Konya – Rumi,s place is a 7th largest city in Turkey and capital of the eponymous province, Konya is located on the southwestern edge of the Anatolian plateau, north of the Taurus mountains. At an elevation of 1016 m, the metropolitan area is home to over two million inhabitants and a thriving industrial center. In September 2017 Konya was awarded the Golden Apple Trophy by the World Federation of Travel Journalists and Writers in recognition of its contribution to tourism.
Excavations show that the area was inhabited from around 3000 B.C. It was ruled successively by Phrygians, Cimmerians and the Persian Empire until 333 B.C. when Alexander the Great defeated Darius III. It later came under the Kings of Pergamon, thereafter part of the Roman Empire under Claudius and the Byzantine Empire.
Seljuks took over in 1084 and Konya became the capital of the Sultanate of Rum between 1097 and 1243 before being incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1420.
Konya has become a major pilgrimage centre as the resting place of Mevlana Jalal al-Din Rumi, founder of the Sufi Mevlevi Order, best known for its Whirling Dervishes.
He was born in 1207 in Balkh (today’s Afghanistan) and died in Konya in 1273. One of the greatest Sufi poets of Islam, he was trained in Sufism by his father, famous scholars and Sufi masters.
After meeting the wandering dervish Shams al-Din from Tabriz (Iran), he experienced a thorough spiritual transformation into an ecstatic Sufi master, author of beautiful verses and couplets full of wisdom and meaning. The meeting of Shams and Mevlana is recorded as the meeting of two seas and two oceans.
Main places of interest
- Mevlana Mausoleum and Museum
- Aladdin, Aziziye and Selimiye Mosques
- Sirçali and Karatay Madrasas
- Mausoleum of Shams Tabriz
- Archeological, Ethnographic, Atatürk and Ince Minare Museums
- St Paul’s Catholic Cathedral
- Tropical Garden of Butterflies
- Japanese Park
- 42-storey Seljuk Tower
Excursions out of town
Sille (8 km) is an old village crossed by a rivulet along the main street, with traditional buildings, a mosque, catacombs, the underground hammam of Haci Ali Aga and the Church of St Elena originally commissionned in 327 by Helena, mother of Emperor Constantin the Great.
Ancient troglodyte dwellings dot the hills overlooking the village.
Çatalhöyük (65 km) is one of the major neolithic archeological sites of the Near East dating back to 7500 B.C. It is built on two mounds covering 37 hectares. First discovered in 1951, it was added on Unesco’s World Heritage list in 2012.
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