Konya Travel Guide
Whirling dervishes are one of the cultural icons of Turkey. Their capital: Konya. Here, Rumi, one of the most significant Sufi Muslims ever, lived his life.
Apart from this, you’ll find a wealth of artifacts stretching back to the Neolithic Era, and ancient villages.
Come check out our Konya travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Konya, Turkey.
Begin your visit to Konya by spending an hour or two at the Mevlana Museum. First and foremost, it is a mausoleum for Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Sufi mystic from Persia. Known as Rumi for short, his poetry has transcended national boundaries and the ages. According to a BBC report in 2014, journalists revealed that Rumi was the best-selling poet in that country.
The site became significant in the 13th century. After Rumi’s father died, Sultan ‘Ala’ al-Din Kayqubad offered up his rose garden as a final resting place. In 1231, Rumi passed away and was buried beside his father.
Not long after, Hüsamettin Çelebi, Rumi’s understudy, advocated for the building of a mausoleum for his master. Additions through the centuries included teaching space for Sufis, a kitchen, and a mosque. In 1926, a decree transformed the mausoleum into a museum.
Today, you can tour most of the rooms in this complex. However, know that this is a spiritually significant place. As such, take care to dress respectfully – this means covering your knees and shoulders.
Also, be sure to pick up an audio guide on entry. As a foreigner, many of the sights here will be lost on you. By picking up this aid, you’ll gain insight that you would otherwise miss.
Next, make your way over to the Konya Archaeological Museum. This facility opened at the turn of the 20th century to house artifacts unearthed in the region. In particular, many of the items come from the ancient city of Çatalhöyük. This settlement was among the oldest cities on Earth, as it was settled from 9,000 to 7,000 years ago.
In addition to Neolithic Age items, you’ll find artifacts from the Bronze Age straight through to the Byzantine period. Amidst all the pottery and bronze knick-knacks, check out the sarcophagi. Their creators carved these elaborate coffins in the Roman Era. Around its fringes, you’ll note a detailed relief that pays tribute to the labours of Hercules.
If you’re looking for a masjid to check out while in Konya, drop by the Aziziye Mosque. Built during the Ottoman Era, this structure mixes in Baroque influences with the local architectural style. After touring this structure, spend some time enjoying some hospitality in their on-site tea house.
If you have time for a day trip in Konya, be sure to visit the village of Sille. For countless generations, this little settlement stood apart from the rest of the region. Until 1922, its residents spoke a Cappadocian dialect of Greek. At that time, the residents left their homes for Greece, amid turbulent times.
It marked a change from eight centuries of tolerance and acceptance. Rumi witnessed a miracle in this place. As a result, he instructed his fellow Turks not to harm the people of Sille.
Not long after the abandonment of the village, steps were taken to preserve it. Today, it remains much as it was when people last lived here. In particular, the cave dwellings are most of interest. On the way out, have an enjoyable meal at one of its cafes or restaurants.
Lake Tuz, by far, is the most significant natural sight in the Konya area. It is a hypersaline lake that ranks among the saltiest in the world. Shallow at its wettest, much of it dries up in summer. At this time, locals mine salt from its surface. Come during winter, though, and you’ll see flamingoes, who thrive along its shores.
Take a break and enjoy choice views of Konya from Alaeddin Hill. While its primary function is green space, it is also home to a number of structures. These include a mosque and an old palace. Sadly, those visiting soon will not get a chance to visit, as it’s presently being renovated.
Looking to take a break in an urban environment? Spend some time in Meram Baglari. Canals with baby-blue water crisscross this ancient Konya neighbourhood. Throughout, you’ll find cafes and restaurants overlooking this remarkable sight.
If you’re travelling as a family, make time to visit the Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden. As the name suggests, this attraction is home to over 150 species of butterfly. It’s a stark contrast to its surroundings, as its interior remains at 26 degrees Celsius year-round.