Did you know that the biggest city of Turkey is not Istanbul or Ankara, but the city which is surrounded by the mountains – Konya. This place is famous because of the annual Mevlana Festival, which take place in December and people from all over the world come to observe the mysterious dervish meditation.
Konya is situated almost in the heart of Turkey and it takes only 1 hour to get from Istanbul to Konya by airplane. When I came there it was December and in comparison in Istanbul the temperature was +15 C, when in Konya there was snow and the temperature was vary from 0 to – 2 C.
During the next week we were living in a big hotel Bora with 4 stars, where we`ve got the adventures from the very beginning. Before we came to our suits we have stacked in the elevator with all the luggage and no fresh air…. But damn it, it might be quite interesting to hang out in the elevator with international community)
After we got rescued from the catchy elevator we had our famous all-inclusive Turkish restaurant meal and went to visit quite nice and small place “Dervish Cafe” – which is the most popular in this quarter. Konya is famous because of the Dervish Festival, that`s why everything here is connected to dervishes.This cafe became a place for our evening hang-outs and we have tried here Turkish “shisha”, traditional coffee and chai. There were no possibility to buy alcohol in this place, cos Konya is quite conservative city and if you want to try something harder than soda, you have to ask local to help you with it.
“Nargile” – its how the Turkish people call “Shisha”.
It`s not a secret that Turkey is famous with its touristic and hotel management and service so the comfortableness and hospitality of our hotel was also on the highest level.
After our travel from Istanbul to Konya and endless days of exploration of new country we were expecting to sleep tight and watch colorful dreams, but… at 5 a.m. we discovered that there is a mosque in the backyard of our hotel and Imam started to call for pray, which made us wake up. Later we got used to this, may be because we were getting more and more exhausted )
In Turkey I have discovered something new about my name. When there was an Ottoman Empire on the territory of Turkey, there was a big city called Lydia. Also that my name is quite international and popular in many of oriental countries, but not in Ukraine, which makes me unique in my county=D
Thank to that fact that our hotel allowed us to go on the roof top we have observed all the beauty of the Konya as well as picturesque mountains which surround the city from every side.
On 7th of December we went to the city center where the opening ceremony of Mevlana Festival has started. There were many of men dressed in old-fashioned traditional clothes and it felt like we appeared on the movie making place…
Together with all the other people we joined the Festival walk. Their clothes were symbolized different roles of Sultan`s servants.
The Festival walk took place from the central street of Konya till the Cultural House. Everyone was allowed to join the walk and enjoy the opening ceremony.
So who is Mevlana? Mevlana – a philosopher who lived in Turkey and is a special symbol for Turkish people. He is the personification of tolerance, love, wisdom, and because of this he is honored up to this day. Every year, from 7th to 14th of December in Konya Mevlana Festival takes place, which attracts many tourists. There is one of the examples of Mevlana`s wisdom – seven tips from him which is worth following:
As for the local food we have tried many of places where local people eat. There is one secret – the more people are inside – the better food they serve. The cafe could have unattractive appearance but meals they offer would be of a good taste and quality. We tried traditional “Doner Kebab” in each of central places together with traditional drink “Airan”.
To prove that Konya is the biggest city of Turkey, I have to say that to cross it from one side to another you have to take a ride for 3 hours by bus. This time we took a tram to reach the University and it took 45 minutes for us to get there. We were invited to observe the basketball game of Konya team vs. Izmir team.
Even if we were invited from the Konian side, our thumbs up went to the shortest but the faster player of Izmir team – Dixon. Regardless of his small tall he was really the best in this game.
On the 5th day we were surprised by the view from our hotel room. All the previous days were quite foggy and we didn’t see the mountains which are surround the hotel.
Also we discovered the traditional dances and delights in Konya.