Located about three hours’ drive south of Ankara, it’s an extremely old city, its roots going back to the days of the Hittites, who called it Kuwanna. As a Roman city, it was Iconium. Today it is the most religiously conservative city in Turkey—and proud of it.
The reason to visit Konya is to see the Mevlana Museum which shelters the tomb of Jelaleddin Rumî (1207-1273), known to his followers as Mevlana (or Rumî), a Muslim poet and mystic and one of the great spiritual thinkers and teachers of all time.
Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Turkish Sultanate of Rum (“ROOM,” that is, Rome)which flourished in Central Anatolia from 1071 to 1275. The Seljuks built numerous caravansarays along the Silk Road between Cappadocia and Konya, and beyond. More…
|Gilded cenotaph of Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi, whose life and work inspired the founding of the Mevlevi dervish order.|
Konya has a sufficient number of hotels, but if you plan to visit in mid-December, when Şeb-i Aruz, the annual Rumî commemoration ceremonies, pack Konya with pilgrims, you must be sure to reserve your room well in advance; or, better yet, take a guided tour that includes Konya and Cappadocia. More…
During the holy month of Ramazan, many restaurants may be closed during daylight hours, and may open only for İftar, the break-the-fast dinner just after sundown.
The Mevlevi sema is the Sufi worship ceremony in which the Mevlevi dervisheswhirl for a quarter of an hour at a time in their quest for mystical union with the Divine. (Dervishes also whirl in Istanbul. More….)
In fact, Konya is an interesting place any time of year, with its historic buildings and savory slow-roasted mutton Konya kebap, though it can be difficult to get a beer or a glass of wine with dinner (strictly observant Muslimsdo not consume alcoholic drinks at all).
Beyşehir, 92 km (57 miles, 1.5 hours’ drive) west of Konya on the way to the Mediterranean coast, boasts Anatolia’s most beautiful Seljuk Turkish wooden mosque, the Eşrefoğlu Camii(1296-1299), well worth a look in passing, or even a day excursion. More…
—by Tom Brosnahan
|What to See & Do in Konya|