For centuries the trail to the shrine of Mevlana in Konya, Turkey. was unknown in the western world. That changed when Mohamed el-Fers introduced the idea of a sufi Way "of St James" as an active Sufipath for long distance hikers at the Third International Mevlana Congress at the Selcuk University of Konya on the 5th of May 2003.
Sufipath to Konya (Iconium)
Konya was an important stage on the road to Jerusalem and Mecca. It became a goal on its own since great poet and mystic Mevlana Rumi came to Konya and after his death in 1273 his grave became worlds most visited sufi-shrine in the world.
Mevlana Turbe and Akça Konak
The Mevlanashrine - The former lodge of the whirling dervishes with the Mevlâna Tomb is made a museum by Ataturk, but after walking through a pretty courtyard with an ablutions fountain and several tombs, you have to remove your shoes to pass into the sanctuary.
As you enter the big bronze Nisan tası (April bowl) is on the left. April rainwater was collected in this bowl before the tip of Mevlâna's turban was dipped in the water. Thus water was offered to those in need of healing.
Directly under the fluted dome you see Mevlâna's sarcophagus (the largest), flanked by that of his son Sultan Veled and other eminent dervishes. They are all covered in velvet shrouds heavy with gold embroidery, but those of Mevlâna and Veled bear huge turbans, symbols of spiritual authority.
On religious holidays the Mevlanashrine (museum) may keep longer openinghours.
Tomb of Shams of Tabriz - After having visited the tomb of Mevlana it is tradition to proceed to the tomb of Rumi's spiritual mentor Shams of Tabriz in the Şemsi Tebrizi Camii. The mosque containing the elegant 14th-century tomb of Shams is just northwest of Hükümet Meydanı, not far from the Alaaddin Bulvarı.
Alaaddin Camii - The Mevlâna shrine aside, the mosque of Alaeddin Keykubad I, Seljuk Sultan of Rum from 1219 to 1231 is Konya's most important mosque. It was designed by a Damascene architect in Arab style and finished in 1221. This great rambling building bestrides Alaaddin Tepesi at the opposite end of Mevlâna Caddesi.
The grand entrance on the northern side incorporates decoration from earlier Byzantine and Roman buildings. It used to lead through the courtyard and between two huge Seljuk türbes (tombs) into the mosque; today a less imposing eastern doorway serves as the main entrance. While the mosque's exterior is generally plain, the interior is a forest of old marble columns surmounted with recycled Roman and Byzantine capitals.
İplikçi Camii - The
İplikçi Camii on the Mevlâna Caddesi was built for the Seljuk vizier Şemseddin Altun-Aba in 1202.
The İplikçi Camii in its unadorned style: is a forest of columns, arches and vaults.
The Akça Konak - The Akça Konak on the
Mengüç Caddesi 18, near the Hotel Balıkçılar in SE Konya,
Phone 350 8108, is the place to obtaint the stamped prove that you've finished the Sufipath and obtain your derwishhat in this cultural centre in a recent restored traditional Konakhouse. But in the best Mevlevi-tradition: the place welcomes everybody and is popular with Turkish students. There's a lot of live music and there are tables inside and outside and post-prandial nargilehs (water pipes). The Akça Konak provide a standard menu that does feature a few regional specialities.
- To have your dervishhat made? The art of felt-making is fast dying out in Turkey, but at the Ikonium at the Bostan Çelebi Sokak 10, E of City Centre, you can see the old craft. Phone 350 2895, www.thefeltmaker.com
Ottoman Bazar (Osmanlı Çarşısı) - on the İnce Minare Sokak in the city centre is an early-20th-century house serving çay, coffee and nargilehs. There's a rustic toast wagon outside.
Phone 353 3257
Konya Fuarı - In the evening it's fun to duck into the grounds of the Konya Fuarı, where you can sip tea while watching the locals navigate pedaloes round an artificial lake.
