The Fortress of Kusadasi takes up the entire island floating off Kusadasi’s beach promenade. In fact, the name Kusadasi means ‘Pigeon Island,' the term give to the island in Ottoman times because of the migrating birds that roosted there.
The strategically located, fortified castle was built to protect the Ottoman Empire’s valuable ocean-going trade, which was vulnerable to attack from pirates, including the infamous pirate Barbarossa. The fortress also defended the town from attack from the sea.
Poking above the trees crowning the island is the crenellated central tower of a 13th century Byzantine castle. The fairy-tale towers and battlements of fortified walls encircle the entire island, dipping down to meet the sea and running along the island’s hills.
Today, taking the walk out to the fortress is an essential highlight of a visit to Kusadasi, providing waterfront views of the town and its luxury yacht-filled marina. To learn more about the castle and its history, visit the museum inside the Byzantine turret.
After strolling through the grounds, make your way to the island’s waterfront to grab a table at a seafood restaurant. Order a plateful of crumbed calamari and drink in those views of the Aegean Sea and Kusadasi.
Kusadasi Fortress is on Pigeon Island, just offshore from Kusadasi in the harbor. It’s linked to the mainland by a paved causeway built up above the water line.