After a week on the beach in Kusadasi, it was time for me to move to the next destination during my travel across Turkey in July and August 2019. I originally planned to go directly to Antalya, to spend some more time by the sea. But when I checked how to go there, I discovered that there were no direct buses from Kusadasi. I first had to go to Aydin and then travel to Antalya.
So, taking into account that I had to stop in Aydin, I decided to stay there for two nights. That way, I would shorten the long journey and would see one more place in Turkey. Plus, there was one more very important reason why I decided to stay in Aydin – I wanted to have some rest. It was a very good decision and although I did get some respite from being on the beach, I did not escape the heat.
Aydin is not a big place, its population is approximately 250000 people, so it’s much smaller than Istanbul, Bursa and Izmir that I visited prior to coming to Kusadasi and Aydin. That was also one reason why I wanted to stay in Aydin. I wanted a place that was not going to be a hard work, somewhere where I could spend a couple of days resting. There was still a lot of travelling ahead of me and I didn’t want to burn out, especially as I had already spent 3 intensive weeks in Turkey by then.
As you will see in this post, Aydin is not like other cities that I visited, but that’s perfectly fine. I did not choose Aydin because of its historical heritage. However, it is important to mention that Aydin suffered greatly in the Greco-Turkish war. The same as Izmir, it was completely destroyed and that’s visible. Today, you can mainly see new constructions and an occasional historical structure that somehow survived that destruction.
In photos above and below, you can see Aydin’s main street – Adnan Menderes Boulevard. Basically, that’s the way the city is now.
HOTEL IN AYDIN
I stayed in an excellent 3 star Efeler Hotel, that I found on booking.com. I wanted a reasonably priced and comfortable hotel, in a city centre. This hotel was a perfect choice. It is at the beginning of the Adnan Menderes Boulevard and to reach the city centre, I walked along this boulevard for approximately 15 minutes.
I also have to mention that the Efeler Hotel, although rated as 3-stars, was much better than better rated hotels where I previously stayed in western Europe. If I ever go back to Aydin, I will choose this hotel again. It was really perfect.
WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE IN AYDIN?
The centre of Aydin is small and one day is perfectly sufficient to see everything comfortably. As I said, my hotel was at one end of Aydin’s main street – Adnan Menderes Boulevard. There are coffee shops and also some restaurants in this street where you can sit down and have something to eat or drink. The main square – Kent Meydani – is at the other end. That’s where you will find the most notable structures, which I am going to mention in this post.
1. AYDIN TOWN HALL AND ATATÜRK MONUMENT
Kent Meydani is a very large square, dominated by the Town Hall and that’s also where you will see the Atatürk Monument. As you can see in a photo below, the Turkish flag and the image of the Father of the Nation proudly cover the municipality building.
2. INDEPENDENCE MONUMENT
The Independence Monument is directly opposite the Town Hall, but you can’t see that in a photo below. As a matter of fact, you will see it in a photo that I took in the evening and you will get an idea of the square and its overall layout. This monument, erected in 1926, refers to the Greco-Turkish war and it commemorates a battle in which the Turks liberated Aydin from the invading Greeks.
3. THE FOUNTAIN
There is also a very large fountain in the square. It comes to life in the evening, with its beautiful illumination.
4. BEY MOSQUE (1683)
Probably, because of its position, the most prominent mosque in Aydin is the Bey Mosque.
The mosque is directly opposite the Town Hall and the fountain that I have just mentioned and it completes the main square.
This late 17th century structure is a perfect example of the classical Ottoman architecture.
I visited this mosque in the morning, before the first afternoon prayer. There was no one inside, so I explored it leisurely and took some photos.
It’s fascinating that in a place like Aydin, where you wouldn’t normally expect to see much, you can find this more than 300 years old historical structure. But, the Bey Mosque is not the only such building in Aydin.
5. RAMAZAN PASHA MOSQUE (1594)
At a short distance from the Bay Mosque, there is the Ramazan Pasha Mosque, in Doğu Gazi Boulevard. Although the inscription at the entrance of the mosque states that it is from 1594, that’s not entirely true.
Indeed, the original construction was from 1594, but it was completely destroyed in an earthquake in 1899.
