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Konya

Konya is a city in Central Anatolia in Turkey which has protected its name for centuries. Legend says that Perseus killed a dragon that had been ravaging the town. The people set up a special monument to honor him, a stone obelisk with an icon of Perseus carved in it. This event gave the city it's name, Ikonyon, Ikonyum, Iconium.

However, among Muslims, another legend is told. Two dervishes, friends of Allah, were making an excursion through the skies from the far away countries of Horasan toward the west. When they flew over the lands of central Anatolia, one asked the other, "Shall I land?" ("Konayim mi?"). The other answered, "Sure, land." ("Kon ya!") So, they landed and founded the city of Konya.

Archaeology shows that the Konya region is one of the most ancient settlements of Anatolia. The results of excavations in Catalhöyük, Karahöyük, Cukurkent and Kucukoy show the region was inhabited as far back as the Neolithic Period (Late Stone Age) of BC 7000. Other settlers of the city before Islam were; the Calcolitic Period (Copper Age) civilizations, Bronze Age civilizations, Hittites, Frigians, Lidians, Persians, Romans and finally Byzantines.

Konya is an important place for Christians as well because St. Paul and St. Barnabas came to the city on one of their journeys in Asia Minor around 50 AD. St. Paul preached in Konya but they angered both Jews and Gentiles so they had to leave the city and went to Derbe and Lystra.

The first exposure of the city to Islam happened during the time of the Caliph Muaviya. Konya's real meeting with and adopting of Islam began some time after the victory of Seljuks at Malazgirt in 1071, in the time of Kutalmisoglu Suleyman. Konya was the capital of Seljuks between 1071 and 1308. 

The most important place to visit in Konya is Mevlana's Mausoleum, the mystic poet on the way of sufism and the founder of the Whirling Dervish order. Apart from that there is Karatay Medrese, which was a theological school used as tiles museum today, Alaaddin Keykubat Mosque from 12th century and Ince Minare (Thin Minaret) Mosque.