mary is in Selcuk. People usually prefer to stay in Kusadasi and make a day trip to the House of Virgin Mary. There are also combined tours to Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary. The House of Virgin Mary is known to be built at the 2nd century B.C. when the Romans were ruling the region. St. John has moved to Ephesus during the first years of Christianity, and thus created a religious center there; during the same period, Miletus became a bishopric center.

The Aegean Export Gate: Kusadasi

When Kusadasi was ruled by the Seljuk State, this beautiful region became a place where the caravans passed through. The city developed to be an export gate to the Aegean. Only in the 1400’s, we start see the Turkish influence on arts and culture.

This is a very important period for Kusadasi, because then the famous Caravanserai, which is still standing, was built by the Grand Vizier Okuz Mehmet Pasha. In the 1400’s, the Caravanserai had three gates, that offered the entrance to the city. Nowadays, there is just one gate left.

The History of Kusadasi and Bird Island

Bird Island is another important feature of Kusadasi, both for its history as for its location.

During the Byzantine period, this island was used as a military base. In 1834, the base was renovated and the castle was built. The island was first called Kusadasi (meaning Bird Island) and the town itself was called Scala Nuova. But later the names changed and the town became Kusadasi and the island Pigeon Island.

Today, Kusadasi still maintains its qualification as a historical and touristic city. When you look at it, this has always been the qualification of Kusadasi during all eras, being one of the most beautiful places in the Aegean region. Kusadasi is only 71 km’s from Aydin, 95 km from Izmir and has a vast and scenic area of 264 km2 to offer to its visitors. An area which contains a beautiful and diverse nature and many blue flagged beaches.

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