Whenever you decide to travel by tour, chances are that you are going to be spending an adequate time in the tour bus. Though a majority of this day was spent catching up on some sleep, singing karaoke, and just enjoying the passing scenery, we were able to make quite a few eccentric stops.
With sleepy eyes and exhaustion, our tour group made one final stop at Pamukkale. Fortunately, our sleepiness faded away at the sight of some adorable ducks floating on the lake in front of the nature site. We were able to take a group picture with Pamukkale as our backdrop, and get a beautiful view of the site from the ground. After we were all cheered up and energetic, partly thanks to the refreshing morning air and ducks, we headed towards Konya.
On the way there we stopped by a few eccentric stops. One of which was a little pick-me-up at the city of Dinar for some yogurt topped with opium seeds. Since the 15th century, Turkey has cultivated the growth of opium seeds. Long before China, Turkey supplied the west with opium. There is opium licensing in Turkey, which is essentially used togo away from illegal drug cultivation and instead regulate it for the production of essential medicines such as morphine and codeine.
Opium as a topping for yogurt did serve as an interesting addition to the day, but in terms of flavor enhancement of the yogurt it didn’t really do much. Many of us in the tour group just couldn’t fathom the culinary invention. Some of us even took to jokingly referencing the yogurt seller as the “drug dealer.” The salesman must have noticed our enthusiasm over the yogurt and decided to show off some of his honey dripping skills by holding the plate of yogurt upside down and bringing it back up to catch the dripping honey just in time. Once all of our plates were clean we decided to make some headway into our drive to Konya.
The mountain scenery served as the perfect vantage point to the cities below us, but I’m sure the attention was all on the karaoke. Our little karaoke party certainly kept everyone occupied until lunch. We dined at Kinazlibache, which is also the home of the famous philosopher statue. The statue is located at the front of the restaurant and features he is riding his horse backwards. This comical statue served as a great laugh during lunch.
Once we arrived at Konya we visited the MevlÃ¢na Museum, which is also the mausole
um of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (a.k.a. MevlÃ¢na or Rumi). Rumi was a 13th century poet, jurist, theologian,a Sufi mystic, and a great influence in the Perisan language. We were told to wear coverings over our shoes so we wouldn’t dirty the rugs and carpeting inside. Once we entered we saw six coffins which contained the dervishes that helped Rumi and his family from Belkh. Opposite of the coffins are the cenotaphs, a monument erected in honor of a person, which belong to the descendants of the Rumi family. Rumi’s sarcophagus is located under the green dome, and is embroidered in gold with verses from the Koran. The small mosque located next to it is now a museum that displays old texts and rugs. There were a vast array of Korans, varying in size and color.
Once we exited out of the museum we explored the opposite building, which was a dervish lodge. A dervish is similar to a wandering monk, and tries to
follow “Tariqah” a religious path in Islam. One of their practices includes taking part in the Sema ceremony. The origination of this ceremony is credited to Rumi, and serves to represent a mystical journey of a person’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to perfection. The ceremony isperfor
med with long white skirts, and performed by twirling around in a circle. In the display hall we were able to see wax figures practicing on a Sema board, and dervishes studying.
The museum was a great insight into the culture and lifestyle back then, which also served as a great introduction into our next stop. Our next stop was Sultanhani Caravansarai, which is a 13th century caravanserais. A caravanserais is essentially a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover after a journey. Since the sultan realized that trade was a vital part of his empire’s economy, he wanted to treat travelers well and constructed these “inns”. Sultanhani is a great example of Anatolian Seljuk architecture. The grand entrance gives way to an open courtyard, which shows travelers the different rooms available for living. At the opposite end is another decorated archway, much like the entrance. The detailed and intricate geometric designs truly made us stunned that such a monument was standing today.
From yogurt with opium to a stunning display of the past, the day passed by quicker than we expected the day before when we heard we were going to spend quite some time driving. Â Even the times when we were riding in the tour bus weren’t dull. With some very entertaining karaoke solos and duets, our tour group was fully entertained by the end of the day. As the night started to close in on us, we arrived at Cappadocia eager for our next day. GÃ¶rÃ¼ÅŸÃ¼cez or for those who don’t know Turkish, see you next time.