Konya, Turkey

Konya, 261 km (162 miles) south of Ankara (map), is Turkey’s city of Whirling Dervishes, and has been for 800 years.

Located right on the ancient Silk Road, Konya has lots to see and do, a number of good hotels, and transport is easy.

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…

Seljuk architecture is outstanding, and numerous great Seljuk buildings—mosques and theological seminaries mostly—are Konya‘s pride and joy. More…

Gilded Tomb of Jelaleddin Rumi (Mevlana), Konya, Turkey
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 CappadociaMore…

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 IstanbulMore….)

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).

About 45 km (28 miles) southeast of Konya lies Çatalhöyük, the famous Neolithic archeological site excavated by James Melaart in the 1950s, and currently under further investigation. More…

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…

As for Konya transportation, daily Turkish Airlines flights connect Konya with Istanbul, and soon a High-Speed Train. There are also dozens of fast, frequent and comfortable dailybusesMore…

If you’re coming from Cappadocia, bus and car are your only options. From Ankara, the fastest, most comfortable way is by High-Speed TrainMore…

—by Tom Brosnahan


What to See & Do in Konya

Best Tours & Itineraries

Konya Hotels

Konya Transport

See Whirling Dervishes

The Silk Road

Seljuk Turkish Architecture

Çatalhöyük

Cappadocia

Central Anatolia

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