Fanning out from the foothills of Taurus Mountains is
Plain of Konya, one of the cradles of civilization. Here
on the grasslands, in Neolithic times, the wild bulla and
leopard roamed, the animals that became the cult figures
of "Catal Hoyuk", the world's first city. This
recently excavated site of 6500 BC, where houses were
entered from roofs, lies 50 km South of Konya, near Cumra.
It was not until 12th century that Konya Plain experienced
its second cultural Renaissance, when the city became the
capital of Seljuk Turks.
Migrating from the steppes of Central Asia, Seljuk served
Byzantines with crushing defeat in 1071 at Malazgirt,
which opened the floodgates to Turkish settlement of
Anatolia. Under the enlightened rule of Sultan Alaeddin
Keykubad, Seljuk culture reached its zenith in 13th
Seljuk art strikes perfect balance between purity of line
and intricacy of decoration, as reflected by Konya's many
beautiful buildings, such as Alaeddin Mosque, Karatay
Medrese and Ince Minare Madrese.
In this atmosphere, where learning and art flourished, one
of the great Moslem mystic movements was born. This sect,
known to West as Whirling Dervishes of Konya, was founded
by Melvana Jelaleddin Rumi, mystic poet, whose tolerance
and humanity were quite exceptional for his age. There was
not trace of fanaticism in Rumi, and he wished to
encompass all men in his faith based on love.
As the symbol of the shedding of earthly ties, Rumi
devised the whirling dance, accompanied by the ethereal
sound of the reed flute. This whirling dance can still be
seen in December, during "Melvana
Rumi lies buried in striking green tiled turbe or
mausoleum, which is site of Moslem pilgrimage. Attached to
the mausoleum is the former seminary of Dervish sect,
which is now museum of articles belonging to the order.