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Kuşadası can trace settlements as for back as 3.000 years. First it was the Lelegs, a warrior race within the region, and this was followed by the Aiolls around 1.100 BC and the Ions around 900 BC. The Ions were dominant in the region, and not unnaturally renamed it Ionia.

They controlled the region between the Menderes and Gediz rivers and used the port facilities at Kuşadası to become powerful traders and sailors. In a short dynasty day established great local political power based on overseas trade and established 12 cities called the "Ion Colonies".

Kuşadası had become established as one of the principal ports of Anatolia opening in to the Meditarranean Sea and was fought over by rival groups. The Ions for example fall to the Lydians ( who were originally based in Sardes ) around 7.000 BC and they renamed the area Neapolice, but in turn they fell to Persians.

Persian domination began in 546 BC and continued until Alexander the Great captured the entire Anatolian region in 334 BC. This heralded a new era, a synthesis of Greek and Anatolian Civilizations, and lead to brand new artistic and culture understandings, in what has been termed the "Hellenistic Era". Ephesus, Miletus, Priene and Didim were the most famous cities of this era and renowned for their art and culture. 

In the second century BC, control changed again, and the Roman Empire established their dominance in the region. However it was in the transition from BC to the first years of Christianity that the region became an important religious center when the Madonna or Virgin Mary ( the mother of Christ ) and St. Jean, one of apostles of Christ, come to Ephesus and settled there. Its importance as an outpost of Christianity was reinforced by St Paul's letter to the Ephesians, the inhabitants of Ephesus, which is close to Kuşadası.

In the Byzantine period Kuşadası become known as "Ania", and in the middle age became notorious as a pirate refuge! By the 15th century Kuşadası had been renamed, yet again, and was now more commonly known as "Scala Nuova", or new port by the Venetians and Genoveses, where it was also used as a transit point for the crusades .

Turkish influence in the region had originally started when Süleyman the First added the region to the Selçuk State in 1086. The region became an export door for caravan routes which were opening in the Eagean Region during this era. But Selçuk and Süleyman's dominance was short lived and the whole area became a transit point for the crusades. The crusades build and important military base, topped of with a castle, known as Güvencinada, which as restored in 1834,and the turn Kuşadası comes from this castle. The crusaders however were not generally interested in the region outside the town, and it changed hands many times during this period!

At the end of the 1280's Menteşeoğulları ruled and during the 1300's the Ottomans became dominant. Although it was captured by Aydınoğulları between 1402-1425, the Ottomans recaptured it again 1425.

Kuşadası was clearly an important acquisition and it added to the Ottoman dominance established by Mehmet the First (Çelebi) in 1413, Since which date it has remained under Turkish control until the present day. It has been this stability which has allowed the arts to flourish in the city, examples of which are avaible for all to see today.




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