a beautiful hill town only 8 km (5
in the Aegean hinterland
south of İzmir (map).
It's famous for its olive oil, fruit
wines, other natural products, and
its charming, restful boutique
A dozen small restaurants cater
to day-trippers, hotel guests, and
Though tourism has arrived, Şirince
is still a village, at least in the morning and evening,
when the day-trippers are not around,
or at any time out of high season.
Here are the sounds of Şirince:
birds chirp, donkeys bray, goats baa,
mourning doves coo, dogs bark, roosters
crow, children play. A tractor passes.
to prayer from the village's
single minaret is a scratchy recording.
Planning Your Visit
During the day in the warm, busy tourism
months, it's easy to miss that Şirince
is a village. Buses roar up the hill
(but aren't allowed to enter the village),
groups wander clicking cameras and
In the warm months I strongly urge you to avoid visiting Şirince on weekends—especially Sundays, especially in the afternoon—when thousands of local tourists will crowd its streets. If you have a car, consider parking it near the Selçuk Otogar and taking the minibuses that shuttle from there to Şirince and back every 20 minutes throughout the day. The minibus goes right to the center of the village. Cars must park, for a fee, on the outskirts, sometimes quite a walk from the center.
Overnight in Şirince
A number of village houses have
been beautifully restored and opened
with comfortable double rooms, as well
as suites for families, and even rental
houses for longer stays.
This makes it a fine place
to stay, and a congenial
base for your explorations throughout
the Ephesus region. More...
If you don't stay overnight, go to Şirince for
a stroll, photography,
a bit of cooler air, a lunch or dinner in
one of the many small restaurants,
sampling the local fruit wines.
Shopping in Şirince
Besides wines, you'll find many local and organic products:
vinegar, honey, soaps, and traditional
sweeteners called pekmez made
from a variety of fruits. Nar
ekşisi is a tasty vinegar
substitute made from pomegranate juice.
A Bit of History
Some say the Orthodox Christian Greeks
who lived here during the Ottoman
Empire were famed for
of their wine. The Muslim Turks
who moved here from Thessaloniki in
1924 re-started wine-making using local
fruits, including apple,
apricot, banana, blackberry, blueberry,
creamberry, mulberry (black, and
white), mandarin orange, melon, orange,
peach, quince, sour (Morello) cherry
and strawberry. You can taste the
results and judge for yourself when
you visit. They sell red, white and
rosé, dry and sweet.
A few local producers have switched
from the local vines, which in
fact produce table grapes, to Turkey's
better wine grapes such as Narince.
The story goes that Şirince was formerly
inhabited by Ottoman Greeks
and named Kırkınca ("Forty-ish"),
which the locals pronounced Çirkince,
which means "sort of ugly" (which
it certainly is not).
During the exchange of populations
following World War I, Turks from Thessaloniki,
Greece were moved here (1924). They
changed the name to Şirince (shee-REEN-jeh, "sort
of sweet, charming").
Here's a historical note on Mr
a Şirince master craftsman who
carved wooden spoons by hand. More...
—by Tom Brosnahan