High in the hills above Selcuk, Sirince (pronouned shirin-jay) is a village with an interesting history that provides an alternative base for visitors to Ephesus.
In Turkish, Sirince means "quite pretty," but legend has it that it started life as Cilginca, which means the exact opposite. With its row upon row of lovely Ottoman houses, the village was so beautiful that its original inhabitants, a group of freed slaves, feared the jealousy of their neighbors. Choosing a name that belied its beauty was an attempt to conceal the reality, and in a way, one could wish that they had stuck with that plan, since in recent years so many tourists have started to descend on Sirince that it is becoming much harder to appreciate its charm.
Nevertheless, the village boasts some particularly exquisite places to stay, and the best way to appreciate the village is certainly to stay there, because after the coach parties move on later in the afternoon, life reverts to something of what it once was. There are few specific attractions there—the main reason to visit is to admire the domestic architecture and enjoy the views. However, people do crowd into the restored 19th-century church of St. John the Baptist, a reminder that before the enforced Greco-Turkish population exchange of 1924, this was a Greek village with a Christian population.
Sirince is known for its fruit wines that are on sale everywhere. You'll find them sold alongside locally made lace and garden produce. Unfortunately, a lot of what is now sold there has nothing to do with the village.
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