Things to do in Izmir and Kusadasi, Turkey

Izmir is one of the provinces that I look forward to so much. As Izmir is very near to Greece and I haven't been to Greece before, so I'm excited to see some similarities here. Before I pay a visit, I do some research about this place and all the places are so pretty! And Kusadasi is just right next to Izmir, so it was great to visit two provinces in a row. After the packed itineraries on Istanbul and Cappadocia, today's itinerary is more relaxed.

About Izmir

Izmir is a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Known as Smyrna in antiquity, it was founded by the Greeks, taken over by the Romans and rebuilt by Alexander the Great before becoming part of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Today, its expansive archaeological sites include the Roman Agora of Smyrna, now an open-air museum. The hilltop Kadifekale, or Velvet Castle, built during Alexander’s reign, overlooks the city.


Ephesus is an ancient city in Turkey’s Central Aegean region, near modern-day Selçuk. Its excavated remains reflect centuries of history, from classical Greece to the Roman Empire – when it was the Mediterranean’s main commercial centre – to the spread of Christianity. Paved streets wind past squares, baths and monumental ruins. The Temple of Hadrian was built before 138 A.D. for Emperor Hadrian’s visit.

According to legend, Ephesus (also Ephesos) was founded by the tribe of the Amazons, great female warriors. The name of the city is thought to have been derived from "Apasas", the name of a city in the "Kingdom of Arzawa" meaning the "city of the Mother Goddess".

Some scholars maintain that the sign of the labrys, the double-axe of the mother goddess which adorned the palace at Knossos, Crete, originated in Ephesus. As the labrys was associated only with female deities in Crete, it is possible that it was originally associated with the goddess Artemis in Ephesus whose temple there was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

 Sirince Village

Şirince, known as Kirkintzes in Greek, is a village of 600 inhabitants in İzmir Province, Turkey, located about 8 kilometres east of the town Selçuk and about 8 kilometres from Ephesus. The area around the village has a history dating back to the Hellenistic period.

Şirince is a cute little village with a fun history, beautiful views, wonderful food, hospitality, and so much more. It's perhaps the perfect synthesis of a traditional Turkish village and a traditional Greek village. In fact, the town, whose name actually means "cute" in Turkish, used to be called "Çirkince," meaning "ugly." This was an ironic take on the beauty of the village and was also used to ward off others. As people wised up to how spectacular the village's location and architecture really were, they changed the name to Şirince in 1926.

The lush greenery of the natural setting of Şirince is complemented beautifully by the two-storey architecture of the buildings in the village. From afar the village looks like a painting, and its homes are as enchanting from afar as they are from up close. The homes are connected through windy, cobbled streets that are narrow and make you feel like you're travelling back in time to a world before cars and modern industry.

Finally, I got to try the ice cream prank here in Turkey. For your info, the ice cream prank is a tradition in Turkey, where are ice cream sellers make their customers reach for a cone before pulling it away and continuing the trick.

Fun fact : I was walking around with my mom on the street, and all of sudden, someone shout "Shini Lola" behind our back. We were so shocked and turned around, saw one local guy keep waving at me and said come try their ice cream lol. I guess he knew my name from my personalized hat because it got my name on it. There are so many ice cream guys who keep calling us to try their ice cream but in the end, we had chosen the guy who called my name because he look so sincere lol. When I arrived at his stall, the whole family kept happily shouting "Shini Lola" and waive at me hahaha as they already knew me for a long time. My mom and I tried the prank separately for the video purpose. It was fun and the ice cream portion was huge!

House of Virgin Mary

The House of the Virgin Mary is a Catholic shrine located on Mt. Koressos in the vicinity of Ephesus, 7 kilometres from Selçuk in Turkey.

The belief that the Virgin Mary had spent her last days in the vicinity of Ephesus and that she had died there, focused attention on a nun named Anna Katherina Emmerich who had lived in the late 18th century (1774-1820). The efforts to find the house were greatly influenced by her detailed descriptions of the Virgin Mary's coming to Ephesus, her life and her last home there and the characteristics of the city although she had never been to Ephesus.

This place of pilgrimage visited by thousands of tourists every year maintains its holiness for the Moslems as well as for the Christian world. People believing in the godly qualities of the Virgin Mary came here and drank from the water believed to be sacred they make wishes in the mystic and quiet atmosphere of Mount Aladag.

Location : Atatürk Mahallesi, Meryemana Mevkii, Küme Evler, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey.
Cost : Daily (8.00am- 6.00pm)

Asclepion of Pergamon

Pergamon Asklepion was an important health treatment and curing centre with the equivalent of Epidaris and Kos medical sanatoriums in ancient Greece and Rome. According to famous writer Pausianos, the sanatorium was first established in Pergamon in the 4th C BC as a health centre and was developed in the Hellenistic period. However, the most brilliant time was 2nd C AD.

In the Roman period, there was a sacred way as a short connection from the lower city to Asclepion about a mile long. Clients, sick people, used to walk barefoot on the sacred way in which both sides were full of stores selling images of artificial organs. When the sich reached at the end of the road with images in their hands, the doctors or physicians could partially understand the place of the aches in their bodies. The road was surrounded by porticos which were the shelter both in summer and in winter protecting them from sun and snow.

Location : Zafer, Site Sk. No:16, 35700 Bergama Osb/Bergama/İzmir, Turkey.

About Kusadasi
Kuşadası is a beach resort town on Turkey’s western Aegean coast. A jumping-off point for visiting the classical ruins at nearby Ephesus (or Efes), it’s also a major cruise ship destination. Its seafront promenade, marina, and harbour are lined with hotels and restaurants. Just offshore on Pigeon Island is a walled Byzantine castle that once guarded the town, connected to the mainland via a causeway.

Signature Blue Resort Hotel

The turquoise Aegen Seas meet the island of Samos where the sunset is the glamourous point, Signature Blue Resort Kusadasi.

This is one of my favourite hotels because the room is comfy, the breakfast is good and the view is beautiful!

Our room is facing the sea and the rooftop restaurant's view is amazing. You can just take the outside table to enjoy the sea breeze while taking breakfast.

Don't forget to visit the Spa Center as well to discover the Turkish Hammam tradition. Spending time in the steam room allows the pores of our skin to open up and get rid of dead cells which makes our skin softer. We had a good sleep that night after the steam.

Location : Yavansu, Esin Engin Sk. No:66, 09400 Kuşadası/Aydın, Turkey.

That's all today! There are only 3 posts left and I can't wait to show you guys soon. Stay tuned to my blog! Hopefully, you guys enjoy reading.

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