Kuşadası is a district of Turkey’s Aydın province. The district which is located in the northwest of the province is 71 km away from Aydın’s city center and 95 km away from İzmir’s city center. The district on the Aegean Sea coast is one of the most important tourism centers of Turkey.
The district’s area is 264 kilometers. The population is 81 thousand 295 according to the Address Based Population Census.
It is believed that Kuşadası was founded by Ionians under the name of Neopolis in Ephesus in the place called Yılancı Burnu.
The city was founded on the outskirts of Pilavtepe in Andızkulesi. After a while, Venice and Genoese dominated these coasts economically, which had belonged to the Byzantines. Due to transportation difficulties, Kuşadası’s settlement was moved to Yeni İskele (Scala Nuova) from Andızkalesi.
Kuşadası Bay, which is named after Kuşadası, and its vicinity are known as the art and cultural centers and have been many different civilizations since the early ages.
In 3000 BC Leleges, in the 11th-century Aiols, and in the 9th century Ions dominated the region. The area between Büyük Menderes and Gediz rivers is called Ionia in ancient times. Ions who are merchants and sailors became rich in a short time thanks to the overseas trade and had a superior political power. They had established 12 cities that had been named “Ionian Colonies”.
Kuşadası was one of the main harbors of Anatolia that opened to the Mediterranean in ancient times. It was called Neopolis at that time. In the 7th century BC, Lydia, whose capitals were Sardis dominated the region.
Persian domination began in 546 BC, it continued until Alexander the Great conquered all of Anatolia in 334 BC. After that, a new era, a new understanding of art and culture was dominant in the synthesis of Greek civilization and native Anatolian civilization in Anatolia and this era was called “Hellenistic Age”. Ephesus, Miletus, Priene and Didyma are the most famous cities of this period.
In the 2nd century BC, the Romans dominated the region. In the early years of Christianity, the Virgin Mary and St. John the Apostle came to Ephesus to settle and the place became a religious center. Miletus was also an Episcopal center in the Christian era. It was called “Ania” in the Byzantine period. At that time, Kuşadası was a harbor that was used by pirates in the Middle Age. In the 15th century, during the Venetian and Genoese period, the city was named Scala Nuova.
In 1086, after Suleyman Shah conquered the region, Turkish rule began. During this period, the region became an export gateway to the Aegean. However, the sovereignty of the Seljuk State lasted a short time due to the First Crusade and reconquered by the Byzantine Empire. At the end of the 1280s, the Menteşeoğulları came under the rule of Ottomans between 1397-1402. Even though between 1402-1425 the Aydınoğulları took control, in 1425 Ottomans took possession of the region.
In 1413, Kuşadası entered into the domination of the Ottoman Empire by I.Mehmed (Çelebi). After that date, the city was under the control of Ottomans and began to fill with the works of Turks. Of these, Caravanserai and fortifications of Kuşadası were built by Mehmet Pasha.
At that time, the city which was surrounded by walls could only be accessed through three gates. One of these gates separates Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa Street and Kahramanlar Street. The upper part is used as the Regional Traffic Management. Other gates do not exist today.
The Pigeon Island, which serves as an important military base for the Byzantines, underwent a major renovation in 1834 and its famous castle was built. The name of Kuşadası comes from Pigeon Island.
Kuşadası was under control of Italy between 1919-1921 during the War of Independence and then Greece invaded the city after Italy decided to retreat. September 7, 1922, is the independence day of Kuşadası from Greek occupation.