Konya, the Mecca of Turkey

A Youth Backpacker in Europe

Part III Chapter IV

Konya, the Mecca of Turkey

Mosque in Konya Visiting Turkey without visiting Konya is similar to skipping pyramid in Egypt or missing Eiffel Tower in Paris. Islamic culture is prevalent in the entire Turkey as 98% of the population in is Muslim, although the influence was evidently less significant in metropolises where the daily five prayers routine was hardly religiously followed. Also noteworthy was the rumour of pork eating culture in Turkey.

However, in Konya, the heart of the whole Turkish Islamic culture, religion peaked. Mosques were established at literally every corner in the city. The reverberation of prayers from these mosques echoed the entire city exactly five times a day, which by itself was a pleasant reminiscence of my university life in Malaysia.

Ironically, Konya was also a disparaging place of native Turks, outside Konya. I recalled the facial expression of them whenever they learnt about my Konya plan. I swear the uniformity of their facial expression wasn’t a coincidence but a general consensus of their dislike to people living in Konya. “Konyan” to them was just a horde of religion freaks demonstrate frantic excitement to religion.

On the way to Konya And so I was terrified and wondered if my only night in Konya was going to render a restless night of worry of being different. However, a twist of the story was seen right upon my arrival.

Case study #1:

Lost in the massive Konya bus station, I had zero idea the direction that led me to the nearest tram station for my very first Turkish host. Enquired locals and waited their direction with bated breath proved to be a pathetic experience – hardly anyone spoke English or at least understood my question.

Not giving up, I approached a young man clearly seemed to be accompanying her girlfriend at that moment. Phew! English conversation finally! He then walked me to the tram station, waited with me, informed the tram driver to give me a shout at my destination and settled my fee with his student tram card.

On the way to Konya was part of the fun Case study #2:

At my host, interestingly without the presence of my host, the only entertainment was to kill the boredom by chit-chatting with the co-hosts who unfortunately didn’t speak English. Despite the communication barrier, I was cooked a big meal and was restricted access to only fresh breads during the meal, whilst my co-hosts were having the less fresh ones.

Case study #3:

Trying to catch a tram to MevlanaA lot of apple trees along the way, but unfortunately it was a fallen pile at this location Museum, the only and biggest attraction in Konya, where the whirling dervishes ceremony was originated, I was again challenged with direction. Approached a girl in veil, who then revealed her student identity, I was pleasantly surprised with her offer to skip class and led me to my destination.

Sensing the inappropriateness to cause such a trouble, I politely rejected. But she, together with her friend whom we met after got off the tram, insisted to bring me to a local eatery and bought me huge breakfast, wished me a wonderful time in Konya, before waving goodbye unwillingly to me.

The famous green point of Mevlana Museum The friendliness and hospitality of people living in Konya were stupendous. The guilty conscience of the inner self condemning my previous unjustified presumption prior to my arrival surged and was drowning me with shame. Why do people outside Konya labelled Konya with such a despicable remark? I was profoundly confused.

It was bitterly cold during my visit to Konya. But the warmth of the people clearly had overwhelmed the attraction in the city. Leaving Konya with a smile on my face, I started my imagination of a horseback riding in  Cappadocia.

Inside Mevlana Museum

Another shoot in Mevlana Museum

Whirling Dervishes