TÜRKÇE  City Guide of the Pearl of Turkey  ADVERTISE

Outskirts

This guide is under: Explore the City

Kusadasi

Treat yourself and your family to a wonderful getaway in the beautiful land of Turkey which sits at the crossroads between the continents of Asia and Europe! Take advantage of discounted airfare and promos for travel operators and tour agencies who offer flights to Turkey bundled together with accommodation and tours which are all inclusive. You’ll never go wrong visiting some of the most famous destinations in Turkey which include the resort towns of Kusadasi, Bodrum, Ayvalik and the world famous mineral springs of Pamukkale at Denizli province. Read on below to know more.

Kusadasi is a resort town in the province of Aydin on the Aegean coast of Turkey, 90 km (56 mi) south of Izmir, and 71 km (44 mi) from the inland provincial capital of Aydin.

Kusadasi is near the ancient city of Ephesus and to other places of interest including Miletos, Didim and Pamukkale, and a short distance across from Kusadasi lies the island of Samos. The city stands on a bay in the Aegean with the peninsula of Guvercin Ada sticking out into the sea at one end, and the mountain of Kaz Dagi behind. The area has been a centre of art and culture since the earliest times and has been settled by many civilizations since being founded by the Leleges people in 3000 BC. Later settlers include the Aeolians in the 11th century BC and Ionians in the 9th century. Originally seamen and traders the Ionians built a number of settlements on this coast including Neopolis.

Bodrum

Formerly Halicarnassus is a Turkish port in Mugla Province. It is on the Bodrum Peninsula, near the northwest entrance to the Gulf of Gökova, and faces the Greek island of Kos. Today, it is a center of tourism and yachting. The city was called Halicarnassus of Caria in ancient times. The Mausoleum of Mausolus was there, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Bodrum Castle, built by the Crusaders overlooks the harbor and the International Marina. The castle grounds includes a Museum of Underwater Archeology and hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year.

The region includes the municipalities of Bodrum, Turgutreis, Ortakent, Turkbuku, Yalikavak, Gumusluk which are composed of a number of recent tourist-oriented developments alongside older village centers.The harbour area was colonized by ancient Greeks in the 11th century BC and the city later fell under Persian rule. It was the nominal capital city of the satrapy of Caria; its location ensured the city enjoyed considerable autonomy. Herodotus, the historian, (484–420 BC) was born here.

Pamukkale

Meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a natural site and attraction in south-western Turkey in the Denizli Province. Pamukkale is located in Turkey’s Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which enjoys a temperate climate over the greater part of the year.

The ancient city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white “castle” which is in total about 2700 meters long and 160m high. It can be seen from a great distance, eg. when driving down the hills on the opposite side of the valley to the town of Denizli, which is 20 km away.Pamukkale is a famous tourist attraction of Turkey. Tourists travel from the coast of Antalya and the Aegean Sea to Pamukkale, it is also recognized as a World Heritage Site together with Hierapolis. Only a few other places in the world resemble it, including the Mammoth Hot Springs in the USA and Huanglong in Sichuan Province of China (another UNESCO World Heritage Site). Hierapolis-Pamukkale was made a World Heritage Site in 1988. The ruins of Greek temples and baths can be seen here.

Before the World Heritage designation, Pamukkale went unprotected for decades in the late 20th century and hotels were built on top of the site, destroying parts of the remains of Hierapolis. Hot water from the springs was taken to fill the hotel pools and the waste water was spilled over the monument itself, turning it brownish. A tarmac road ramp was built into the main part. People walked around with shoes, washed themselves with soap and shampoo in the pools and rode bikes and motorbikes up and down the slopes. By the time UNESCO turned its attention to Pamukkale, the site was losing its attraction. Officials made attempts to restore the site. The hotels were demolished, and the road ramp was covered with artificial pools which today are accessible to bare-footed tourists, unlike most other parts of the site. Tadpoles can be found in the pools. A small trench was carved along the outside of the ramp to collect the water and prevent it from spilling. The brownish parts have been left to be bleached by the sun without being covered by water to lessen the problem. Many pools are thus empty. Others parts are covered with water for an hour or two according to a schedule which is on display on top of the hill.

The underground volcanic activity which causes the hot springs also caused carbon dioxide to seep into a cave which as a result was called the Plutonium meaning place of the god, Pluto.

Ayvalik

Ayvalik is a seaside town in the northwestern Aegean coast of Turkey. It is a district of the Balikesir Province. It was alternatively called (Κυδωνίες - Kidonies) by the town’s formerly important Greek population, although the use of the name Ayvalik was widespread for centuries among both the Turks and the Greeks (pronounced as Ayvali by the latter).

Today, Ayvalik and the numerous islets encircling the bay area are popular holiday resorts. The most important and the biggest of these islets is Cunda Island (Alibey Island) which was connected to Lale Adasi, and thence to the mainland, by a bridge in the late 1960s.

Since September 1998, Ayvalik has had an international music academy (AIMA) which gives master classes for violin, viola and cello. It brings together students from all over the world and gives them a precious opportunity to work with distinguished masters of their branch.

Ayvalik also has two of the longest sandy beaches of the whole country which extend as far as the Dikili district of Izmir nearly 30 km (19 mi) in the south. These are the Sarimsakli and Altinova beaches.

In recent years Ayvalik has also become an important point of attraction for scuba divers with its underwater fauna. Ayvalik and its environs are famous for the highly appreciated quality of olive oil production.

Today, the population of Ayvalik is close to 30,000, which significantly increases during the summer due to tourism. Ayvalik is also close to Bergama (former Pergamon) which is another important attraction for tourists with its ruins, dating back to antiquity.