Mevlana Museum is the third most visited museum in Turkey after Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia. The tomb of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, one of the greatest mystics of the Turkish and Islamic world, is also perfect for spirituality and peace.
Mevlana Museum and Mausoleum, the symbol of Konya, which ranks first on the list of places to visit in Konya, is a place with a high spiritual atmosphere. Before visiting the Mevlana Museum, let’s first understand how Mevlana, who was born in Afghanistan, found his way to Konya.
Who is Mevlana?
Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi was a mystic and thinker born in 1207 in Balkh, an ancient settlement in Afghanistan, known as the Dome of the Rock in the Islamic world.
In his work Masnavi, he refers to himself as Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Hussein al-Belhi. Balkh was where he was born and Muhammad was the name of his father and grandfather. His name is Jalaluddin Muhammad and Mevlana is a word used to glorify him.
Mevlana’s father, Bahaeddin Veled, was a respected man. As if the Mongols did not have enough land, they were trying to seize land in raids.
Upon the Mongol invasion of Afghanistan, he left his homeland, taking his family and close friends with him, first fulfilled his pilgrimage duty and then came to Anatolia. He met the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat. Keykubat convinced Bahaeddin Veled and Celaleddin to settle in Konya.
The ruler loved Mevlana’s father so much that he did not sit on his throne for a week after his death. The garden of the Mevlana Museum today was the garden of the Seljuk palace in the 13th century, and after Bahaeddin Veled died, the rose garden was gifted to Bahaeddin Veled and his body was buried in this garden.
Bahaeddin Veled’s loved ones wanted a mausoleum to be built, but Mevlana rejected this request by saying “What better mausoleum than the firmament?
After his father’s death, his father’s students recognized Mevlana as a teacher. Taking on his father’s knowledge and enlightened ideas, Mevlana started to give sermons.
While there were many people following him as a religious scholar, Shams-i Tebrizi, who turned his life upside down, came to Konya and met Mevlana. Mevlana’s life view gained a new direction with this meeting. He did not devote much time to his students, and focused more on his friendship with Shams.
However, their union did not last long. Shams disappeared. He spent the next 10 years with Sheikh Saladin and the last 10 years with Çelebi Hüsameddin, who was instrumental in the writing of the Masnavi.
Information about the Masnavi: Mevlana’s most important work is the Masnavi. According to his scribe Hüsamettin Çelebi, he used to recite the couplets of the Masnavi while traveling, sitting, walking and even during the whirling dervishes, and Çelebi Hüsameddin wrote down Mevlana’s words line by line.
The original language of the Masnavi is Persian. The oldest masnavi, with 25,618 couplets, is the 1278 dated masnavi on display in the Mevlana Museum.
Love is like a case, and suffering is like a witness. If you have no witness, you cannot win the case!
When Mevlana died on December 17, 1273, those who loved Mevlana asked for a tomb to be built over Mevlana’s grave, and Mevlana’s son Sultan Veled, who followed in his father’s footsteps, did not refuse this request.
The architect of today’s tomb is Bedreddin Tabrizi. The first construction of the building dates back to this period. After this date, the construction was never finished and its development continued with additions until the 19th century.
In 1925, upon the closure of dervish lodges and lodges in 1925, the museum, which started to serve as Konya Asar-ı Atıka Museum, where old artifacts were exhibited in 1926, was overhauled in 1954 and started to serve as Mevlana Museum.
Information about Mevlana Museum: Having some idea about Mevlana’s journey, how he came to Konya, the friends around him and the story of the mausoleum where the first foundations were laid after his death is necessary information to understand the museum.
Now we can start to visit the Mevlana Museum. But we should mention that there are 4 different doors for 4 different entrances to the museum and the tomb. There used to be groups that could pass through each gate.
Dervish Gate: The dervishes serving the dervish lodge used to enter and leave through this gate.
Pir (Küstahan) Gate: It is the door to the rose garden of the dervish lodge. Those who were warned for their negative behaviors, those who wanted to be expelled from the dervish lodge, those who wanted to become dervishes in the dervish lodge but could not succeed would exit through this door. The function of this door will be better understood in the Semahane, one of the rooms of the Mevlana Museum.
Hamushan Gate: Dervishes were allocated a cell after they were given the title of dede, and they would serve in that cell for the rest of their lives. Those who ended their relationship with the world and passed away were taken out of the Hamushan Gate and sent on their last journey.
