The ancient city of Konya, whose history dates way back to the Sultanate of Rum, is one of the most unique cities in Turkey. Konya is also the city where Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi in English -in short Rumi-, or simply Mevlana in Turkish, lived. In fact, Rumi was a world-famous poet and a Sufi thinker. He was considered to be one of the greatest spiritual masters and poetical intellects. He devoted himself in writing ghazals and books, such as the Diwan-e-Kabir or Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi. You may know him from his following ghazal; "Come, come, whoever you are, Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving- it doesn't matter, Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times, Come, come again, come.".
And yes, Beyonce named her daughter Rumi after him!
With its old history, amazing architecture, green nature and fun activities, Konya is waiting to be explored!
The Mevlana Museum is one of the main tourist attractions in Konya. This museum is dedicated to the famous mystic Sufi and thinker, Rumi! The Mevlana museum displays a large collection of old manuscripts, handwritten copies of the Koran, musical instruments used at Rumi's time, and many artworks dating back to the Seljuk era. Inside this museum, you can also see the mausoleum of Rumi. If you want to watch the world-famous whirling dervish ceremony, in Turkish, Sema, you can go to the Mevlana Cultural Centre, which is located very close to the Mevlana museum. The ceremony starts at 8 PM, it takes place every Saturday and it lasts an hour and a half.
If you are interested in photography, you can go outside and take some pictures of the authentic Turkish neighborhood, that can be found near the museum!
About an hour-drive away from Konya, you can reach a prehistoric archeological site called Çatalhöyük. Çatalhöyük is a very important place, since it is one of the earliest and most well preserved human settlement sites! In the Konya Archeological museum, you can check out the sarcophagi and other antiquities from the ancient city of Çatalhöyük! At the same time, you can admire its exhibits of the Neolithic, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Classical, the Hellenistic, the Roman and the Byzantine periods! In the collection, you will see many sculptures, sarcophagi, column heads, and epigraphies. The most famous display is the marble sarcophagus of the 3rd century BC with its elaborated sculpting, depicting the life of Hercules. Dating from 3000 BC to the 2nd Century, you can admire many antiques of the ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses, along with some Turkish goddesses!
Time for more cultural tours! If you feel like exploring the impressive mosques of Konya, first of all, you should start from the "Kapu Mosque". The Kapu mosque is the biggest Ottoman mosque in Konya and it was built in the 17th Century. The mosque's interior will mesmerise you. This classic Ottoman style mosque has also an interesting minaret.
The Alaeddin Mosque is one of the most important mosques in Konya. This ancient Christian basilica was converted into a mosque in 1080 by the Seljuks. It was kept simple till 1155, and later on the ebony minbar, the ceramic frame of the mihrab and the dome above, have been added to its silhouette. The minaret and the marble mihrab that were added during the Ottoman Empire times, are great examples of the city's culture and architecture. With its re-used Byzantine and Hellenistic columns, this mosque is quite spacious, giving in that way a sense of holiness.
The Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden is the best place to go if you are visiting Konya with your kids! In here, you can get to check out 15 different types of butterflies from all over the world. With its 28 centigrade temperature and 80% humidity, this garden is an ideal environment for the butterflies. In addition, lots of different species of bugs can be found in there and you can learn more about them! Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden doesn't only display cute butterflies and coloured bugs, but also amazing flowers and plants. It is definitely the most entertaining jungle. After doing all of those, you can visit its museum and watch a documentary and cartoon movie, explaining the species of butterflies, of the bugs and of the plants in detail. If you want to give your children a whole different experience, you can book a nature course or even a gardening course!
If that is not enough nature for you, you can also visit Meram in Konya! Meram is a small town in Konya, and it is in fact just 6 km away from the city center. It is popular due to its amazing green view, its chilly breeze, its amazing water and its multiple picnic places. There are lots of gardens and vineyards in here, which makes the city perfect to spend some time on hot summer days. In the old times, people used to gather around the gardens of Meram during summer, to chat and sing together. If you want to bond with local people more and have a relaxing time, you should definitely visit this place.
Last but not least, you deserve a break and to fill your stomach with some delicious and local food! The gastronomy of Konya is full of delicacies and deserts, with the most famous dish being the "Etli Ekmek". Etli ekmek is basically chopped meat on a flat dough with toppings such as onion, tomato, green pepper and melted cheese! It sounds like a pizza doesn't it? Trust me, it is way more delicious than a pizza! The best place to taste etli ekmek is at the Cemo Etli ekmek Nalçacı!
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