The name comes from 'kuş' (bird) and 'ada' (island) as the peninsula has the shape of a bird's head. Since Byzantine times it has been known as Ephesus Neopolis, Scala Nuova, becoming Kusadasi at the beginning of the 20th century.
The early settlements in Kusadasi is by the Lelegians and Carians who moved from the central Anatolia around the year of 3000BC. In the 10th century BC “12 Ionian Cities” Samos, Khios, Miletos, Priene, Ephesus, Teos, Erythrai, Priena, Klazonemi, Lebedos, Phokaia, Colophon, Smyrna, were established and reputed for the most developed cities of that age. The annual meeting place of the Ionian League, Panionian, was founded around Kusadasi. The city was invaded by Persians around the year of 546BC. In 200BC Kusadasi and its environs were dominated by the Roman Empire, and with the division of the Roman Empire, became a state of Byzantine. As the changes in climate caused serious earthquakes and changed the route of Caystros River, Ephesus was mostly destroyed and lost its prior importance and prosperity. The result had forced Byzantines to search for a new port and a new road that would be suitable for trading. The area around Neopolis was found convenient by the Greek, Jewish, and Armenian merchants as a port in place of the port of Ephesus. “Scala Nova” was the name of this new port which added a new trading center to the prior historical cities.
Kusadasi began to be ruled by the Ottoman Empire after the invasion of Sultan Mehmet Celebi in the year of 1413. During the reign of Ottomans, Kusadasi was introduced to glorious structures, giving a new look to its former spectacular view. Okuz Mehmet Pasa Caravanserai which is the principal of Ottoman architecture in the city,was built by the man of the same name. After the First World War, Kusadasi was invaded by the Greeks (1919). The city won a long struggle for in 1922 and became a part of Turkish Republic.
As for Heredot’s statement "Embracing the most beautiful sky and mildest climate of the world", the Aegean is home to dramatic gulfs and peninsulas, coves and golden beaches that line up one after the other… Kusadasi not only takes you back to the history of past civilizations, but also offers you an outstanding natural beauty. The picturesque town’s proximity to the ancient sites of Ephesus and The House of Virgin Mary, Didyma, Miletus, Priene, Aphrodisias and Pamukkale make it the ideal location from which to travel around sightseeing.
From the mid 1980s Kuşadası grew again into the centre of mass tourism that we have today. With the juxtaposition of eastern mysticism and western modernism, Kusadasi is a perfect place that attracts you both for fun and the experience of the culture. All this helps to make your spending spree a memorable experience.