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The Central and Southern Aegean Coast Travel Guide

Şirince

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 and a stone basilica, also 19th-century, which has been restored and turned into an art gallery. In the past few years, the village has become popular with 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, 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). In December 2012, believing Şirince’s "positive energy" would shield the village from the impending Mayan Apocalypse, would-be refugees flocked to the mountaintop. Canny villagers produced a commemorative wine, presumably some comfort to the "survivors." 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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