Thursday, March 16, 2023

Şirince, Türkiye

Saturday was a full travel day to Kuşadasi, Türkiye.  On Sunday we set out to explore the city.  While checking out the sites, we hired a local taxi driver to take show us around his home village of Şirince.

Şirince is a small hillside village of about 600 people.  It's about 8 km (5 miles) from Ephesus, and 26 km (16 miles) northeast from Kuşadasi.  It used to be a Greek village and the local area dates back to the Hellenistic period from 323-31 BC.  

In 1923, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the end of the Turkish War of Independence, Greece and Türkiye agreed on a population exchange.  The Greeks living in Türkiye went to Greece and the Turks in Greece went to Turkey.  Şirince was populated by the Turks who were living in northern Greece.    

Şirince means "pleasant" in Turkish.  Prior to 1926, it was known as Çirkince which means "ugly."  The story goes that the village had been settled by freed Greek slaves who wanted to deter others from coming here.  I guess it's the same as how Iceland is nice while Greenland is cold.  Regardless, it's a nice little tourist village. 

The Church of St. Dimitrios was built in the 19th century.  There's been some restoration but quite a bit more is needed.  There are a number of frescoes inside worth seeing.  Outside of the church are nice views of the area.

The Church of St. John the Baptist was built in 1805.  This church has has undergone more restoration than St. Dimitrios.  There was a photography exhibit going on when we visited.
Besides olive oil, the village known for its fruit wine.  Almost every flavour is available - apple, apricot, blackberry, mulberry, melon, orange, peach, quince, cherry, strawberry.  Some were just too sweet for me but the pomegranate wine was nice.

In front of a cafe is a wishing well topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary.  You're supposed to drop a coin in the water and hope that it falls in a certain spot in order to get your wish. 

Our guide Mesut used to work at the cafe, where his brother and cousin work, and introduced us to some good Turkish coffee.  The coffee was prepared in hot sand and served with lokum which is Turkish delight.  The coffee was good and here's a short video I took.

We enjoyed our visit to Şirince and then headed back to Kuşadasi to check out some more of the local sights.

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