Mevlana Celaleddin Muhammad Rumi is famous all around the world for being a poet, philosopher, and Sufi mystic. Mevlana was born in Balkh in the 13th century, his father moved to Konya to teach and preach at the mosque, and Rumi took his place after his father’s death. During this time, he met Shams-e Tabrizi, who would inspire Rumi’s spiritual awakening that led to him leaving his life and all his earthly belongings behind to follow his spiritual journey in the hope of reuniting with God.
Rumi passed away in 1273, but his devotees are still following his journey and are still keeping his beliefs alive to this day; they are known as Mevlevi dervishes or better known as the Whirling Dervishes.
The Whirling or Dancing Dervishes originated in the 13th century as followers of Mevlana and are associated with Sufism. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam. The Whirling Dervishes are a famous group of Sufis mostly located in Turkey and Iran. The Whirling Dervishes emphasize peace, acceptance, universal love, and spiritual union with Haqq or the Divine.
After the death of Mevlana, Celebi Husameddin replaced him, and after his death, Mevalana’s eldest son replaced him and became the leader of his father’s followers; it was during this time that Mevlevism was established and organized, and devotees started opening branches outside of Konya.
An Introduction & History of the Mevlana Museum
The Mausoleum was built in 1274 after Mevlana’s death; he was buried beside his father in the rose garden, and one year after his burial, the construction of the building was completed with Seljuk Emir Alameddin Kayser paying all the costs. Other sections like the matbakh or the mosque and semahane were later added to the Mausoleum until 1854. Following Ataturk’s order in 1926, the Mausoleum and Dergah, or the dervish lodge, turned into a museum and were officially renamed the Mevlana museum.
The main part of the museum consists of the entrance garden, the Mausoleum, the Matbakh, and the Semahane. There are 66 sarcophagi in total in the main Mausoleum, and the most important ones belong to Mevlana himself, Bahaeddin Veled, Mevlana’s father, his wife, and his son, Sultan Veled. The tombs are covered with heavy velvet fabrics or brocades with golden embroidery. All these elements date back to a special era in the history of Turkey.
The Semahane, or the ritual hall, dates back to the era of sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Dervishes perform Sema, or the whirling dance to the sound of traditional musical instruments such as Kemance and Ney. You can visit the rose garden on Thursdays to watch the whirling Dervishes perform.
You can look for the Matbakh or the kitchen in the corner of the courtyard and dervish cells along the sides of the courtyard; the cells are decorated with mannequins dressed as dervishes displayed as studying among an interesting collection of objects related to the dervish life.
More things to do near Konya and Mevlana Museum
After visiting the Mevlana museum in Konya, you can head to the beaches of Antalya and enjoy spending time on the beach. If you are interested in visiting more museums, you can head to Ankara for the city’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Ataturk mausoleum, which are two of Turkey’s most important historical sites. You can even easily visit Çatalhöyük from Konya; Çatalhöyük is one of the most important neolithic sites of the world; if you are interested in the ancient beginning of the human civilization, you will definitely enjoy visiting this area.
Final words about Mevlana Museum
In conclusion, the experience can hardly be put into words or described. You will experience a very exciting and unique atmosphere once you walk into the mystical museum. If you are interested in the mystical side of Sufism or Asian culture, or if you are just visiting Turkey and are hoping to soak up the culture or have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will definitely appreciate visiting the Mevlana museum.