Selcuk is the central town of Selcuk district, ?zmir Province in Turkey, 18 km (11 mi) northeast of Ku?adas?, 3 km (2 mi) northeast of Ephesus. Its original name was Ayios Theologos, from which the Ottoman Turkish name Ayaslu? is derived. In 1914 it was renamed Selcuk, after the Seljuk Turks who settled in the region in the 12th century.
Selcuk is one of the most visited touristic destinations within Turkey, known for its closeness to the ancient city of Ephesus, House of the Virgin Mary and Seljukian works of art. The 6th century basilica of St. John the Apostle, which, some claim, is built on the site of the Apostle’s tomb, is also inside the town.
With the vast majority of tourists only using Selcuk as a stopping point for Ephesus and not visiting the town itself, the old quarter of Selcuk remains generally undisturbed and undeveloped, retaining traditional Turkish culture and locality.
Ayasoluk Hill dominates the surrounding area, with several historical buildings on its slopes, including the ?sa Bey Mosque built by the Seljuk Turks in 1375, and the Grand Fortress.
To get in, you can either take the train, which is slower but more economical, or the bus (dolmus). In the otogar, which is located in the center of the village, you can easily go to Izmir, Pamukkale and other places of Turkey. There is a small airport in Selcuk but it is only for private planes. Use Izmir Airport, it is only 55 Km to Selcuk.
The Ephesus Airport and Selcuk Training Center of the Turkish Aeronautical Association is only 3 kilometers away from Selcuk, offering piloting, parachuting, and microlight training. The annual camel wrestling championship takes place in Selcuk in the Winter, near Ephesus.
There are mini-buses (dolmus) to Sirince and Ephesus. To go to the House of Mary you may need to take a taxi . Rented motorbikes or scooters can be a fun way to discover the surroundings of Selcuk. If you rent a bike note that both Sirince and the House of Mary are up in the hills. Selcuk is a good starting place for many excursions and visits in the area:
- A major attraction is the old city of Ephesus which is located only 4km away from the center of the village.
- The promenade will also take you to the The Temple of Artemis (Artemision). Although it was one of the “Seven Wonders” of the Ancient world, nowadays only a column is left.
- On the way there one can also visit the Cave of the Seven Sleepers where the legend of the Seven Sleepers took place.
- The picturesque village of Sirince is located 9km east to Selcuk up in the Hills. It offers wonderful views among olive and peach trees.
- House of Mary, 10km south is claimed to have been the House where Virgin Mary spend her last days in Ephesus.
- Pamucak beach.
- A nice day-tour can take one to the three archeological sites of Priene, Miletus and Dydima located a little bit south in the coast. Several hotels and pensions offer this tour or you can also rent a van, with driver or not, on your own.
- The bizantine citadel and the remains of St. John Basylica.
- The Aqueduct.
- The Museum of Ephesus. Contains objects found in the Ephesus excavation at the site.
Selcuk is a town near the much more famous Efes (Ephesos, Ephesus, Efese, take your pick). It has the museum where they keep the better finds from that place (I put the relevant pictures in my Ephesus gallery. It also has a good 14th century mosque, the (sparse) remains of a huge Artemis (or Sybille) temple, a kale or fortress on a hill, the remains of a church dedicated to St. John the apostle, an aqueduct from Roman times, in season quite some storks nests, and is in itself a fine place to stay. From here you have good connections to Izmir, but also to sights in the South like Miletus, Priene and Didyma. It has a sense of quietude one lacks in the popular bathing resort Kushada??, on the other side of Ephesos.