Esbelli Evi Cave Inn,
Konya, 261 km (162 miles) south of Ankara (map), is Turkey's city
Dervishes, and has been
Located right on the ancient Silk Road, Konya has lots to see and do, a number
of good hotels, and transport is
Located about three hours' drive south
it's an extremely old city,
its roots going back to the days of
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
Anatolia from 1071 to
1275. The Seljuks built numerous caravansarays along the Silk Road between Cappadocia and Konya, and beyond. More...
architecture is outstanding,
and numerous great Seljuk buildings—mosques
and theological seminaries mostly—are
and joy. More...
Konya has a sufficient
number of hotels,
but if you plan to visit in mid-December,
the annual Rumî commemoration
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 Cappadocia. More...
During the holy month of Ramazan,
many restaurants may be closed during
daylight hours, and may open only for
break-the-fast dinner just after sundown.
The Mevlevi sema
is the Sufi worship ceremony in which
dervishes whirl for a
quarter of an hour at a time in their
quest for mystical union with the Divine.
(Dervishes also whirl in Istanbul. More....)
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 Muslims do
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
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,
Train. There are also
dozens of fast, frequent and comfortable
daily buses. More...
If you're coming from Cappadocia,
bus and car are your only options. From Ankara,
the fastest, most comfortable way
is by High-Speed
—by Tom Brosnahan