Since the late 1970s Kusadasi has grown from a fishing village into a sprawling tourist center, serving thousands of tourists who flock here to visit the nearby ruins of Ephesus and enjoy the beaches. Despite an incredible building boom and an influx of shops, Kusadasi has managed to retain much of its original charm.
The major attraction remains the archaeological site of ancient Ephesus, considered to be the most important one in all of Turkey. The history of this ancient city dates as far back as the 10th century B.C.; many of the remarkable structures seen today are the result of an extraordinary excavation and restoration program. As you walk along the white marble road, grooved by ancient chariot wheels, the two-story Library of Celsus presents a striking sight. In addition, there are temples, houses of noblemen and community buildings lining the ancient streets. Nestled into the mountainside is the 25,000-seat amphitheater, still used today for performances during the Festival of Culture and Art.
Ephesus was also a significant center of the early Christian world; this is evident from the remains of the Basilica of St. John and the house of the Virgin Mary, located in the nearby hills. The adjacent town of Seljuk is the site of the renowned Archaeological Museum; it contains an amazing collection of treasures unearthed at Ephesus and other archaeological locations in the area.