As we can understand from the word Hamush, which means silent in Persian, this gate is also known as the Gate of the Silent. The gate faces Üçler Cemetery across the road. Those who leave here are buried directly there.
Çelebiyan Gate: The buildings outside the current area were a neighborhood where people belonging to Mevlana’s lineage and the Çelebi family stayed. Those in this neighborhood used the Çelebiyan Gate to enter the lodge.
Tilavet Room: We enter through the Çelebiyan Gate. We put on our galoshes and enter the tomb from the courtyard.
The first room we come across is the Tilavet Room. Tilavet means reading the Holy Quran in a beautiful voice and in accordance with its makam. When the dervish lodge was open, the Holy Quran was constantly recited in this room, hence its name.
In this room you can see the works of famous calligraphers of the Ottoman period. Then we pass through the Silver Gate that provides access to Huzur-ı Pir from the Tilavet Room.
Huzur-ı Pir: This burial chamber with over 60 cists is where Mevlana, Mevlana’s father and his descendants are buried. Among the graves of Mevlana’s wife Kerra Hatun, his daughter Melike Hatun, his son Emir Alim Çelebi, his grandson Ulu Arif Çelebi, Sheikh Kerîmüddin, Çelebi Hüsameddin who penned the Mevlevi, Selahaddin Zerkubi who was a master jeweler, a close friend of Mevlana and later a relative.
Let’s start with the Mevlana Museum‘s features from the tomb room of Hz. Mevlana. Hz. Mevlana is located right under the Green Dome.
The 25-meter-high Green Dome (Kubbe-i Hadra), built when Mevlana lost his life, is the most important detail that stands out in the Mevlana Museum. It is the first and only work of the Seljuk period, built with the approval of Sultan Veled when these places were rose gardens.
The buildings around it were added during the Ottoman period. Ayetel Kürsi is written in turquoise tiles around the dome. The Mevlevi skullcap on the dome indicates that this was a Mevlevi lodge. When we look directly under the Green Dome, we see Mevlana’s tomb.
If you pay attention, Mevlana’s sarcophagus has a double head. The reason for this is that Mevlana and his eldest son Sultan Veled were under the same cover called pushtide.
The pushti, which contains the Surahs Ayat al-Qursi, Asma al-Nabî, Lafza-i Celâl and Fatiha and is decorated with rose and tulip motifs, was a gift from Abdülhamit II.
At the foot of Mevlana’s tomb is the sarcophagus of his father Bahaeddin Veled. When viewed from the visitors’ area, the sarcophagus seems very high.
There is even a rumor, or rather nonsense, that Bahaeddin Veled rose up after Mevlana’s tomb was there. When viewed from the back, it is a normal cist, but the head was made higher than normal. This is the reason why Bahaeddin Veled’s tomb looks high.
Among the sarcophagi are the graves of the Khorasan soldiers, also known as Khorasan eren. These are the soldiers who protected Mevlana’s father and his relatives during their migration from Balkh to Konya and served the lodge after they arrived here.
Artifacts exhibited in Mevlana Museum: After passing the section where the sarcophagi are located, we find ourselves in an area where some of the artifacts that have survived from the past to the present are exhibited.
It is really exciting to see the coins belonging to Hazrat Mevlana, the robes, cardigans and robes worn by Mevlana himself in the 13th century.
Mevlana’s works: It is also possible to see Mevlana’s written works at the Mevlana Museum. Among Mevlana’s works, Divan-ı Kebir, the book in which all his poems are collected, is the largest of his works.
The Masnavi, which contains all his life style and ideas, and Fihi Ma Fih, which means Whatever is there is in it, is a book in which Mevlana’s conversations and sermons while he was alive are compiled and collected. Mektubat, a collection of his letters to his wives, friends and relatives.
You can see the original versions of these works in the museum. In addition to these books compiled and collected by Hüsameddin Çelebi and Sultan Veled, handwritten Qurans are also on display.
Semahane: The most important room of the Mevlana lodge is the Matbah-ı Şerif, the kitchen of the lodge.
This is the tomb of Ateshbaz-i Veli (Yusuf bin Izzeddin), Mevlana’s chief cook. (His tomb is in the Seljuk kumbet in Havzan.) It is said that Ateshbaz-i Veli came from Balkh with Bahaeddin Veled. Ateshbaz means one who plays with fire.
The office of Ateshbaz is a place of discipline and education. There is also a naive saying that not only food is cooked here, but people are also cooked, that is, matured. Food is cooked in the cauldrons, but dervishes are trained here. There are those who try to learn samovar on the Sema training board.
