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Aydın is a city in and the seat of Aydın Provincemarker in Turkeymarker's Aegean Region. Its population was 165,000 in 2007.

Main features

Aydın city is located at the heart of the lower valley of Büyük Menderes River (ancient Meander River) and commands the region down to the Aegean Seamarker, along a valley which was famous its fertility and productivity since ancient times. Figs remain the province's best-known crop, although other agricultural products are also grown intensively and the city has some light industry.

At the crossroads of a busy transport network of several types, a six-lane motorway connects Aydın to İzmirmarker, Turkey's second portuary center in less than an hour, and in less still to the international Adnan Menderes Airportmarker located along the road between the two cities. The region of Aydın also pioneered the introduction of railways into Turkey in the 19th century and still has the densest railroad network.

The province of Aydın is also where a number of internationally known historic sites and centers of tourism are concentrated.

The weather is hot in summer, and warm all year round.

Aydın also has the distinction of being the largest urban center in Turkey administered by a female mayor, Mrs. Özlem Çerçioğlu elected in 2009.


Once the ancient city of Tralles and then Güzelhisar or Guzel Hissar, the city was later named after the Anatolian Turkish Beylik of Aydınoğlu, who ruled here in the 14th century.



Ongoing archaeological excavation works at the site of ancient Tralleis.
In ancient Greek sources, the name of the city is given as "Anthea" and "Euanthia". During the Seleucid period, it received the name "Antiochia" (Greek: Αντιόχεια). At other times it was also called "Seleucia ad Maeandrummarker" and "Erynina". In Roman and Byzantine times, it was known as Tralles or Tralleis, and was one of the largest Aegean cities in antiquity.

According to Strabo Tralles was founded by the Argivesmarker and Trallians, a Thracian tribe. Along with the rest of Lydia, the city fell to the Persian Empire. After its success against Athensmarker in the Peloponnesian War, Spartamarker unsuccessfully sought to take the city from the Persians, but in 334 BC, Tralles surrendered to Alexander the Great without resistance and therefore was not sacked. Alexander's general Antigonus held the city from 313 to 301 BC and later the Seleucids held the city until 190 BC when it fell to Pergamon. From 133 to 129 BC, the city supported Aristonicus of Pergamon, a pretender to the Pergamene throne, against the Romans. After the Romans defeated him, they revoked the city's right to mint coins.

Tralles was a conventus for a time under the Roman Republic, but Ephesusmarker later took over that position. The city was taken by rebels during the Mithridatic War during which many Roman inhabitants were killed. Tralles suffered greatly from an earthquake in 26 BC. Augustus provided funds for its reconstruction after which the city thanked him by renaming itself Caesarea.

Strabo describes the city as a prosperous trading center, listing famous residents of the city, including Pythodorus (native of Nysa), and orators Damasus Scombrus and Dionysocles. Several centuries later, Anthemius of Tralles, architect of the Hagia Sophiamarker in Constantinoplemarker, was born in Tralles.


An early bishop Polybius (fl. ca. 105) is attested by a letter from Saint Ignatius of Antioch to the church at Tralles. The city was officially Christianized, along with the rest of Caria, early after the conversion of Constantine, at which time the see was confirmed. Among the recorded bishops are: Heracleon (431), Maximus (451), Uranius (553), Myron (692), Theophylactus (787), Theophanes and Theopistus both ninth century, and John (1230). Tralles remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church (Tralles in Asia or Trallianus in Asia); the seat is vacant following the death of the last bishop in 1974. [198279]

The Turkish era

After the Battle of Manzikertmarker in 1071, the Byzantine Empire was in civil chaos throughout Anatolia. The Seljuk took Tralles and it was integrated into the Sultanate of Rüm. Manuel I Comnenus retook the city for Byzantium in the later half of the twelfth century. It remained Byzantine until it was finally taken by the Turks in 1282.

The Beylik of Aydınoğlu was founded in the region in 1307 and ruled the lands north of Büyük Menderes River up to and including İzmirmarker. The principality was taken over by the rising Ottoman Empire, for the first time shortly before the Battle of Ankara between the Ottomans and Tamerlane in 1402, and then finally in 1425, Tamerlane having given back the province to the sons of Aydın in the interval.

