Sirince Village, Selcuk Turkey


A special visit not to be missed...

This pretty old Orthodox village is 9 km. to Selcuk; Izmir sits amongst olive groves, pine forests, and vineyards. Sirince has preserved its architectural patterns from the 19th century while the history dates back to 5th century BC and the Church of St. John the Baptist dates from 1832. Orthodox Christians and Muslims visit the House of Virgin Mary every year on 15th of August. The village is known for its homemade wine, traditional meals, and authentic atmosphere.

The two-storied multi-windowed stone-brick houses reflect the characteristic architecture in a pleasant array along the cobblestone streets some of which are mostly occupied ladies selling handicrafts to make a living while some of the houses were turned into boutique hotels after some great renovation without damaging its nature.

The town sits at the end of the valley that goes along the Cirkince mountain-pass from the town center to the eastern part of the region. The river passing through the valley was called Klasseas in ancient literature.

Covered with beautiful pine trees; the hills around Sirince are just wonderful to watch. It is a pleasant drive from Selcuk about 15 to 20 minutes of time, up to the hills passing through sharply colored olive trees, vineyards, and fig trees and some gorgeous violet flowers which are the most eye-catching.

While weekends might get overcrowded during the local tourism season for the town; it would be more quiet and fun to walk around during the weekdays if you are only visiting.

Sirince John The Baptist Church
Sirince Wines
Sirince Village

One's first objective in coming here might even be of course to eat! So before looking around the place, you can head straight for Artemis Wine House and Restaurant on the hill on the edge of the village. The restaurant is housed in a restored building that was formerly the village school and serves homemade wines and delicious food made from local produce. The wonderful views over the village and plain lend their own savor to the food.

Once the hunger satisfied, it is time to explore the town. The main street and square are shaded by great plane trees and lined by shops, coffee houses, and restaurants. You can sit for a while in the coffee house in the square drinking tea and chatting to the villagers as there are less local inhabitants, who have been moving away in large numbers in recent years, both for economic reasons and because of problems like their children's education where also the population has fallen from 840 in 1980 to 704 today.

The Meaning of Sirince

When the governor of Izmir; Kazim Dirik visited the village, he was so charmed with Kirkinca that he altered the name to Sirince (Charming Place).

Some writers refer to Sirince as Ephesus in the Mountains, asserting that the town, formerly named Kirkinca, was established in the fifth century after alluvion carried down by the Kucuk Menderes River and flooding made the ancient site unfit for habitation. Hearsay relates that the name Kirkinca was later changed to Cirkince (the Ugly Place) so as to prevent others from discovering this beautiful spot and moving here.

When the Turkish Aydinogullari Principality took Selcuk in 1348, some of the town's Byzantine inhabitants fled and settled in the town. In the 19th century, it is recorded as consisting of 1800 households, all Greek. In the wake of the First World War, the Greeks of the village migrated to Greece, leaving the village empty until 1924, when Turks from Salonika, Kavala, Provusta and other Greek towns arrived as part of the population exchange between the two countries.

You can also stay at this beautiful mansion Gullu Konak for the night which gets even quieter once the big groups leave for the big hotels in Kusadasi or Selcuk. Some of the houses have been restored and turned into pensions for over-night guests, so it is now possible to make this place a base for exploring the region. It is within easy reach not only of Ephesus but other ancient cities like Priene, Miletus, and Didyma.