Konya Travel Blog› entry 4 of 19 › view all entries
We took a one day package tour from Ankara to the city of Konya which included our lunch, entrance into the Mevlana museum and tickets to watch the Wirling Dervishes in action for the annual Seb-i-Aruz! The bus ride was a little over 3 hours long and stopped first a local and well renowned restaurant. The food was mostly meat based (not too suprising), but the waiters did bring out for me some type of veggie soup and made a special veggie plate with rice. It was decent, but to be honest I was not very hungry at the time. I was more eager to see the town and the Dervishes. That would be the downside to taking any tour package.
Konya is known to be the resting place of Mevlana (Rumi), a well known Persian sufi poet from the 13th century, and for being the center of the Dervish community. I later learned that in the past it was also known for its large exporting of highly coveted Turkish Carpets to wealthy Europeans.
The first stop after after everyone from the tour finished eating lunch, was the Mevlana Museum. The museum was established in 1927 by the New Turkish Republic. It was definitely an interesting place to walk through. Inside the museum is the final resting place for Mevlana and several of his friends, close relatives and disciples. Before entering we had to cover our shoes with these plastic blue booties. They protected the carpet from dirt tracked in by visitors.
Across from the mausoleum were a couple of buildings that were once the Dervish lodges, but now converted into several displays of what a traditional Dervish life consisted of so many centuries ago. We were not allowed to photograph inside any of the buildings, though some people still tried, including Semih :P. You will find in Turkey that rules are not really set in stone, but merely guildelines that can be bent depending on moods. More on that thought later :P
We finished exploring the museum before the rest of our tour and ventured outside for a walk. Behind the museum is a Ceramic Art center. Ceramics is a common form of art in Turkey. Everywhere in the country are vendors selling beautiful ceramic bowls, vases, plates, cups and tiles design with traditional Turkish patterns.
After the museum, the tour bus took us to the Mevlana Cultural Center to watch the Dervishes mark the 735 anniversary of Mevlana's death with a Sema performance. This commemorative performance is widely known as Seb-i-Aruz and takes place every December. Sema is a ritual movement that symbolizes communication with Allah (god). It was ritual that lasted for two hours and I was so impressed with the skill of the dervishes. I know if it was me spinning for that long I would have crashed into my neighbor and make a huge mess of the everything, but these men were so graceful as the wilred across the floor and around one another.
Sem made some videos and posted them onto Youtube you can check them out from the below links. You can even hear me taking my blurry photos! :P:P
After the show was finished we were able to walk around the town for an hour or so before the bus returned to Ankara. I really wished we could have had more time during the daylight hours to explore the city. Like any other metropolitan there were plenty of vendors selling souvenirs and restaurants serving local food favorites. One thing I noticed was the plethora of candy shops. Turks love sweets :P we picked up some candy to try, but I wasn't to crazy about them. They were large, white and had a chalky taste to them. They reminded me of a candy I had tried and didn't like very much when I was a kid.
The Seven Advice of Mevlana
-In generosity and helping others be like a river.
-In compassion and grace be like sun
-In concealing others' faults be like night
-In anger and fury be like dead
-In modesty and humility be like earth
-In tolerance be like sea
-Either exist as you are or be as you look.Â