Konya : 'The fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve'

Konya Travel Blog

 › entry 201 of 268 › view all entries
Failing to tempt a pickup ın Egirdir :(

Okay, here we go.  Nearly a year on The Road and here it comes.  Finally and long overdue.  Stevie’s first earnest attempt at hitchhiking.  An idea toyed with on many occasions but always chickened or talked out of at the last minute so far.  But I’m ready for it now.  Today.  The bold, large pen blacked legend ’KONYA’  lovingly scrawled with my needless perfectionist’s zeal on a cardboard, street-foraged palette the night before. 

But stood under a mercilessly hot, cloudless sky in the middle of a dual carriageway on the only viable road from Egirdir - in fact the whole region - heading in the right direction (admittedly a 236 kilometre direction), two hours and lots of amused grins and waving from truck drivers later I am just a little more tanned, a lot more frustrated and not one inch closer to Konya.

Giving up oın attempting to get a pickup... İ have since been realiably informed that in order to successfully hitchhike in Turkey you require breasts.
  Well, I’m not that frustrated.  I’ve had quite a lot of fun arsing about in the middle of the road singing aloud to the world at large and dancing little jigs to pass the time.  Too much sun I fear! … but I gotta bust a groove so it’s Plan B and a quick walk to the otogar (bus station) for my 25TL (£10) ticket for the 12.30 to Konya.  Hey, I tried!  I guess I’m just not a lucky man.

‘Hey my friend, I tell you, you are one lucky man!  You are really in luck!’.  ‘I am?’.  Uh oh.  Backpackers are always wary of the sort of Luck that feels the need to announce itself loudly to you in the middle of the street whilst clapping its hands on their shoulders.  It sets the internal travel alarm bells ringing.

Nazif/ Coffee outside the 'second most important site in Konya' ... his carpet shop :)
  ’Yes Abi* , I am no bullsh*ting artist, you are one lucky man!  I have the best, the cheapest hotel in town’.  Being as Konya was to be one of the trickier places to find budget accommodation I decide to accompany Luck to its lair.  Hotel Petek.  ’Yes Petek.  You know what this means Abi?… it means “Honeybunch”’.  ’Nah, you’re pulling my leg right?’.  ’No, no Abi, I told you I am no bullsh*ting artist!’.  So Nazif assures me.  For such is his name.  Well one of them.  ’Well I have two names.  One is Nazif, the other is Kafi’.
Mosque window (detail)
’Kaafi?’.  ’No.  Coffee.  As in the drink.’  ’Oh’.  ’You want to know why I have this second name Abi?  It’s because the girls, they say I grind so fine! Ha ha!’ Nazif… sorry, Coffee explains with appropriate accompanying groinal gyrations.  ’I see’.  I check one other hotel for comparison and it seems the gregarious Coffee is the best gig around so I settle at the “Honeybunch” for 25TL (£10 inc. breakfast).  Maybe he really isn’t a ‘bullsh*tting artist’ after all.

Bags dumped and then out of politeness I briefly visit ‘the second most important site in Konya’ (the first of course being Hotel Honeybunch I’m assured), this being the Yörük Hali Carpet Shop which Nazif also runs.

Aziziye Mosque interior.
  Normally I wouldn’t contemplate this but, cringing aside, he’s quite a fun guy to spend… well, five minutes with anyways.  Passing a head-scarf swathed Turkish girl on the way he erupts ’DAMN GIRL you look so fine you’re mamma must have been a terrorist ‘cos…’  ’WOOAH!’ I interject out of a mixture of embarrassment and knee-jerk political correctness.  Immediately I kick myself for stamping on an amusing moment.  I guess it would have ended something like … ’cos with those eyes you just blow me away’ or some such bumf.  At his shop Nazif, the son of a Yörük (nomad) family kindly explains the difference in techniques of manufacture of carpets and kilims for me but I make mouths to the usual dithering half-committal effect of ’I’ll think about it… but honestly I have a zero souvenirs policy on this trip my friend’.
The Aziziye Camii mosque ( İ think that was its name?)
  And politely exit the building to see Konya.

