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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

Entering the Land of Rumi: Konya

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

"Both Dark and Shadow are the Dance of Love" - Rumi

Sunrise in Konya
Sunrise in Konya

This has been one of my favorite quotes FOR YEARS NOW. Rumi has been someone who has amazed me my entire life, I even named my last kitty cat after him.

Decor at the Rooftop Bar
Decor at the Rooftop Bar

I knew my trip to Turkiye would be amazing. I set the intention at the beginning of the trip to open up to the mystical experiences I was meant to receive. What I didn't realise is that Sufism and the life, legacy and teachings of Rumi would play such a vital key in it.

After Returning to Istanbul and visiting The Land of Fine Horses: Capddocia, it was off to Konya.

Artwork at the Hotel Balikcilar
Artwork at the Hotel Balikcilar

Journey Map at the Hotel Balikcilar
Journey Map at the Hotel Balikcilar

Fun Fact: Did you know that Rumi started his Mevlana school here? Konya was where the whole concept of the Whirling Dervish originated from? For more on that you can read this:

I didn't either...

Must See Experiences in Konya

The Dedemon Hotel

From the drinks at the gorgeous bar on the 18th floor with the panaramic view, to the amazing food served at the restaurant. I loved our hotel

The view from the top (of the 18th floor of the hotel)
The view from the top (of the 18th floor of the hotel)

A Whirling Dervish Ceremony.

Notice I say ceremony and not show. There is a key difference here. Years ago in Istanbul, I went to a "show." I say that as although I enjoyed the experience, it was more spectical than mystical😂

I'm half Arab, I don't know that side of my family (not by choice, I long to but that door hasn't opened for me yet). So anything Arab/Islamic/Muslim in nature pulls at my heart strings. Even if I do not currently identify with any of those things.. they are in my DNA.

The Whirling Dervish ceremony seemed to trigger just that, an outpouring of my heart, a longing for God and a deep appreciation for this beautiful gift called life. It's really hard to capture in words how moving the whole experience was.

I could write a whole entry on just this, but I won't. What I will leave you with is that the musicians left me in tears, the Dervish allowed me to witness their deeply transformative love and embrace of the divine, and I will forever be grateful for the entire evening.

Mevlana Museum

What my group and I didn't realize at the time, was that we were actually watching the Whilrling Dervish ceremony RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from the Mevlana Museum. In case you don't realize how amazing that is, Konya, and the Mevlana Museum in particular, is a pilgrimmage site for Sufi's to go and visit the grave of Rumi. Upon his passing, his followers founded the Mevlevi Order which has lead to the Whirling Dervish ceremonies that we see today. To make it even more magical, the call to prayer happened JUST as we were leaving our ceremony. Imagine that. A call to prayer coming from those pillars after just spending an hour in a trance in devotion to this God of Rumi's. Again, it's hard to put into words.

Mevlana Museum at Night
Mevlana Museum at Night

My only regret? That I wasn't able to capture the magisty of the Dervish ceremony. You will have to take my word for it though, it was one of the highlights of this entire trip, and just deepened my curiosity and love for my Arabic ancestry and roots.

Coming up Next? Hieropolis

Interested in learning more about my personal journey?



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