On a beautiful sunlit morning, we traveled by bus to our first destination of the day, "Meryemana Evi", the House of the Virgin Mary situated northeast of Ephesus and near Selcuk. The journey there took us past beautiful agricultural fields, and olive groves; eventually we climbed higher onto the mountain named Mt. Koressos ("Turkish: Bülbül Dagi or Mount Nightengale) where it is said that Mary spent her final days. From the mountain in the distance you could see a humid vapor being lifted from the fields by the effects of the sun, but it still clung heavily to Mt. Koressos with its tree-lined, winding road up to this holy site.
It is belief of generations of local Christians and Muslims, and which is collaborated by certain evidence, that this is the place to which St. John brought Mary after the crucifixion of Jesus and where she lived until her Assumption into Heaven (which is celebrated every year on August 15th). Remnants found on this site have been dated to as early as the 1st century AD. The restoration work on Mary's home which is currently a chapel was completed in 1950. Today a red line distinguishes the restored part of the chapel from the original, historical remains.
The home and chapel are built of heavy stone with several arched windows set high into its walls. It was unfortunate that when we visited, no pictures were allowed inside the house & chapel where small niches hold religious objects. Inside, the low light and virtual silence lends to the spiritual atmosphere as you contemplate the belief or reality of who lived here.
Beneath Mary's house runs a spring the waters which are considered miraculous and having healing powers. Many people brought small bottles to save the water from the spring's fountain nearby Mary's House. Next to the fountain, a wall area held the written intentions of thousands of visitors which was a moving sight in itself.
The well-kept walkways and gardens of this park-like area, meandering through the park-like setting where Mary's House is located, also holds other small treasures such as lovely statues of Mary and stands of devotional candles all of which contribute to the peaceful and religious atmosphere.
(If you see the resident cats around the grounds, they would appreciate water or small bits of food.) An outdoor altar where Popes Benedict XVI, John Paul II and Paul VI have said Mass stands beneath a canopy of trees.
Near the entrance to park you will find the Cafe Turco Restaurant, and local merchants selling souvenirs, postcards, rosaries, bookmarks, guide books, etc., at prices which I thought were very reasonable -- especially the full-color books about Maryemana Evi. Around this area you may also see guards, but they declined to have their picture taken.
Though the ancient city of Ephesus is 30 miles north of Kusadasi, it seems that they are spoken of almost as if they were one and the same city. In actuality, the city of Ephesus preceded Kusadasi as an important trading port and religious center of the fledgling Christian movement. Ephesus' star faded when the important Caystros River silted up, leaving no seaside access for Ephesus and therefore, no sea trade. Today, Ephesus, with its Greek & Roman origins, is considered one the best preserved ancient cities surrounding the Aegean Sea!
Driving down a mountain side on our approach to Ephesus, the view from higher ground gave us some idea of how large the area of the ancient ruins is. Our bus parked in a dusty lot not too far from the entrance gate. This is an historical park and you will pass through a turnstyle gate with a paid admission ticket from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The ticket, which is reutrned to you, is so nicely done with a picture, holograph symbol, etc., that it makes a terrific souvenir.
Though much of the ancient city lay in ruins due to the ravishes of time and earthquake, wonderful remnants of structures still remain---the most famous of which is The Library of Celsus!! Other important sights to see, some of which have undergone restoration, are the remaining arch and columns of the Temple of Hadrian; Curetes Street; the Marble Street; and the Grand Theater. Nearby the Terrace Houses are also being restored and are open to the public.
There is so much to see and absorb. You can spend from a couple of hours wandering about the ruins of Ephesus or the better part of a day. In summer, it is hot & humid, dusty, and no shade to speak of. It would be best to use sunscreen, a hat, and bring plenty of water as none of these necessities are available inside the park. If you are not taking a guided tour, I suggest bringing a good guide book as I remember there being very few signs identifying what you might be looking at.
Some cats live inside the historical park as well, and they really appreciate a drink of water from your hand, perhaps some food, and attention. One visitor poured bottled water into her cupped hand and a small cat drank every drop she could give it!
