Kusadasi – Guvercinada Castle
Guvercin Adası, or “Pigeon Island” in English, is in the migration path of birds, and was previously known as Bird Island. Later, the nearby town “Kusadasi” (or Island of Birds) got the island’s name. But sometime during the Ottoman reign, the island started to be called “Pigeon Island,” and it retains that name today.
Even before the Ottoman period, the island was being utilized as a fortress against attacks by sea.
A Byzantine castle or fortress was built high atop the island, with some walls and towers remaining today. The castle was known as “Pirate Castle,” although there may be conflicting opinions as to why. One source states that “Ironically, legend has it that during the 1500’s the island was used by Kheir-ed-din Barbarossa (Ottoman admiral and privateer, or pirate, depending on point of view) as a base from which to operate throughout the Mediterranean Sea, and also as a place to stash his treasure.” However, some Turkish guide sources contend that it was actually used as a citadel against pirates.
The causeway to the island makes it very accessible for day trips where several cafes serve refreshments and offer a splendid seaside retreat to view a glorious sunset. The “Citadel of Küçük Ada” now boasts a lighthouse, restaurant, and nightclub. For bird lovers, there is an aviary with several birdhouses – migrating birds still make use of the island. Day visitors might enjoy diving around the huge foundation rocks and those scattered nearby in the sea because they give sanctuary to a wide variety of sea life to view.
Guvercinada, about a kilometer west of the docks, is one of the easiest-to-find landmarks in the city. You can get to the island with the rental vehicle you’ll get from Rental Car Kusadasi.