Kusadasi is a famous sea side resort in the west of Aegean Sea. It is also an ideal place to explore Ephesus, an ancient city in Turkey. We partnered with Okeanos Travel
who made arrangements for us to do a a day trip from Kusadasi. We decided on the itinerary and they made it possible for us. Oguz (our tour guide for the day) and the driver picked us up from the Kusadasi port and we started our journey in a air conditioned van. They provided us with all the information leaflet about Kusadasi, Ephesus, and Turkey in general. Here’s a snippet of our day trip.
Ancient city of Ephesus
Ephesus is one of spectacular archaeological sites not only in Turkey, but all over the world. While explaining the grandeur of Epehsus deserves a completely seperate post, we’ll try to give highlights of the tour here. The original city of Ephesus was said to be established on the Aegean coast, on the shores of the sea which today is located 8 kms away from the archaeological site.
Just in the coast of Ionia, a couple of kms aways from Selcuk, is the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. It was one of the 12 cities of classical Ionian leagues in the Greek classical era. It came under the control of Roman empire in 129 BC, and it was estimated that the city had a population of 33000 to 56000 people during this period.
The area surrounding the Ephesus city was once a flourishing port, a centre for commercial trade, and a religious centre of the early Christianity. Today, the place is one of the spectacular historic tourist attraction in Turkey.
Our tour guide Oguz told us all the mythological stories and historical facts about the ancient city as we did the 3 hour tour traversing through the site. Some of the highlights of the tour include the Odeon theatre, Curetes street, Temple of Hadrian, Celcius library, Terraced houses, Trajan fountain, Epehsus theatre. We waved goodbye to the site and followed our journey to the next stop.
Sirince, a sleepy hillside town
Located 8 kms east of Selcuk town, driving through the winding roads we heard stories from our guide Oguz about the history of Olive trees and how vital it has been in the turkish family and their cuisine. After a good 20-30 minutes, we reached the hilltop town named Sirince (prounounced as Shr-rin-je).
The town is said to have been established since the time of Ephesus city of formed. The oldest building in this town is the tower dating back to days when Ephesus was inhabited. Originally, the town was named by Greeks as “Cirkince” (meaning ugly) with the intention to draw less attention from outsiders and to protect the livelihood. The new name Sirince was given in 1926 by the governor of Izmir province.
Sirince is a tourist hub, and also a popular wedding destination. While we spent only an hour or more, we saw 2 newly-wed couples who were on a photoshoot on the streets. We walked the narrow windy streets that goes uphill seeing the myriad market stalls and shops that sold everything related to olive, wines, hand crafted souvenirs and evil eye. Fruit wines are very famous here. As we went uphill, we noted that the houses had a kind of rustic feel, and the women were knitting or making some wooden crafts for their stalls.
We left the sleepy town behind and drove back towards Selcuk and stopped over the ceramic and quartz making shop. They ran a workshop on how the ceramics are designed into a shape and painted into a final product. It was interesting and a lot of hardwork too. I tried my hands on rotating the ceramic wheel to make something in the shape of a bulb (but that turned into a cup shape!). We also saw how they were painted, dried and then re-painted to created the finished product. It was quite an interesting workshop.
Carpet Weaving workshop & Vegetarian food
Our next stop is to a carpet weaving workshop, but before we can see the weaving process, we were presented with tasty turkish food. An all simple vegetarian menu we asked for, and we were delighted with what was presented before us – a variety of salads made from yogurt, and vegetables, bread and a huge watermelon for dessert. After our sumptuous lunch, we were off to see the weaving process that was explained to us by the owner.
We were hosts of Okeanos Travel. We were not compensated or asked to write a positive review. We only write what we experience. As always, all the opinions are our own.