Konya Tourist Attractions
Central AnatoliaSituation and ImportanceThis famous oasis bordering the mountains and a former capital of the Seljuk Empire lies at the heart of the Anatolian steppes.
Major irrigation projects have created fertile land around the city and produce includes fruit, vegetables and sugar beet. Wheat is the main crop and rearing livestock also plays an important part in the local economy, in particular Anatolian fat-rump sheep. As early as the 13th century Konya was making carpets. It was the first carpet-making center in the Islamic world and even Marco Polo enthused over the quality of the product. Konyan carpets with their pastel shades and floral patterns are today regarded as the finest in Turkey.The busy market town which stands at a major crossroads and also on the Baghdad railroad line has become one of the most important industrial centers of central Anatolia. The town has been a national place of pilgrimage (Mevlana) for many hundreds of years and despite economic progress, the population remains steeped in the old traditions. With its strong oriental links, the lively bazaar and important buildings, Konya is well worth a visit.HistoryThe citadel in the town center would appear to have been settled since the Anatolian Copper Age (3500-3000 B.C.) and the Phrygians are thought to have established the first settlement. Konya's old name was Ikoneum (Iconium), which according to a legend of Perseus and Medusa dates from this period. Under Roman rule Iconium belonged to a number of different provinces. It was one of the first towns to adopt Christianity and Barnabas and Paul both stayed in the town (Acts 14:1). The latter met Thekla (later St Thekla) the merchant's daughter here. The Seljuks were responsible for advancing the city's fortunes. In the course of the ninth century this Turkish tribe advanced from the Aral Sea to make Ikoneum the capital of their empire which was soon to embrace a large part of Asia Minor. Despite some fierce struggles Konya sought greater cultural independence from Byzantium. The Crusades also impinged on Konya. On May 26th 1190 during the Third Crusade Frederick "Barbarossa" captured the town and his son Frederick took control of the whole city apart from the castle. Konya enjoyed a period of great prosperity under the well-known sultan Alaeddin Kaykobad (1219- 1237) who had learnt something of western culture in Constantinople. In 1221 Konya's fortifications were rebuilt using ancient building materials. 108 towers endowed by the empire's wealthy benefactors reinforced the wall only a few fragments of which remain today. A series of magnificent mosques, medrese and caravanserais were constructed in the town. Alaeddin's court became a center for scientists, poets (preferably Persian) and artists who were responsible for the Byzantine and Persian buildings and enamel tiles. But the decline began under the sultan's son who had his father murdered and in 1307 the last Seljuk ruler was killed by the Mongols.In 1320 the now powerful emir from the neighboring principality (see Karaman) made Konya his capital and the tradition of glittering architectural showpieces received new impetus. The Ottoman interregnum (Bayazit I from 1397) ended the rule of the Mongol Timur in favor of the Karamans, before Konya finally succumbed to the Ottomans in 1466. After a long peaceful phase the city was occupied for at time by the rebellious Egyptian viceroy Mehmet Ali. Konya is the seventh largest city in Turkey.
The former citadel on the western side of Konya is now mainly a park (Alaeddin Parki with monuments to the fallen). At the foot of the incline Alaeddin Kaykobad's palace and the remains of the old city wall can be seen although the latter are covered for protection. The city wall was removed at the beginning of the 20th century to make way for modernisation of the city center. Some painted sections from the inner fortress of the Seljuk sultan's palace were still standing in 1860 but now only part of a pavilion on one the fortified towers remains (marble portal with inscriptions dating from 1221; round-arched gallery with pillars).The Alaeddin Camii (1221) is no longer accessible as a result of severe earthquake damage but restoration work is planned. It was built as a pillared mosque according to an old Arabic design. The wooden ceiling was supported by 42 antique columns ("Wood Mosque"). In the center alongside a prayer niche and an old pulpit lies a türbe faced with blue enamel tiles in which rest the Seljuk sultan Mesut, Kiliç Arslan IV and Keyhusrev I with a number of their relatives. A decagonal pyramid roof covers the mausoleum and the tomb of Kiliç Arslan II which occupies the forecourt.
South of the Sirçali Medrese at the edge of the old town of Konya stands the Archeological Museum which houses a comprehensive display of architectural exhibits, stelae, statuettes from the various eras, but mainly fantastically decorated Roman sarcophagi.
On Kasim Karabekir Caddesi in Konya, in the direction of Meram, stands the governor's residence which dates from the early 20th century and was presented to Atatürk in 1928. A museum displaying the papers and personal belongings of the country's first president has occupied the house since 1964.
First built in 1676 by court adviser Mustafa Pasa and later rebuilt after a fire (1867-1874), the Aziziye Camii, a fancifully designed mosque can be found beside the bazaar in Konya. The Baroque-influenced Rococo mosque with twin minarets also possesses a Rococo prayer niche. The brightly painted interior is quite striking.
The rehoused Ethnographical Museum in Konya stands in Sahip Ata Caddesi and displays crafts, costumes, jewelry and household goods from Konya and the surrounding region.
