Turkey / Cities and Towns /
City in central Turkey with 740,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate), 250 km from the Mediterranean Sea and 500 km from the Black Sea, on an elevation 1,027 metres above sea level. The Bozkir Mountains lies to the west, and the central Taurus Mountains to the south. It is the capital of Konya province with 2.2 million inhabitants (2004 estimate).
The economic base of Konya is the production of carpets, leather sugar and flour as well as the trading of minerals. The region of Konya specializes in breeding of horses and camels. Since the early 1970's have local bauxite deposits been tapped by an aluminium-manufacturing complex.
Konya is fairly isolated from other large cities of Turkey. Adana 450 km southeast and Eskisehir 500 km northwest are linked by both road and rail. The best connections with the capital, Ankara, is by air.
Large parts of Konya has dreary and uninspiring modern Turkish architecture. Yet there are several sights, as well as attractive gardens and orchards. The tomb of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, the 13th century founder of the
Whirling Dervishes, or Mevleviye, lies in the Sufi order's local complex, called tekke. The tekke and its Sufi activities is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims from all over the world. Konya also holds Christian monuments, like the old church of Amphilochius inside the city and several shrines nearby.
Konya has the Selçuk University, founded in 1975.
Konya is one of the oldest urban centres in the world, with excavated settlements dating back to the 3rd millennium BCE. Its oldest recorded name is Iconium.
3rd century BCE: Greek immigration, and gradual hellenization on Iconium starts.
25: Iconium comes under Rome.
130 CE: Iconium becomes a Roman colony.
372: Becomes the capital of the province of Lycaonia.
1072: Conquered from the Byzantine Empire by the Seljuq sultanate of Rum. They renamed it Konya, and the sultan made it his seat. A period of growth and prosperity would follow.
13th century: On the eve of the Seljuq era, many great buildings are erected in Konya, many Muslim schools, medreses.
1243: The Rum Seljuqs are defeated by Mongols, and Konya becomes part of the Il-Khanid empire.
1467: Konya is annexed by the Ottoman Empire.
1832: The Egyptian army is defeated by the Ottoman at Konya.
1896: Konya is connected to the railway, bringing growth to the ctiy.
1923: With the establishment of Ankara as capital of Turkey, Konya loses its position as the most important city of the Anatolian interior.
1980's: Konya gains a reputation of hard line religious conservatism, as a local is severely beaten for smoking in the street during the month of Ramadan (see Sawm).