TRAVEL THE WORLD, SEE KONYA, Güneş Avşar | 26.02.2014

Konya is a beautiful city that perfectly captures the Turkish word “huzur,” which best translates to “serenity and tranquility.” Konya has been the capital of many states throughout history. It is now the largest city of Turkey in terms of area.

The first thing that’ll catch your eye in Konya will be the number of bicycles. There are more bikes than you’ll see just about anywhere else in Turkey. There’re no shortage of places where you can rent a bike in Konya and take advantage of its total of 240 km of bike lanes, which are safe and fun for both locals and travelers.

Konya offers a spiritual journey to its visitors, with its many tombs, madrasas, mosques and churches. At night the view of the city lights from the top of Akyokuş Hill really puts you in a romantic mood as well.

Meram Bağları with its wide variety of green tones and mansions welcomes you in, and around Meram Deresi you can stop for a pleasant little chat in the surrounding tea gardens.

If you happen to be in Konya on a Sunday in the summer, don’t pass up a chance to try the Konya traditional düğün pilavı (literally “wedding pilav”) served at the weddings that take place in just about every side street of the city. As you walk past, the mere mention that you’re visiting will be enough for the whole wedding party to welcome you in and make you the special guest of honor. Just grab your seat among the small stools around the big wedding feast tables. :) Then start enjoying many foods to be served starting with yoghurt soup, okra soup, pilav with meat and finally zerde (a saffron and rice dessert).

Konya cuisine is full of many delicacies. For instance, etli ekmek (bread with ground meat on top) is a must to try and don’t ever say it’s just “just like lahmacun” (A similar dish that can be found all over Turkey) to the locals! :)) Talking about delicacies, don’t skip tandoori kebab. The address here is Haci Şükrü Kebapçısı for this delicious meat dish served by weight.

The first thing that comes to one’s mind when one thinks of Konya is Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi... For locals of Konya, it is a source of pride to be “a descendant of Rumi”. The Tomb of Rumi is flooded with both local and foreign visitors and it gets really crowded in Konya especially around the time for Şeb-i Aruz Ceremonies (Commemoration ceremonies of Rumi’s death) on December 17th.

Rumi is of course the great master, but his own master was unique in and of himself. May the same kind of acquaintance befall my own friends. He was known as Shams Tabrizi, or Shams of Tabriz. Shams was the faithful friend of Rumi, his shadow and companion and made Rumi who he became... He is also my namesake.

Although the Tomb of Rumi is very popular, the Tomb of Shams Tabrizi is a lesser known spot in Konya. Turn your back to Alaaddin Hill, and start walking towards the Tomb of Rumi. On your left, there is the Tomb of Shams, just behind Şerafettin Mosque. Visit him and tell my namesake I said hello and that he has an eternal place in my heart. :) I call him my namesake because Shams in Arabic means “the sun”, as does Güneş in Turkish....

Just as the good hearted Rumi put it; "Travel the world, see Konya"...


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