Sirince is a quaint small village just 12km from the ancient city of Ephesus. It is a great stopover just for its beauty! The village was called Cirkince which means “ugly” in Turkish when the Greek slaves came and settled here in the 19th century. The name was a deterrent to visitors. Shortly after its name was changed to Sirince by the Izmir governor to mean pretty or pleasant, definitely a lot more suitable than the previous! This village is a mix of Greek-Turk culture. I was told on weekends the streets are completely packed out with tourists, which is huge for the 600+ village population. I am thankful that it is in its usual quaint quiet state when I was there to drink in the beauty without being rushed and pushed.
There is a small museum in Sirince tracing the history of this pretty village too. It is a simple museum but a very interesting visit which only took only 20-30min.
One of the interesting things I learnt about Sirince was their advancement of primary education system in improving the standard Ottoman Elementary schools system. They brought in desks, blackboards, map and globes into the classes and they see a positive impact in the learning process of the students. They also revolutionised the payment to teachers from presents to salaries and the teachers are not the neighbourhood’s imam (religious teacher). So there is a separation of religious education from the regular education where textbooks and educational materials suitable for the respective age group are used.
Siring is famed for their wine called, pekmez made from a variety of fruits. Nar ekşisi is a tasty vinegar substitute made from pomegranate juice. Being allergic to alcohol, I did not do wine tasting but took the opportunity to sit down to try a sip of real traditional Turkish coffee made over heated sand. It is such an art to just watch the process of coffee making. I sat and fixed my gaze on the coffee sitting in the hot sand, waiting to see it boil. It was quite a wait, at least for an urbanite who is used to almost instantaneous brew, and what joy it was when I saw bubbles coming forth! The coffee was fragrant, both smell and taste, but a little too strong for a non-coffee drinker like me. Yet, I totally enjoyed it with all the intricate wares that it was served in!
There are a lot of wooden craftwork shops as well. I have noticed that Pinocchio is a popular character and it is used for deco. So you can shop around for little gifts and souvenirs in a picturesque setting!