I’ve been wanting to visit Konya since I finished The Forty Rules of Love.
I felt I somehow know the person of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz (if you know what I mean).
When sharing my plan with others, I actually was faced with surprise and disbelief. Konya? They said – there’s nothing there.
I couldn’t understand what they meant but… I had to see for myself. No one will tell me what to see or not!
İstiklal Harbi Şehitleri Abidesi
The walk starts with the Independence Memorial. The tourist guide did not mention about it so I I was surprised to see a civil memorial in this traditional and reigious city but later I read that Konya had a major air base during the Turkish War of Independence and in 1922 the Inspectorate of Air Forces headquartered here *. It brings associations to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, with all the names of the deceased displayed on the walls.
I liked the museum of miniature Turkish life scenes including daily life activities, a wedding and the War of Independence.
Of course it is a must and the destination of most of visits in Konya (other than business or family).
I didn’t anticipate the crowds in the museum itself and in the streets. The surprise was even greater as it was the middle of a working day!
The numbers of cars in the city center also astonishes!
Luckily I was on foot!
But I have to admit there are carparks prepared for the flow of vehicles.
The Mevlana Museum indeed brings the life of the Whirling Dervishes closer. Unfortunately, the Sema shows are each Saturday and I was there on Friday I really miss this part in my trip and need to find a show in Istanbul.
Walk around the city
It’s mostly mosques and the Alâeddin Tepesi. I found Aziziye Camii most striking for its minarets, unlike any I’ve seen before.
The city, despite so developed economy and trade, seems rather poor (or rather simply traditional?) The cars in the streets remember the 70′s. People dress badly. Women in their oversized, loose pantalon, unflattering trenches in the middle of the summer and obligatory headscarves. To me, as an outsider, it does indeed represnt the tradition but also, unfortunately, backward thinking. Sticking to the past while Ataturk told the women to take off their scarves tens of years ago.
Of course I can be wrong but … somehow, in Istanbul, or other places, women seem more modern and feminine. Even with the headscarf on.
They still can stay stylish and chic! With the nicely matched headscarf and makeup plus nice accessories they look really attractive.
In Konya, this is not the case.
Clearly, the fashion does not have the followers here.
But Mevlana does.
I thought the visit to Konya will bring me closer to the figure of Rumi. I was impressed with his recognition by the most recognised Turkish writers and his fame outside Turkey. The Dervish convent, however, ”lost” its mysticism. Seeing the daily objects used by The Dervishes made them human and actually reminded me of the Catholic monks whom I am familiar with due to my nationality and my way of life.
I read some of the poems by Rumi and his words of wisdom.
One that remained in my memory
The wars of mankind are like children’s fights – all meaningless, pithless and contemptible.
Lunch was a nice surprise.
A place opposite the Mevlana Museum serving specialties of the city. As the hotel reception recommended we ordered Tandir Kebebabi and Peynirli Börek, alhtough this name is misleading, I think. It has little to do with börek as I know it ,or as is known in Istanbul. It resembles rather a Turkish pizza but, anyway, was really nice. Of course the was no alcohol on the menu. Just ayran and çay. (don’t tell anyone but the hotel bar served alcoholic beverages)
I don’t anticipate coming back to Konya. If I do, I only want to see the Sema performance.