Aydın was the principal administrative center for the Vilayet (province in the Ottoman administrative system) till 1850, covering the areas corresponding to Turkey's current Aydın and Muğlamarker provinces, as well as the southern portion of the İzmir Provincemarker. Inside that Vilayet, the Sandjak ('district' in the Ottoman administrative system) of Aydın used to correspond more or less to today's Aydın Provincemarker. In 1850 the provincial seat moved to İzmir, which had started to outgrow Aydın city in size as it became a booming port of international trade, although the province's name remained "the Vilayet of Aydın" until the foundation of the Republic of Turkeymarker.

In the 19th century Aydın continued to benefit from its location at the center of the fertile Menderes valley, and its population grew. At that time, besides figs and olive oil, which were the traditional crops of the region, cotton also grew in importance, with many European investors seeking alternative sources of cotton at the time of the American Civil War. The first railroad in the Ottoman Empire was thus built by the Britishmarker Levant Company connecting Aydın to Smyrna (now İzmirmarker), the line was opened on 23 September, 1856. The railway station that they built remains an impressive structure in the city of Aydın.

The Greek Occupation of Aydın

During the Greco-Turkish War , violent fighting took place in and around Aydın [Αϊδίνιο], especially in the beginning phase of the war, during the Battle of Aydın between 27 June and 4 July 1919. The civilian population of the city, principally Turkish as well as Greek, suffered heavy casualties. Neither could the city's Jewish population, 3,500-strong in 1917 go unscathed.

The "efe" resistance

Aydın remained in ruins until it was re-captured by the Turkish army on 7 September 1922. Resistance warriors such as the efe Yörük Ali, who were based in the surrounding mountains and conducted a guerrilla warfare against the Greek army, became heroes in Turkey. Following the war and the foundation of the Republic of Turkey the Greeks of Aydın were exchanged with Turks living in Greecemarker under the 1923 agreement for the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

Modern Aydın

Recent decades have seen Aydın going beyond its traditional role as a hub for agricultural products, and developing a diversified economy increasingly based on services. One event in this process was the opening in 1992 of Adnan Menderes University, named after a favorite son of Aydın, Adnan Menderes, Turkey's prime minister during the 1950s. The pace of the economy is determined by the city's location, at only an hour's drive from the seashore. Many residents of Aydın typically have summer houses and investments in or around such centers of tourism as Kuşadasımarker, Güzelçamlımarker and Didimmarker. The construction of the six-lane İzmirmarker-Aydın motorway also shortened the journey from Aydın to İzmir, Turkey's second portuary center, to less than an hour, and less still to the international Adnan Menderes Airportmarker.

But still the city has a quiet country market town feel to it and its dominance, within both the Turkish marketmarker and abroad, in the production of a number of agricultural products, particularly figs, still identifies Aydın Provincemarker, and most of this trade is managed and handled from Aydın itself.

Aydın city centre is still relatively small but growing, centred on one palm-lined avenue of shops and cafes, and a maze of narrow side streets, dotted with orange trees. The people are traditional and family-oriented, so there is little night life, or cultural amenities for young people, although presumably now they have a university this will change. There are a number of mosques, high schools, dersane (private courses cramming students for the university entrance exams) and other public buildings. Like all Turkish cities Aydın is now spreading as the middle-classes are leaving their flats in the city for smarter apartments or houses slightly out of town.

Places of interest

  • The Ottoman period mosques of Ramazan Paşa, Süleyman Paşa and Cihanoğlu
  • The Byzantine tower and fortifications above the town
  • Roman era ruins (of Tralles) including a gymnasium and a theatre
  • The statue of Yörük Ali Efe in the town, which was pulled down and remade after public protests that the original statue showed the efe without a moustache.
  • Aydın Museum - archaeology, coinage and ethnographic collection

Notable people

See also


  1. According to 1912 figures, the Sandjak of Aydın had a total population of 220000, in which 39000-54500 according to varying sources, were Greeks. The sizable share of the Greek population was, as it was the case with many other localities across Western Anatolia, the result of an increase due to economic migration from Aegean Islands or even the Greek mainland to fertile Anatolian valleys as of the beginning of the 19th century and especially during its second half. A 1856 British report presented to the Secretary of State for War describes Aydın region in elogious terms and Aydın and the Menderes River valley to be entirely Turk. (full text) Report on Smyrna by George Rolleston for the Secretary of State for War. Section on Aydın, p. 104-108

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