Download GPX file for this article
37.866732.4833Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Konya is a city in Central Anatolia in Turkey, known as the city of whirling dervishes and for its outstanding Seljuk architecture.

Understand[edit]

Mevlana Museum - Mausoleum of Rumi

Konya was once the capital of the Sultanate of Rum, known in Turkish as Anadolu Selçukluları, and much of the heritage in the city relates to this era. The poet and Sufi thinker Rumi also settled in the city during this period.

Despite rapid growth and the arrival of many students from out of town in Selçuk University (Selçuk Üniversitesi), founded in 1975, Konya retains the air of an Anatolian provincial town. Even though the influx of tourists from the west has increased considerably, visitors are left in peace, and do not have to suffer the hassles they get in Istanbul. On the downside perhaps is the fact that fewer people speak English (or any other foreign language), but the natural hospitality of the people of Konya usually makes up for that. Be careful with taxi drivers, who sometimes have no scruples about ripping off visitors to their city.

Konya is also one of the most conservative cities in Turkey, and more women cover their heads with headscarves than in other cities. Dress modestly if you want to fit in with the local population, although not many people will bat an eyelid if you choose not to.

Konya lies on a totally flat ground, with the sole exception of the local hillock called Alaattin Tepesi in the very centre. This is actually a man-made hill, dating back to the Seljuk period, so the nobles could have a nice overview of the city without having to leave the comforts of their palace. Almost nothing remains of the palace and the hill now serves as the central park, a quite pleasant escape from the fierce Anatolian sun.

Climate[edit]

Konya
Climate chart (explanation)
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
 
26
41
 
 
3
−5
 
 
 
17
32
 
 
6
−4
 
 
 
11
31
 
 
11
−1
 
 
 
2.9
36
 
 
17
4
 
 
 
1.7
44
 
 
21
8
 
 
 
0
25
 
 
26
12
 
 
 
0
7.8
 
 
29
15
 
 
 
0
5.6
 
 
29
14
 
 
 
0
12
 
 
25
10
 
 
 
2.1
32
 
 
19
6
 
 
 
8.6
39
 
 
11
1
 
 
 
20
44
 
 
4
−3
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Imperial conversion
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
 
1
1.6
 
 
37
23
 
 
 
0.7
1.3
 
 
42
25
 
 
 
0.4
1.2
 
 
52
31
 
 
 
0.1
1.4
 
 
62
39
 
 
 
0.1
1.7
 
 
69
47
 
 
 
0
1
 
 
78
53
 
 
 
0
0.3
 
 
84
59
 
 
 
0
0.2
 
 
84
58
 
 
 
0
0.5
 
 
77
50
 
 
 
0.1
1.3
 
 
66
42
 
 
 
0.3
1.5
 
 
52
33
 
 
 
0.8
1.7
 
 
40
27
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

From the cold occasionally snowy winters, to the short, hot and dry summers from July to September, all of the characteristic features of the semi-arid continental climate of inland Turkey are present in Konya.

Summers are very warm to hot, and with the exception of June, very dry. Humidity is usually low, making the daytime heat more tolerable, but also causing chilly night-time temperatures.

Winters are cold with regular light snow, and temperatures can dip to a frigid -18°C during the coldest nights of the year. However, most of winter brings temperatures right around freezing and mostly cloudy skies, slightly more bearable than the eastern highlands.

Spring and fall are cool to mild, with chilly to cold nights. Fall is mostly dry while spring brings heavy showers and thunderstorms that can cause delays and, in the worst cases, significant damage.

Get in[edit]

"Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving — it doesn't matter,
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times,
Come, come again, come." — Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

By plane[edit]

The easiest and cheapest way to get to the city centre from the airport is to take the shuttle buses provided by Havaş, which take around 30 minutes and cost 16 TL pp (2021). On the way to the centre, Havaş buses also stop at the bus station (otogar), which may be useful to hop on a tram to the hotels in the northwest of the city, around the university campus and the highway to Istanbul.

