History in Ottoman times
Şirince was settled when Ephesus was abandoned in the 15th century but most of what one sees today dates from the 19th century. There is a story that the village was settled by freed Greek slaves who named the village Çirkince (meaning "Ugly" in Turkish) to deter others from following them. The village's name was changed to Şirince (meaning "Pleasant") in 1926 by the governor of Izmir Province.
House of Mary
A building known as the House of Mary (Ottoman Turkish: پناغى قپىلى Panaya Kapulu) was discovered in 1881 about 17 km outside of Şirince, and is venerated by Catholics as well as Muslims. Local Christians, descended from the first churches in Ephesus, already had a tradition of venerating the building.
In the 1990s the well-known Istanbul linguist Sevan Nişanyan and his wife Müjde Tönbekici settled in Şirince, which had been semi-derelict since the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey. They were instrumental in having the village declared a national heritage site, and they undertook to renovate ruined historic houses using the original materials and building techniques of the village.
After 2006 Nișanyan collaborated with Ali Nesin, a prominent mathematician and philanthropist, in developing the Nesin Mathematics Village near Şirince. Constructed strictly along the lines of traditional Aegean rural architecture, the village offered summer courses in college-level and postgraduate mathematics. It attracted prominent lecturers from around the world, accommodating over 300 resident students by summer 2013.
Nisanyan also built Thethre Madrasa (in Turkish Tiyatro Medresesi), a theater institute and actors’ retreat in the manner of mediaeval Muslim seminaries. The Nisanyan Memorial Library was completed in 2013. A philosophy school became operative on the grounds of Mathematics Village in 2014.
Doomsday safe haven
Şirince acquired world-wide fame when tourists flocked to the village in December 2012 to witness the Mayan Apocalypse, as New Age mystics believed its "positive energy" would aid in weathering the catastrophe, during the 2012 phenomenon.
- Turkey. Lonely Planet, 8th edition, p. 252.
- Fusaro, Lorraine F. (2009). "Mary's House & Sister Marie" (PDF). The Sister Marie de Mandat-Grancey Foundation. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- Poulin, Eugene P., "The Holy Virgin's House: The True Story of Its Discovery", Istanbul: 1999
- Chronicle of the living Christ: the life and ministry of Jesus Christ by Robert A. Powell 1996 ISBN 0-88010-407-4 page 12
- "Mayan apocalypse: Turkish village becomes latest doomsday hotspot". The Telegraph. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- "Mayan Apocalypse 2012: Sirince, Turkish Village, Flooded By Doomsday Believers". The Huffington Post. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- "Sirince Misses Crowds on Dec 21 Doomsday". Hurriet Daily News. 22 December 2012.
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