From Konya to Akören
In the footsteps of Count Dirk III of Holland
According to the legend earl of the year 1005 the Count of Holland, Dirk III, set up the so-called ' Dutch Put' near the village Akören on the Anatolian plateau. Up to on today the village of Akören celebrates their "Dağ Sarnic Senlikleri-festival"each spring around the well .After boring his mountainwell Ditk III went to Aniochië (Antakya), Aleppo (Haleb), Damascus and Acre (Akka) to Jerusalem, where he arrived at the end of 1005 .
Families goes out at large to celebrate the coming of spring near the Dutch Well in Akören.
The road to Akören: Leave Konya to the south by the Hatip Cd. and Emir Halil district to Lalebahce, Pamukci, Bayat (at fork keep right), Sarikiz, Karaagac, Hatunsaray, Catören, Akören.
From Selifke to Konya: The Karaman Way
Tassucu - Selifke - Mut - Karaman - Çumra - Çatalhöyük - Icençumra - Konya
In Konya itself The Karaman Way was the main track of the long-distance Sufipaths to Konya, as Mevlana himself walked (part of) this way. The name refers to the main city among this trail: Karaman, but It was actually a sea-gate to the Miditarean. The Karaman Way starts from the Tassucu-harbour near Selifke, runs up north to Mut, to the shrine of Sheikh Edebali near Karaman. After Karaman the road leads to the 1001 churches of Binbir Kilisi. This is very old soil. Near Çumra we pass, 50km southeast of Konya, the Neolithic site Çatalhöyük. From Icençumra to Konya is the last part of the Karaman Way.
Güngör: In the year 1005 earl Dirk III of Holland visited Istanbul, Konya and Antakya. Not as Crusader, such as later continuators as Floris II would do, but as peaceful pilgrim, on the gone to Palestine. Dirk III is the oldest known Dutch visitor to current Turkey. It is time the world should know that among the historic European longtrack walkingpaths, Sufipath and Caminos cross each other on many places.
The Historic Via Comitis
Route of Dirk III to Konya
The Dutch earl Dirk III (981-1039) was five years old as his father, Arnoud of Ghent, earl of Holland, dies in 993 during one of that 'boerenriots' , that occurred in the early history of the Dutch county. Dirks mother, Liutgarde of Luxembourg, sister of the powerful German emperor Hendrik II observed the governing board concerning the Netherlands for him as a regentes.
Dirk develops into a tree of a guy. He is already of age when his county Holland is threatened to be attacked by the Frisians. Then Dirk makes a vow and promise to god. that if his country will be saved of the Frisians, he makes a pilgrimage to Palestine.
His mother is less pious. Instead to wait for celestial aid, she calls for the aid of her brother, the Holy Roman emperor. He travelled with an army from Utrecht by ship to the Friese area in the winter of 1004/1005. When the Frisian attacks has ended, Dirk III temporarily hands over the governing board of Holland to his mother and brother Sicco.
Right then, in spring of 1005, spends Sicco a castle at Santpoort (Sancta Porta) and thus Dirk could discharge on his 'promessa' and leave on pilgrimage.
By the mid 5th century, as the Roman Empire began to crumble, Thracia fell from the authority of Rome and into the hands of Germanic tribal rulers. With the fall of Rome, Thracia turned into a battleground territory for the better part of the next 1,000 years. The eastern successor of the Roman Empire in the Balkans, the Byzantine Empire, retained control over Thrace until the beginning of the 9th century when most of the region was incorporated into Bulgaria.
Cities n Trace:
Çerkezköy (56 km from Tekirdağ and 110 km from Istanbul. Until the 1800s this was a village called 'Türbedere'. 'Türbe' is the Turkish for 'tomb' and the village took its name from the tomb of the eldest son of sultan Bayezid I, Suleiman Çelebi, who was murdered here in 1410 when fleeing from his brothers during the Ottoman Interregnum. The tomb was destroyed by Bulgarian troops when they occupied the town for nine months during the war for Bulgarian Independence in 1912. The land here is flat, watered by the River Çorlu and good soil for farming, so until the 1970s Çerkezköy was a pleasant small town in a rural setting. Today an industrial area with hundreds of factories surround Çerkezköy town centre, a typical Turkish collection of rows of grey low-rise blocks containing public buildings, small supermarkets, banks, and kebab restaurants, with a square in the middle containing a statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and nearby a large central mosque.
