is located at southwestern Turkey, near the Menderes River (the ancient
Maeander). It is an important trading center on the Afyon-Izmir highway
and rail line. Nearby is the site of ancient Tralles,
said to have been founded by the Argives. Aydin was called Güzelhisar
("Beautiful Castle") under the Turkmen
Mentese emirs in the 13th century. Renamed for the 14th-century ruling
dynasty of Aydin, it was annexed to the Ottoman Empire about 1390. Timur
(Tamerlane), who conquered it in 1402, reestablished the principality
of Aydin; but it was soon recaptured by the Ottomans. The city was heavily
damaged in September 1922 when the retreating Greeks set it afire as a
final gesture before they surrendered to the Turkish nationalists. The
city's historical buildings include mosques and a theological school.
A Roman gymnasium (4th century BC), a marble column, and the theatre are
the only remains of Tralles. Pop. (1990) 107,011.
The Menderes Valley, formed by the Menderes (Meander) river
has been the cradle of many civilizations. This region offers a
variety of beauties all at once. Lake Camici (Bafa) is a secret
camping spot, hidden amidst the pines, olives and oleanders facing the five peaks of the Besparmak
Mountains on the eastern slopes on which are the ruins of Alinda.
The ruins of the ancient city of Heraklia are closer to the lake
giving campers by the lake the chance to the sightseeing.
This fertile valley has sheltered many important cities of
past civilizations the remains of which still preserve their grandeur and dignity.
Aphrodisias is an antique city
situated near the Karacasu-Aydın province, was established in the name of Goddess
Aphrodite. It continued to be a great center of inbatiance from the Bronze
Age to the Byzantine Preiod (2800 B.C. - 220 A.D.). During excavations, the Aphrodite
Temple, Odeon, Statium and agora, and the city baths have been revaled. Aphrodisias was
well known during the Early Age as a center of sculpture. The Aphrodisias
Stadium is one of the best preserved stadiums among the antique city
stadiums in Anatolia.
A lovely town, a popular port, and at the same time, an
attractive holiday resort, is this "Bird Island"
taking its name from the little "Dove Island" in the
harbor. Facing this islet covered with flowers, Kusadasi stands on the beautiful shores of
Aegean Sea, overlooking a bay of real fascination.
The pretty beaches along the deep blue sea
will be the first to tempt newcomers with their scenic view under the glittering sun. When
wandering through the town, one will be pleased a second time, by the modernity and high
quality of the numerous accommodation establishments and related with their many
The large marina here is a
favorite place of yachtsmen, with its complete services, and it is a colorful site to
visit, being also a good shopping area. The famous ancient cities near Kusadasi, like Ephesus,
Miletos and Priene, Didyma
make the district interesting for sightseers, together with the historical remains like
the old fortress and caravansary inside the town. The Dilek National Park,
which is a wildlife preserve and a heaven for many species is worth seeing.
All of these charming spots complete the picturesque
appearance of this town; Kusadasi today constitutes a perfect resort for every type of
vacation at any time.
A glorious city from the earliest times, is Miletos, an
lonian site standing over the Aegean coast.
Founded in the 10th century BC, this city had been an
important commercial center influencing trade on the Mediterranean, with its two separate
ports. Besides its economic prosperity, this ancient place was a point of flourishing
culture as being the homeland of numerous philosophers and sages.
Thales, Anaksymandros, Anaksymens and Hekotios are some of these philosophers.
Reflecting this history of splendor are several ruins
dispersed over the region, the antique theater being the most important one. It is a
beautiful sight, with its 15,000 seats inside, and also is an
appropriate spot to view the entire land, by climbing to its upper terraces.
Another structure is the Faustina baths
built by the Roman Emperor Aurelius for his wife, with a small museum nearby housing
archeological finds from Miletos.
Priene used to be the most important port of the lonian
Federation, connecting the city to the rest of the world. The site is particularly
remarkable since the system of geometric planning was introduced here by Hippodamos of
Miletos in the 4th-century BC. The perfect planning of the city
can be recognized even today. The acropolis of the city is from the Hellenistic Period.
You will also the see well-preserved agora, bulenterion, stadium and gymnasium, and the
temples of Demeter, Athena, and Cybele in Priene.
Didyma was one of the luckiest settlements of antiquity
since it sheltered one of the most sacred spots of those times.
It is the temple of Apollo, still standing in Didyma with its
impressive view, though it has been attacked and burned several times. Here can be seen a
portico of double colonnades surrounding the colossal temple and also the famous Medusa
bust among the statues decorating it. The elaborate beauty of the temple and the artistic
architecture captures you at once.
The temple was the oracles center (during the reign of
Ionian Federation), and those who wanted to learn about the future visited Didyma then.
The name of the city comes from this characteristic, as Didymeion means in antiquity, the
place where oracles are told.
The only monument Didim possesses today, is the temple of
Apollo, but it is reason enough to take an excursion to Didim where you may also enjoy the
beaches while staying at friendly guest houses.
It is 12 kms northeast of the town of Karacasu. The history
of this ancient city goes back to 4000 BC but the major part of Aphrodisias was built in
the 1st-century BC. It was constructed to pay homage to Aphrodite, the goddess
of love and fertility, whom it takes its name from.
Inside the high city walls, stand beautiful buildings
covered by white and blue-gray marbles. The artistic style of the carvings on the
monuments were so magnificent that the city soon became the master of arts, and its fame
reached all sides of the ancient world. It constituted the greatest center of sculpturing,
with its "School of Sculpture" the marvelous works of
which are now displayed at the nearby museum.
An impressive sight in this city is the Aphrodisian theatre
dating to the Hellenistic period. The lovely Aphrodisias odeion is another, being one of
the excellent constructions in the area.
The Temple of Aphrodite is the
most prominent remains with its high columns stand erected. One of the best-preserved
stadiums in the world is also here, later used as an arena for gladiators.