CORRESPONDENCE FROM TURKEYKonya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

Briana Teodorescu
English Section / 10 octombrie 2023

Konya Panorama Museum - image that reproduces the atmosphere of the grand bazaar, during the time when the city was a commercial center (18th century).

Konya Panorama Museum - image that reproduces the atmosphere of the grand bazaar, during the time when the city was a commercial center (18th century).

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History, culture, civilization, religion, architecture are some words that could be used to describe Konya - the largest industrial city in Turkey and the fifth largest Turkish city in terms of population, with almost 10,000 inhabitants. Known as a quiet area, Konya was, in the 13th century, the capital of the Muslim Seljuk Empire. The city is known because of the Islamic poet Mevlana Rumi, a personality with a strong influence on the inhabitants of the area. Lovers of culture and religion can enjoy here with a lot of spectacular mosques, churches and museums.

During a limited press trip with journalists from several countries, organized by the Agency for the Promotion and Development of Tourism in Turkey, I was able to enjoy, as the sole representative of the press from Romania, some of the buildings in Konya.

Mevlana Museum - the place where Muslim monks were educated

The Mevlana Museum is one of the largest museums and the second most visited tourist attraction in Turkey, as our guide Mehmet Donmez told us. Mevlana means our master, and the name of the museum is given by the fact that, inside the mosque, is the tomb of the Islamic poet Rumi Mevlana. The mausoleum was the place where the dervishes (Muslim monks) were educated by Mevlana, their master.

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

Inside the museum is, in addition to Mevlana's sarcophagus, an impressive collection of prayer rugs, numerous turbans, inscriptions and paintings, copies of the Koran, Mevlana's poetry books, representative scenes of the education given by Mevlana to the whirling dervishes (known for graceful and elegant pirouettes) and a box containing part of Mevlana's body.

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

The Mevlana Museum is a special place where you can relive every moment of the life of a whirling dervish, get to know the lifestyle of that period and learn the history of local events. Mevlana is an oasis of tranquility with a rich historical charge, which opens your soul and mind from the first step you take in the museum.

The life of the people who settled in the Konya plain 9000 years ago - at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyuk

The Çatalhöyuk Neolithic site is located on the Southern Anatolian plateau and covers an area of 37 hectares. The settlement is a proto-city, one of the pioneers of contemporary cities. It was inhabited between 7100 BC. and 5500 BC Çatalhöyuk was also one of the mega-sites of the period, and during the settlement's peak, three to eight thousand people lived in the tiny brick houses.

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

Life in Çatalhöyuk continued for 1,600 years without interruption, and here everyone was equal - people who lived in similarly sized mud-brick houses, who entered through roof hatches and who buried their dead under their houses. While they hunted from the surroundings, the inhabitants were also engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry, being the first civilization to domesticate animals. In 6700-600 BC Çatalhöyuk was abandoned for reasons that have yet to be discovered, such as climate change, resource depletion and overpopulation. Some of its inhabitants moved to neighboring settlements, while others migrated to the Marmara Region and Europe, where they established the first agricultural settlements.

Among other things, the exhibition presented at the museum is a journey through time, in which the scientific methods used to discover the mysteries of life at Çatalhöyuk are revealed. While today a world without electricity, telephone or internet is beyond imagination, the discoveries in this museum shed light on the lifestyles and values of the Çatalhöyuk people, who settled in the Konya plain 9000 years ago.

The site also includes murals, sculptures, symbols of the Neolithic lifestyle. The mound is located 52 km from Konya and represents the first settlement discovered in 1958, and since 2012 it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is the largest and best preserved Neolithic site found so far.

Konyanuma Panorama - one of the largest panoramic museums in Turkey

Konyanuma Panorama Museum is one of the largest panoramic museums in Turkey. Here the social life of Konya and Mevlevi culture from the 13th century is presented.

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

The complex is built according to traditional Turkish Islamic art, with an impressive interior section of oil paintings depicting the life of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, as well as an open area where model examples of Mevlevi houses from around the world are displayed, starting in the 19th century XIXth. Alaaddin Mosque, Eflatun Monastery, Bedesten Bazaar, a series of mosques and magnificent inns, are just some of the completely realistic exhibits presented at the museum. The panoramas vary depending on the themes they choose, the countries they are located in, their structural characteristics and the social messages they want to convey.

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

The Panorama Museum has many details such as historical madrasahs, mosques, walls, soldiers, sultans, many sculptures from different nations. There are also several paintings that tell about the life of Rumi and his family, the important events that contributed to Konya today.

From the moment you enter the museum until the end of the visit, you can feel the breath of history and culture, which is dated both by the suggestive paintings of Mevlana Rumi and the scenes of historical events, as well as by the numerous models of settlements, mosques and representative buildings from around world.

Tropical Butterfly Garden - a fairytale place

The tropical butterfly garden is the most suitable place for butterflies to live, as they are very sensitive to the climate. With an area of 1600 square meters, the garden is the largest area in Europe where butterflies can fly. Visitors can enjoy over 1600 butterflies, from 15 different species. In addition to the numerous categories of butterflies, there are also 20,000 species of plants that create a fairy tale environment.

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

The building is covered with glass because the tropical climate of about 26-29 degrees Celsius and a humidity of about 80% must be maintained for the butterflies and plants to survive. Inside the garden there are also insects, larvae and other species of animals, as well as representative houses of various flying insects.

The tropical butterfly garden is where stories and dreams can come true.

The Aya-Elena church functions only as a museum

The Aya-Elena Church is one of the first churches built in Anatolia, it being built in 327 and representing an important center of the early Christian period. The short history of this church is based on the mother of the Byzantine emperor Constantine, Helena, who in 327 AD. he passed through Konya, on his way to Jerusalem, for pilgrimage, and there he discovered the carved temples of the first Christian eras. Thus, Helena decided to build a temple for Christians in Sile. This is how the Aya-Elena church was born, which was repaired and maintained for centuries.

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

The church was built of smooth carved stone, and inside it the most important thing is the throne-like wooden pulpit with a decorated top. The images painted on the walls of the church are a true work of art.

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

There are also images of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the apostles on the passageways of the domes. The Byzantine church now functions only as a museum and has about 3,000 visitors a year, who come here for the Islamic architecture and style from the Neolithic period, as our guide Mehmet Donmez told us.

The International Festival of Mystical Music - organized annually for almost two decades

The International Festival of Mystical Music, organized every year since 2004 by the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism of the Konya Government, takes place between September 22-30. The traditional festival, on which our press trip was also organized, exhibits Sufi or mystical religious music and offers free entry to all those who wish.

Konya - the place where history, culture, architecture and religion meet

The concerts are held at the Mevlana Cultural Center of Konya Metropolitan Municipality. The Konya International Mystical Music Festival is organized as part of the Mevlana Birth Anniversary Events and is considered the most respected mystical music festival in the world. The program of this festival is one of commemoration for the unlimited love of Mevlana, which cannot be expressed in words, but also his tolerance that embraces all humanity. The Konya International Mystical Music Festival has become the meeting point of mystical music from various parts of the world and introduces different beliefs and cultures, due to its mystical music and the power of music, whose popularity is increasing day by day throughout the world. The festival aims to introduce traditional music, which is increasingly popular all over the world, and to provide a cultural environment where this music can be exhibited while preserving the authentic structure and characteristics of the people of Konya.

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