Izmir, historically Smyrna, is Turkey's third most populous city and the country's largest port after Istanbul. It is located along the outlying waters of the Gulf of Izmir, by the Aegean Sea.
Kusadasi is a modern resort town of Turkish western coast and it houses one of the busiest cruise ports of Mediterranean thanks to its proximity to many major historical sites in its vicinity, such as Ephesus ancient city, House of Virgin Mary and many others.
Ephesus, lying on the western coast of Turkey, was not only the former capital city of the once immense province of Asia of the Roman Empire for centuries but also the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world; The Great temple of Artemis from the 6th century BC. Ephesus with no doubt is one of the best preserved and most excavated of all ancient Roman cities. One visiting the site today can see the largest theatre building of the ancient world which had a capacity of 25.000 people, the library of Celcus which was one of the greatest libraries of the antiquity and many other monuments along its white marble streets.
Only 6 km up the hills from the ancient site of Ephesus, there lies the house which is believed to be the last residence of Holy Virgin. This small house in this most beautiful forest of Aegean was declared to be a Christian shrine by Papacy in 1950. Since then it has been a pilgrimage site of primary importance for the Christian world and visited by millions each year.