Things to do - general

The city of Konya was an ancient city of Anatolia. The Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Seljuk and the Ottoman have all ruled over it. Of its more than five thousand years history, only one man can represent Konya‘s essence – the beloved Jalal-u-din Muhammad Rumi. Rumi once said, “Beyond the fields of right and wrong there is a place, I will meet you there.” Rumi was the Saint of Devine Love, and his teachings taught his people how to embrace their pasts, reconcile between the east and the west and move into the future together. He is the founder of the Mevlevi Order of the Whirling Dervishes, and in many ways, Konya is like a dervish whirling on his axis in devotion to Allah. Konya is still among the most religiously inclined cities in Turkey. The beauty of Konya can only be appreciated once you start whirling with it.

Visa Requirements

The Turkish visa can be obtained directly from https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/

Languages SpokenEnglish and Turkish
Currency UsedTurkish Lira (TRY)
Area (km2)38,873

Things to do

Religious Sites
Visit the Madrasas and squares where Rumi stood and gave his sermons, elevated hearts and spirits of people even today. The international symbol of Konya is the Tekke, where Rumi rests among his loving dervishes. The mausoleum is built in Persian and Turkish influences and is surrounded by a rose garden. The pilgrim enters from the Gate of the Dervish in the south. The theological college of Karatay founded in 1251 still stands with all its glory and splendour. It is known for the tile work and religious history associated with it over the years. The roof of the dome of the Karatay Madrassa is a wonder on its own. Salimeyi Mosque and Azizi Mosques are heavily embellished and incorporate the Byzantium architectural charm into the building.

Museums and Archaeological sites
The Konya Archeological museum has an atmosphere that takes you to yesteryears. This museum houses the sarcophagus of Hercules, items in use of different sultans and nobilities, and Turkish crafts, calligraphy and arts. Recent excavations at Çatalhöyük have unearthed the remains of 9000-year-old settlements that are redefining history books and revealing clearly demarcated planed housings

Culture and History

The roots of Konya are in Greek legends and mythology. Back then Konya was known as Iconium. Konya was the place where the Greek war hero Perseus slayed his enemies by casting them to stone, using the head of the demon Medusa and finding a city there in the celebration of his victory. Alexander the Great defeated Darius the third of Persia who held Konya in his domain, in 333 BC but soon after his death the empire broke and the reins of Konya fell in the hands of Seleucus. Konya was among the destinations where Saint Paul, who was among the twelve apostles of E’sa (RA) (Jesus Christ) where he preached the message of Christianity. Due to Konya’s relative proximity to the sea and the holy land of Jerusalem, it was often under invasion from first the advancing Muslim armies and then the Christian crusaders.

In 1084 the Seljuk’s invaded the city, renamed the city and brought along the golden age of Islamic Konya. The wealth and power of the Seljuk was consolidated when they conquered rival Turk and Persian territories of all of eastern Anatolia and mostly all of the Anatolian ports to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.  The rise of the Seljuk sultanate of Rum attracted immigrants from Persia and central Asia weary with Mongol invasions. Among those immigrants was the Maulana Rumi who became the face of Konya forever. The Ottoman era of Konya brought great development and growth. The Sultan’s son or shehezade were usually responsible for administering Konya themselves. Among the most notable were the Shehezade Mustafa and Shehezade Cem who went on to become Sultan Salem II. In 1922, Konya hosted the largest Turkish airbase that defended the southern part of the country in the Turkish war of independence.

The culture of Konya is heavy with the contemplation of the dervish looking inwards, into his soul to find God. At the end of the Turkish war of independence, when the state and religion were separated in the new Turkish constitution, all saintly orders were abolished except this one. Such is the importance of the dervish in Konya and in Turkey at large. The whirling dance of the dervish is not a dance at all; it’s a way of prayer. It’s a process of meditation in which the practitioner focuses on finding the inner essence of God, by blurring out the world. Konya is rich with Persian influences, in its architecture, poetry, music, cuisine, and lifestyle.

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