The military base in Çerkezköy is Turkey's biggest centre for basic training in military service. The town is well-equipped with schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.
Uzunköprü is a small town on the railway line from Istanbul towards Sofia and a frontier post on the Greek border. The "Long Bridge" (Turkish: Uzunköprü) gave its name to the town. The bridge was built between 1426 and 1443 by head architect Muslihiddin on the orders of Ottoman Sultan Murad II. The ancient stone-built bridge, which has 174 arches, is 1,329 m (4,360 ft) long and up to 6.80 m (22.3 ft) wide. Some of the arches are pointed and some are round. Uzunköprü is the longest stone bridge in Turkey.
Edirne close to the borders with Greece (7 km) and Bulgaria (20 km), is famed for its many mosques, the elegant domes and minarets, which dominate the panoramic appearance of the province. Adrianople contains the ruins of the ancient palace of the Sultans, and has many beautiful mosques. One of the most important monuments in this ancient province is the Selimiye Mosque, built in 1575 and designed by Turkey's greatest master architect, Mimar Sinan, which has the highest minarets in Turkey, at 70.9 meters, of an altogether grandiose appearance and with a cupola three or four feet higher than that of St. Sophia in Istanbul. Carrying the name of the then reigning the Ottoman Sultan Selim II, this mosque magnificently represents Turkish marble handicrafts and it is covered with valuable tiles and fine paintings. Edirne was founded as Hadrianopolis, named for the Roman Emperor Hadrian. The area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges, from the days of the ancient Greeks. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine in 323, and Valens killed by the Goths in 378. In 813 the city was seized by Khan Krum of Bulgaria who moved its inhabitants to the Bulgarian lands to the north of the Danube.
During the existence of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, the Crusaders were decisively defeated by the Bulgarian Emperor Kaloyan in the battle of Adrianople (1205). Later Theodore Komnenos, Despot of Epirus, took possession of it in 1227, and three years later was defeated at Klokotnitsa by Asen, Emperor of the Bulgarians. It was captured by Sultan Murat I in 1365, the city served as capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 until 1453.
Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, was born in Adrianople.
Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, lived in Edirne from 1863 to 1868. He was exiled there by the Ottoman Empire before being banished further to the Ottoman penal colony in Akka.
Symbolic inscription consisting of two "waw" letters on the walls of the 'Ulu Mosque'
Also needing mention are the Trakya University Bayezid II Külliye Health Museum, a great monument with its complex construction comprising many facilities used in those times.
Besides the fascinating mosques, there are different sites to be visited in Edirne, all reflecting its rich past. There are attractive palaces, the most prominent one being the Edirne Palace, which was the "Palace of the Empire" built during the reign of Murat II. There are the amazing caravansaries, like the Rustem Pasha and Ekmekcioglu Ahmet Pasha caravansaries, which were designed to host travelers, in the 16th century.
Of Edirne's Christian heritage, there remain two Bulgarian Orthodox churches: Saint George and Saints Constantine and Helena. Saint George has a Bulgarian library and an ethnographic collection. The two Bulgarian churches are the only functioning Christian places of worship in the city today.
Every year in end of June there is an oil-wrestling festival called Kırkpınar, the oldest active sport organization after the Olympic Games (which were refounded after centuries of inactivity).
Kırklareli area may have been the location of the first organized settlement on the European continent. It is not clearly known when the city was founded, nor under what name. Byzantines called it "Forty Churches" In the XIV Century, this was translated to Turkish and called "Kırk Kilise" . During the Republican Period, Sanjaks became cities and on December 20, 1924, Kırk Kilise's name was changed to Kırklareli. The Bulgarian name of the town is Lozengrad, which means "vineyard town". Located at the center of the city is the 1383 built Hızır Bey religious compound (külliye). This consists of a Mosque, Bath and Arasta (Bazaar), built by Köse Mihalzade Hızırbey.
