Kusadasi is a popular port city on the Aegean coast, often used as a base to explore the cultural and archaeological richness of western Turkey. It’s location near some of Turkey’s best archaeological sites makes it a great base for day trips into the surrounding region.
Ephesus is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman cities in the world. Once a commercial, religious and social center of the Roman Empire in Asia, Ephesus is full of ancient architectural splendors, including the Fountains of Trojan, The Temples of Hadrian and Domition, the Library of Celsius and the Great Theatre.
The town of Pamukkale, which literally means ‘cotton castle’, has been used as a spa since the second century BC, making it one of the oldest, continually visited tourist sites in Turkey. The highlight here is the travertines, bizarre formation of calcium bathing pools that overlook the modern town nearby. They look sort of like frozen waterfalls and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best way to experience these odd formations is to climb up them barefoot on your way to Hierapolis, the ancient Greco-Roman city atop the hill.
Hierapolis is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient city was where many Roman came to soothe their ailments, with many people coming to retire or die here. One of the highlights is the Roman Bath, one of the biggest buildings in the ancient city, which houses an impressive Archaeology Museum.
Priene was a city that was holy to the ancient Greeks, home of an important Temple of Athena. The ruins here include several standing columns of the Temple of Athena, much of the city wall, a well-preserved theater and a council chamber.
Ancient Sardis was the capital of the Lydian Kingdom and in Roman and Byzantine times became one of the great cities of western Asia Minor. Today you’ll find the ruins of Sardis Synagogue, the largest ancient synagogue outside of Palestine, and the Temple of Artemis, built n the 6th century BC and today displaying over 20 Ionic columns.