Friday, May 30, 2014


We said goodbye to our home hosts after a delicious breakfast. (My first without cucumbers and olives.)  Hatice makes rugs, (her sweater), knitted slippers; she crochets around scarves and other items which we could choose to buy. She is only 37, her daughter 16 years old, her husband is 46.  We also got the recipe for the walnut-tomato chili dish everyone liked, that is, we got the basic ingredients. It goes like this: You brown Turkish tomato paste in a pan with olive oil. (Turkish tomato paste is a home made ingredient made from dried tomatos to which onions, and red sweet peppers and seasonings are added). Then you add ground walnuts, chilis, garlic, cumin, parsley and oregano. Serve on flat, crisp bread.  It would be fun to experiment.

On the road, the weather is still spattering rain. We slow for wild goats crossing the highway.

We have lunch before stopping in the city of Konya to visit the Mevlana Museum which is a huge square commemorating  a mystical Sufi, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, a 13th  century poet who preached tolerance, forgiveness and enlightenment. All pretty good stuff. But his sect is known as the Whirling Dervishes because they perform an ecstatic ritual dance. Followers have been outlawed and kicked out of Turkey long ago, but his Monastery is here, his tomb.  The Dervishes moved to Pakistan, Syria and Iran. Dedicated believers still perform here, underground. One group performs openly at a caravanserai, which we will see later, and the government has chosen to ignore it.

These happy women allowed me to take their picture. They are on holiday.

In fact, Usla warned us that more Turkish tourists will be found here than outsiders. He explained that this is like Mecca for followers and some small village visitors will visit only once in their lifetime and they get very excited. Above, a Turkish tour group is all women.

Inside the walled the courtyard is a "garden" of marble tombstones. The square is divided by the Turquoise Mosque, where we put plastic slippers over our shoes before we could enter. On the right, are rooms with artifacts behind glass where we had to practically fight our way in to the windows to see the exhibits.

The stones are beautiful. These are the graves of the Abbots who taught in the Monastery. To be a Dervish, followers had to fast for 40 days. They could have one olive the first day, two olives the 2nd day, 3 olives the third day, and so on. They received 40 olives the last day. With all the water they could drink, of course. Then they rose to an ecstatic state and if they passed this test, they could train to the ritual dance.

The Turquoise Mosque was filled with great beauty, many treasures, huge and small Korans, illustrated manuscripts, gorgeous gold implements, tools and costumes. No pictures allowed. We saw lines of women praying. Above is the dome of Rumi's tomb room.  Some of the rooms had no pictures allowed but the guards watched while people with phones took many photos and some with flash cameras, also ignored. But, not in the Turquoise Mosque.

Rumi's beautiful marble headstone.

Lesser illustrated manuscripts in side-rooms, taken through glass cases in poor light.


For those who've never seen a performance, this mock up is very realistic in dress,the hats, the instruments.

As we prepared to leave the compound, two Turkish students approached Owen and asked if they could interview him on camera for their school project. He consented and answered their questions. They spoke very good English.

Back in the bus, headed for a Caravanserai. We are on the Silk Road, in the footsteps of Marco Polo and I find that exciting.

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