At the very heart of Konya,
in more ways than one, is the Mevlâna
Museum), the former tekke (dervish
hall) that now holds the tomb of Mevlâna
founder of the Mevlevi order of dervishes,
commonly called the Whirling
The Mevlâna Müzesi is
a place of pilgrimage for Muslims because Rumî is
a saint. His poetic message of peace,
love of God and one's fellow creatures,
resounds to a far wider audience today
than it did over 700 years ago when Rumî preached
and taught in Konya,
and whirled in ecstasy through its
streets. Muslim and non-Muslim pilgrims
come from throughout the world to
visit his tomb.
Thus, though it is legally a government-run
museum, it is also a holy place.
The museum is open
09:00 am to 17:30 (5:30 pm), free admission.
busiest in mid-morning
and mid-afternoon, so the best
time to visit is right when
it opens in the morning, or at lunchtime.
Plan to spend
30 or 45 minutes here.
Photography is allowed,
but it's polite to be discreet and
to limit or eschew the use of flash.
You enter the courtyard of the tekke, with
the dervish cells to your left and
administrative offices to the right.
Approach the main building with its
distinctive green-tiled cylindrical
dome, and you'll be asked to cover
your shoes with thin
Inside on the right, the tombs of Rumî's
family and descendants lie beside those
of dozens of Mevlevi sheiks
(leaders of the order).
At the corner,
beneath the dome, is the tomb
of Rumî himself,
resplendent in gold decoration and
covered in cloth-of-gold. (What you
see is a cenotaph. Rumî's
actual tomb is beneath it.) This
is the oldest part of the building,
dating to Seljuk times. The rest
of the building consists of later
Many Muslim pilgrims raise their hands
in prayer as they face the tomb, no
doubt praying for Rumî's
tomb, the two large rooms once used
for the Mevlevi whirling sema ceremony are
now lined with glass cases holding
exhibits of Mevlevi historical
personal effects, including
his conical caps and his prayer carpet;
clothing of his son and succesor, Sultan
Veled; and the elaborate hat of Rumî's
spiritual companion Şemsi
Tebrizi. Other objects include
old dervish musical instruments, including
the ney, or
Mevlevi flute, made of
Remember: these artifacts
are over seven centuries
In the next room are antique
of silk, with more than four
million knots!—as well
Kur'ans, Hadith (sayings of the
Prophet) and learned commentaries and
prayer beads. The central glass case
holds relics of the Prophet
Outside, you may want to visit the
exhibits in the dervish cells which
illustrate the Mevlevi's daily life,
organization and worship.
As you leave the museum complex, be
prepared to be accosted by carpet
touts, an unpleasant, discordant
ending to the serene hour of your visit.
Every year, commemoration
ceremonies are held in Konya on December
17th (Şeb-i Aruz),
the night of Rumî's
"wedding night with God," (that
is, of his earthly death). Rumî devotees
and pilgrims come from around the world
to see the
dervishes whirl and to pay their respects
to the poet-mystic-saint. More...
Museum, Konya, Turkey.
Below, an illuminated