A loud countdown rang out in the early afternoon on December 21, creating echoes in the sleepy hills surrounding Sirince, an ancient village near Turkey’s Aegean coast. Mayan zero-hour had arrived.
“Five, Four, Three…”
The type of noise that locals normally associate with New Year’s Eve was being made by outsiders who had converged on Sirince’s central square to mark “Judgment Day.”
And when the countdown was over, life went on.
The quaint village of 600 residents, nestled above the ancient city of Ephesus, had become an odd attraction over the past few months, thanks to a Mayan prophecy predicting a fiery end to humankind on December 21. Sirince, some believed, was to be one of the few places to be spared amid the “Day of Doom.”
Months of hype had locals hoping that the village would be the place-to-be for hordes of Mayan myth-buyers and nutty new agers. But on the big day, December 21, the vast majority of visitors were curious Turkish visitors and journalists.
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Ceylan Yeginsu is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.