By train[edit]

Old locomotive by the railway station

Konya has YHT fast trains from Istanbul and Ankara. There are three per day from Istanbul via Eskişehir, taking 4 hr 30 min; the fare (as of 2022) is 201 TL economy, 302 TL business. From Ankara 8 trains per day take 90 min, economy 67 TL, business 101 TL. Three YHT trains continue east to Karaman (50 min), which has buses to Silifke for the Cyprus ferry.

The Toros Express runs daily from Adana, taking 6 hr 30 min via Karaman and a dozen other small places.

The Konya Mavi takes 12 hours overnight to Izmir Basmane station via Afyon and Manisa, departing at 19:00 and returning at 18:00. There are also connecting buses from Konya to Antalya.

2 Konya railway station Konya railway station on Wikipedia is 2.5 km southwest of downtown. Take a taxi, dolmuş, or town bus 67 to the centre.

Separate 3 Selçuklu YHT Garı Selçuklu YHT railway station on Wikipedia, 4 km north of downtown and about 4.5 km northeast of the older station, is the brand-new station only served by the high-speed trains. Most, if not all, of these services continue to the older station at a more convenient location for the main sites.

By bus[edit]

There are travel agencies on Mevlana Caddesi, Konya's main street, where you can buy bus tickets. The destinations they deal with are written outside.

Konya's bus station (otogar) has good connections to a wide range of destinations, including Istanbul (~10 hours, 140 TL), İzmir (~9 hours, 30 TL), Ankara (3¼ hours, 20 TL), and Cappadocia (~3 hours).

When you are issued a bus ticket you will be told which gate at the station your bus will leave from; you need to be vigilant, however, as the buses sometimes park at another gate close by.

The 4 bus station is 7 km away from Konya's main sites of interest, most of which are around Alaaddin Tepesi in the city centre. Some minibuses depart from outside the bus station, of which some stop in or near Alaaddin Tepesi: these take about 30 minutes and should cost less than 2 TL. Alternatively, Konya's tram line—which has a stop at otogar—terminates in a loop around Alaaddin Tepesi: this also takes about 30 minutes and costs 1 TL per person.

By car[edit]

Konya is a 3-hour drive from Ankara and 10 hours (660 km) from Istanbul. From İzmir you will get in 7 hours in Konya. Also it takes 3½ hours from Antalya by car.

By thumb[edit]

If you intend to head south by hitchhiking, take public bus #26 heading WEST on Mevlana (Karaman Yolu, fare: 1.10 TL/person) from the stops in front of the Governor’s Office (Valilik/Vilayet) in the city centre, about 5–10 minutes walk away from Rumi tomb/Mevlana Museum (leaving at 06:00, 06:30, 07:10, 07:30, 07:50, 08:30, 09:45, 11:00, etc., the bus stop has a posted schedule if you plan to leave later). #26 takes you to the highway leading to south. You can stay on until it arrives at the steppes out of city, almost until the middle of nowhere. Don’t get off the bus until it leaves the highway by turning left into a narrower road. If you plan to head toward Antalya, sit on the right side of the bus and get off when you see the large sign indicating the junction of highways D330, D715, and D696, about 15 min or so from the center. Go to the D696 to hitch to Antalya, a short walk from the intersection.

On foot[edit]

The Sufi Trail is a partly marked, 800-km hiking and cycling trail from Istanbul (with a ferry connection) through Yalova, İznik, Osmaneli, Bilecik, Söğüt, Eskişehir, Seyitgazi, Emirdağ, Akşehir, and Sille to Konya, with way-stops at various Sufi shrines and other ancient sites. It loosely follows one of the Ottoman Hajj pilgrimage routes, and can be taken in about 40 days on foot or two weeks by bicycle.

Get around[edit]

In the city of Konya you can travel with the dolmuş minibuses, public urban buses (belediye otobüsü), tram or taxi. Most sites of interest, though, with the notable exception of the suburb of Meram, are clustered in the city centre and are walking distance away from each other.

