Konya is a city in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey. It is one of the ten most populous cities in Turkey and as of 2011 the metropolitan municipality had a population of 1.1 million.
Konya has been an old permanent settlemet province, a cradle for many civilizations since people started to run a settled life in 7000 B.C. As we remember the usage of writing began 3500 B.C, Konya is considered one of the oldest settlements of the world history. Catalhoyuk, located within the province of Konya, is known as a centre of the first cultivation made in the world history.
It became the capital city of the Seljuk Empire in the 12th century andconsequently experienced the most important Renaissance period of its long history.
In the 13th century, Konya was completely transformed with Selcuk architecture. Because of its locations in the middle of the barren Anatolian steppe, it used to be one of the most important trading centres on the Silk Road.
The great Muslim philosopher Rumi, who believed in human love and said that mystical unity with God could be reached by the Sema, a whirling dance to music performed by the dervishes, lived in Konya and established a following here. Every year in December, Konya holds a Mevlana Week which includes performances of the Sema. Mevlana is buried with his father Bahaeddin Veled in the Green Tomb (Yesil Turbe), which has become the symbol of the city. The Dervish Lodge and Mevlana Museum adjacent to the tomb are open to the public. Today Konya is still a centre of Sufic practice and teaching.
Konya is an important place for Christians as well because St. Paul and St. Barnabas came to the city on one of their journeys in Asia Minor around 50 AD. St. Paul preached in Konya but they angered both Jews and Gentiles so they had to leave the city and went to Derbe and Lystra.
Main sights in Konya are Alaeddin Mosque, Ince Minaret Medrese (Museum), Karatay Medrese (which was a theological school used as tiles museum today), Mevlana Museum (formerly the tekke of Mevlana), Seljuk Tower (the tallest building in Konya), Alaeddin Hill and Alaaddin Keykubat Mosque (from 12th century).
The most famous speciality of Konya’s cuisine is firin Kebap (oily roasted mutton) and etli ekmek (pide topped with meat). There are many types of kebap and pastries available.
And don’t leave without; Learning about the Dervishes in the Mevlana Museum, Visiting the ancient sites of Catalhoyuk and Kilistra, Admiring the ornate architecture of the Mosques, Palaces, and Hans, Entering a wedding dinner, Buying carpets, and pileless carpets from the villages of Konya, Watching the Mevlevi ceremony between 10-17 December every year (every Saturday evening a demonstration ceremony is organized in Mevlana Cultur Center).
Sources: Ministry of Cultur and Tourism, Wikipedia
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