Selçuk, the closest city to Ephesus, lies beneath the ancient Fortress of Ayasuluk and is unfortunately often overlooked. The former farming village has interesting sights of its own to offer—St. John the Evangelist is said to have been buried here, just below the medieval fortress, and the city has one of the oldest mosques in western Turkey, the lovely İsa Bey Camii. On her visit over half a century ago, the
renowned explorer Freya Stark rhapsodized over the historical treasures of the small city of Selçuk: "All are tightly clustered together," Stark wrote in her book Ionia: A Quest, "like the landscape in a medieval book of hours. And that is indeed what it is, though the hours are centuries, and the book written on the transformations of earth." Selçuk is easy to navigate on foot (keep an eye out for small gems of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture scattered across town), and there are many excellent casual restaurants along the main square and along side streets where you can eat outside. Rather pricey shops selling carpets and jewelry cater to souvenir seekers. The town hosts an annual camel-wrestling festival every third weekend in January.