After a wonderful visit to Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis the day before, I am very lucky to visit Sirince today. It is just a mere 12 km drive from Ephesus and 30 km from Kusadasi.
In the last ten years, I am hearing more and more about this village. First, my interest with this beautiful village started with the description of cute boutique hotels in butikhoteller.com. Then, in 2012, when the Mayan calendars depicting the end of a 5125-year cycle, there were predictions that December 21, 2012 would be the end of the world. Somehow, there were rumors that only a few places on earth would be safe on that day, and that included Sirince. In unison, new bed & breakfast places popped up, Sirince became a great destination.
First settlement in Sirince dates back to the 1st century CE. Escaping from Ephesus, first Christians settled in the area. It was then called Kirkinca. It stayed as a Greek Orthodox village until 1924. Due to the population exchange between the Greece and Turkey, Greeks left and Turks moved in from Greece.
Sirince, was once called Cirkince (meaning “kind of ugly”) . The villagers did not want to be bothered outsiders come and settle in their beautiful village. In 1926, just to create the opposite effect, the village is called Sirince (meaning “kind of cute”).
My driver drops me off at the village center. I have now two hours to walk around. I climb up one of the roads lined up with shops. Most of them are selling olive oil soaps, fruit wines, mountain herbs, and hand crafts. As I leave the shopping section, I take a left and the road gets narrower. There are ladies in front of their houses crocheting beautiful lacework as they engage in their daily conversation. They lay a few pieces of work on a clean table cloth. Those are for sale. I like their small business. The sit under the shade of the fruit trees, they are happily talking among themselves. And if they do a small sale in a day, they seem happy.
I take many little side streets until I reach the top of the village. There are a few boutique hotels with a beautiful vista of the village and the hills around Sirince. I see some horses at a distance. I take a road that takes me outside the village. I walk through a peach orchard and find my way back to the village center. I enter a couple of stores. I buy a bottle of peach wine and a bottle of grape wine. It was hard to skip the other fruit wines (Peach wine, Blackberry, Cherry, Strawberry, Melon and Kiwi). I buy myself two linen shirts.
I see my driver is sitting at a coffee under an ancient olive tree. He waves and asks if I would like to have Turkish coffee cooked on hot sand. How could I resist? I have been walking for two hours. The coffee tastes amazing. The aroma, the taste! All perfect.
I ask the driver to show me the famous Nisanyan Houses hotel that I could not reach during my walk. We drive through the village with colorful cafes, wine shops, and stores. I end up stopping the driver a few times so I can take some pictures.
As we leave the village to take a mountain road to see the Nisanyan Houses, I see busloads of tourists getting offloaded at the parking lot just outside the village. I am happy that I get the see the village early in the morning before it turned into a tourist town.
We drive up and reach the Nisanyan Houses. I see why it is famous. Beautiful location and exquisite taste. I wish I stayed here one night. Just to listen to the owls at night and wake up in the morning to the chirps of the birds. Well, again, there is always next time!
Note: I could not help but take a picture of the public restrooms in the town center just to show it to Al, who has written one of the earlier blogs on restrooming through Turkey.