Konya’s Mevlânâ Cultural Center (Mevlânâ Kültür Merkezi), one kilometer east of theMevlânâ Museum, past the Üçler Mezarlığı(cemetery), is the world’s grandest and most modern whirling dervish tekke (hall).
Built to honor Mevlânâ Jelaleddin Rumî and his Mevlevi (Whirling) Dervishes, the center has a huge Sema Hall and smaller spaces for other dervish-related and cultural activities.
But it’s not big enough. In 2013 plans were drawn for a hall four times as large (10,000 seats) to accommodate the throngs who crowd into Konya for the annual Şeb-i Aruz, the annual commemoration of Rumî‘s “wedding night with God” (his death)
From the 1960s to the 1990s, Konya’s Mevlevi dervishes whirled in the city’s Sports Hall, the largest enclosed space in the city at the time. The Sports Hall’s hardwood floor was suitable for the sema, but its bad acoustics, harsh lighting and basketball nets detracted from the mystic atmosphere.
With the opening of the Mevlânâ Cultural Center, Konya’s Mevlevi dervishes and Rumî‘s millions of admirers finally have a suitable place in which to celebrate Rumî‘s message of love, tolerance and respect.
If you’d like to attend the annual Şeb-i Aruzcommemorations in December, click here.
Several of Konya’s hotels are within walking distance of the Mevlânâ Cultural Center. More…
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Mevlâna Jelaleddin Rumî|