Thursday, July 26, 2012

Turkey 17: Mevlana Museum

The Mevlana Museum in Kona, Turkey, is one of most important religious and mystical sites of Turkey.

According to Wikipedia, it is the Mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Sufi mystic also known as Mevlana, or Rumi, the founder of the Mevlevi order, better known as the whirling dervishes.

Again, we see a mosque with a large dome surrounded by smaller domes.

Sadly, absolutely no photographs were allowed inside the beautiful mosque.  The intricate decorations took my breath away.  I ended up purchasing this post card of Rumi's resting place under the great dome, but it doesn't begin to portray the full beauty of the place.

We were told that, after his death, Rumi's monks lived here and continued the Rumi's tradition of dancing in circles as a form of prayer.

These mannequins attempt to portray what life was like for Rumi's monks circa the 13th century AD when Rumi, a devout Muslim, died.

Rumi taught peace, love and respect for others.  It was felt that whirling helps to clear the mind of distractions and allow a clearer connection with God.

Monks lived in small, bare rooms, with common walls.  Each room had its own circular roof, which can be seen here, along with the mob of tourists and pilgrims.

It is said that Sultan Ala al-Din Kayqubad invited Rumi to Konya, and offered his rose garden as a place to bury Rumi's father.  Rumi was then buried here, too, approximately fifty years later.

One of our group pointed out to me the odd juxtaposition of this tavern, seen behind the fence here, being located immediately behind the grounds of what is a very important Muslim shrine.  Odd, in that drinking alcohol is strictly forbidden in Islamic tradition.

That evening, we were able to experience a real whirling dervish ceremony.  Photographs were not allowed during the ceremony. This was taken afterward.  We heard complaints when the ceremony ended that the "performance" lacked excitement.  Sometimes tourists can be seriously insensitive.  It was a religious service.  It was not a "performance." Would they say that a Catholic mass lacked excitement?

Continue on to Post 18: Catalhoyuk, by clicking here.


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