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One Day in Kusadasi, Turkey

One Day in Kusadasi, Turkey

EUROPE, SITES TO SEE, TOURS, TURKEY

We arrive at the port of Kusadasi our second stop on our Splendour of the Seas cruise.   With only one day in Kusadasi, it was a no brainer that we we wanted to go see Ephesus and the Library of Celsus.

 

Kusadasi, Turkey
Kusadasi, Turkey

 

So as part of our visit to Kusadasi we booked an excursion to the ancient city of Ephesus, which is located on Turkey’s western coast near Selcuk, a small town 30 minutes away from Kusadasi. Up in the hills around 4 miles away from Ephesus is the House of Virgin Mary, recognised by the Vatican as a place of pilgrimage. There’s a small chapel, built on the foundations of a humble dwelling where Mary’s believed to have spent her last days.  It is believed that St. John brought Virgin Mary to Ephesus after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and that the small house was built for her on Bulbul Mountain.

House of Virgin Mary

House of  Virgin Mary, Ephesus
House of Virgin Mary, Ephesus
Wall of Wishes House of Virgin Mary
Wall of Wishes House of Virgin Mary

 

You can collect water from the Holy Spring and leave a prayer in the form of a ribbon on the prayer grid. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate this serene setting though. Tucked high in the hills above the coast, it’s really something. From here we carried on to the world famous archaeological site of Ephesus for our walking tour. Ephesus is where you can walk amongst the ruins and get a feeling for what life must have been like in its heyday, when it was the fourth largest city in the eastern Roman Empire, famous for its Temple to Artemis, Ephesus was ruled by Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, so there is a rich history to explore and apparently only 25% has so far been excavated.

Ephesus, Turkey

Marble Street in Ephesus, Turkey
Marble Street in Ephesus, Turkey
Ruins of Ephesus
Ruins of Ephesus
The Pollio Fountain, Ephesus
The Pollio Fountain, Ephesus
Domitian Temple, Ephesus
Domitian Temple, Ephesus
Marble Streets of Ephesus on Curetes Street
Marble Streets of Ephesus on Curetes Street

The Library of Celsus

Today tourists flock to see the Library of Celsus, which was originally built to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus. a Greek philosopher. The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls. The builders used an optical illusion to make the building look larger than it was by making the columns at the side shorter than those at the center. Another quirkiness of the building is that the outside shows a two-story building, but the inside reading area was surrounded by three floors.

 

The Library of Celsus
The Library of Celsus
The Library of Celsus
Library of Celsus, Ephesus
Statue of Arete in the Library of Celsus, Ephesus
Statue of Arete in the Library of Celsus, Ephesus
Inside the Library of Celsus
Inside the Library of Celsus
Library of Celsus
Library of Celsus from the side
The ruins of Ephesus, with Library of Celsus in the background
The ruins of Ephesus, with Library of Celsus in the background

Temple of Hadrian

Temple of Hadrian was built before 138 A.D by P.Quintilius and was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian, who came to visit the city from Athens in 128 A.D The facade of the temple has four Corinthian columns supporting a curved arch, in the middle of which contains a relief of Tyche, goddess of victory.

 

Temple of Hadrian
Temple of Hadrian
Temple of Hadrian
Temple of Hadrian

Theatre of Ephesus

The other incredible structure in Ephesus is the Theatre, which could seat up to 25,000 people.  It was built during the third century BC during the reign of Lysimachos and was enlarged during the Roman Period to the size you see today.  The Theatre was not just used for concerts and plays, but it also features religious, political and philosophical discussions, and gladiators and animals also fought in this arena.

 

Theatre of Ephesus
Theatre of Ephesus
Theatre of Ephesus Stairs
Theatre of Ephesus Stairs

 

One can hardly leave Turkey without tasting some turkish food and doing a little shopping. Our tour guide brought us to Ege-Hali Carpets after our tour.   They do a demonstration of how silk threads are extracted from their cocoons and used in the making of handmade silk carpets.   They have a woman making rugs, and they show you the silk threading process.

 

Ege-Hali Carpets Demonstration
Ege-Hali Carpets Demonstration
Turkish Woman Making Rugs
Turkish Woman Making Rugs

 

They showed us many of the rugs that they made.  Some of these are very nice, with mixed silks and wool fabrics including an “authentic certificate of authenticity”. We ended buying these three rugs which were shipped to us directly via Federal Express.

 

Turkish Rugs
Turkish Rugs

 

After spending a fortune on our Turkish rugs we continued our shopping spree at the Kusadasi Bazaar where you can find souvenir shops, carpets, leather goods, clothes, fake handbags, shoes, jewelry and lamps.    The shops have people standing in the middle of the walking street and they will try to engage a conversation with you then bring you into their shop. ‘Hayir’ means no in Turkey – don’t be afraid to use it.  

 

Kasadasi Bazaar
Kasadasi Bazaar

 

I bought this beautiful lamp for our bathroom.

 

Turkish Lamp
Turkish Lamp
Travel Tips
  • Try to avoid large tourist group in Ephesus by going either early morning or late afternoon.
  • It’s very hot in the months of June-July, make sure to bring a hat, suntan lotion and water.
  • Don’t forget to bargain at the Kasadasi Bazaar.  Happy Shopping!!!

