As the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to the 13th centuries, Konya ranks as one of the great cultural centers of Türkiye. During that period of cultural, political and religious growth, the mystic Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi founded a Sufi order known in the West as the Whirling Dervishes.
The striking green-tiled mausoleum of Mevlana is Konya's most famous building. Attached to the mausoleum, the former dervish seminary now serves as a museum housing manuscript of Mevlana's works and various artefacts related to the mysticism of the sect.
Every year during the first half of December, Şeb-i Arus (Wedding Night) ceremony held in commemoration of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, with the controlled, trance-like turning or sema of the white-robed men creating a fascinating performance for the viewer.
Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük
Çatalhöyük is renowned as one of the earliest settlements of the Neolithic era, shedding light on the dawn of human settlement with unique examples of the earliest domestic architecture and landscape painting as well as sacred objects of the mother-goddess cult.
The place where the first known settlement, the first urbanization and the first animal domestication took place in the world is Neolithic Sites of Çatalhöyük. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2012.
The site has extraordinary arts and crafts, with the earliest finds dating from 7400BC, and it has been an important key to unlocking the mysteries of the beginnings of agriculture and civilization. The social organization of the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük and its urban plan are believed to represent the ideals of equality.
The tumulus shows that the history of mining in Anatolia dates back to the Neolithic era and provides ample evidence that people were involved in agriculture as well as hunting and gathering at that time. Çatalhöyük is also the first site in the world where a city plan is depicted in wall paintings. Baked clay seals from the site show that the concept of property ownership developed in that era.
Alaeddin Hill and Alaeddin Mosque
The Alaeddin hill in Konya's Karatay district is one of the important prehistoric settlements. The importance of this hill for art history, architectural history, archeology, history science does not end with telling.
It is rumored that when Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Empire, Sultan Alaeddin asked the public to build a hill in the middle of the city to build a mosque. Thereupon, everyone in the city brought soil to the middle of the city and created this hill.
The Alaeddin Mosque, one of the most important historical works that have survived until today, is located on the hill.
The Alaeddin Mosque was built on the site of Konya's old citadel dating from 1221 during the reign of the great Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat, and today commands the Konya skyline. To one side of the mosque are the remains of the Seljuk Imperial Palace.
Today, besides its historical value, it has become a famous sightseeing and picnic area for the visitors to Konya.
Karatay Madrasa Konya Tile Works Museum
Karatay Madrasah, which is used as Konya Tile Works Museum since 1955, was built by Emir Celâleddin Karatay in 1251 during the reign of the Seljuk Sultan II. Izzeddin Keykâvus.
The interiors of the madrasa are covered with mosaic and plate tiles. Its architect is estimated to be Muhammed bin Havlan. The madrasa was built with Sille stone.
The madrasa was built in the style of the "Medrese with Closed Courtyard" to teach hadith and tafsir during the Seljuk period. Its walls were built of stone, the domes and vaults were made of brick.
It is located in the city center.
Ince Minaret Madrasa
Ince Minaret Madrasa, also known as the Stone and Wood Works Museum, is in Selçuklu District. It is a single-storey madrasa with a closed courtyard. It takes its name from its minaret in the north-east corner.
It was built in 1264 during the period of Seljuk Sultan II. Izzeddin Keykavus by the Vizier Sâhib Ata Fahreddin Ali to teach hadith science.
The writings of the madrasa, which are accepted as important examples of the art of calligraphy, are of great importance. Especially its portal is considered to be one of the rare designs where writing is heavily applied.
Sille which is about 15 km away from Konya city center has a special meaning for Anatolian civilizations and is an important center of the early Christian period where cultures lived together in history.
It is a magnificent place and has important historical buildings (monasteries, churches, mosques, mansions, rock chapels with frescoes etc.) and natural beauties (dam lake, river, forest, etc.), whose settlement dates back to the Neolithic Age. One of the most famous of these is the Byzantine Aya Eleni church.
In 327 AD, Helena, mother of the Byzantine Emperor Constantin, stopped by Konya on her way to Jerusalem for pilgrimage, saw the carved temples of the first Christian ages there, and decided to build a temple for Christians in Sille, in Konya's Selçuklu district, 15 km from Konya. The Aya-Elena Church has been repaired for centuries and has come to this day.
Konyanüma Panorama Museum
Konyanüma Panorama which is one of Türkiye's three largest panoramic museum is showing the social life of 13th century Konya and Mevlevi culture.
The complex, which is located in walking distance to the Mevlana Museum and built in accordance with traditional Turkish Islamic art, takes its visitors to the 13th century with the section consisting of oil paintings depicting the life of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, as well as an open-air museum where examples of Mevlevi houses around the world are exhibited with models.
It shows a great civilization with Alaaddin Mosque, Eflatun Monastery, Bedesten Bazaar, magnificent mosques and inns.
Konya Archaeological Museum
The works belonging to the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Hittite, Phrygian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods are exhibited in the museum. The artifacts unearthed during the excavations in Çatalhöyük, Canhasan, Erbaba, Sızma, Karahöyük and Alaeddin Hill and Roman period sarcophagi are exhibited in the museum. The museum is a must-visit place in Konya.
The temple built with the stone Gödene stone is one of the most beautiful examples of late Ottoman architecture. It is located in the city center. Sheikh Ahmed Mosque between 1671 and 1676 in its place, was burned down, it was rebuilt in 1867 in the name of Sultan Abdulaziz's mother, Pertevniyal Valide Sultan. Built in the style of the Turkish Baroque, the mosque's windows are larger than its doors.
Kilistra Ancient City
This Ancient City is located 45 kilometers south-west of Konya, in the town of Hatunsaray (Lystra), in the Gökurt Village of Meram. Kilistra, which was the scene of intense settlement in the Hellenistic and Roman periods and grew rapidly in the Early Christian Period, gained an architectural texture similar to Cappadocia over time.
Kilistra stands out because it is an important place in the life of St. Paulus and contains valuable examples such as churches, chapels, monasteries, watchtowers, shelters, ancient roads, ceramic workshops in terms of architecture.
It is located on the historical Royal Road (Via Sebaste). Strategically important, Lystra is one of the five centers in the southern ends of the Roman Empire where Emperor Augustus made a military colony. In the same period, the majority of the people of Lystra joined the new religion of Saint Paulus and Barnabas, who traveled Anatolia (49-56 AD).
Eflatunpınar Hittite Water Monument
The Hittites left various tangible cultural assets reflecting their state structure, social, economic and religious life during their reign for about a thousand years. One of these is Eflatunpınar Hittite Water Monument which is located 22 km away from Beyşehir District.
The monument is built in the form of a rectangular pool and is fed by a nearby water source. The most striking part of the pool, which measures about 30 meters by 34 meters, is the high wall with relief figures rising on the north wall, built with large stone blocks. On the south facing surface, there is the Storm God and the Sun Goddess in the middle.
This monument is one of the rare monuments not only in terms of its appearance, layout and iconography, but also in terms of technology and craftsmanship used during its construction.
In 2014, it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List as the Hittite Sacred Water Temple.
Nasreddin Hodja Archeology and Ethnography Museum
In the museum, in Akşehir district, the works are exhibited in the rooms that are divided into periods chronologically. There are rooms where the descriptions of Nasreddin Hodja's funny anecdotes and the bridal room of Akşehir and ethnographic artifacts are exhibited.
Gülmece Park (park for laugh) is located opposite Nasreddin Hodja Tomb. Hosting small sculptures based on the funny anecdotes of Nasreddin Hodja, the master of Turkish humor, Gülmece Park offers a very entertaining environment especially for children.