Private guides and tours leaving from Kusadasi are plentiful. Admission price to Ephesus historical area is approximately 20 Turkish Lira.
Picture #1 - The Celsus Library
Picture #2 - Looking back at the Grand Theatre
Picture #3 - Fountain of Trajan
Picture #4 - Temple of Hadrian
Samos Island is separated from Anatolia and Kusadasi by the approximately 1.6 km-wide Mycale Strait.
Another name of this part of the Aegean Sea is the Kolpos Efesou Gulf of Skala Nuova.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Kusadasi on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37° 49' 5.49" N 27° 15' 51.25" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Piers and Mycale Strait.
Is it possible to watch Greece while standing at the Turkish coast of the Aegean Sea? Yes! It’s very easy when you are in Kusadasi!
Samos is a Greek island in the North Aegean Sea off the Ionian coast of Turkey and opposite Kusadasi. It was a pleasant surprise for me when I went to the balcony of my room in the hotel and saw this island very close. We have been told that there were daily ferry services from Kusadasi to the nearby Greek island of Samos.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Kusadasi on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37° 49' 11.35" N 27° 15' 51.36" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Samos and Mycale Strait.
This National Park, a few miles south of Kusadasi, is a very pleasant place to spend a day or two lazing on the beaches in the various bays, swimming and walking up the canyon footpath. However, the walk to the top is several kilometres, and we only made it as far as the 3 kilometres marker!
This really is a place for all seasons, it's real special. It's a huge national park with wild horses, wild boar, amazing birds and butterflies and some really private beaches looking across the Aegean towards Samos.
In spring it's covered in wild flowers and in summer its cool and quiet and a really nice place to relax and spend a day cooking fish and bbq on the beach.
You won't find rows of roasting tourists on these beaches, just clear water, a few Turkish families having a picnic under the trees and peace and privacy.
And you can visit the Cave of Zeus on the way, which is a great too.
If your ever lucky enough to visit long beach you will come across this statue in the sea. A waiter told me it was a mermaid and it will protect all those around it. No good trying to drown my wife there then Hahahaha.
The majority of turkeys large resorts are fantastic when it comes to nightlife, activities and day trips but finding a quiet spot on the beach is impossible so the best thing to do is find one, and i have. Its only a 20 min bus ride away to long beach and its well worth it when your there the beaches are so quiet.
If you get a chance to hire a boat for the day, set sail from Kusadasi and head for the remote little bays where the water is so crystal clear you can see the bottom. The diving is fantastic in these parts.
Central Kusadasi has some interesting streets and old buildings, especially in the narrow lanes just off the main market area. There are actually a number of old houses. In addition, there are some more out-of-the-way places to eat, etc.
a beautiful grecoroman city.. in second century 200.000 peoples was living there...
bibliotheque of celcius, temple of hadrianus, fountain of trajanus, great theatre, odeon, heracles gate, mosaics etc....
In the Selcuk - Kusadasi area, beaches are EVERYWHERE. And they are all packed. However, on the road from Selcuk to Kusadasi, there are many beaches that don't fill up as much as the "hot spots." Try Pamucak, or the areas where hotels and resorts have built up, and just their cliente is aware of.
This is the place where all the Turkish people go to in the weekend for a picknick. You can relax at the beach there and have a nice day. It is a lovely area and there is also a restaurant where you can eat or drink something. Just go to the Dolmus station and there you will find a bus which can take you there. Have fun!
You can book a trip by coach to visit a real Turkish village. It is just nice to go in the country, through the mountains and all to see something else then sea and beach. This village was small and it was real hot there. We drank tea at a local's house and then they show you all sorts of handcrafts which you can buy.
Pamukkale (Hierapolis) - waters, containing calcium salts, running off the plateau have created this fantastic display of stalactites and potholes. Check if this is still open. In 1993 when we went, we were told parts of it may be closed by the Government to allow it to be restored to its former glory.
If it's still open, agencies in Kusadasi will offer full-day tours.