Konya

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

Understand

Mevlana Museum - Mausoleum of Rumi

Konya was once the capital of Sultanate of Rum, known in Turkish as Anadolu Selçukluları, a situation which resulted in much of the architectural heritage visible today. The poet and Sufi thinker Rumi also settled in the city during this period.

Despite rapid growth in recent years, and the arrival of many students from out of town in the Selçuk University (Selçuk Üniversitesi), founded in 1975, Konya still retains the air of an Anatolian provincial town. Even though the influx of tourists from the west has increased considerably visitors are still 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 with more women covering their heads with headscarves. 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.

The city lies on a totally flat ground, with the sole exception of a small hill called Alaattin Tepesi in the very centre of the city—which is actually a man-made hill, erected during the Seljuk period so noble residents could easily watch the city below from their palace. Almost nothing remained of the palace and the hill now serves as the central park, which is a quite pleasant and shady one.

Get in

"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

Turkish Airlines , Anadolu Jet and Pegasus Airlines offer flights from Istanbul to the   Konya Airport (IATA: KYA), located about 18 km north of city, off the highway to Ankara. In the summer period it's also possible to fly from various European countries, such as Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Denmark. The easiest and cheapest way to get to the city centre from the airport is to take the shuttle buses provided by Havaş, which takes around 30 minutes and costs 10 TL pp . 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

Old train in front of train station

Until recently trains constituted a slower alternative to travelling by bus or car. However with the new high-speed trains (Yüksek Hızlı Treni, abbreviated YHT) all that have changed, journey time from Ankara have been massively reduced to just 1:40 h, down from almost ten hours (in pure theory, though, as Turkish State Railways never offered passenger trains between Ankara and Konya before, due to the absurdly long de-tours across the country the rail network formerly took between these two neighbouring cities)! Although not offering the charm of travelling while enjoying the landscapes slowly changing on the other side of the window, these new trains makes it much more practical to reach Konya. As of now there are fours trains every day, however more depatures will be added in the near future.

From Istanbul, there are still two nightly sleeper services (via İzmit, Eskişehir-Enveriye station, Kütahya, and Afyon), the Meram Express departing at 7:40PM from Haydarpaşa station and arriving in Konya just before 9AM the following day. İçanadolu Mavi Treni departs later in the evening at 11:50PM and is a bit slower, not arriving until afternoon to make its brief stop-over on its way to Adana (via Karaman). Fares starts at 35 TL for second class, 77 TL for first class sleepers.

The   Konya railway station is located in the suburb of Meram, some distance from the centre; it is easy enough to take a taxi from the station to the centre, but surprisingly some of the taxi drivers are not familiar with the locations of the main hotels. Alternatively it is about 3040 minutes' walk to the city centre, provided you don't have heavy backpacks.

As all the rail works is not finished yet, expect (temporary) cancellations of many inter-city train services. There is usually a replacement bus waiting but there will be delays. Always check with the Turkish State Railways .

By bus

There are a number of 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, 40 TL.), İzmir (~9 hours, 30 TL.), Ankara (3.15 hours, 20TL), 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   bus station is several kilometres (7 km) away from Konya's main sites of interest, most of which are located around Alaaddin Tepesi in the city centre. A number of 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 YTL. Alternatively, Konya's tram linewhich conveniently has a stop at otogarterminates in a loop around Alaaddin Tepesi: this also takes about 30 minutes and costs 1 YTL per person.

Check for timetables.

By car

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 3 and half hour from Antalya by car.

Hitchhiking

If you intend to head south by hitchhiking, take public bus #26 heading WEST on Mevlana(Karaman Yolu, fare: YTL 1.10/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 6:00, 6:30, 7:10, 7:30, 7:50, 8:30, 9:45, 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 on- ramp to hitch to Antalya, a short walk from the intersection.

Get around

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.

See

City Hall
Dervish cemetery
Also interesting for the curious traveller, esp. for those looking for interesting photographic opportunities or a short walk through an authentic neighborhood, is the parts of the city that surrounds the Mevlana Museum. Since this neighborhood hasn't quite kept up with recent times, it still maintains an authentic feel from older days with narrow streets and houses of old architecture, almost with historic significance.
Located 5-6 city blocks away from the museum, one can also find other historic buildings and mosques dating from the 12th and 13th century Seljuks Turks (the most significant one of these is the "İplikçi Camii").
Seljuk Palace remains

Do

Buy

Malls

Eat

Traditional local cuisine mainly depends on wheat/bread and mutton - the major agricultural products of Central Anatolian steppe on which Konya is situated.

Local delicacies include:

Drink

Central park at Alaaddin Tepesi

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, December 23, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.