From our roots to the future…..
The rich history and spiritual atmosphere of Konya makes it one of the most enchanting cities in Europe. Seljuk traces mix with remnants of the Ottoman Empire, just like Mevlâna Celaleddin Rumi memories, are mixed with the legend of Alaaddin Kayqubad, the great Seljuk Sultan from 1219 to 1231.
When people visit Konya, there eyes fall upon the great conservative city, which this year was voted the capital of Islamic world tourism.
As our day began we drove in to park in the city centre near to the Aleaddin Mosque which is the largest in Turkey, and began our walk through the Old town which is made up of beautifully designed Seljuk and Ottoman houses, before visiting the grandest and most popular tourist destination in Konya, The Mevlâna Museum, located within the Mevlâna mosque.
Distinctive because of its turquoise tiled dome, the dome now shelters Mevlâna Celaleddin Rumi’s tomb. The tomb is visited by hundreds of people each day, and the museum has up to two million visitors every year. Also within the museum grounds are belongings that were owned by Mevlâna, such as Sema instruments, Prayer beads, Prayer mats, ancient Qurans and poetic pieces, and even a small, inlaid box, which is said to contain the beard of Mevlâna and demands its own worship with religious leaders coming from around the globe to see it.
We were all eager to have a look around the great and welcoming city, and since we had missed breakfast as we were up so late at the Sema performance the night before, we left for the museum with an empty stomach.
Despite the large and historic city being very busy during the daytime, there were many parking places, and the traffic flowed incredibley well, unlike Istanbul or London, where it is normally at a grid lock. We parked just outside the entrance to the Aleaddin mosque, but we’d visit that tomorrow.
After paying the parking man, we casually walked in and out of Seljuk housed streets, being stared at constantly, since we had the dogs with us (!), but some Turkish people loved seeing Asena and Vodka, even though vodka was wrapped up sheltering from the bitter cold in my sister Summers scarf.
Most of the people here in Konya were wearing very correct Muslim clothing, and only a few women were not wearing headscarves. Soon, we had reached the entrance to the museum, and since Summer wasn’t that interested, and Geoff had to look after the dogs, mum and I left them, and went to explore the ancient mosque.
Inside the walled area, the sound of the Ney-(flute used by the Dervishes)-, could be heard hauntingly echoing around the courtyard and in the Mevlana cells. Many family’s had come to see the mosque, and like in Aspendos, many Japanese tourists were there too.
Inside, the large ceremony area was beautifully tiled with frescos, Arabic writing, and lovely paintings. In the centre of the hall, there was an ornately inlaid wooden box surrounded by thick glass. Inside the box is believed to be the beard of Mevlâna and heavily robed and religious people were praying and kissing the glass case surrounding it.
The main attraction in the mosque is the coffin which Mevlâna is in, and hundreds of people come a visit each day, to praise Allah. However, despite some signs saying not to take any photos of the Turkish people praying, the Japanese tourists had swarmed to the praying people in the mosque itself there and used there Nikon cameras and iPads to get photo’s.
Afterwards, we left the museum and walked some more around the city, taking in all of the intresting buildings, mosques, and streets the temperature had started to drop considerably.
Whilst we were walking a lady began exclaiming about the dogs ( in a good way! ) she was desperate to stroke Asena and loved her, when she saw vodka ( who was just a head ) cuddled into Summers coat she lost it and began dancing around! Such is the general effect of our dogs!! She was with her family – her brother, mother and father and they were from Iran, they loved stroking the dogs and showed us photographs of their male Papillon back in Tehran.
Since mum is interested in traveling to Iran, but Geoff is unsure about the safety over there Geoff asked them how the situation in the country is….they said its absolutely fine, and that if we were going to visit, we were welcome to stay with them and they would be our guides! The people we have met during our time in Konya, wether they have been Iranian or Turkish have been the friendliest people that we have met on our entire trip so far!
What is remarkably spooky and coincidental in us meeting Sara and her family is that in the streets of Konya is a monument, it’s a candlestick that carries an eternal flame of friendship. It is said that Rumi met his best and most trusted friend Shams in the streets of Konya and to symbolize their meeting a candle burns here eternally and it is called the ” Union of the two seas” . Sara and her family were admiring the monument when they saw us!!!!!
The reason for the many Iranian families and friends visiting Konya during this period is because Rumi was living in Iran, before he came to Konya.
After exchanging e mails and telephone numbers the day was really beginning to chill down, we still hadn’t eaten so we decided to Head back to the ibis hotel. Apparently, the weather tomorrow is going to be down to -3 degrees (!), so we are unsure on what the plan is. New hashtag! #nothermalsjustflipflops!!!!!