Sökeli Halil Pasha rebuilt it in 1901, so the structure that we see today is only 118 years old.
As soon as you enter the mosque you notice that it’s different and that it doesn’t look like the Bay Mosque.
The interior decoration of the Ramazan Pasha Mosque is completely baroque.
Anyhow, I still think that this beautiful mosque is an important part of the Ottoman heritage in Aydin.
The time of its reconstruction was a twilight period of the Ottoman Empire and this mosques represents the architectural style and decorative tastes of that particular era and that’s why it is precious.
6. BARBAROS KAPALI MARKET
The Barbaros Kapali Market is directly opposite the Ramazanpasha Mosque. In Aydin, everything is close together.
In Turkish, capali means covered. So, as you can see in these photos, this is a covered market. It is relatively small, but at the same time very interesting to see.
Its name comes from Barbaros, a famous figure in the Ottoman history. Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha was an admiral of the Ottoman fleet. Under his lead, the Ottoman navy became a dominant power in the Mediterranean, in the 16th century.
There are also shops that sell more formal attire, such as opulent wedding dresses that you can see in a photo below.
7. ZINCIRLI HAN (1708)
Some other important historical buildings that you can see in Aydin are part of the Nasuh Pasha Complex. One of them is the Zincirli Han, constructed in 1708 and after renovation in 2016, it reopened as a hotel.
It’s a beautiful structure and most interestingly it now has the same hotel function that it had centuries ago, when it was first built. Nasuh Pasha was the governor of Aydin between 1703 and 1714, then he became the governor of Damascus.
8. NASUH PASHA COMPLEX (1708)
Immediately next to the Zincirli Han, there is the Nasuh Pasha Complex. In fact, the building that you can see in a photo below is a school. It was also constructed in 1708 and renovated in 2010.
I entered without knowing that it was a school and there were children running around. I took a photo of the fountain in the middle of the complex and left. Clearly, I could not visit the rest of the complex.
9. NASUH PASHA HAMMAM (1708)
One more historical structure next to the Nasuh Pasha Complex is the Nasuh Pasha Hammam.
Also built in 1708, it’s a working bath-house. It was very hot that day in Aydin and certainly the last thing I wanted was to spend time inside of a hot hammam. Interestingly, it is one bath, shared both by men and women. But, men can use it between 7am and 12am and between 5pm and 11pm. Women are allowed between 12am and 5pm. Hammams normally have separate sections for men and women, with separate entrances.
9. ESKI YENI MOSQUE (1585)
Close to the Nasuh Pasha Complex, there is the Eski Yeni or Hasan Çelebi Mosque.
Unfortunately, I did not visit this mosque because when I arrived there the early afternoon prayer was in progress.
At the same time it was oppressively hot, the outside temperature was 38°C. So, I just wanted to come back to my hotel, rest until the evening and wait for the temperature to became slightly more bearable. In any case, if you go to Aydin, this is one more historical building that you could visit.
10. KAZIM KARABEKIR STREET
Also in the centre, you should visit Kazim Karabekir street. It’s a lively and colourful pedestrian street, with coffee shops and restaurants.
One evening I had my dinner there, in one of the locantasi type restaurants.
AYDIN BY NIGHT
As I have already mentioned, it was very hot in Aydin. I came back to the hotel where I stayed until the evening, then I went for dinner and for a walk in the centre. I did get some rest from the beach between Kusadasi and Antalya, but unfortunately I could not escape the heat.
What’s very good about Aydin is that its centre is small, which means that I easily went back in the evening. I did the same in Konya, but not in other places. In Istanbul, once I came back to the hotel, I remained there, otherwise it would’ve been too much of a hard work to go back to the historical area to take nocturnal photos.
I am very glad that I went for a walk after my dinner. At that time, there were many people in the centre, enjoying the warm evening, especially after the oppressive day time heat. In a photo below, you can see the Independence Monument and, in the background, the Aydin Town Hall.
Also, the illuminated Bay Mosque is nearby.
Probably, the biggest attraction was the fountain that was changing colours with each new spray of water.
I am very glad that I visited Aydin. It was a perfect stop, easy to visit and interesting. Certainly, it is not a touristic place, but if you get the opportunity to spend a day there, do it.