Konya is Turkey’s equivalent of the ‘Bible Belt’, located in Central Anatolia, neighboring Turkey's famous Cappadocia region and there are direct buses to Fethiye on Turkey's southwest coast. From Konya you could also continue to Egirdir or Sanliurfa. There are two myths in regards to how Konya received its name, the first relates to Perseus and the second to two friends. In the first legend, it is thought that Perseus killed a dragon, which was destroying towns. As a symbol of gratitude, the town’s people erected a monument to honor him. It is this event that the cities name arose; Ikonyon, Ikonyum, Iconium. In the second myth, two dervish friends of Allah were travelling to the west, when they flew over Anatolia and asked each other ‘Shall I land?’ The answer was sure land, or in Turkish ‘Kon ya’. You can visit our Cappadocia tour page for some tours in this nearby city to Konya as well. The Konya Bazar is also a famous location worth visiting whilst there, with plenty of historical links to the famous Sufi poet Rumi who's home was in Konya. You can visit our Konya tour page for more information on trips you can take with Alaturka to this breathtakingly beautiful city, including our Catalhuyuk, Kilistra and Sille day tour.
Konya is a city with considerable history, but now a combination of old and new. The area has 21 mosques, 5 churches, a market district and university.
There are several different thoughts on how old Konya really is, but it is definitely known to be one of the most ancient settlements in Anatolia. Some excavations have shown evidence the area was inhabited during the Neolithic Period, or late Stone Age of 7000 BC, with others believing the region was first inhabited between 4000 – 3000 BC.
The city first came under the influence of the Hittites around 1500 BC. This reign only lasted until 1200 BC when Indo-European Sea People took control of the area. The area of Konya then went through several other chains of command, including; the Phrygians in the 8th century, the Xenophon, the Cimmerian invaders in 690 BC and the Persian Empire until Alexander the Great took control. After the death of Alexander the Great, like so many other towns, Konya came under the rule of Selecus I Nicator, then the king of Pergamon. However after the last king of Pergamon, Attalus III died without an heir, the empire was turned over to the Romans.
Once the Roman Empire took control of Konya, known as Iconium then, the town was visited several times by Saints Paul and Barnabas. In Christian legend, Konya is the birth place of Saint Thecla. There is little left to indicate Konya was ever Christian, besides a few ruined churches.
During the battle of Manzikert in the 10th century the Seljuk Turks took control of the area, and it became the capital of the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate until the 13th century. It was through this influence, that wealth prospered in Konya throughout the 12th century and Seljuk Sultans endowed the area with great fetes of architecture. Most building had a distinctive Turkish style, with roots in Persian and Byzantine.
In the beginning of the 14th century after becoming an emirate, the city was captured and fell into the Ottoman Empire. By the 19th century the city had become run down and it wasn’t until a railway to Eskisehir was built in 1896, that the city was revived.