Sirince Village (Ephesus)

Sirince Village (Ephesus)

Sirince is a very old village, believed by many to have been originally settled by former inhabitants of Ephesus seeking a healthy environment away from the malarial swamps which surrounded their city, and indeed it was sometimes referred to as "Ephesus on the Hill". The oldest building in the village, a tower, dates back to the days when Ephesus was still inhabited.

The very pretty village of about 600, with its predominantly Greek-style architecture, is built on a mountaintop about five kilometres from Selcuk and reached by a winding road with spectacular views. The original inhabitants wanted to deter newcomers, so called their home "Cirkince" or "Ugly". The new name, which means "Pleasant", was given by the Governor of the Province of Izmir in 1926.

The majority of the population were ethnic Greeks who lived happily alongside their Turkish neighbours until the Population Exchange of 1924, under the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne, which followed the War of Turkish Independence, when they were forcibly deported to Greece and replaced by Turks who had been deported from Salonica.

Despite being a tourist magnet, the village has retained its character and even new buildings are constructed in keeping with the old style. Most of the streets are too narrow for motor cars but even these are lined with market stalls, where the village women sell their wares while their men folk sit drinking in the many tea gardens. Sirince is famed for its fruit wines which may be sampled in the wine houses. There are also several excellent restaurants and boutique hotels in the village and a tastefully converted school which now houses shops and a museum.

The village has a mosque which is still in use today and two partly restored Greek Orthodox Churches, one in the lower village, the other atop a steep hill. The latter, The Church of St. John The Baptist, built in 1805, has a well in its courtyard and its bell tower and some icons are still visible.

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