The recently renovated castle on Pigeon Island is a true must-see on your list when you visit Kusadasi. Pigeon Island is the symbol of Kusadasi. The island actually gave “Kusadasi” (kuş-ada-sı) its name. In fact, Kusadasi (Bird Island) is the original name of the island. And the original name of the town of Kusadasi was “Scala Nova”, meaning New Harbour. Later the name Kusadasi was given to the town, and the name of the island became Pigeon Island.
Pigeon Island is located at the Gulf of Kusadasi and serves as a natural protection of the harbour. In the past, the island was not connected to the mainland of Kusadasi. Late 50-ties a pier was built connecting Pigeon Island to Kusadasi downtown. The natural looking pier makes it possible to stroll up the island. There is a large, natural stone fortress on the island, called the Pigeon Island Castle.
The people of Kusadasi usually go out for a walk on the beach during sunset, after finishing work or during early morning hours. The pier and Pigeon Island are popular places to take a walk. It is one of the go-to spots for breath-taking sunset photos. The Pigeon Island Castle is wonderfully illuminated at night, creating a fascinating view on the island. It clearly landmarks Kusadasi from all angles.
The History of Pigeon Island
Pigeon Island was not only of importance to Kusadasi but also to the sea traders of Genoa (Italy). After being conquered by the Ottomans in 1390, the fortress was constructed with the aim to protect Kusadasi against attacks from the sea. During the Ottoman period, the fortress served as a kind of police station against pirates. For this reason, Pigeon Island Castle is also nicknamed Pirate Castle.
While visiting Pigeon Island, you can see the Pigeon Island Castle as well as the inner fortress, built by Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha. The impressive 3 metres, stone walls, built by Ilyas Aga, also protected the island from the notorious Moorish Rebellion. Pigeon Island Castle was closed for restoration for three years and opened again to visitors in early 2017.
Visit Pigeon Island
When you travel to Kusadasi, be sure to also visit Pigeon Island and watch the sunset here at least once before leaving Kusadasi. The entry to Pigeon Island is free.
You can observe the shelters made for birds at the centre of the fortress whilst strolling around the island. You can also see rabbits and turtles. Inside the fortress, you’ll have the opportunity to see a whale skeleton that has been found in the past years and has been preserved. There are also some models of very old sea vessels at display.
In addition to spending some quiet time sitting at the dock the island offers your the most ideal view point to take panoramic photos of Kusadasi. You may even decide to pop on one of the comfortable tour boats for a mesmerising sundowner experience.