Şirince, a quaint mountain hideaway

  • Published
  • By Tanju Varlikli, host nation advisor
  • 425th Air Base Squadron

After enjoying a weekend at Kuşadası’s bustling seaside restaurants and resorts, you may want to slow things down with a relaxing brunch as a guest in one of the many bed-and-breakfast type eateries at Şirince, a quaint mountain village famous for its tradition and hospitality. Şirince is also a great stopping point before visiting the nearby ancient sites of Selçuk and Ephesus. Visitors park at the town’s entrance and make their way on foot through the narrow streets and steep hills of the village.

Although the streets are lined with vendors selling everything from olive oil soap and herbal remedies to clothing and trinkets, Şirince is most well-known for its wine. There are many reasonably priced wine vendors in the town selling 20 different flavors of wine, including blackberry, strawberry, melon and mulberry, for around 80 to 200 Turkish Lira a bottle. You may also want to pick up a few loaves of homemade bread and bottles of olive oil, both of which are popular throughout Türkiye.

While climbing the hills of Şirince, you’ll see traditional Anatolian-style houses piled up one after another on the slopes of the Selçuk Mountains. Many of the families living in these houses invite visitors to eat gözleme, a tortilla-like pastry filled with cheese, potato, eggplant, spinach and ground beef as well as drink homemade wine.

Village women bake gözleme on round sheet ovens over wood fires. With great skill and patience they roll dough into thin sheets using a rolling pin. The sheets are then layered and folded into various shapes before being filled.

Most of the houses offer a beautiful view of the village and mountain landscape. The village, which has two churches and one monastery, has managed to preserve its original architectural design. St. John preached during the latter days of his life at one of the churches.

In the courtyard of one church, there is a wishing well where locals claim if you can get your coin to fall into a hole inside the well; your wish will come true.

Don’t be surprised if you hear many different languages while you are at Şirince. The relaxing getaway attracts people from all walks of life. Şirince is located 8 kilometers up in the eastern Selçuk mountains. Selçuk is located 73 kilometers from Izmir and contains some of Türkiye’s most important historical assets and natural beauties as well as some of the Christian world’s most sacred churches.

So if you have the time, I would recommend visiting Şirince, indulging in some of the best wines of western Türkiye, having lunch at one of the bed-and-breakfast type eateries, stopping by the Christian church where St. John gave sermons and making a wish at the well.