Kırklareli is also host to the only cave that is open to tourists in Thrace, the Dupnisa Cave (which is believed to have formed 4 million years ago). Dupnisa Cave was used for Dionysian Rituals (Sparagmos) in ancient times. Even the name of Dionysus is believed to have come from Mount Nisa that is above the cave of Dupnisa.
Lüleburgaz has a population of 98,000 and is known for its sixteenth-century mosque and bridge, both named after the Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmet Paşa and purportedly designed by the Ottoman chief architect Sinan.
Tekirdağ is situated on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, 135 km west of Istanbul. The picturesque bay of Tekirdağ is enclosed by the great promontory of the mountain which gives its name to the city, a spur about 2000 ft. in height from the hilly plateau to the north. Between Tekirdağ and Şarköy is another mountain, Ganos Dağı. In 813 and again in 1206 it was sacked by the Bulgarians after the Battle of Rodosto, but it continued to appear as a place of considerable note in later Byzantine history. It is the capital of Tekirdağ Province and it is seen by many as a smaller, quieter town than the industrial centre of Çorlu, which it administers. The population as of 2007 was 134,000.
Tekirdağ's historical name was Rodosto and during the Byzantine era, it was also called Bisanthi. During the Ottoman era, it was called Tekfur Dağ, based on the Turkish word tekfur, which designates generally the Byzantine feudal lords. In time, the name mutated into Tekirdağ. Today the Tekirdağ area is the site of many holiday homes, as the area is 90 minutes by road or train from nearby Istanbul. The road follows the coast and the villages of Şarköy, Mürefte and Kumbağ are particularly popular. Much of this holiday property has been built in an unregulated and unplanned manner and thus much of the coast seems very crowded and over-built. And the sea is not all that clean either, but there are still places to access the seaside near Tekirdağ.
Tekirdağ itself is a typical Turkish commercial town centre with a little harbour and little to offer to visitors. Of all the statues of Atatürk in Turkey the town centre of Tekirdağ holds the only one that was made exactly life-size. Most of the Ottoman wooden buildings have been replaced by practical concrete blocks but the town has neither modern sophistication, nor antique charm, nor any night-life. The Rakoczi Museum, a 17th century Turkish house where the Hungarian national hero, Francis II Rákóczi lived during his exile, from 1720 till his death in 1735 is a property of the State of Hungary and is widely visited, having become a place of national pilgrimage.
The church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Rheumatocratissa contains the graves, with long Latin inscriptions, of other Hungarians who took refuge here with their leader.
Çorlu today is larger in population than the provincial center of Tekirdağ, owing to a population growth initially caused by the emigration of Turks from Bulgaria that complemented the traditional left-leaning, industrial working-class of Çorlu, and a second wave of migrants from rural Anatolia in the 1990s who came to work in the factories, who now make up the conservative populace of the city. Another group, albeit smaller in numbers, is the Romani community.
The town center bears the hallmarks of a typical migration-accepting Turkish rural town, with traditional structures coexisting with a collection of concrete apartment blocks providing public housing, as well as amenities such as basic shopping and fast-food restaurants, and essential infrastructure but little in the way of culture except for cinemas and large rooms hired out for wedding parties. Çorlu's shopping facilities have recently been enhanced by the completion of the 25 km² Orion Mall. While there is little to no nightlife, save for the town's now-infamous red light activities, as Çorlu is close to Istanbul, locals can and often do easily go to "the city" for the weekend.
The years 1005-1006
In 1005 it took Dirk in 1005 only 11 months to reach the Holy City. That year 1005 Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria was forced into an almost entirely defensive stance against the 48-years old Byzantine emperor Basil II, better known as the Bulgar-slayer.
In the time Dirk III came to Bulgaria, Tsar Samuel extensively fortified passes and routes from the Byzantine held coastlands and valleys into the territory remaining in his possession. But the Bulgar Tsar reacted with daring strokes and large-scale raids into the heart of Byzantine Thrace. Dirk III could have been in town whe the Tsar surprised the major city of Adrianople (Edirne).