Konya is a centre of significant spiritual and philosophical importance to Turkish history, identity and culture.  In the 13th Century it became the home and spiritual base of the Afghan born theologian, philosopher and Sufi Islamic teacher Celaleddin Rumi or ’Rumi’.  Later known as Mevlâna ( ’Our Guide’ ) as founder and head of the famous order of the whirling dervishes.  This order of the dervishes instantly recognisable to visitors to Turkey by their large conical hats (representing the tomb stone of their egos) and white ’skirts’ ( their ego’s shroud) that twirl about them as they partake in the famous spinning dance of the ’Semâ’ or ‘Ritual /Universal Movement’.

To help you some ways to an understanding of the spiritual purpose of twirling like a human spinning top I refer you to the following sort-of explanation :  ’Contemporary science definitely confirms that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve.

Konya's maın foıod market area although by nho means its full extent.
  There is no object, no being which does not revolve and the shared similarity among beings is the revolution of the electrons and protons in the atoms, which constitute the structure of the smallest particle to the stars far in the sky.  As a consequence of this similarity, everything revolves and man carries on his life, his very existence by means of the revolution in the atoms, structural elements in his body, by the circulation of his blood, by his coming from the Earth and return to it, by his revolving with the Earth itself.’ **

So in brief as they twirl and whirl around, a dervish’s right hand directed to the sky is ‘ready to receive God’s beneficence‘ and his left hand turned towards the Earth around which he is (and we are) forever pivoting as well as pivoting around our heart as the centre point of the movement.

Fruit '!n' veg from on high.
  ’Revolving around the heart from right to left, he embraces all of humankind, all the creation with affection and love.’.  You get the idea. 

Among other philosophic niceties a few of the seven principle ’advices’ of Mevlâna are as follows : ’In generosity and helping others be like a river’. ’In compassion and grace be like the sun’.  ’In modesty and humility be like the Earth’ and finally and more enigmatically ’Either exist as you are or be as you look’.  I look like a piece of sh*t now after a year on The Road so not wanting to ‘be as a sh*t’ I’ll hope that last one lost a little in translation.

A visit to the small, cheap (2TL/ 40p) but occasionally very pretty and ornate interior and iconic turquoise-tile topped original Dervish Order Lodge (or ‘Mevlâna Museum’) where Mevlâna is entombed is probably the top tourist draw/ site of pilgrimage in town… so give it a whirl why don’tcha.


The heart of Konya is a good place to be for a day or maybe two.  A real ’real people’, ’real life’ city, if ya know what I mean.  One you can reach in and feel the pulse of.  Food is cheap.  1TL (40p) for yummy Tavuk Döner (chicken kebap) with salad and chips on top or the same for a fresh boiled or roasted corn cob.  I can also now confirm Konya as the successful winner of my ’Cheapest Çay in Turkey’ award with two cups coming in at 0.75TL (that’s 15p a cup) at one particular Çay Evi (Tea House). 

It has a fantastic bazaar district.  One of the best I see in the country.  Ladies and gents squatting on buckets in the street sprawling their bright-gleaming vegetable and fruit wares onto the pavements.  Horse ’n’ carts cantering past.  A rubber mat covered in hundreds of live fish that flap and bounce off into the roads as if wishing the novelty of ‘Pedestrian Right of Way‘ laws into their lives.

Painting of 'Rumi'or Mevlana and an apprentice dervish.
  I try not to grin at the overblown displays of Pfizer Viagra pills and other generic blue wonder tablets that seem to populate every single pharmaceutical shop window in town.  Does Konya have a pronounced problem with its Little Men I ponder.  My good friend Nazif/ Coffee claims to ’grind’ just ’fine’.

An experimental step through a darkened corridor and suddenly opening up before me, like an aircraft hanger trying to conceal the presence of a captured rainbow, a spectacularly large undercover food market is revealed.  I take to the upper galleries to get a better view.  Beautiful spot lit piles of food stuffs and sacks of spices and herbs of every texture and hue.  Lots of potent-as-heck looking mouldy cheeses a speciality of the region.

