In the last 10 years Turkey has become a firm favourite amongst Brits looking for an exotic holiday and a great shopping bargain. Either you don’t fancy it or you go and love it!
Popular resorts like Marmaris and Bodrum accommodate the masses while Olu deniz and Icemeler attract the scenic holiday maker due to its beautiful landscape. Surprisingly Turkey is one of the greenest countries in the world due to the sheer volume of underground springs and plenty receives rain during the winter months. The country hosts breath-taking scenery with the colour you’d expect in Lancashire.
It’s this water that accounts for the huge amount of natural minerals across the country. While gold mines are few but still active, the amount of Amethyst, Quartz and Onyx is staggering and available for a tenth of the price in the UK. In fact Turkey is the biggest producer of Onyx in the world.
Kusadasi is the oldest holiday resort in Turkey and visiting by cruise is an excellent way to dip in and out of this hugely popular resort. While tourism dominates the streets, Kush’ also has an established feel to it – almost industrial like. There are many sides to the locals and as they go about their daily business you encounter the witty banter around the bazaar and the polite friendliness within the bars and restaurants as you enjoy an apple tea.
While the local Dolmus ferry people around the resort, the many local shops provide excellent bargains from named clothes to leather goods, gold and hand woven carpets. As you shop around, English Stirling is always a good currency to barter with and in demand. The locals themselves welcome visitors from all over the globe and many speak multiple languages to accommodate.
One of the world’s true great wonders
The ancient city of Ephesus is just 30 minutes’ drive from Kusadasi and one of the most sought after shore excursions in the world. Home to the Ephesians, the Persians and finally the Romans, Ephesus became the royal home of one certain Cleopatra herself.
The city itself is still being uncovered after 45 years of excavation and the famous Roman mosaics are now available to the public to enjoy. As you enter you walk the original streets and take a seat in the smaller amphitheatre which was once home to the local bustling traders eager to sell their produce.
One of the most famous sights is the Celsius library in the heart of Ephesus. This amazing structure was rebuilt when Ephesus was first uncovered and dominates the view as you stroll down hill to the heart of the city. This excursion really captures Roman life and you feel like you’re in a film as you enter the large amphitheatre, second only in the world to Pompeii itself. Your tour guide brings your surroundings to life and the sheer size of the amphitheatre is very impressive as you look across the horizon to where the sea once met the city. The world’s first street sign is in-printed in stone in the main street and directs you to the Romans brothel and baths.
While many regard Ephesus as one of the wonders of the world, the true wonder is the statue of Artemis which was discovered at Ephesus in the early excavation stage. This statue is regarded as one of the most treasured historical finds to date and is displayed between the world’s history museums.
On the outskirts of Ephesus lies one of the most religious findings to date. Excavated and Re constructed in the early nineteen hundreds – the house of the Virgin Mary was confirmed by the late Pope John Paul in the mid 80’s after the world’s best historians traced Mary to the edge of the Roman capital city. You cannot help but feel a bit spiritual as you enter the small house to light a candle and say a few personal words.
Kusadasi and Ephesus capture the life and soul of what was once Asia Minor through the expertise of the tour guide, the local’s way of life and the breath taking scenery.
Next time you’re looking for a cruise that offers something different, an Itinerary with Kusadasi on board will take you on a personal, spiritual and historical journey never to be forgotten.
By Ian Lewis