Konya is one of the first inhabited cities in the history of mankind, and still contains traces of many ancient civilisations which gives it the atmosphere of a museum city. 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 fertile land around the city means Konya is also the heart of Turkey’s grain industry, with farming a major industry. Steeped in tradition, it is one of the most conservative and religious places in the country, and best known as the adopted home of Celaleddin Rumi, the Sufic mystic who founded the Whirling Dervish sect. Today it is still a centre of Sufic practice and teaching, and one of the highlights for visitors is the Mevlana Museum, the former lodge of the dervishes.
Mevlana Museum/Mausoleum of Rumi (in Turkish ‘Mevlana Müzesi’), This must see tourist destination of Konya, is the tomb of the famous mystic/sufi/thinker Rumi (known shortly as Mevlana in Turkish, or with the full name Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi in English literature), as well as the neighboring museum that displays relics of his life and his time. The items on display in the museum range from old manuscripts, hand written copies of the Koran, musical instruments used at Rumi’s time, as well as numerous art works dating from the Seljuk era.
Catalhoyuk Ancient City, 50km south-east of Konya, is said to be the second settlement in the world with houses and sacred buildings dating back to 6800 BC. The remains were discovered by British archaeologists in 1958, and research shows 13 different strata with evidence of houses that had to be entered by holes in the roof as there were no streets. There is little left at the site, except the remains of mud brick houses, murals, plaster reliefs and pottery. Construction was from adobe, wood and reed, and most of the findings are now in the Konya Museum of Archaeology.
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