Konya is the city of the Sufi poet and mystic Maulana Rumi. Thousands of tourists come here, in the middle of the open, endless prairie as pilgrims to see where the great poet Jelaluddin Rumi has lived and worked. Here is not only the famous Mevlana museum, but also the Shrine of Rumi, which attract 2 million visitors every year. Konya in Turkey is one of the most culturally conservative cities in the country. Still, uncovering its secrets is an unforgettable and enriching experience.
Konya City Turkey
Konya is one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in Turkey. In Roman times its name was Iconium. During the Roman and then Turkish rule, Konya has always been one of the great cultural centres of this region.
Here Mevlana Rumi founded a Sufi order known in the West as the Whirling Dervishes. At the heart of the city is the striking green-tiled building of Mevlana’s Mausoleum. The building next to the museum was a former dervish seminary. In the museum, there are various artefacts related to the mysticism and the Sufis. Every year in December, there is a huge ceremony in commemoration of Rumi. Dervishes dressed in their white robes perform their sema dance, creating a truly fascinating performance for the viewers.
Rumi’s tomb is the second most visited tourist sight in Turkey after the famous Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Konya is also famous for its delicious cuisine and lamb delicacies.
Rumi – The Great Poet
Rumi is one of the world’s most famous poets. From the moment he moved to Konya from Persia up until this day, pilgrims have come to seek the Love, Rumi talks about. The poet was a mystic, a Sufi saint, who accepted and loved all religions and Love was his religion. His followers lost themselves in a trance-like dance called sema, spinning for hours on end.
Rumi was a son of a renowned scholar who fled Persia and was invited to stay with his family in Konya. Rumi, himself was very well educated, he travelled and studied in Aleppo and Damascus, but afterwards he came back to Konya to take the place of his father. After that he founded his Sufi school in order to start teaching and writing poems.
The Whirling Dervishes
And finally, the whirling dervishes are now one of the symbols of Turkey. In fact, they are Sufis wearing long, white dresses and big hats. They perform their sacred sema dance. It is a kind of trance, meditation in which they whirl to the sound of a flute. One of their hands points to the ground, the other one to the sky. This is how they represent the relationship between these two worlds.
Coming to Konya is coming to Turkey’s soul. Certainly, it is a pilgrimage, both physical and spiritual journey to a place filled with really beautiful words, telling us about Love.