Located on the western shores of Turkey, Kusadasi is a city of the province of Aydin. The name of the city comes from the words "Kus" meaning "Bird" and "Ada" meaning "Island" as the peninsula of the city has a shape of a bird. But today the citizens of the city shortly name it as Ada.
Eventhough It is not definetely known when and by whom the city was founded, Kusadasi is thought to have been founded by Ionians under the name of Neopolis which was a settlement connected to Ephesus.
The area was under the control of the Byzantine Empire for a while but later on it came under the economical rules of the Venetians and Genoeses. Because of the transportational problems the city was moved to its present side called Yeni Iskele meaning the New Port known as Scala Nuova on those days from the previous location on Andizkulesi.
Kusadasi and its environs were always important centres of art and culture. This was the main reason why many different civilizations settled in the area along history. The area between the rivers of Meandros " Buyuk Menderes" and Hermos "Gediz" was named Ionia. Ionians founded twelve cities between these rivers and Kusadasi was located just in the middle. That's why the Ionians established in Kusadasi Panionion League which was an organization of all the Ionian cities.
In the 7th century BC Kusadasi was the main port of Anatolia leading into Mediterranean Sea under the control of the Lydians. The Persian domination which began in 546 BC continued until 334 BC when Alexander the Great occupied the whole Anatolia and Hellenistic Period began. During the Hellenistic Period Kusadasi reached at its golden age. Ephesus, Miletos, Priene and Didyma were the other richest cities of the area.
During the Roman Period which followed, especially after the arrival of St John and Virgin Mary to Ephesus, the city with its environs became an important centre of christianity.
1086 was the year when the Turks came to the city. The area became a gate of export of the trade roads of Anatolia opening into Aegean. But this period continued for a short time and after the 1st Crusades the Byzantines took over the control again. In 1413 Kusadasi joined in the Ottoman Empire. After this time Kusadasi only stayed in the hands of the Turks and the Turks left so many works in the city. Caravanserai and City Walls surrounding the city were built by Mehmet Pasha. When the city was surrounded by the city walls, there were only three gates for entrance. Today only one of them still stands while other two disappeared.
Kucukada "Small Island" was an important place for Byzantine soldiers. In 1834 it was renovated and the famous fortress on the island was built. The name of Kusadasi is derived from this island and fortress.
Mass Tourism started in Kusadasi
Before the 80s and 70s Kusadasi was a small fishery-town with a small population. But after the economical targets on tourism in 1980s, it was opened for mass tourism and it is known that it was the first holiday resort of Turkey. The goverment helped the investors build new hotels on the most suitable areas. In a short time tourism boomed and thousands of people began to visit the city. Because of its location and being very close to the ancient city of Ephesus, House of the Virgin Mary as well as Greek Islands a new cruise port named Kusadasi Port was built and now it is the most-used port in Turkey for incomings and outgoings.