365 Places: Konya

Day 49: Konya, Turkey

Today, I am going back in time to our first journey to Turkey and a little adventure that we had when we were staying at the Babayan Culture House in Ibrahimpaşa, doing an artist residency.

We were starting to feel comfortable in Turkey and were yearning for an adventure, so we decided to hire a car. Marty bravely offered to be driver, which was no mean feat considering we would be driving on the right (wrong) side of the road.

The day started sedately, with a drive to the nearby Ihlara Valley, a beautiful location close to Nevşehir. After lunch we looked at the map and thought it would be nice to go a bit further afield, perhaps even as far as Çatal Höyük, which on the map only seemed a couple of hours away.

So off we drove. Some four hours later we still had over 100kms to go to reach Konya, so decided to try and stay somewhere there for the night.

Konya is famous as the home of the Mawlawi Order the followers of Rumi, who is well known in the west for his beautiful metaphorical verse. Here is a quote from one of my posts on Geokult:

Better known as many as the Whirling Dervishes, the Mawlawi Order are a Sufi order founded in Konya (in present-day Turkey) by the followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian.

One of the highlights of our earlier tour of Turkey, was going to the Mawlawi Museum, which is a beautiful place to visit, and a pilgrimage site for many Islamic people, who come to honour Mevlâna (Rumi) as his sarcophagus is located in the Mosque that is part of the museum.

Sarcophagus of Mevlâna, Image Credit: Georges Jansoone JoJan

Sarcophagus of Mevlâna, Image Credit: Georges Jansoone JoJan

What we didn’t account for was the size of Konya, when we had travelled through there a month earlier we thought it was a small regional centre. What we discovered was a bustling city of over one million inhabitants, making driving a challenge for Marty as he negotiated the road with trucks, scooters, cars, bikes and donkeys. We also got slightly lost driving around for another 2 hours until we found a motel.

But getting lost is just part of the fun of discovering new places. The next day we made it to Çatal Höyük, which was a fabulous place to visit and one I will explore in a later post.