Kusadasi is a unique tourist township along Turkey’s Aegean coastline, where the local population expands ten-fold during the summer months. The modern, European style resort town of 50,000 is heavily reliant upon the tourism trade generated from cruise ships. Arriving to the local port, cruise ships assist with the growth of the local population to around 500,000 every summer.
Included in the population growth are Turkish employees who head to the town each year for the extensive variety of employment in the service sector. Located between another popular resort town of Bodrum to the south and the large city of Izmir to the north, Kusadasi is a favoured destination for many holiday makers visiting Turkey.
The picturesque town features a stunning turquoise bay in front, backed by the Kaz Dagi Mountain behind. Exceptionally well connected to the surrounding main towns and the rest of Turkey, Kusadasi can be accessed by either the Izmir or Bodrum international airports. There are also daily ferry services from the Kusadasi port to the nearby Greek Island of Samos.
Being a predominantly tourist area the town caters to a large number of foreign residents, with many arriving from Northern Europe. Having developed from a rural village, the town began to convert to a tourist centre in the 70s, originally catering for domestic Turkish holiday makers. In the 80s Kusadasi began to attract foreign visitors and developed further to appeal to the mass tourist market.
Reforms on the port area to cater for cruise liners dramatically changed the town into a major resort centre. The Kusadasi port has been the centre of the town throughout its history, acting as both a major and minor stopping point along the Aegean coast. Originally founded in 3,000BC, the port area has seen many changes over its lifetime. During the great civilisations of the ancient world, when the east and west were joined by the travelling merchants to the Orient, the town thrived as a final port along the Caravan Routes. Later in its history during the Middle Ages, Kusadasi became a preferred refuge for pirates operating the surrounding seas.
Kusadasi’s history of pirates is retained through the town’s most prominent landmark, a turreted fortress used as a base by the pirate Barbarossa located on a small island just off the harbour. Other significant historical landmarks in and near the town of Kusadasi include the ancient city of Ephesus, the Artemis Temple, the Apollon temple, the Basilica of St. John, the Seven Sleepers, the House of the Virgin Mary and the Caravanserai, amongst several other landmarks of historical significance.
These days Kusadasi continues to evolve, catering to the demands of tourists and real estate investors. Ample sailing and water sport opportunities are available for the enthusiast, while several golf courses are in the process of construction to provide further options to the present golf clubs of the surrounding areas. The lively town offers an abundance of restaurants, beach clubs, hotels and bars, while retaining its tradition of survival from the strategic location of its port.