Selçuk is a town in western Turkey with a population of around 23,000 people and is situated 18 kilometers inland from Kuşadası - about an hour drive south of the city of İzmir. Visitors to Selçuk generally come to visit Ephesus so much of the town itself remains a traditional Turkish town, unchanged and undeveloped. Sitting above the city is a Byzantine era fortress overlooking Selçuk on Ayasoluk Hill, the dominant physical characteristic of the town, aside from the larger hills that rise to the east. When the Romans conquered Ephesus over 2000 years ago, they built numerous aquaducts to carry water from the nearby hills into Ephesus, a distance of about three to five kilometers. Since they reused some of the blocks from earlier versions of the Temple of Artemis, the aquaduct crossing the center of town contains several blocks with writing carved into them. These stones were used randomly - sometimes sideways and upside down at times, the blocks being put to use however they fit best into the aquaduct. When the Romans took over Ephesus over 2000 years ago, they built many of these aquaducts to carry water from the nearby hills to Ephesus, a distance of three to five kilometers. They re-used some of the blocks from earlier versions of the Temple of Artemis. So, the aquaduct crossing the center of town contains some blocks with carved writing, sometimes sideways or upside down as the blocks were put to use however they best fit. Selçuk is the central town of the Selçuk district of İzmir Province in Turkey lying 2 kilometers or 1.2 miles northeast of the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus. The original Greek name of Selçuk, Agios Theológos (Greek: Άγιος Θεολόγος) referred to John the Theologian. Under the Ottoman Empire, it was known as Ayasoluk (Ottoman Turkish: Ayasluğ). In 1914, it was renamed Selçuk for the Selçuk Turks who first led incursions into the region during the 12th century. Landmarks in Selçuk cover three different periods of history in the city: the Temple of Artemis, the Isa Bey Mosque on Ayasoluk Hill built by the Seljuk Turks and the Byzantine Castle. There is a market (Turkish: pazar) in town every Saturday. The renowned annual camel wrestling championship also takes place in Selçuk-Pamucak during the winter.
Selçuk was a township in the Kuşadası district until 1954 and then in the Torbalı district between 1954-1957. It finally became a district of its own in 1957. Its neighbours are Torbalı to the north, Tire to the northeast, Germencik to the east, Kuşadası from the south, the Aegean Sea from the west and the Menderes district (formerly Cumaovası) from the northwest.
Selçuk is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Turkey, due to its closeness to the ancient city of Ephesus, House of the Virgin Mary and other Seljuk works of art. The 6th century Basilica of St. John the Apostle, which some claim was built on the site of the apostle's tomb, lies inside the town as well. The old quarter of Selçuk retains the traditional Turkish ambience and culture. Ayasoluk Hill dominates the surrounding area, with several historical buildings on its slopes, including the İsa Bey Mosque built by the Seljuk Turks in 1375, as well as the Grand Fortress. The outstanding village of Şirince is located 9 kilometers east of Selcuk up in the hills. It offers beautiful views of the area from among its olive and peach orchards. The House of the Virgin Mary (Turkish"Meryem Ana Evi), 10 kilometers south up in the hills is claimed to have been the house where Virgin Mary spent her last days in Ephesus. The Vatican has declared this place as an official Catholic pilgrimage site. A day-tour can be arranged to the three archeological sites of Priene, Miletus and Dydima, all Roman cities located a little bit south on the coast.
The Selçuk - Ephesus Airport and Selçuk Training Center of the Turkish Aeronautical Association is only 3 kilometers away from Selçuk, offering piloting, parachuting, and microlight training. But, the closest airport used by tourists is Adnan Menderes Airport near İzmir about 55 kilometers to the north of Selçuk. From the airport visitors have two options to get to Selçuk: you can take trains which call at the station directly on the airport grounds, and which connect the airport with Selçuk and points south six times daily. Or a quicker, but more expensive option, is to take a mini-bus (Turkish: dolmuş) which depart from the Selçuk – Ephesus Otogar, situated 2 kilometers away from the airport - requiring a taxi ride from the airport to the bus station (Turkish: otogar). This particular otogar is not the same type of bus station found in the rest of the country. This otogar is just a bus stop with some benches. Take the mini-bus with the sign Selçuk – Ephesus on its frontend. The ride to Selçuk costs about 7 YTL, and takes about an hour after many stops along the way. Simply stay on the mini-bus until the very end at Selçuk. There are also mini-buses (Turkish: dolmuşes) from the city of İzmir itself, as well as buses from Pamukkale that serve drinks and snacks along the way. It is also possible to take an overnight bus from İstanbul. It departs İstanbul at midnight and arrives at Selçuk at about 8am. This service is run by Varan, which is one of the better bus lines and it costs about 70 YTL (as of the summer of 2011).