Day 2 of the 2nd Annual trip from Fethiye to see the Whirling Dervish Festival in Konya.

We had a busy day ahead of us which would culminate in the visit to the festival performance of the dervishes. With so much to fit we had to get moving but after a hearty breakfast we were ready for anything and set off through this lovely city which is filled with beautiful examples of Selcuk architecture.

Our first stop was the Mevlana Museum, the former lodge of the Whirling Dervishes which houses the remains of Mevlana, his family and original disciples. It is a wonderfully serene place and many of our party were noticeably moved by the atmosphere of reverence displayed by all of those who entered, many of whom were religious pilgrims. 
The beauty of our tour was that it enabled us all to be fairly independent of each other during the day. Some of our party stayed in the old town part of the city looking at the beautiful buildings and experiencing the unbelievable prices of the market area (a bit too far to change our regular shopping haunts…..). Others took a stroll to our friend Ramazan, the local carpet dealer who had kindly obtained our festival tickets for us and, well, you can guess where most of us eventually ended up!

{mosimage}The shopping and cultural opportunities in Konya are endless, even at this time of year and are well worth a visit, especially if you are en route to Cappadocia. We all met back at the hotel in time for an early meal of the local specialty of Lamb Tandir at a local Kebab restaurant before heading off to the festival which is now held at a quite spectacular purpose built culture centre on the outskirts of town.
Prior to sitting down we were able to wander around a wonderful photography exhibition which represented religions of the world. The performance commenced at 8.00pm (Turkish time!) and was attended by about 3000 people. It started with some very inspiring ‘tasavvuf’ music which was performed by a famous Turkish male singer called Ahmet Ozhan.

Then, the event that we had travelled so far for – the Sema Performance is the inspiration of Mevlana as well as part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. It symbolizes in seven parts the different meanings of a mystic cycle to perfection. It is both spectacular and atmospheric. There were 18 dervishes whirling together this year, one of whom was probably no older than 14 or so. In some more progressive lodges there are also women dervishes and before the performance we watched a short film which showed how they were trained and ultimately designated as performing dervishes.

This is a spectacle which you must consider seeing if you are visiting or have come to live in Turkey.