Friday, Dec 11, 2014: Konya of Rumi (LD)
Our driver transfers you from the train station or the airport to our hotel in the very heart of the city.
After settling in at our hotel, we stroll the streets of Konya, visiting first the Tomb of Rumi in the glittering Mevlana Museum, an important place of pilgrimage for Muslims and indeed all lovers of Rumi.
Next door, we visit the Ottoman-era Sultan Selim mosque before having lunch in a traditional Turkish restaurant. We drive along Mevlana Caddesi, Konya's main avenue, to reach the age-old Alaettin Hill (a prehistoric tumulus) to visit the 1000-year-old Alaaddin Mosque, where Rumi often prayed. In its courtyard are the tombs of many of the Seljuk Turkish sultans who ruled during Rumi's lifetime, and who consulted him for spiritual guidance.
Walking down the north side of the Alaettin Hill we pass the remains of the Seljuk sultan's palace, then cross the street for a view of the elaborate portal of the medieval Great Karatay Medrese theological college (the interior is currently closed for restoration), after which we return to our hotel for dinner and the night.
Saturday, Dec 12, 2014:Konya of the Whirling Dervishes (BLD)
Today we visit some of the wonderful Seljuk Turkish monuments that Rumi would have known and visited: we drive to the north side of the Alaettin Hill to visit the Seminary of the Slender Minaret (Ince Minare Medrese, 1264), a 13th-century theological college that's been beautifully restored and now serves as Konya's Museum of Stone and Wooden Inscriptions, with works of art from the 1100s and later.
Walking around the Alaettin Hill, we enter a quiet residential neighborhood to look at the Crystalline Medrese (Sirçali Medrese, 1242)with its fine tilework and Kuranic calligraphy in stone. Continuing for a short distance we come to the Sahip Ata Mosque Complex (1283), including a school, a travelers' inn, Turkish bath, and the tomb of its founder, the Seljuk grand vezir who also built the Seminary of the Slender Minaret. Nearby, we visit the Konya's Archeological Museum to see the marble high-relief sarcophagus "The Trials of Hercules" and many items from Konya's ancient past (up to 7000 years ago).
Lunch at a local restaurant introduces us to more Konya culinary specialties, including many cooked slowly in a tandir ("tandoori," clay pot buried in hot coals).
After lunch we walk to the Mosque and Tomb of Sems-i Tebrizi, Rumi's closest companion, spiritual mentor, and inspiration for many of his poetic works, then continue on foot past many shops to our hotel.
In the evening, the climax of our adventure: the spellbinding Mevlevi sema performed in Konya's grand Mevlana Cultural Center in honor of Seb-i Aruz, Rumi's "wedding night with the Divine," witnessed by thousands of devotees and pilgrims.
Sunday, Dec 13, 2014:Departure (B)
Our driver takes us to Konya's airport or train station for your onward journey.
IMPORTANT NOTE: you must reserve your place on the tour by September 2011! Because of the high demand for travel services, all unreserved services (flights, hotel rooms, etc.) must be relinquished at that time. Reserve by September!