There’s a lot more to Konya than Whirling Dervishes, the Mevlana Museum and the haunting sound of the ney. Konya has been around for a while and in that time it has hosted everyone from Neolithic hunter-gatherers and Hittites, to various Greeks, Romans and Persians. And then the Seljuk Turks rolled in and had their day before getting rolled up by the marauding Mongol hordes around 1243.
The Seljuk Sultanate of Rum (as in Rome and not Capt. Morgan) was a pretty successful set up in its day. Covering much of present day Anatolia it traded across the Mediterranean basin and Middle East. It was powerful and wealthy enough to battle the Crusaders and foster art and architecture on the grand scale and Konya was its principle city for much of its existence.
So, where is this leading? J and I had been to the fabulous Neolithic site at Çatalhöyük and so a visit to Konya’s Archaeological Museum to see some of the stuff that had been excavated was a must. The museum is not far from the centre and is in the type of area that we love to wander around – a bit run down and lived in!
As we got close to the museum we were delighted to discover one of the unsung treasures of Konya – the restored Sahib Ata Camii and medrese. Named for one of the greatest builders of the Seljuk Turkish Empire; the Vezir Sahip-I Ata Fahrettin Ali.
Once this was a vast complex but only parts have survived to present times. What remains of the mosque is now simple and beautiful and lives on in everyday use. A fabulous restoration of the monumental gate with its stunning minaret and the medrese took place during 2006-7 with the medrese serving as a museum of Seljuk arts. The hamam and tekke or dervish hall are undergoing restoration.
There is no better way to show you the worth and wonder of this place than to show you some before and after pictures – it’s one for your bucket list! First, a couple from the archive of that amazing woman Gertrude Bell:
There is a collection of beautiful artifacts that will delight your eye . .
Finally, a link to a 3D view around the Monumental Entrance to the Sahip Ata Camii and website in English.
Alan Fenn, Okçular