Selçuk: Not Just Another Turkish Town

Selçuk Turkey

Selçuk, Turkey is known as one of the closest town to the more famous Ephesus ruins and travertines of Pamukkale.  Having said that, Selçuk is a perfect base if you want to get to these attractions.  However, some tourists just pass Selçuk by and stay someplace else.  I liked my stay in Selçuk and find it to be a charming little town.

From Adnan Menderes Airport in Izmir, we took the one hour train ride to Selçuk town, for only 5 TL (train schedule here: http://www.selcukephesus.com/trains.html).  As we were approaching Selçuk, the views of breathtaking mountain ranges came as a surprise.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take pictures as I wasn’t seated at the window side of the train and my camera was tucked in my bag.  Even so, I took the opportunity to stay away from my viewfinder and just take all the sights in.

Selçuk Turkey

Selçuk Turkey

Selçuk Turkey Selçuk Turkey

Selçuk is home to Ephesus Museum, the Basilica of St. John, and the Temple of Artemis.  Likewise, as mentioned, it’s close to the Ephesus ruins, House of Virgin Mary, the coastal town of Kuşadası and the equally charming little village of Şirince.

Find out more about some of the places you can visit within and a little outside the charming little town of Selçuk.

Isa Bey Mosque

 

Isa Bey Mosque’s architecture was inspired by The Great Mosque or Umayyad Mosque of Damascus, and is uniquely asymmetrical.  Columns and stones from the ruins of Ephesus City were incorporated in the structure.

Isa Bey Mosque Selçuk Turkey

Isa Bey Mosque viewed from Basilica of St. John 

Isa Bey Mosque Selçuk Turkey

Isa Bey Mosque Selçuk Turkey

Isa Bey Mosque Selçuk Turkey Isa Bey Mosque Selçuk Turkey

The mosque being one of the Islamic centers for scientists and scholars bears some calligraphy inscriptions on stone

Isa Bey Mosque Selçuk Turkey

Basilica of St. John

 

As a Christian, the visit to Basilica of St. John was very meaningful for me.  After Christ’s death, St. John, often referred to as the “Evangelist” or the “Beloved” fled to Ephesus from Jerusalem to avoid the persecution of King Herod.  Having entrusted the Virgin Mary to St. John before Jesus died on the cross, it is believed that St. John brought the Virgin Mary with him to Ephesus (more about the House of Virgin Mary in Ephesus on my next blog).

St. John lived his last days in Ephesus.  As a memorial, the Basilica of St. John was built over his grave at the foot of Ayasoluk Hill (Ayasoluk, which means Divine Theologian, is the former name of Selçuk, in honor of St. John).

St. John Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey St. John Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey

St. John Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey St. John Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey St. John Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey St. John Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey St. John Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey

St. John Basilica, Selçuk, TurkeySt. John Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey

St. John Basilica, Selçuk, Turkey

The way up to Ayasoluk Citadel, the highest point of Ayasoluk Hill, north of the Basilica.  It is believed that St. John wrote his gospel and letters on this hill. Also worth noting is that The Seven Churches mentioned in St. John’s Book of Revelations are all in Turkey.

Temple of Artemis

 

The Temple of Artemis, considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, used to be a massive temple for the worship of Artemis, the goddess of fertility.  The oldest finds trace back to the Mycenaean age or the 14th to 13th century BC.  The temple’s center used to be surrounded with many columns.  Unfortunately, only a single column remains standing at this time in this swampy area.

Temple of Artemis, Selçuk, Turkey Temple of Artemis, Selçuk, Turkey Temple of Artemis, Selçuk, Turkey

Selçuk Market

 

The Selçuk market, located just behind the Otogar (bus station) is open only during Saturdays.  We went here in the afternoon after our visit to Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary.  We found some of the fruit and vegetable vendors were close to calling it a day as their products are almost sold out.  An early morning visit would have been more ideal.

Nevertheless, the Selçuk market is my kind of market.  It truly represents the vibe of the town. It’s not the kind that caters to tourists.  In this market, you’ll see locals selling their produce from village farms.  It’s amusing to see fruits, vegetables, cheeses and other products that are typically what’s on a Turkish table’s meals, especially breakfast.

Selçuk market Selçuk market

A Turkish breakfast wouldn’t be complete without olives.  After Turkey, I will never again think that olive only comes in black.