 

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

23 Comments

  1. Esther
    June 22, 2014 at 5:50 am
    Reply

    This post is great! I am going to travel to Turkey for the 2nd time this summer and I so hope to visit this place! Thanks for the great tips!
    (Found you through SundayTraveler)

    • Carmen
      June 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      Hi Esther. I hope you get a chance to go to Kasadasi. We really enjoyed our visit to Ephesus and pick up some nice things at the shops. I love my lamp.

  2. frankaboutcroatia
    June 22, 2014 at 6:30 pm
    Reply

    It’s amazing how many historical sites there are in Ephesus. And all of them seem really well preserved. Love the Library of Celsus. Hope to make it there one day. A cruise seems like a great option!

    • Carmen
      June 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Frank! Walking through the ancient city of Ephesus was amazing. The site is so well preserved … and big!!! It´s easy to imagine how they lived there. We enjoyed our cruise. It gave us a chance to see many cities that we wouldn’t of otherwise.

  3. Anna | slightly astray
    June 22, 2014 at 11:52 pm
    Reply

    Wow, all the ancient ruins look so beautiful. I can’t wait to stand underneath them myself and bask in their grandeur! I had no idea there was the theater too, so now that’s one more thing to be excited for :).

    • Carmen
      June 23, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Hi Anna! Ephesus is a truly extraordinary place if you like history and ruins. So much to see and the whole place is just fascinating.

      We went in June and it was scorching. Make sure you have loads of suncream, a big hat and lots of water. I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures and reading all about your trip. Have fun!!

  4. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey
    June 23, 2014 at 1:41 pm
    Reply

    Awesome! We are planning a trip back to Turkey for 2015 – there is just so much to see there. You sure made the most of your day. Big thanks for linking up with us to #SundayTraveler

    • Carmen
      June 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Hi SJ! We only wish we had longer to explore. A few hours wasn’t enough which is the downside of being on a cruise. It was an incredible experience to explore and see how well-preserved the ruins are. The excavations are still ongoing. I hope you get a chance to go in 2015!

  5. Corinne
    June 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm
    Reply

    Carmen, I love Efesus, but it looks hot and crowded the day you were there. Isn’t it an amazing site?

    • Carmen
      June 24, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Hi Corinne! Yes, it was a scorching hot day and wearing a black top wasn’t the smartest thing. I got sunburn. It wasn’t so crowded when we first got there. We had a great time and would love to go back some day.

  6. Rachel
    June 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm
    Reply

    The stonework of those ancient buildings looks fantastic, so intricate. Looks a really interesting place to explore too – you managed to pack a lot in! 🙂

    • Carmen
      June 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Rachel! Yes, we did as much as we could with the time we had. Its amazing how some of these ruins are still standing from thousands of years ago. I was so eager to see this place from the pictures I had seen. It was so worth it.

  7. Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats
    June 24, 2014 at 9:40 pm
    Reply

    A great place for viewing ancient sites! We may be heading to Turkey next year so enjoyed thinking about all the places we’d want to hit on a possible trip!

    • Carmen
      June 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Jessica! I’ve been to other historical ruins, but Ephesus is probably one of the best I’ve seen so far. The Library is mesmerizing. You can just gaze at it for hours. I hope you get a chance to stop in Kusadasi when you go to Turkey.

  8. Lauren
    June 25, 2014 at 1:54 am
    Reply

    I would love to visit these incredible historic sites!!! It would be so much fun to take a cruise here or do a land trip for a longer amount of time!

    • Carmen
      June 25, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Lauren, We really enjoyed our cruise. The downsize is the little time you spend onshore. Some of the places we stopped I wished we have at least two days to visit. I’ll have to make a point of going back there someday. 🙂

  9. Holly
    June 25, 2014 at 2:13 am
    Reply

    I loved reliving the trip we took last year through your post. Great pictures and recommendations! I think the only thing we didn’t end up doing was visit the Bazaar, but we got our fill of bargaining in Istanbul. So glad you were able to check out the Ege-Hali Carpet tour. Phenomenal work.

    • Carmen
      June 25, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Holly! The Bazaar was one of my favorites since I found some good buys after I bargained with them. We love our lamp and turkish rugs. It reminds me of the trip everyday I see them. It’s great that you had a chance to go to Istanbul as well. I wish we had more time to visit some of the other towns.

  10. What a great #SundayTraveler link! That was so fun! I loved your photos. I have not been to Turkey and have often wondered what it’s really like for travelers. So enjoyed this!

    • Carmen
      June 29, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Hi Heather! Thanks.. We just wished we had more time in Kusadasi to explore. I would of liked to travel to Istanbul but during the time we were there they were having very bad riots and it was not safe to us to go with the kids.

  11. Adelina | PackMeTo
    June 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm
    Reply

    I love the look of those ruins. Seems like a must visit for me. I’m a sucker for history and ruins. Very interesting illusions with the library. Those who built it must have felt really smart – the trolls of the day haha!

    • Carmen
      June 29, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Hi Adelina! You can spend quite a bit of time simply soaking in the history of the place. The Library is mesmerizing. You can just gaze at it in wonder for ages.

  12. Erika Bisbocci
    August 7, 2016 at 2:52 pm
    Reply

    Despite all the tourists, I’d love to visit the Library of Celsus and Ephesus. Beautiful photos of a place that is very high on my list!
    Erika Bisbocci recently posted…Visiting Borobudur and PrambananMy Profile

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