Kuşadası is county of Aydın City. As Kuşadası is located on the northwest of Aydın, it is 71 km and 95 km far from Aydın and İzmir City centers, respectively.
Kuşadası County located on the Aegean shore is one of the prominent tourism spots of Turkey.
The surface area of the county is 264 Km2 and the registered population is 103.849 people, according to census carried out in 2016.
It is presumed that the first establishment was on the Yılancı Cape near Kuşadası by Ionians under the name of “Neopolis” subject to ruling of Ephesus.
The city was founded on the skirts of Pilavtepe where known as Andızkulesi first. Then, Venetians and Genoese dominated economically these Byzantium shore after a while. Because of difficulty in access to the county, Kuşadası was moved from location of Andızkulesi to current position called as Yeni İskele (Scala Nuova).
Kuşadası Bay named by the county and its periphery were known as art and culture centers. This territory has been home for various civilizations since the ancient times.
Whereas Lelegs were ruling the area around 30000 B.C., Aiols and Ions ruled around 11th Century B.C. and 9th Century B.C., respectively. The area between Greater Menderes and Gediz Rivers was referred as Ionia in the ancient times. Merchant and sailor Ions prospered in short period of time owing to overseas commercial activities and gained superior political strength. This civilization established 12 cities known as “Ionian Colonies” in the history.
Kuşadası was one of the important harbors of Anatolia as a gate to Mediterranean in the antic times. It was being referred as “Neopolis” in this period. By the time around 7th Century B.C., Lydian whose capital was Sardes dominated the region.
Persian ruling of the area starting from 546 B.C. prevails until 334 B.C when Alexander the Great captured whole Anatolia. Thereafter, a brand-new era, a brand-new art and culture understanding as a synthesis of both Helen and domestic Anatolian civilizations dominated the territory; and this era has been called as “Hellenistic Period”. Ephesus, Miletus, Prynne and Didyma were the most popular cities of this period.
By the 2nd Century B.C., Romans conquered the region. In the preliminary period of Christianity, upon migration of mother Mary and St.Jean, one of twelve apostles, to Ephesus, this area became a sacred place. Miletus was center of episcopalism in the Christianity period and it was called “Ania” in the Byzantium period. Kuşadası became a harbor used by pirates in the medieval age. Then around 15thCentury, Venetians and Genoese named the port as “Scala Nuova”.
Then in 1086, upon Suleiman Shah I conquered the region for the Seljuk State, Turkish rule commenced. This port became an export gate to Aegean Sea through caravan connections deep into the Anatolia. However, Seljuk rule did not last long because of the 1st Crusader Campaign and the region was captured by Byzantium once again. While Menteşoğulları was controlling the region by the end of 1280s, Ottomans’ first conquest was around 1397-1402. This was followed by ruling of Aydınoğulları in the period of 1402-1425. Ottomans’ permanent dominance over the region commenced by 1425.
Kuşadası was captured by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet I (Çelebi) in 1413. After this period, the county remained in Turkish ruling completely and Turkish artifact buildings started to fill in the county. Of these artifacts, today’s Caravansary and fortification walls surrounding the county were built by Mehmet Pasha.
In its ancient time, Kuşadası had only three gates. Today, one of these gates is located between Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha Street and Kahramanlar Street and separates them from each other. Upper section of this gate is used as City Traffic District Commandership. The other doors do not exist today.
Isle of Küçükada and Güvencinada, an important military base in the Byzantium period, renovated extensively in 1834 and its famous fortress was built, which constitutes the origin of the name of “Kuşadası” county.
During the Independence War, Kuşadası was invaded by Italians in the period of 1919-1921; then upon their retreat, occupied by Greece. Finally, it was cleared from foreigners on September 7th, 1922.