Kusadasi is a resort town located on Turkey’s Aegean Coast that is best known as a jumping off point for visits to Ephesus, the best preserved classical city in eastern Turkey. Just a few decades ago, it wasn’t much more than a small seaside village, but the growth of the local tourism industry has brought modernization and commercialization.
It is an easy walk from the cruise ship terminal to downtown Kusadasi.
Chances are you won’t be spending much time in Kusadasi itself as most cruise passengers join half or full day excursions to nearby Ephesus. If you do stick around, think of it as a chance to kick back and relax for a day. Try a Turkish bath, head to the beach to soak up some sun or cool off at the wave pools and water slides at one of the city’s aqua parks. You may also like to take a walk out to the small hilltop fortress on Pigeon Island, accessible by a footbridge just across from the port.
Modern-day sun lovers worship Didyma’s golden beaches, but in classical Ionian times this was the legendary site of the Temple of Apollo.
In its heyday, Didyma’s famous temple was the home of the oracle of Apollo, who provided the Hellenic world with divine predictions from the gods. The sanctuary at Didyma was the most significant temple in the territory of the legendary city of Miletus, approached via the Sacred Way. It was renowned for its wealth and sacred spring, a revered site predating the era of the Greeks.
The symbol of Didyma is the beautiful stone heads of the Medusa that crown the temple’s Ionic columns. Monumental steps lead to the remains of more than 100 equally huge pillars, two of which are linked by a sole surviving architrave.
Recent excavations have unearthed other temples, including one dedicated to Artemis, destroyed by fire and earthquake over the millennium.