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Day Trips and Tours from Selçuk

Wherever you travel in Turkey, there are glimpses of the ancient history of this striking Mediterranean country. The town of Selçuk in the Aegean Region of eastern Turkey is one of the destinations that allows you to immerse yourself in the distant past.

In Selçuk you will find evidence of the town’s Ancient Greek and Roman roots and Ottoman occupation, with Ayasuluk Hill dominating the surrounding area. Selçuk day trips and tours take you to several top attractions and places of interest in and around the city.

Ephesus

The ancient Greek city of Ephesus is located 2 kilometers southwest of Selçuk. This port city was once the most significant trading post in the Mediterranean and was controlled by various conquerors throughout the ages.

Additionally, Ephesus played an important role in early Christian evangelism and remains a popular place of pilgrimage.

Today, Ephesus is a city of ruins the best-known of which is the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Decades of archaeological excavation have revealed a small but awe-inspiring proportion of this once mighty settlement.

On a day tour to Ephesus you will wander down the Street of Curetes, view the Library of Celsus – once home to more than 12,000 scrolls, admire the Corinthian columns and curved arch of Hadrian’s Temple and be amazed by the scale of the magnificent Great Theatre.

You can also pay a small additional fee to enter the space that encloses the Terraced Houses, mosaiced and frescoed homes of the elite families of the time.

Notable early Christians including Paul and John visited Ephesus spreading the gospels and winning many converts to their Faith.

It is speculated that the Book of John was written in Ephesus and that Mary, the mother of Jesus spend her last years here with John. John’s tomb and Mary’s house are sites that can still be visited today.

Sirince

Nestled among the green hills outside of Selçuk is the small village of Sirince. With its cobblestoned streets and homes with red clay roof tiles it is easy to see why some people refer to it as the “Tuscany of Turkey”.

This quaint village is a quintessential example of the fusion of a traditional Turkish and traditional Greek village. As the village has been declared a national heritage site, there are strict codes to ensure that the aesthetic of the village is preserved.

Sirince has the ideal climate for the cultivation of vines, olives and many other fruits and nuts. With motorised traffic prohibited in the town center, you can stroll safely down the peaceful streets.

With such a wide variety of locally grown produce, Sirince is an ideal lunch or dinner location. If you are also hoping to find some authentic Turkish foods, enjoy a cup of steaming Turkish coffee or buy souvenirs, the Sirince bazaar is considered one of the best markets on the Aegean coast.

Pamukkale

The unreal landscape of Pamukkale or “Cotton Castle” is a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its cloud-like travertine terraces. Hot springs bubble through from the earth below and cascade down the dazzling limestone that has accumulated over millennia.

The thermal spa city of Hierapolis was established here in the 2nd-century B.C. and although the originals baths and temples are now ruins, the restorative warm waters are still a popular gathering site for visitors.

On a day trip from Selçuk you will have the opportunity to explore this city that flourished until an earthquake that destroyed much of it in 1179 A.D.

Bathing at Pamukkale is only allowed at designated pools that have been built for this purpose and in Cleopatra’s Pool. This is because the travertine pools are very delicate and can easily be damaged or destroyed.

Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis, located at Ephesus, is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

There were earlier versions of the temple built as early as the Bronze Age, but the most recent structure was built during the reign of the King of Lydia and then restored after a fire by the Ephesians themselves.

This temple was dedicated to the worship of Artemis, the ancient Greek goddess of the hunt, nature, childbirth, childcare and chastity. Artemis was one of the most revered ancient Greek deities and this is apparent by the grandeur of the temple that was built in her honor.

Although the site of the once imposing and grandiose temple is only marked by a single column today, on a day trip from Selçuk you will be able to learn more about the building and its remarkable history from your guide.

Virgin Mary House

Roughly 9 kilometers outside of Selçuk you will find small and unimposing structure on Mt. Korressos. Discovered in the 19th century, this house is said to be the place where Mary, the mother of Jesus lived until her death.

Although it has never been conclusively authenticated as the home of Virgin Mary, the shrine is maintained by the Catholic Church and is a site of pilgrims and tourists to the area.

On a day excursion from Selçuk, you will pass a baptismal pool on your way to the shrine. The shrine itself consists of a modest chapel and a smaller room which is traditionally believed to be Mary’s sleeping place.

A wishing wall is set just outside the shrine. Pilgrims are able to place small notes on pieces of paper or cloth on the wall. A fountain located nearby is proclaimed to have miraculous powers of healing by many believers.