Cultural Center (Mevlânâ
one kilometer east of the
Museum, past the Üçler
Mezarlığı (cemetery), is the
world's grandest and most modern
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
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
Aruz commemorations in
Several of Konya's hotels are within walking distance of the Mevlânâ
Cultural Center. More...
—by Tom Brosnahan