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Konya Tourism And Travel Guide
8° C / 46.4° F
April to October
1 to 2 Days
Konya Airport (17 kms)
Konya railway station (2 kms)
Konya is a major metropolitan city in Turkey, and is economically and industrially developed. It was also once the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum and was called Iconium during Roman times. The 'city to tourists' is most famous for its Whirling Dervishes, which was founded by notable philosopher and poet Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi. Tourism in Konya is not a very large part of the economy but is not one that is left behind either. Many consider this to be the cultural capital of Turkey, as the city has played a significant role throughout history, starting from the first civilization in 3000 BC. Check out this travel guide to Konya to understand more about this lesser-known city, one that is filled with history, culture and tradition.
How To Reach
Konya is a large city and can be easily accessed by air, rail and road.
Travelling by air is the quickest way to reach Konya. From India, you can travel by Turkish Airlines up to Istanbul and then take a domestic flight all the way to Konya. The flight is just about 1 hour and is not too expensive either. Konya International Airport is about 15 km away from the city centre but you can easily get taxis and other public transport that can take you to the city.
Once you are in Turkey, Konya can also be reached by their High-Speed Rail Network from Ankara and Istanbul. This is also a convenient mode of transport and takes 2 to 4 hours depending on where you are travelling from. The railway station at Konya is within the main city centre. There are plenty of normal trains as well, but they are not a preferred mode of transport as they take much longer.
Istanbul to Konya by road is roughly 600 km, which could take you up to 8 hours. You can choose to hire a private vehicle, self-drive or go by public transport like the bus. There are many overnight bus services to Konya which would make the journey more efficient and also save you a lot of money which you would otherwise spend on a hotel.
Konya being a buzzing city has many public transport options. Most of the sightseeing points in the city are clustered inside the city centre and are within walking distance of each other. For everything else, you can choose to travel within Konya by tram, bus or dolmus. There are plenty of taxi cabs also available, which are quite inexpensive and very convenient.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
The weather in Konya is typical to the Mediterranean climate, where it's warm during summer and cold during winter.
Spring (March to May):
Spring sees the bloom of many beautiful flowers and so makes the city a colourful time to visit. The weather starts of cold in March but becomes warmer by May, averaging a daytime temperature of 16°C to 18°C. Tourists start to visit the city from April onwards, though it is still not as crowded as the summers.
Summer (June to August):
The summertime is the most crowded but is also a great time to visit the city. The average temperature by July is 25°C though sometimes it can go up to 30°C. No rain is expected during these months. Make sure you have the necessities to protect yourself from the sun and you will be sorted. You can enjoy the International Nasreddin Hodja Festival in July, which is a festival dedicated to Turkish Literature.
Autumn (September to November):
The crowds go away, leaving behind a cool breeze. You can expect an average temperature of 20°C in October and maybe 1-2 days of rain. A Turkish sporting event by the name of The Javelin Games is something to look forward to every September.
Winter (December to February):
Though the winters can get quite cold and snowy, it is also the time Konya celebrates its Whirling Dervishes festival - known as the Mevlana Festival, which is a mystical and spectacular event. The average temperature can go below 0°C and you can expect snow or rain for 3-4 days in the month.
Things to Do
There are many museums in Konya that can get you mesmerised by their culture and history. From the Mevlana Museum, which will give you an insight into the famous Whirling Dervishes culture to the Karatay Madrasa, which exhibits beautiful Seljuk tiles. The Archaeological Museum of Konya has some enchanting sarcophagi and antiquities from the excavations at Çatalhöyük. Other museums you can visit are Sahip Ata Museum, Independence War Museum and Konya Ethnography Museum.
With so many different rulers in Konya over the centuries, there are many beautiful places of worship that have been styled as per the different periods. The Alâeddin Mosque is the largest Seljuq mosque and was once the Mosque Of The Throne to Seljuq Sultans of Rum. The Aziziye Mosque is an Ottoman mosque that was constructed in the 17th century with a mix of Ottoman and baroque architecture. Selimiye Mosque is another traditional Ottoman styled mosque with beautiful tile work and mosaics.
Salt Lake (Tuz Golu):
Tuz Golu, which literally translates to Salt Lake in Turkish, is the 2nd largest lake in Konya. The vast land of salt is a beautiful sight to see - especially during summer when the water has dried up and turns pink. There are many birds to be seen here as well, so don't forget your camera!
A trip to the Village of Sille:
This picturesque little village just outside of Konya was home to a Greek Settlement for over 800 years. Though there was chaos and turmoil going on outside, the Greeks and Turks here lived alongside peacefully, all thanks to Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi. The story of how he got this to happen can be read in the museum in Sille. The village is now a protected area and a historical site that is open to tourists to walk around and explore.
There are a few malls in Konya, including the Kent Plaza Shopping Center and Novada Outlet Konya. These are great places if you want to experience a modern way of shopping - including international and domestic brands.
For a more local approach, visit the bazaar which can be found near Mevlana Museum for many religious and local souvenirs. Another one is Kapali Carsi which can be found near Karatay Municipality, and is within walking distance from Mevlana Museum. Konya specialises in Carpets, Rugs & Kilims which you can find everywhere across the city, however a specific shop that might interest you would be Karavan Carpets, only a 5 min walk away from the Mevlana Museum.
Turkish cuisine is a delight for meat-lovers all over the world. Some of the specialities of Konya are Etliekmek (flatbread baked with meat and veggies), Pişmaniye (a variant of cotton candy), Tirit (Special bread with yoghurt, bouillon, butter and sumac), Firun kebab and Tavak suyu (tomato based chicken soup). Konya is also famous for its variety of candies and dates (Hurma).
While visiting Mavlana Museum, you can visit Konya Mevlevi Sofrası for a scrumptious lunch. Another great restaurant, especially for its kebabs, is Mithat Tirit restaurant.