October 2010
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Konya in Turkey: City of the whirling dervishes

Konya is situated in the Central Anatolian region of Turkey on an elevation of about 1027 metres above sea level. It is the capital of the Konya province with a population of around 1 million people. Konya was one of the first cities in the world to be inhabited by humans. Excavations show Konya had human activity as early as the 7th millennium BC. In fact, Catal Hoyuk, 50 metres to the south of the city, claims to be the oldest area in the world, known to have been inhabited by man. Konya has seen the reign of many powerful civilizations since time immemorial. Under the Romans, it was called Iconium, and given the status of an important provincial town. Both St Paul and St Barnabas delivered their sermons here, during that time. However, it was when Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum from 1097 to 1243, under the Seljuk’s, that it acquired most of its important monuments, wealth and fame. It was also during this period that Celaleddin Rumi, the reason for which Konya is best known for, visited and decided to make Konya his homeland. Celaleddin Rumi was a Sufi mystic, who founded the Whirling Dervish sect or the Mevleviye. The Mausoleum (tomb) of Rumi is the most important place to visit in Konya, along with the neighbouring Mevlana museum, which has relics of his life and time on display.
Today, Konya is one of the most religiously conservative cities of Turkey and still a centre for practicing of Sufi teachings. The Mosques and other historic buildings, built during the rule of the Seljuk’s, add to the beauty and mystique of this city, known as the city of the whirling dervishes.

Best time to visit / climate:

The climate of Konya is typical Central Anatolian, hot and dry in summer and very cold in winter. Spring (April to Mid-June) is the best time to visit Konya when the weather is moderate. The second best time would be autumn (Mid-September through October) when the weather is mostly mild.

Location on Google maps:

View Larger Map

How to get there:

By plane: Konya Airport is located about 18 km out of the city. Turkish Airlines and many other local airlines fly from Istanbul to Konya regularly. During summer’s you can also fly from various European countries, such as Netherlands, Norway, Denmark etc. Shuttle buses run by Havas, is the best way to get to the city centre from the airport.
By train: Trains are a slower alternative. Konya’s railway station is in a suburb called Meram, which is some distance away from the centre. One can always take a taxi from the station to the city centre. There are direct trains travelling to Konya from Istanbul, Adana and Karaman.
By bus: Konya is well connected to other major cities of Turkey through a very fine network of intercity buses. You can buy bus tickets from any travel agency on Mevlana Caddesi, Konya’s main street, according to your destination.
By car: Konya can also be reached by car. From Istanbul it’s a 10 hour drive to Konya and from Izmir it takes about 7 hours.

Places to stay (Hotels / Restaurants along with contact details):
There are plenty of hotels available in Konya, from luxury to mid-range and budget; there is a hotel to suit everybody’s pocket. Some of the top rated hotels are given below:

1. Ulusan Hotel
Sukran Mah. Kursuncular Sok. | No: 4 Meram Konya, Konya, Turkey
2. Dedeman Konya and Convention Center
Ozalan Mah Selcuklu, Konya 42080, Turkey
3. Hotel Rumi
Durakfaki Mah Durakfaki Sok No 5 | Mevlana Alani, Konya 42030, Turkey
4. Rixos Konya
Istanbul Yolu, Selcuklu, Konya 42250, Turkey (Formerly Hilton)
Source: Trip Advisor

In Konya there are many places to eat from local eateries to restaurants selling international cuisine. Local food is the favourite and most widely available. Soups are the staple food in Konya, and these include lentil, okra, milk, vermicelli etc. The city’s speciality is the firin Kebab (mutton, roasted and oily) and etli ekmek (a round pocket bread called “pide” with meat topping, something like a pizza). Alcohol is not sold in Konya. Some of the top rated restaurants are given below:

1. Kosk Konya Mutfagi
Kosk Lokantasi | Akccesme Mahallesi, Konya, Turkey
ANKARA CD, Konya, Turkey
3. Mevlevi Sofrasi
Nazim Bey Cd 1-A, Konya, Turkey
AFYON, Konya, Turkey

Source: Trip Advisor


1. A brief history: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konya)
Excavations have shown that the region was inhabited during the Late Copper Age, around 3000 BC.[3] The city came under the influence of the Hittites around 1500 BC. These were overtaken by the Sea Peoples around 1200 BC. The Phrygians established their kingdom in central Anatolia in the 8th century BC. Xenophon describes Iconium, as the city was called, as the last city of Phrygia. The region was overwhelmed by Cimmerian invaders c. 690 BC. It was later part of the Persian Empire, until Darius III was defeated by Alexander the Great in 333 BC. Alexander’s empire broke up shortly after his death and the town came under the rule of Seleucus I Nicator. During the Hellenistic period the town was ruled by the kings of Pergamon. As Attalus III, the last king of Pergamon, was about to die without an heir, he bequeathed his kingdom to Rome. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius, the city’s name was changed to Claudioconium, and during the rule of emperor Hadrianus to Colonia Aelia Hadriana.

2. Things to do, sightseeing and attractions:
• http://www.kultur.gov.tr/EN/Genel/BelgeGoster.aspx?17A16AE30572D31395FB1C5180B6EBD6FBC7CF4E89607860
Çatalhöyük: This ancient site, 50km south-east of Konya, is said to be the first settlement in the world with houses and sacred buildings dating back to 6800 BC. The remains were discovered by British archaeologists in 1958, and research shows 13 different strata with evidence of houses that had to be entered by holes in the roof as there were no streets. There is little left at the site, except the remains of mud brick houses, murals, plaster reliefs and pottery. Construction was from adobe, wood and reed and most of the findings are now in the Konya Museum of Archaeology.
It is possible to get most of the way by minibus, then a taxi for the remaining 10 miles.

• http://wikitravel.org/en/Konya
Mevlana Museum/Mausoleum of Rumi (Mevlana Müzesi) (this is a very prominent landmark in downtown, you can’t miss it), 9AM-5PM. This must see tourist destination of Konya, is the tomb of the famous mystic/Sufi/thinker Rumi (known shortly as Mevlana in Turkish, or with the full name Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi in English literature), as well as the neighbouring museum that displays relics of his life and his time. The items on display in the museum range from old manuscripts, hand written copies of the Koran, musical instruments used at Rumi’s time, as well as numerous art works dating from the Seljuk era.

3. Map of Konya: http://www.planetware.com/i/map/TR/konya-map.jpg

4. Photo Gallery:
1. Beautiful collection of pictures by a traveller: http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/konya_turkey
2. Pictures of Konya with descriptions:

5. You Tube Videos:
1. Normal Konya, the streets and market places etc. with the locals going about their daily routine:

2. Small video of whirling dervishes shot in the Mevlana museum courtyard:

3. Two videos of Mevlana museum, both very different:

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