Gentle Aegean breezes blow over the sapphire gulfs and
ruffle the silver-green leaves of olive trees along this
coast that witnessed the dawn of Western civilization.
Here stands Homer's Troy, one of the most evocative sites
of antiquity, recalling the epic struggle of Iliad. Of the
settlement mound's nine levels, the sixth is presumed to
be Homer's Troy.
To the South lie the ruins of great city of Pergamon,
center of learning and arts, which possessed one of the
greatest libraries of antiquity.
Not far from Pergamon's Acropolis are the ruins of
Asclepieion, one of the foremost medical centers of
In the center of Turkey's Aegean coast lie in the region
of ancient Ionia, with ruins of Ephesus, Priene, Miletos
and Didyma, all reflecting the timeless grace of Ionian
Few cities can claim that their names are so closely
linked with mankind's intellectual advancement as these
cities of Western Anatolia. For it was here that thinking
was first freed from superstition, here that the
foundation of experimental science were laid, and here
that "man became the measure of all things".
Chief among these Ionian cities was Ephesus, Roman capital
of Asia, of which St. Paul asked: "Is there a greater
city?" Along Ephesus' Arcadian Way, Mark Anthony and
Cleopatra once rode in procession, in the great theatre
St. Paul preached against the Ephesians' goddess Diana,
and in little house outside the city, which can still be
seen, Virgin Mary spent her last days.
The other Ionian city also had important historical roles:
Priene's chessboard layout is the oldest example of city
planning, Miletos gave its alphabet to the rest of
Classical world, and Didyma's Temple of Apollo with its
famous oracle was one of the most sacred places of
Contrasting with the tranquility of these ancient sites in
the gaiety of the seaside resorts. The capital of Turkish
Aegean Izmir, the birth-place of Homer. This modern city
with palm lined avenues, possesses one of the five finest
natural harbors on Mediterranean. Overlooking the city is
Kadifekale or Velvet Castle, originally built by one of
Alexander the Great Generals.
To the North of Izmir is the resort of Ayvalik, near which
is the high escarpment known as "Seytan Sofrasi"
or "Satan's Table", from which there is splendid
view of Aegean coast and islands.
Further to the South is the little resort town of Foca,
whose inhabitants founded such towns as Marseilles and
To the West of Izmir is the resort of "Cesme",
famous for its crystal sea and thermal springs, and to the
South is the attractive resort of "Kusadasi",
surrounded by many sandy bays.
in South-West Aegean are the resorts of Bodrum, Marmaris
and Fethiye. Bodrum, the ancient Halicarnassus, is
dominated by a castle built by Crusader Knights of St.
John, and today the little town is the special haunt of
young people. It was here that one of Seven Wonders of the
World, Tomb of Mausolos, once stood (another of Seven
Wonders was Temple of Diana at Ephesus).
Marmaris is in deep fjord like inlet, where the pine woods
come right down to the shore. Fethiye also lies in deep
bay, in the hills above which are intriguing Lycian rock
Even if nothing but the foundations of Wonders of the
World can now be seen, the natural wonder of the calcified
waterfall of Pamukkale (near Denizli) compensates for
this. Thermal spring waters, laden with calcium carbonate
running off the plateau's edge, have formed this sparkling
white petrified cascade of basins ringed by stalactites.
Thermal waters have been used since Roman times for their
therapeutic powers, and behind waterfall lie the ruins of
Roman city of Hierapolis.