Egirdir to Kilistra to Konya
Our final destination for the day was Konya where we stayed a night. Driving directly from Egirdir to Konya was about two hours, but we took it easy and made two stops on the way, the first was a coffee break at the town of Beysehir and the second was at Ancient city of Kilistra. The detours add more than 1.5 hour into our driving duration.
From Egirdir we drove northward around the lake before turning west toward Beysehir Lake. Around lake Egirdir the landscape was beautiful there were many vast fields by the road “carpeted” with yellow flowers.
Though on the map our route curve toward Lake Beysehir but the highway too far inland to catch any sight of the lake. It was only when we were near to the town of Beysehir that we caught a glimpse of the lake from afar. We turned into the town of Beysehir hoping to see more of the lake but saw only the Beysehir Channel (river) that cut into town. Nothing interesting.
We stopped in town for coffee break , cafe latte at Boost Coffee Beysehir was nice and the cafe was modern and pretty
Ancient city of Kilistra
After a rested break in Beysehir we drove another hour to Kilistra. Not many people visit Kilistra as it was not a very famous tourist stop. Once we detoured out of highway we practically had the whole road and place to ourselves.
Soon we reached the village of Gökyurt. The remains of the ancient Kilistra were scattered throughout the area of Gökyurt village.
Ancient Kilistra was a rock settlement. The builders of rock dwellings were the masters of camouflage and some entrances to the premises are well hidden. Only when you get closer, you can see the entrance holes.
We took an hour exploring the ruins, starting at the bottom and finding our way up the rock step to the top. There were living quarters and rooms that were for religious functions. All rooms had ventilation systems and holes ensuring the lighting.
From above and afar one would not know that there were people dwelling in this natural rock formation. Archaeological investigations revealed that Kilistra was inhabited in the 2nd century BCE – 3rd century CE, during the Hellenistic and Roman eras. It was the area where the first Christians took refuge during the Byzantine Period. It was a geography that the early Christians preferred to stay out of sight in the caves, cavities, and shelters that were dug or expanded later due to the soil structure suitable for easy excavation.
Konya whirling dervishes
From Kilistra was about 50 minutes drive to Konya. Since it was a Saturday we definitely had to stop a night at Konya. Every Saturday the Mevlevi Order would held the whirling dervishes ritual at the Mevlana Cultural Center in Konya. The entrance fee was 50TL per person.
The Mevlevi Order or Mawlawiyya was a Sufi order that originated in Konya. So we felt that of all the places in Turkey where we could witness the whirling devrvishes we should view it in Konya!
The whirling dervishes was a form of physically active meditation which originated among certain Sufi groups. It was still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order and other orders such as the Rifa’i-Marufi.The Mevlevi music accompanying the twirling in the background was this constant low tone singing/humming. It was a marvel that these members of the Mevlevi Order could twirl and twirl and twirl continuously.
Dinner at Maruf Türbeönü Lokantası
We had dinner at Maruf Türbeönü Lokantası a restaurant about 100m from our hotel. This restaurant had good review on the internet so we popped in for our dinner. We a meat dishes and a pide. We loved the pide very much as it reminded us of tiny and crispy pizza!
Our stay in Konya
Our stay was at Rumi Hotel. It had free parking and breakfast and was a short walking distance (1.2 km) to Mevlana Cultural Center.
Our double room was rather spacious. The room was clean and comfortable and the ensuite toilet was large too. The cost of a double room for one night at Rumi Hotel was Eur75.
Breakfast was typical Turkish breakfast and was served in a dining room on the top level. From the dining room we had a great view of the nearby camis (mosques).