Gwen's Dream Trip 2013...Ireland, Europe and Turkey travel blog

Amphitheatre at Asendos

Aspendos

Mountains on way to Konya

Mevlana Museum


We headed inland toward Konya and visited the ancient city of Aspendos, c.2,000 BC, on the way. Not a lot remains but a beautifully preserved amphitheatre from the Roman Empirement, 2nd century BC. It is unusual in design as it has a large, tall building in the stage area, with backstage areas too. The facade has decorative ledges that once held big marble statues; quite fantastic. It is the best preserved Roman amphitheatre in Asia Minor.

Just before leaving the coastal strip, we passed the huge resorts of Alanya, some with Russian-style domes...guess where most of the tourists come from. And it's the only area in Turkey with a tropical climate and where bananas are grown...we bought some from a roadside stall. In Konya we visited the Mevlana Museum, where the tomb of Mevlana is under the elaborately decorated green dome in a former mosque. There is a collection of artifacts and beautifully illustrated Korans from various eras and countries. Looking at the lovely gold leaf decorated pages, I am reminded of the Book of Kells. The same dedication was very obviously involved.

Mevlana was an Islamic prophet and philosopher from the 12 century who 'invented' what we call the Whirling Dervish, who perform a religious meditative dance. It was very interesting to learn about the history of this practice, that is still carried on and taught today by the 27th generation of Mevlana's family. He wrote several books which are read by people of all creeds from all over the world. The museum also showed dioramas about the training the practitioners had to go through, and traditional musical instruments used in Sufi music, including several bamboo Neys, flute-like instruments.

Onwards to another lovely hotel in the fast growing city of Konya, which has new apartment blocks and factories being constructed everywhere. It is famous for sweets and lollies, the sugar cane is grown here and it has many sweet factories. We had a look at some of the fantastic sweet shops...I can't resist some yummy rose Turkish Delight!



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