Şirince, a town in İzmir's Selçuk district, has become the center of attraction for believers in a prophecy based on the Mayan calendar that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012.
Doomsday cultists are convinced that since the Mayan calendar abruptly ends on Dec. 21, 2012, this date marks the end of the world. Thousands with new age beliefs around the world believe that only Şirince and the village of Bugarach, located in the south of France, will be saved.
Şirince, a small town of 570 -- with a bed capacity of around 1,000 -- is now expected to host more than 60,000 people trying to avoid the apocalypse as the date of Dec. 21 approaches.
Normally a one-day accommodation at a hotel in the village costs around TL 100-500. Following the prophecy, costs of accommodation hit a new record. Prices per single room are currently TL 3,000 and could reach as high as TL 6,000. Moreover, around 3,000 members of national and foreign press will be in the village for a live broadcast.
The town has also acquired quite a reputation for its fruit wines, popular with visitors to the destination.
Most of the residents of the town, on the other hand, do not want to be disturbed by the Mayan prophecy. Cumhur İnal, a local salesperson, has some concerns that the excessive numbers of people expected to flock to the town may ruin the natural beauty of the town.
Scientists, for their part, scoff at the prophecy. “The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012,” states NASA on its web site.