Sirince

Once upon a time, villagers of this picturesque little hilltop aerie christened their town Çirkince (Turkish for "rather ugly"), allegedly to keep outsiders from discovering its charms. Now renamed Şirince (appropriately, the name means "cute" or "quaint"), this lovely cluster of shops, traditional Greek houses, and restaurants is set on a lush hill; the rows of houses have decorative eaves with nature motifs. A former Greek enclave, Şirince has a 19th-century church currently undergoing restoration and a small education museum (mostly in Turkish), but the main attraction is the town itself. Long a favorite destination for day-trippers, Şirince is increasingly popular as an overnight base for travelers visiting the nearby historical sites. Village shops cater to them with quality handicrafts, including beautiful felt, or keçe at Kırkınca Keçe in the village center, and jewelry, embroidery, and other handicrafts at local boutiques, as well as the famous locally produced fruit wines (the villagers also grow olives, peaches, figs, apples, and walnuts and the approach road is lined with tempting farm stands). Hiking around Şirince is quite pleasant, as the hills are a bit cooler than the lowlands. In winter, Turkish visitors come for local wine by a roaring fireplace, as the cold rain readies the valley for spring.

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