Trams and public buses are paid for using the municipality's Elkart card. Purchasable at most tram stations, the card can be topped-up at most convenience stores, tram stations, and on the municipality's official mobile app (Android, iOS). A regular Elkart will cost you 1.50TL and each boarding (scanning at a turnstile or when boarding a bus) will set you back a flat fare of 2.50TL.

The municipality maintains ATUS (Smart Public Transportation System), an online directory listing (among other things) tram and public bus routes and timetables. The municipality app does this too, and can help plan your getting around.

Owing to the Coronavirus, some establishments will ask you for a HES Kodu (HES code). This refers to the national contact tracing app (Android, iOS), which you will also need to associate with your Elkart through a portal (link) to begin using.

See[edit]

City Hall
Dervish cemetery
  • 1 Mevlana Museum/Mausoleum of Rumi (Mevlana Müzesi) (Once downtown around Mevlana Cad., just follow the signs toward Mevlana Muzesi). 09:00-17:00. This must-see tourist destination of Konya, is the tomb of the famous mystic, sufi, and thinker Rumi (known as Mevlana in Turkish, or with the full name Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi in English literature). The neighboring museum displays relics of his life and his time. The items on display in the museum range from old manuscripts, hand written copies of the Koran, musical instruments used at Rumi's time, and many art works dating from the Seljuk era. 3 TL. Mevlâna Museum (Q902957) on Wikidata Mevlana Museum on Wikipedia
  • Take note that large parts of the city center, including just across from the Mevlana Museum, have been completely torn down and are large development centers. The area adjacent to the Mevlana museum will probably be nice, but not for a couple years at least (April 2021 note; the entire city block across from the museum is a massive hole about 10 meters deep in the ground).
  • 5-6 city blocks away from the museum are other historic buildings and mosques dating from the 12th and 13th century Seljuks Turks (the most significant one of these is the "İplikçi Camii").
  • 2 Iplikçi Mosque (İplikçi Camii). This old mosque dating from the 13th century was restored in the 1960s and is open for prayer service. It is a nice example of the Seljuk architecture to be seen in Konya, between the city center and the Mevlana Museum. Free. İplikçi Mosque, Konya (Q54987927) on Wikidata Iplikçi Mosque on Wikipedia
  • 3 Ince Minare Museum (İnce Minare, literally 'thin minaret'), Alaaddin Meydanı, +90 332 351 32 04. Tu-Su 08:30-12:30 and 13:30-17:30. İnce Minare is the remains of a 13th-century madrasah (school) built by the Anatolian Seljuks. Located close to the city center near the northern end of "Alaaddin Tepesi", this minaret and the surrounding small buildings today serve as a museum that displays various artefacts from the Seljuk and Ottoman eras. It is a popular tourist attraction, owing mostly to the noteworthy ornamental architecture which has been very well preserved over the centuries. Ince Minaret Medrese (Q4287964) on Wikidata Ince Minaret Medrese on Wikipedia
  • 4 Alaaddin Hill (Alaaddin Tepesi). This is an artificial hill that was built by the Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubat. Today it stands right in the middle of the city, and serves mostly as a park. Even though the small hill or the park on it may not be very interesting in themselves, the two places to stop by and see are 1) the Alaaddin Mosque, and 2) the remmants of an old palace with partly earthen construction on the north end of the hill - this old structure is protected from the elements with a concrete umbrella. Alaaddin Hill Park (Q4499143) on Wikidata
  • 5 Meram. This is the district of Konya which lies somewhat away from the city center, with lighter construction and more greenery. The name "Meram" also refers to the popular picnic area in the farther corner of the Meram district. Near this picnic area there are a few historic buildings to see, some of which are the "Tavus Baba Türbesi" and the "Ateşbazı Türbesi".
Seljuk Palace remains
  • Seljuk Palace remains (on the Alaaddin Tepesi Hill). Just one piece of the Seljuk Alaadin palace. Built by Seljuk Sultan Kilicarslan II, restored by Seljuk sultan Alaadin Kekubad
  • 6 Karatay Medresesi Museum. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. This museum has the Seljuk tiles. Karatay Madrasa, Konya on Wikipedia
  • 7 Butterfly Garden (Kelebek Bahçesi), İsmail Kaya Cd 244 (11 km north-northwest of downtown; public buses 47 and 57), +90 332 211 11 20. Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. A butterfly house with tropical butterfly and plant species enclosed in an extensive greenhouse. Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden (Q60776627) on Wikidata Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden on Wikipedia
  • 8 Sille (11 km northwest of downtown). A well-preserved, formerly Greek inhabited village. The Church of Michael the Archangel, also known as Aya Elenia after its patroness, was built by Helena, mother of emperor Constantine the Great, in 327 when she stayed hereabouts during her pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Note the Karamanlidika inscriptions inside the church — Karamanlidika was a local Turkish dialect written in Greek letters. Sille (Q4994437) on Wikidata Sille, Konya on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