Selçuk market

Selçuk’s version of a “bayong” (woven basket) in the Philippines is this steel cart with plastic container

Selçuk market Selçuk market Selçuk market

I realized this is the only non-food product I photographed in Selçuk market and I wonder why

Kuşadası

 

North of Selçuk is Kuşadası, a resort town in Turkey’s Aegean coast.  From the Selçuk otogar, we got a public dolmus (something in between a mini van and mini bus) ride to Kuşadası, which took around 30 minutes.

For visitors of the more popular Ephesus, Kuşadası is the closest place to enjoy nightlife along the coast.  There are old houses near the seafront, but in the same way, there are plenty of bars and cafes.  Nearby are also large hotels and resorts.  We met other travelers staying at Kuşadası for the beer and nightlife but to each his own because we prefer the quieter (and to some, the boring) Selçuk.

Kusadasi, Aegean coast

We had to seek refuge from a heavy rain before we even reach Kusadasi’s Aegean coast.  Luckily, we were rewarded with a fine view after the short downpour.

Kusadasi, Aegean coast Kusadasi, Aegean coast Kusadasi, Aegean coast

I did not see any turtle on the shores but good thing that they are placing importance on the protection of these beautiful animals

Kusadasi, Aegean coast Kusadasi, Aegean coast

Just earlier in the day when I took this photo, I was marveling at the beauty of sunrise along the Mediterranean coast of Antalya.  Now, I’m watching sunset over the Aegean coast of Turkey

 

Ephesus Museum, the place where most of the archaeological finds in ancient Ephesus is deposited, is also located in Selçuk.  It seems more fitting, however, to write about the museum together with the story of our visit to Ephesus.  Hope you’ll follow this through on my next blog.

Selçuk might not be for nightlife seekers, but I like it just the way it is – quiet, historic, traditional and hospitable.  If you’re visiting Ephesus, it’s worth it to pay Selçuk a visit, too.


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19 thoughts on “Selçuk: Not Just Another Turkish Town

  1. Pingback: My Impressions of Turkey in 28 Photos - Finding Jing

  2. Jessi

    How beautiful! We passed through Selçuk very quickly while visiting Kusadasi, Ephesus and the surrounding areas – after seeing your photos I wish we’d stopped to explore more.

  3. Pingback: Sirince Village: Quaint and Rustic - Finding Jing

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  5. Joanna

    I have never been to Turkey but this cute town reminds me of my home country of Romania. We have the same farmers markets where the farm people come to sell their products, places that are non-touristy. They are the best though as you know you can get fresh products. I like history so I would love to visit the Temple or Artemis. I didn’t know that Turkey had roots in the history with the Greek Gods.

    1. findingjing Post author

      Thanks for sharing about Romania. I would love to visit your country, too. As for history, yes, the Greek gods were worshipped in Turkey, too before others were converted to Christianity.

  6. Suzanne

    Turkey is such a beautiful country and I have yet to visit. I would definitely want to visit the religious buildings in Selcuk and check out the markets. Also, if I ever visit, I would love having olives every day. They’re my favorite!

    1. findingjing Post author

      Turkey is a very beautiful country and the people are very friendly, too, making it a must visit country. I actually am not of fan of olives before I went to Turkey but then I discovered that olives are in fact delicious. You will surely love Turkey.

  7. Abigail Sinsona

    First off, allow me to comment you for your photos. They are all so wonderful! The ruins and architecture are beyond stunning – especially the mosque. I need to add this to my bucket list!

  8. Jen C.

    Selcuk seems to be rich in history. It’s the Selcuk Market that fascinated me the most! So many produce and like you’ve said, it represents the town’s vibe.

  9. vishvarsha

    Seems so rustic and oldish, and history is so well preserved here! You surely got the attention of a history lover here – Selcuk just got added to my turkey bucket list of Istanbul, Cappadocia and Pamukkale :D. Just like you said – it really is a cool town.

  10. Yukti

    Visiting small little rustic towns are also my favorites. Selcuk looks such a beautiful and peaceful place with ancient treasures. Temple of Armetis which was in seven wonders of the world looks like a Greek architecture type. Sunrise along the Mediterranean coast is also worth watching.

  11. Rahul Khurana

    The town really looks very calm and peaceful. Loved the old style architecture of the buildings. It would be nice to explore the historical sites that you have mentioned including the mosque and temple. Such places always fascinate me. 🙂

  12. asoulwindow

    I love visiting ancient places which still have ruins strewn all over. Turkey sure has many of those. You have listed some offbeat places not found in guidebooks. Architecture photography is not easy. You have done a good job by capturing these well. Kudos.

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