I was introduced to Mevlâna (Rumi) shortly after I moved to İstanbul in October 2011. The Persian poet and Sufi mystic quickly became one of my favorite reads. I find his words inspirational and timeless no matter what the subject.
Mevlâna was buried in Konya on December 17, 1273. His tomb was originally a functioning Sufi dervish lodge, but in 1926, the newly-formed Turkish Republic outlawed Sufism. The lodge was turned into a museum, Mevlâna Müzesi.
At the entrance, you pay a fee of 3TL to enter. There is an optional audio guide available if you want more information. To the left of the entrance is a very distinct green tower with a pointy dome. In front of the complex is the tomb of Ahmet Eflâkî Dede, an author who detailed information about Mevlâna.
A gate, Çelebiyân Kapısı, is down a path to the left. This was the original entrance to the complex. It opens up into a courtyard with the entrance tomb of Mevlâna and the Semahane on the left side. You will have to put on plastic booties over your shoes before entering.
Once you pass through the door, photography is strictly prohibited. It’s completely understandable with the volume of people passing through every day, but it’s a bit of a shame because it’s far more beautiful than I could have imagined from the photos I had seen. Since I wasn’t allowed to take a photo, I will post one here from another source. Click here for a virtual tour.
Surrounding Mevlâna’s tomb are several other tombs, including many members of his family. After the tomb is a small mosque with some artifacts on display. You pass through the Semahane on the way out, which is where whirling dervishes once performed their ritual Sema ceremony.
Back in the courtyard, you can see the Dedegân Hücreleri (dervish cells) in the building opposite the tomb and Semahane along with a fountain and some other structures. There’s also a small simple raised section with tombs marked by Ottoman headstones.
Each room in the dervish cells contains a small display of artifacts and a description of daily life for a dervish in the complex. It was very interesting.
The building at the very end of the complex is the Matbah-ı Şerif (kitchen), which contains several mannequins of dervishes in action. One display is of the kitchen itself, another is a group of dervishes sitting around a dining table, and another is a dervish performing the Sema ceremony.
The other structures on the courtyard are türbes (tombs). They were labeled as the Sinan Paşa Türbesi, Hürrem Paşa Türbesi (d. 1553), and the Fatma Hâtun Türbesi. I couldn’t find any information about the people buried inside or their significance.