  • Go shopping at Kulesite shopping center. You can also shop in the small streets of Konya where you can find a lot of clothes and presents for a low price.
  • Go chill at Alaattin Tepesi.
  • Have a cup of coffee at Meram (Aydincavus), with a sight of Konya from above.
  • Go to Fuar (the funfair).
  • Visit Kapu Mosque and Aziziye Mosque each with different styles of minarets (towers).
  • Take a walk at Zafer Street.
  • 1 Sema (Whirling dervish ceremony), Mevlana Cultural Centre (around 20 minutes walk from the Mevlana Museum, down the same road, away from the centre. The building is on the right side — a big, modern white building with a pyramide roof). Highly recommended! A free sema (whirling dervish ceremony) is held at the Mevlana Cultural Centre every Saturday at 20:00 (in winter, the dance starts one hour earlier due to the DST), taking 1 hour 15 min. You don't need to arrange tickets in advance, but you might want to ask at the Tourist Information centre right behind the Mevlana Museum in case there have been changes. The hall is very big so there will probably be free seats but it is recommended to arrive a bit earlier to allow time for luggage screening and a cup of tea. A lecturer from the local university gives an OK lecture about Mevlana in English at 19:00 just before the ceremony. The ceremony begins with a long introduction in Turkish before the actual music and ceremony start. People say this is the closest you can get to a real sema. No flash photography or applauding during the ceremony (so as not to disturb the dervishes).; If you miss this one, there are also free dervish dances in another museum on Sunday afternoon and night. Just ask your hotel about it. Free.
  • Football: Konyaspor play soccer in Süper Lig, the country's top tier. Their home ground is the multi-purpose Konya Büyükşehir Stadium, capacity 42,000 all seated, 5 km north of city centre.

Buy[edit]

  • Trinkets related to Rumi (and whirling dervishes).
  • Traditional Mevlana-candy (white with a mint taste).

Malls[edit]

  • M1 Tepe, Dç. Dr. Halil Ürün Cad.. Modern shopping mall.

Eat[edit]

The local cuisine has traditionally depended on wheat/bread and mutton ― the major agricultural products of the surrounding Central Anatolian steppe.

Local delicacies include:

  • Etliekmek — some sort of long and thin pizza (with meat or cheese) which can possibly exceed 1 m in length!
  • Tandır kebap is a soft and juicy lamb meat slowly cooked in a wood-fired oven.

However, don't be fooled by the large number of local meat restaurants branding themselves after Mevlana, Turkish for Rumi — he was a strict practitioner and a staunch advocate of veganism.

  • Adanali Köfteci Osman (near the train station). "Adana"-style kebab, grilled meat. Not expensive.
  • Asya Restaurant. Traditional cuisine.
  • Mithat Tirit (Very close to Aziziye Mosque. Also around Mevlana Museum). One of the delicious and famous restaurants of Konya. It's famous for with the special kebap Tirit.