On returning homeward with his extensive plunder, Tsar Samuil was surprised near Skopje by a Byzantine army commanded by the emperor. Basil's forces stormed the Bulgarian camp, inflicting a severe defeat and recovering the plunder of Adrianople.
In 1005, the year that Dirk III made his trip, the governor of Durazzo, Ashot Taronites, surrendered his city to the Byzantines. This completed the isolation of Samuil's core territories in the highlands of western Macedonia. The next few years, the Byzantine Macedonian dynasty showed no significant gains.
Byzantium regained Thrace in 972 only to lose it again to the Bulgarians at the end of the 12th century. Throughout the 13th century and the first half of the 14th century, the region oscillated between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire. In 1265 the area suffered a Mongol raid from Golden Horde, led by Nogai Khan. In 1352, the Ottoman Turks conducted their first incursion into the region subduing it completely within a matter of two decades and ruling over it for five centuries.
The modern boundaries of Thrace in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.
In 1878, Northern Thrace was incorporated into the semi-autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia, which united with Bulgaria in 1885. The rest of Thrace was divided between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century, following the Balkan Wars, World War I and the Greco-Turkish War. Today Thracian is a strong regional identity in Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.
Go to the Sufipath-forum on:
Edirne to Constantinopel (Istanbul)
Edirne (Muradiye Mevlivihane), Babaeski, Luleburgaz, Corlu, Kazimiye, Fevzipasa, Silivri, Kavakli, Ortakoy, Muratbey, Ahmediye, Tepecik, Buyukcekmece, Cakmakli, Altinsehir, Mehmetakif, Well from here the suburbs and I suggest to take a bus or whatever into the city
Most pilgrims in the days of Dirk III stayed around the church now known as the Küçük Ayasofya (the small Hagia Sophia). Here was the little harbour from where they could cross the Bosporus to end up in Asia.
At the right side of the Küçük Ayasofya you find a small doorway with a path leading under the railroadtrack to the busy Kennedy Cd. Turn right and follow ca 1000m till the Yenikapihabour. From where boats leave to , Guzelyali near Bursa (and Yalova or Bandirma/Tekirdag).
Bursa to Konya
Bursa, Kestel, Inegol Bozoyuk Eskisehir, Seyitgazi, Kesenler, Akin, Yarbasan, Gokbahce, Dervispasa, Cay, Camozu Aksehir, Reis, Karaaga, Tekkekoy (Kloosterdorp), Baskoy (Hoofddorp), Balki, Asagicgil, Yassioren, Derbent, Guneykoy, Selahattin, Ulumuhsine. After 3km left to Kucukmuhsine, after 800m right to Saraykoy and Konya
A second pilgrimage
In 1030 Dirk III goes for a second pilgrimage. It took Dirk in 1005 only 11 months to reach the Holy City, This sniffing of the now fifty year old count confiscates considerable more time. He leaves in 1030 snd it is 1034 before he returns to the Netherlands.
Dirk III dies as a saint on 27 May 1039 and is buried as Theodericus III Hierosolymita in the abbeychurch at Egmond: ' iuxta oratorio eiusdem basilice in aquilomari parte'.
Dirks widow Othilde returns after his dead to her birthplace Saksen, where she dies on 31 March 1044, approximately 56 years old. She is buried in the convent Quedlinburg.
As son Dirk IV, unmarried and at young age dies in January 1049, the title proceeds on brother Floris I. Floris approximately 31 years old, is assassinated on 19 May 1061 at Nederhemert in Gelderland.
The medieval history of the abbey where Dirk III was buried, ends in 1573. That year the Geuzen (a Protestant movement under the guidance of prince William of Orange) puts the abbey on fire. Also the sepulchres of the here resting members of the original House of Holland were not the be left intact by these Protestant extremistst. In 1935, only the sepulchre of Floris I and his son could be determined in Egmond. The remaining members of this early dominator line, among which also the last rests of Dirk III, were put in separate oaks crates to be reburied on 8 October 1980 on the church court by the monks of the benedictine convent.