One of the evenings while we were in Cappadocia we attended a service of the Whirling Dervishes, They are an order of the Moslems started back in the 13th century AC. The founder, Celaleddin Rumi, believed that music and dance represented a means to induce a state of universal love and offered a way to liberate the individual from the anxiety and pain of daily life. Picture taking was not allowed. When we headed west from Cappadocia after stopping at a Caravanserais, a hostelries for the protection of merchants traveling caravan routes on the silk road before stopping in Konya at the Mevlana, (Whirling Dervishes), Museum. It is an old mosque. Then on to Beysehir where we visited the active Esrefoglu Mosque, a wooden mosque dating from 1297. We ended the day at the small village of Kusluca on Beysehir Lake for a home stay.
The Whirling Dervishes service (Sema Ritual) consist of five parts, the first three which are prayers, greetings and musical improvisation. Next comes the sema or whirling ceremony. This consists of several parts, each with its own meaning. Love is the central theme. The ritual is much more complex than the few lines we are writing here but it was mystical to watch as the dancers, dressed in wide, white skirts, whirled for a half hour to a haunting melody. For a tea break on our way to Konya we stopped at a restored Caravanserais. It was built like a small fort with thick, high walls. There was the courtyard for summer use and a large covered area for cold weather. There are over 100 former ones in Turkey with some being restored. The Silk Road lasted from the 13th century till about 1910. For a person to make the round trip it took two years, but the practice was for one group to go a few hundred miles and sell to the next group who sold to the next, etc., across Asia, the middle east and on into Europe. In Konya we toured the museum of the Whirling Dervishes which contained the tomb of Rumi and contains memorabilia and manuscripts of his life. Rumi developed a philosophy of spiritual union and universal love. We then went on to Beysehir and visited the Esertoglu Mosque and had the imam sing for us. Dating from 1297, the wooden interior with its 48 wooden columns is of the finest examples of this type of architecture remaining from the Betlic Period. We then headed to the small village of Kuslusa for our home stay. Each couple had their own room and shared a bath. The man and wife were in their early 40’s with one 6 year boy living at home. They had a small farm, a three story home, a barn and nice farming equipment. They served us a typical Turkish dinner and we sat around and exchanged how we lived and worked. We slept on raised futons and stayed warm with a pot belly stove in each room fed with charcoal. After a Turkish breakfast we headed on down the road.