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SÖKE

Transport hub for mid-Aegean                                  Populatio: 116,000

soke1Market day: Sunday

Old name: Sokia

There's no reason why someone should go out of their way to visit Söke, south of Kuşadası, but since it's the transport hub for the surrounding area of the mid-Aegean the chances are high that you'll find yourself passing through it, if only to change buses.

In that case there are a couple of things you might want to look out for including the Sunday market which is one of the largest in the area.

Söke is also one of the few places where you still occasionally see small boys riding in all their finery to their sünnets (circumcisions) on horseback.

Interestingly, Söke was once the centre of a flourishing trade in licorice which was gathered in vast quantities in the area, then processed in a local factory, now lost. 

Around town

The oldest part of Söke is the Kemalpaşa Mahallesi where there are still some fine 19th-century mansions, now being refurbished as part of an urban regeneration plan. Before the 1923 Graeco-Turkish population exchange this was the Rum (Greek) mahalle. Until the 1970s it was also home to Turkey's largest liquorice factory. soke2

Otherwise, the single most impressive building in town is the İlyas Ağa Cami, also known as the Merkez or Çarşı Cami. It was commissioned in 1812 by the local governor, İlyas Ağa, and clearly reuses material taken from local archaeological sites in its portico.

Inside, the mimber, kürsü and wooden doors were brought here from Eski Balat (the area of Miletus near the impressive old İlyas Bey Cami). Externally its shape is curiously evocative of much older Byzantine buildings. 

soke3Transport info

There are frequent minibuses to Söke from Kuşadası and Selçuk with connections to Altınkum (for Didyma), Aydın, Güllübahçe (for Priene), Eski Doğanbey and the Dilek National Park from the large central bus station.

There is only very limited transport to Balat (for Miletus).

Day trip destinations

Altınkum

Aydın

Didyma

Dilek National Park

Eski Doğanbey

Güllübahçe

Kuşadası

Miletus

Priene

Selcük

soke4Greek carving in Söke back street

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