'Selimiye Curves'
  Buckets and buckets of sludgy red paste : ‘Dolmates Salçasi’.  Tomato puree or salsa I guess?  Çay boys buzz past me in all directions.  ‘Hello hello.  Whereyoufrom?‘.  A constant traffic of sugary brown liquid to keep the hawkers happy below. 
Some groovy mosques etc etc (Semilaye Camii near the Mevlâna Museum in particular).  I also paid a visit to the reopened Tile Museum (5TL / £2), a building possessed of a beautiful interior (formerly The Karatay Madrasah dating from 1251) and small but informative displays of Selcuk tile work.  Many with rare examples of figurative or representational Islamic art collected from the remains of the Kubad Abad Palace that sit besides Lake Beysehir near Egirdir.
Problems keepin' It up in Konya? ;D

The tile museum is found on the North flank of the orbit of Konya’s geographical heart, the hillock mount know as Alaaddin Tepesi.  This place whilst a site of historical import is also the social epicentre of Konya with nice cafes and restaurants dotted about its sides.  Lots of fun to be had for kids and grassy areas for families to sit as the sun goes down… for this is the finest place in town to see said event.  [ Sadly, AGAIN - for it’s become a habit of late - I seem to have lost photos of this any many other of my favourite moments in Konya but I don’t know how or where they‘ve gone too! ]

‘Abi, I had a dream last night, and in this dream you were buying a kilim’.  I’m sat at breakfast on my one morning in Konya, Hotel Petek and poor Nazif has shown up clinging to the mere scrap of a half-hope of a carpet sale that I left cruelly dangling like a loose kilim thread in the air yesterday.

Bus-side dervish
  ‘Dreams can be so cruel Nazif’ I sigh by way of an ‘Uh, thanks but no thanks mate!’.  Nope.  No kilim for Stevie.  But hey, Nazif.  Another day, another dollar.  The world keeps spinning.  Keeps whirling.  Forever turning.  A universal movement.  A universal love.  So carpet sale or no carpet sale.  Lift your arms to the skies and spin.  Travel maybe.  Like you my friends.  My fellow travellers.  ‘The fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve’ remember people.  To revolve around this globe in search of happiness in its many forms.  So keep revolving.  It’s fun.  Trust me.  ‘I am no bullsh*ting artist‘  ;)

* I’ve since asked for a translation of the familiar greeting/ name ’Abi’ and Buhran in Kars explains to me that it is ’a respectful term usually used to refer to either a brother, cousin, elder or just generally elder person than oneself in greeting’.

Beautiful roof of the Tile Museum.

** Governorship of Konya Publications of Culture and Tourism Directorate

jennifer_z says:
Maybe you should contact a book publisher for your travel blogs.
Posted on: Sep 09, 2009
Stevie_Wes says:
:)) Oh, I really hadn't noticed... all's one big yummy blur these days :)
Posted on: Sep 09, 2009
keeweeset says:
Congrats on your 200th blog entry! Yay! =)
Posted on: Sep 08, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Failing to tempt a pickup ın Egir…
Failing to tempt a pickup ın Egi…
Giving up oın attempting to get a…
Giving up oın attempting to get …
Nazif/ Coffee outside the second …
Nazif/ Coffee outside the 'second…
Mosque window (detail)
Mosque window (detail)
Aziziye Mosque interior.
Aziziye Mosque interior.
The Aziziye Camii mosque ( İ thin…
The Aziziye Camii mosque ( İ thi…
Konyas maın foıod market area a…
Konya's maın foıod market area …
Fruit !n veg from on high.
Fruit '!n' veg from on high.
Painting of Rumior Mevlana and a…
Painting of 'Rumi'or Mevlana and …
Selimiye Curves
'Selimiye Curves'
Problems keepin It up in Konya?  …
Problems keepin' It up in Konya? …
Bus-side dervish
Bus-side dervish
Beautiful roof of the Tile Museum.
Beautiful roof of the Tile Museum.
The aircrafthanger roof of Konyas…
The aircrafthanger roof of Konya'…
Landscape on route to Konya.
Landscape on route to Konya.
Mosque ablutions water cup.
Mosque ablutions water cup.
Street market gal.
Street market gal.
One of the many curiously and plea…
One of the many curiously and ple…
The famous turquoise tiled roof of…
The famous turquoise tiled roof o…
Mevlana Lodge ablutions fountain.
Mevlana Lodge ablutions fountain.
Selimiye interior (abstract)
Selimiye interior (abstract)
Carpet of the Selimiye mosque
Carpet of the Selimiye mosque
Wheels of Trade
'Wheels of Trade'
Serafettin Mosque (İ think?) ınt…
Serafettin Mosque (İ think?) ın…
Ceramic tiles with figurative imag…
Ceramic tiles with figurative ima…
TheAlaaddin Camii mosque on top of…
TheAlaaddin Camii mosque on top o…
photo by: herman_munster