Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay announced yesterday during a meeting the Ministry’s decision to declare the surrounding area of the village of Şirince in Izmir province a protected area. In view of further boosting tourism activity in the country and reverse the negative trend imposed lately due to the Syrian war, the Ministry will increase bed capacity in protected areas.
The village of Şirince has been well-known for its beauties, traditional products and boutique hotels among Turkish visitors and international tourists. However, the village acquired world-wide fame when tourists flocked there in December 2012 to witness the Mayan Apocalypse, as New Age mystics believed its “positive energy” would aid in weathering the catastrophe foretold in the Mayan diaries.
Şirince is a village of 600 inhabitants in İzmir Province, Turkey, located about six kilometers (3.7 mi) east of the town Selçuk. Şirince was settled when Ephesus was abandoned in the 15th century, but the prevailing architecture dates from the 19th century. The Orthodox Christian Greeks who lived there during the Ottoman Empire were famous for their excellent wine production, and there is a story that the village was first named Çirkince –ugly in Turkish- to deter others from following them and sharing the natural beauties of their place of residence.
After the exchange of populations following World War I, Turks from Thessaloniki, Greece were brought in the area, and the village’s name was changed to Şirince – pleasant in Turkish- in 1926 by the governor of Izmir Province.