To the southeast of the citadel in Konya, near Sirçali Medrese, the Karaman dynasty built a hospital. It was also used as a medrese but today is a home for men who recite the Koran. The west facade is covered with ornate marble slabs and the prayer niche is decorated with enamel tiles. Underneath the building lies a crypt.
Ince Minare (Medresesi veya Camii)
Between 1260 and 1265 the Vizier Sahip Ata endowed the Ince Minare in Konya, which was designed by Keluk Ibn Abdullah. The once-slim minaret finished with enamel tiles and bricks was struck by lightning in 1901. The richly sculpted Baroque decorations on the side of the portal are of special interest. The Koran school is now a museum housing selected wooden and stone sculptures including animal reliefs from the old city walls.
Only the mosque remains of the complex which stood in Alaeddin Caddesi to the east of the old citadel in Konya. It was built in 1201 by Sultan Rükneddin Süleymansah and Alaeddin Kaykobad I.Iplikçi Mosque means the "yarn-makers mosque" as the site was initially endowed by a family of yarn manufacturers. Sometimes also known as the Altan Baba Mosque, it was renovated in 1932. The square mosque with two oval and one round dome stands on twelve huge "elephant's foot" columns and has a richly decorated prayer niche made from marble. The minaret is in need of repair. For a while (1953-1959) the site was used as a museum for classical art. Very little is left of the medrese apart from the remains of a dome near the mosque. Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi and his father taught here.
To the southwest behind the bazaar in the Odun Pazari quarter stood one of Konya's old gates and the Ihyaiyye Camii or Kapi Camii (Tower Mosque) is named after it. The building was constructed in 1658, it fell into disrepair and in 1811 Konya's Mufti (spiritual leader) Esenlerlizade Seyid Abdurrahman commissioned a new mosque. A fire destroyed the mosque and adjoining shops but it was rebuilt the following year. The roof of the eight-domed mosque, one of the oldest Ottoman mosques in Konya, is supported by ten pillars.A display area with garments from the 14th and 15th Centuries is to be found in the collection.
To the north of the citadel in Konya, on the Ankara Caddesi, stands a theological college with a superb marble gate. It was founded in 1251 by Karatay. The building is now an impressive museum of Seljuk enamel tiles. The pupils' cells can still be identified around the courtyard. The mosque is attached to the college on the right-hand side. Its internal walls are completely covered in blue tiles. On the left in one room with brick vaulting lies the tomb of the Vizier Celaleddin Karatay (temporarily closed for renovation).
In Topraklik Caddesi stands the old home of Ahmet Izzet Koyunoglu, a member of one of the oldest Konyan families, in which the owner has set up a small museum. In 1983 it was moved to new premises. The exhibits include an assortment of items from the Koyunoglu private collection (minerals, fossils, birds, archeological finds and ethnography section, carpets from the region and 20,000 books). A preservation order protects the old building from demolition.
The unique green tower with a conical roof marks the tomb of Mevlana Celaleddin, a philosopher and theologian. It has become the symbol of Konya.
Linked directly to the Mevlana Monastery in Konya is Selimiye Camii, a huge domed mosque with an open porch and a multicolored heavenly staircase. Commissioned by Selim II it was built between 1566 and 1574 and marks the climax of Ottoman church architecture.
Sadreddin Konevi Camii
Sadreddin Konevi Camii stands only a short distance from the road to Meram in the Sadreddin quarter of Konya and was built in 1274 in honor of the mystic Sadreddin Konevi. Restoration work was completed in 1899. Apart from the prayer niche, the mosque dates from Ottoman times. The prayer room is entered through a hall with a wooden ceiling and a door leads from here into the old library. The mystic's türbe was built in the domed style of the Seljuks together with a marble coffin and marble pillars. It can be found in the adjoining cemetery.
Sahip Ata Külliyesi
This complex of mosque, türbe, dervish monastery and baths stands on the corner of Larende Caddesi and Ressam Sami Sokagi in Konya and was built between 1258 and 1283. The portal and minaret are beautifully decorated and the prayer niche displays blue enamel tiles. Baths for men and women have been restored.
Sems-i Tebrizi Türbesi
Sems-i Tebrizi Türbesi in Konya is dedicated to the dervish Sems from Tabriz who was a close companion of Mevlana. It is situated to the north behind the Serefeddin Camii.
Opposite the main post office in Konya, on Alaeddin Bulvari, to the east of the citadel stands this large mosque built in classical Ottoman style, although it had originally been constructed by Serefeddin Mesud by the middle of the 13th century It was restored, but fell into such a state of disrepair that in 1636 it had to be completely rebuilt on the foundations by Memi Bey. Some of the old Seljuk enamel tiles can still be recognized on the external facade. The main entrance is decorated with stalactite vaulting. The dome of the prayer room is supported by six pillars.
To the south of the old citadel in Konya stand the school of jurisprudence and the theological college which was built by Bedreddin Musli in 1242 with a summer courtyard, tiled decorations and an ornate stalactite portal. It houses a collection of Islamic tombstones as well as some Hittite funerary urns.
The Yusufaga library next to the Selimiye Camii in Konya was endowed in 1795 by the chief courtier to Selim III's mother Yusuf Aga. It contains 2,917 manuscripts and 7,759 books.
Map of Konya Attractions