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Things to see and do in Kusadasi’s historical hub

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Aside from the glorious beaches, months of sunny weather and wealth of bars and restaurants to relax in, Kusadasi is a hotbed of culture with a rich historical background. As a result, there is much more to do on your visit than you might think.

Mehmet Gozen

My Destination local expert on

Kusadasi (Aegean Coast)

Culture

 

Perhaps one of Kusadasi’s most famous landmarks, Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, dating back to 3000BC. Originally the trade centre of the ancient world, the spectacular excavation draws tourists from far and wide. It is said that Saint Paul once preached there and the antique theatre where he spoke still remains, with over 24,000 seats as well as an eerie gladiator graveyard next door. Three hours from Kusadasi town centre, Dalyan Lycian tombs are a sight for sore eyes. Built as intricate examples of funerary architecture, they date back to 400BC. Said to be the resting place of the Kings of Caunos, they’re a must see, reachable either by boat taxi, or as part of a tour. If you travel three hours north from Kusadasi town centre you’ll reach Bergama (also know as Pergamum), home to the ancient ruins of Pergamum.

 

Religious history

 

Kusadasi has a complex religious past, once home to Paganism, then Christianity and now Islam. Many religious followers come to the area to discover the religious past and see some of the sights that reveal an interesting history to Kusadasi.

 

Nestled nine kilometres from Ephesus on top of the Bulbul Mountain, the Virgin Mary’s house is where the mother of Jesus spent her last days and is a very important place for many Christians. It is also believed that St John the Evangelist spent the autumn of his life in the region and was buried near Ephesus. After his death a marvellous basilica was constructed over his grave and the ruins are a marvel to behold. Also nearby, the once magnificent Temple of Artemis is one of the seventh wonders of the ancient world. Now in ruins, it is said that the Hellenistic construction was destroyed and rebuilt as many as seven times. Nowadays, the marble sculptured columns are a preserved memory of its previous majesty and a popular tourist attraction.

 

Day trips

 

If you’re considering a day out, the Dalyan Delta is a must. As a naturalist’s paradise, it is truly picturesque and home to over 120 species of birds. Whilst taking a boat cruise along the delta, you’re likely to see one of the local Loggerhead turtles who lay their eggs on the Iztuzu beach. And once you reach the sea, the crystal clear waters of the idyllic beach are the ideal spot for a refreshing swim. Nearby, the Pamukkale thermal spa is one of the most important thermal centres in Turkey. The steamy pools feel like mysterious openings to the centre of the earth and the dreamy relaxation is also known to have curing effects for rheumatism, asthma as well as eye and skin conditions.

 

Sports

 

If you want to kick start your adrenaline into overload, then Dalaman Rafting is guaranteed to give you a truly memorable day. Whizzing down the rushing waterways, you’ll get the active tour of the area, seeing the scenery from an alternative viewpoint. Not only will you experience a wet and wild adventure, but you’ll witness some of the areas ancient history. Whizzing past waterfalls and rock sculptures, you’ll travel through warm waters so hopefully you won’t mind too much if you fall in.

 

However, if you fancy taking in the scenery from a different angle, why not glide from 6,000ft at a relaxing pace. Whether you want to travel solo or tandem, Oludeniz Paragliding lets you soar over the breath-taking views of the turquoise Aegean Sea. The weather is best from April to November and with the sun as your backdrop you’re guaranteed to get blown away by the views.

 

Once famous for its architecture and vineyards, Alacati now draws windsurfers from far and wide. Only an hour from Izmir airport, the reliable wind for 300 days a year makes it a mecca for sportsmen from far and wide. The surf schools provide the best surfing and windsurfing equipment to people of all standards and with its calmer mornings and windier afternoons you’re guaranteed to see some impressive windsurfing tricks.

 

With its rich history dating back to the times of ancient Greece, Kusadasi is a thoroughly interesting place to visit. And if all the culture leaves your mind spinning, you can let off some steam with one of the many outdoor sporting activities or simply soak up some sun on the exotic beaches.