Öküz Mehmet Pasha was a Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire who commissioned the building of Kusadasi’s wonderful caravanserai in the early 17th century.
A ‘caravanserai’ is a roadside inn – typically built in locations along the old Silk Road – where long-distance travellers and merchants would rest and refresh themselves during their long trade journeys to and from the Far East.
Construction work began in 1615 and took four years to complete. Such were the needs at the time that the original building took on the shape of a fortress for the safety and well-being of its owners and guests, and it was later used for many years as a customs house. In 1968, after twelve years of important and extensive renovation work by the Turkish Government, the caravanserai was re-opened as an hotel, under the auspices of the French holiday organisation, Club Med.
Nowadays, it remains one of Kusadasi’s most enduringly popular and incredibly photogenic tourist locations and is also still operating as a very atmospheric hotel, with 55 bedrooms and an open-air restaurant seating 350 diners.
Castellated walls, ornate marble gates, low archways and vaulted porches all add to the building’s authentic, historical feel, and where a fine fountain once provided cooling influences in the centre of the caravanserai, is now where guests enjoy the similarly relaxing effects of the hotel’s swimming pool.
Many notable guests have stayed at the caravanserai over the years, including US President Jimmy Carter who was paying a visit to nearby Ephesus, and it was also the venue for an important meeting between George Papandreou, Greek Foreign Minister and his Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem, who were working to improve the deteriorating relationship between the two neighbouring countries.
For an interesting half day excursion while on holiday at CLC World’s Kusadasi Golf & Spa Resort, the caravanserai is a great choice – right in the heart of the busy town – and there are some enticing bars and restaurants nearby, serving local delicacies to tempt the tastebuds while you’re out and about.