Fast food:

  • Burger King, McDonald's and some other American-style fast-food restaurants, as well as ever omnipresent döner, are also available around the city.

Drink[edit]

Central park at Alaaddin Tepesi
  • The open-air café at Alaaddin Tepesi is good for a relief and some shade while watching the city during a summer day.
  • Mevlevi sofrası is one of the best place that have panoramic view of Mevlana museum and Gulbahcesi. You can have a drink with traditional desserts.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • 1 Dergâh Hotel, Aziziye, Mevlana Cd. No:71 D:71 (Take minibus from bus station to Mevlana. You will see signs pointing the way to the museum as you get closer to the Mevlana Muzesi (Museum) down an alley.), +90 332 350 50 05. Here you can enjoy a hammam and indoor pool and a lobby bar and restaurant with a decent breakfast spread in the morning. 226 TL.
  • Hotel Ulusan (behind the central postoffice (PTT), near Mevlana Cad.), +90 332 351 50 04, . A reliable budget option in city center. 70 TL per double room, however this is bargainable down to much cheaper.
  • 2 Nun Otel, Nakipoğlu, Cihangir Cd. No:12, +90 332 350 33 00. Intricate arabesque-like decor with a pretty fanciful breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet and free wifi. Hot water for showers. 176 TL.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Hotel Balikcilar (just across the street from Mevlana Museum), +90 332 350-94-70, fax: +90 332 351-32-59, . A 3½ star hotel. Nothing special about it except that it is across the street from the Mevlana Museum. Rooms with balcony, safebox wireless internet connection, satellite TV, air-con, en-suite bathrooms.
  • 3 Nil Otel, Mevlana Cad. (close to Alaaddin Tepesi; behind İplikçi Mosque), +90 332 350-24-25, . Clean rooms with wireless internet, bathroom, satellite TV, air-con. About 50 TL pp, including breakfast.

Splurge[edit]

  • Konya Rixos Hotel (5*)
  • Konya Ozkaymak Hotel (4*)
  • Konya Dedeman Hotel (5*)
  • Konya Hilton Garden Inn (4*) (next to Mevlana Culture Centre, 500 m from Mevlana Museum)

Connect[edit]

Konya has 4G from all Turkish carriers. As of Dec 2020, 5G has not yet reached this area.

Go next[edit]

  • Çatalhöyük — about an hour's drive away from Konya, this archeologically hugely important prehistoric site is one of the earliest and most well preserved human settlements discovered.
  • Akşehir — a pretty little town in the northwest of Konya province, which was home of the Hoca, a Sufi sage famous for his folk wit. The city holds a Hoca festival every year from July 5–10.
  • Tuz Gölü (literally Salt Lake) — about an hour away on the road north to Ankara, this is Turkey's second largest lake after Lake Van, although only ankle-deep mostly. During summer, it literally evaporates and leaves behind a flat and completely white landscape, practically a salt desert. It's also a good spot for birdwatching as it's an important stop-over for migratory birds on their route from Europe to Africa and vice versa during spring and autumn.
  • Cappadocia — about 3 hours to the east, is the most logical next stop on your itinerary around Central Anatolia.
  • Silifke — about 250 km to the south, can be a good point of entry into Mediterranean Turkey, as the town is at about the midway of the length of the Turkish Mediterranean coast. Ferries run from nearby Taşucu to Kyrenia (Girne) in Cyprus.
Routes through Konya
AfyonkarahisarAkşehir  W D300-TR.svg E  AksarayKayseri
MuğlaIsparta  W D330-TR.svg E  ÇatalhöyükEnds at D300-TR.svg (W / E)
Ends at E90-TR.svgD750-TR.svg (N / S)  N D715-TR.svg S  Çatalhöyük (Çumra)Silifke
Junction W / E  N Yüksek Hızlı Tren logo.svg S  KaramanEND


This city travel guide to Konya is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.