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Şirince is a cute little village with a fun history, beautiful views, wonderful food, hospitality, and so much more. It's perhaps the perfect synthesis of a traditional Turkish village and traditional Greek village. In fact, the town, whose name actually means "cute" in Turkish, used to be called "Çirkince," meaning "ugly." This was an ironic take on the beauty of the village and also used to ward off others. As people wised up to how spectacular the village's location and architecture really was, they changed the name to Şirince in 1926.
The village lies across a hill about 12 km from the ancient city of Ephesus, 85 km away from Izmir proper. The architecture is truly special and a few houses have been opened to the public to give the public the opportunity to admire it up close and to get a sense of the architectural history of the village. Any new building is required to align with the aesthetic of the village, which is under preservation. Its location on a hill and its fertile fields have made it a haven for vineyards, olive orchards (and the local olive oil is to die for!), and amazing peaches, figs, apples, walnuts and more.
The lush greenery of the natural setting of Şirince is complemented beautifully by the two-storey architecture of the buildings in the village. From afar the village looks like a painting, and its homes are as enchanting from afar as they are from up close. The homes are connected through windy, cobbled streets that are narrow and make you feel like you're traveling back in time to world before cars and modern industry.
The narrow city streets are preserved as well by the prohibition of vehicles in the city center. Horses are allowed, so either stroll through the quaint streets on foot.
As Şirince is so well-known for fresh produce, it's no surprise that the food you'll eat here is notable. The village breakfast is some of the best Turkish breakfast you'll ever eat, with an endless array of cheeses and olives and tomatoes and cucumbers and jams and more. Local herbs are used in many of the more substantial meals, picked from the hills and often cooked using local olive oil (which, as we've mentioned, is excellent).
On December 21st, 2012, there were a number of… umm… believers that the Mayan calendar suggested that the apocalypse would begin in the town of Şirince. Kooks Believers flocked to the town and spent the night waiting to no avail, and now the city is associated with this amusing history.
The Şirince bazaar is one of the great markets of the Aegean coast. It has some of everything. Naturally the foodstuffs present here are unbeatable. The freshest, and most delicious, produce imaginable is available every stall you look. Feel free to try a piece of fruit from one of the sellers, they’ll typically let you try anything before you buy! But beyond the obviously this bazaar has amazing trinkets, souvenirs, jewelry, soaps, dried fruit, handmade clothing, so much produced by the village and its surroundings. Turkish coffee is brewed using a pan filled with sand that’s then heated over an open flame. The sand lets the cups on the surface stay warm and the heat used for brewing the coffee is adjusted using the depth of the coffee in the sand. The coffee is heated up on the hot sand. This method is local and traditional and makes the coffee taste strong, thick and delicious.
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