From Dervishes to Samba - Fall 2011 travel blog

mountain town

Merviana Museum

museum booties

caravan hotel


sugar beets

Today was our longest driving day as we worked our way out of the Toros Mountains and on to the high plains to Cappadocia. The weather turned nasty and a mixture of rain drops and snow fell much of the day. The scenery reminded us of the flat dreariness of West Texas. Massive quantities of sugar beets were being harvested and lay in mountainous piles waiting for trucks to bing them to the factory for processing.

We stopped in Konya to visit the Merviana Museum. While the museum looks like a mosque, it was built to honor the poet Rumi who as buried here. He holds a position in the Muslim religion somewhat similar to Confusius for Buddhists. We have had to take our shoes off when visiting mosques, but here we got plastic booties before going inside. 80% of the people inside were tourists like us, but there were also Muslims making a sort of pilgrimage to the spot. Monk-like Sufis also live in the compound living a life of reflection and prayer. All the tombs (which no longer contain the remains) were topped with white or green turbans. This sprang from the time when travelers sometimes died on the road and had to be buried on the spot. The cloth of their turbans became their shrouds. The museum also had a collection of very old Korans and holy paraphenalia.

As we carried on we passed a few of the buildings which had functioned as hotels during the days when camel caravans brought goods from China to Europe on the silk road. These buildings are being renovated so they can assume their role as hotels once again.

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