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AYDIN

Heart of Fig Country                                 Population: 265,000

ayid1Old name: Güzelhisar

Sitting in a valley between the Aydın and Menteşe mountains, at first glance Aydın doesn't look a very promising place for visitors, and the muggy heat of summer can be very oppressive. It is, however, a good base for exploring some under-visited archaeological sites in the vicinity.

Those who stay here also discover that beyond the purely modern facade there still survives a smidgeon of an old city just waiting to be discovered.

During the Turkish War of Independence there was fierce fighting between the Greeks and the Turks during the Battle of Aydın from 27 June to 4 July 1919. Huge damage was done to the historic infrastructure at that time, a story recounted in Jeremey Seal's wonderful Meander.

Around town

Most of the more interesting old buildings in town can be found in the neighborhood behind the bust of General Kazım Karabekir (1882-1948) who fought at Gallipoli in the First World War and then took part in the Turkish War of Independence.

In particular, you should look out for the ruins of the enormous Zincirli Han (1708), still partially in use today, and for the lovely Cihanoğlu Cami, built on a raised platform in 1756.

Badly damaged in the 1920s, it was restored in the 1950s at which time its medrese (seminary) was turned into a student dormitory. The şadırvan (ablutions fountain) is absolutely exquisite. Outside a vaulted walkway will remind some vsiitors of the cloisters attached to British cathedrals.

If you will be visiting the local archaeological sites it's also worth visiting the fantastic new Archaeology Museum (closed Mondays) which houses finds from Tralles, Nysa, Magnesia ad Meandrum and Alabanda as well as a reconstruction of the Panionian Temple, only discovered in the 2000s. It's in a hopeless location on the outskirts of town behind Forum Aydın which means it gets virtually no visitors. As of May 2015 Google Maps was still showing its old town-centre location too. aydin2

Sleeping

Anemon Hotel 

Tel: 0256-226 0033

Aydın Park Hotel

Hotel Orhan

Somewhat old-fashioned but welcoming unstarred hotel near the ruins of old Aydın so good for sightseeing. Equipped with air-con, vital in Aydın's muggy summer. The breakfast room is not exciting but the simits are a nice touch.

Tel: 0256-212 1713

Hotel Özlü

This 3* offering right on Adnan Menderes Bulvarı (the palm-lined main drag) features slightly over-the-top decor and could be a bit noisy, but it's friendly and in a reasonable location for sightseeing.

Tel: 0256-225 3371

ayid2Travel info

The quickest way to get to Aydın from Istanbul is to fly to İzmir and then catch an onward bus.

Alternatively, you can take the İDO fast ferry across the Sea of Marmara from Yenikapı to Bandırma and then catch a bus to İzmir and onto Aydın.

The new Aydın otogar is in a ridiculously inconvenient location right outside town (5km) on the road to Muğla. The köy garaj for local services has also been moved there, lumbering Aydın with one of the least user-friendly public transport systems in the country. 

Local buses run from Aydın to Davutlar, Kuşadası, Nazilli, Selçuk, Söke, Ortaklar,  and Ödemiş (limited, timetabled service). There is no service to Bayındır

Given the problems with the otogar you might want to consider taking the train to İzmir, Nazilli or Denizli. It leaves from the very central İstasyon Meydanı and tickets are pleasingly cheap. 

To get to the museum catch a bus to Forum Aydın from Adnan Menderes Bulvarı, the main drag. Üniversite buses go there. Returning, cross under the bridge in front of the Forum and look for a bus heading to Çarşı (the town centre).

To get to Tralles catch a bus to the Kemer Mahallesi from Adnan Menderes Bulvarı and the walk from Kemer Meydanı. 

Day trip destinations

İzmir

Kuşadası

Nazilli

Nysa

Ödemiş

Selçuk

Tralles

Yenipazar

Read more: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-188110-aydin-and-tralles-%E2%80%93-the-two-in-one-town.html

Ayid3The Zincirli Hanı has now been restored

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