Konya Travel Guide, Turkey
Konya Travel Guide: General Information
Konya, better known as the ‘city of the swirling dervishes’, is much more than just that. With its long history of continuous inhabitation that dates back to 8000 B.C., there’s much to see in the city and its surroundings. And if you are not interested in Konya’s Seljuk past or for that matter in its religious conservatism, there’s the economically advancing city waiting to be explored.
Most travelers touring Turkey just do the usual rounds of Ankara and Istanbul thinking that Konya is best suited for pilgrims. It is true that you will meet pilgrims in great numbers, especially if you are there in the holy months or during festivals, but you will also come across committed-tourists. This Konya Travel guide is aimed at creating awareness about the important Central Anatolian city, which essentially forms an important part of Turkey-tourism. Konya also has an advantage being only a few hours’ journey away from the capital city of Ankara and now it also has a well-developed tourism infrastructure.
Konya Travel Guide – Statistics
Area: 39,000 sq km
Currency: Turkish Lira (TRY)
Konya Travel Guide – Architecture
Konya has been the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate and the city still has many excellent reminders of Seljuk architecture – beautiful buildings and mosques like the Mevlana Museum, Iplickci Mosque, Aleaddin Mosque, Great Karatay Medrese, Ince Minaret Medrese, etc. The Selimiye Mosque is a good example of Ottomon architecture. But then the city is not just full of old structures, instead it has some good instances of modern architecture to strike a balance between times gone by and present times. The 42-floor Seljuk Tower heads the pack of contemporary architecture and is seconded by other structures like Kombassan Tower, Rixos Konya, etc.
Konya Travel Guide – Economy and Infrastructure
Konya has enjoyed a special significance as a trade center, a market town since the Middle Ages. Of course, the commodities/merchandise traded in the Konyan markets have largely been a mix of its own agricultural produces – fruits, vegetables, some cereals and even livestock – making agriculture a major contributor to Konya’s economy. Konya’s kilims(carpets) are in huge demand world-wide and the carpet-weaving industry continues to be profitable. Konya’s growing significance as an industrial center manufacturing a variety of products from cookies to cement, leather to cotton, aluminum and fertilizers – have resulted in rapid economic growth in the recent years.
Konya’s location in the trade-route essentially benefits it; no wonder that Konya is easily accessed from most other Turkish cities. During summer, some European countries like Denmark and Germany even run direct-flights to Konya. Konya also has good railway-links. If you are willing to pay more, traveling by bus or car will be your other options.
Konya Travel Guide – People and Culture
Konya – the city of dervishes – is known for its religious conservatism, which is not akin to fanaticism. The people are devout Muslims, but like their patron saint, the Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, they are tolerant. Although very few people speak English, you will find them very cooperating and helpful.
A bastion of Islam and the resting place of Mevlana Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, Konya receives hordes of pilgrims during Seb-i Aruz, the memorial held every year during Mevlana’s death anniversary (and the Mevlevi sema is an important part of this ceremony). The Konyans also observe all other Islamic rituals.
As a closing note to the Konya Travel guide, we would like to add that Konya kebabs should be a ‘no-miss’ in your list of things-to-taste when you go touring Konya.
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