This was even reenacted with inanimate mannequins. As the whirling dervishes spin, one hand reaches upwards towards heaven, the other towards earth. Since the heart represents the divine power in Sufism, it is also interpreted as spinning around the heart.
If we look at the clothes of the whirling dervishes, the hat on their heads is the tombstone of their nafs, the white cloth on their heads is the shroud of their nafs, and the black cardigan on their backs is a sign of their grave. In the center of the hall there is a candlestick with 18 knots, we will talk about what this candlestick is for in a moment.
Mevlana went into seclusion and thought a lot, especially after he lost Shams. He realized that everything is in a cycle.
Living things are born, grow and die. As Mevlana, who discovered the cycle of life, wandered through the streets of Konya and passed by Selahaddin Zarqubi’s jewelry shop, he heard the sounds of the hammer blows of the jeweler Selahaddin and his apprentices, who were beating gold with hammers to make foil inside, and Mevlana became ecstatic with the harmony of the sounds and began to spin.
Saladin Zarqubi tells his employees not to stop even if the gold is wasted. Then he himself comes out of his shop and begins to accompany Rumi. After Mevlana’s death, this rotation was continued by the Mevlevis.
In the kitchen, dervishes are also taught dining etiquette. The dervishes sitting around the table are a reenactment of this.
For example, it is very important to keep spoons covered so that leftovers are not visible. They sit the way the Prophet Muhammad sat at the table. They pull their right foot to themselves, the left foot is down.
The reason is not to fill the stomach too much. If a dervish asks for water, they put a small piece of bread in their right hand and bring it to their left shoulder. The dervish waiting to serve understands that the person wants water and gives it to him. Such traditions are taught here.
As you leave the kitchen, don’t leave without seeing what the Nevniyaz Makamı on the right is for.
The candidate who wants to enter Meslevism is first made to perform ablution, then kept waiting for three days in a cell with a Saka Fleece to see what is going on inside and to review his/her decision. If the person waiting patiently is not accepted, their shoes are turned inside out and they are taken out of the Kustehan Gate mentioned above.
If he is accepted, a thousand and one days of ordeal begins. If he completes 18 services during this period, candles are lit in the 18-knot candelabra we have just mentioned, and a ceremony is organized in the dergah. The person can practice mevlevism here or in another part of the world.
What are the Şeb-i Arus ceremonies and when are they celebrated?
When we go from the building where the mausoleum is located to the courtyard, we come across a few structures, let’s talk about them now.
The water pool in the middle is the Şeb-i Arus Pool. Mevlana considered the day of his death as the day of his rebirth, because when he died he would be reunited with his God. Mevlana called the day of his death Şeb-i Arus, which means wedding day.
On the anniversary of Mevlana’s death, Mevlevis used to gather near this pool, lay out cushions, perform whirling dervishes, eat, drink and have fun. Today, Şeb-i Arüs events are organized every year on the week of December 17th, and Mevlana is commemorated with Şeb-i Arüs ceremonies.
When you see my funeral, do not say separation and parting. That is the time of my meeting and meeting.
When you lower me into the grave and leave me, do not say farewell farewell; for the grave is the curtain of the community of the heavens. Now that you have seen the setting, watch the rising. What harm comes to the sun and moon from setting?
It looks like sinking to you, but it is rising. The grave looks like a prison, but it is the salvation of the soul. What seed was sown in the ground and did not grow? Why do you doubt the human seed?
The fountain built in 1517 by Yavuz Sultan Selim on his return from the Egyptian expedition, the Selsebil built in the 19th century during the time of Selsebil Hemdem Said Çelebi, the Neyzenler cemetery in the middle of the courtyard are among the noteworthy ones.
Tombs around Mevlana Tomb: There are also many mausoleums around Mevlana Tomb. 14th century religious and astronomy scholar who lived in Konya and was a student of Arif Çelebi, Mevlana’s grandson, Ahmed Eflaki Dede Tomb, Mehmet Bey Tomb, Karaman Beylerbeyi Murad Pasha daughter Fatma Hatun Tomb, Hasan Pasha Tomb built for Karaman Beylerbeyi Hasan Pasha, Sinan Pasha Tomb built for Karaman Beylerbeyi Sinan Pasha, Hürrem Pasha Tomb built for Karaman Beylerbeyi Hürrem Pasha are among the tombs you can see.
What are the Mevlana Museum entrance fee and visiting hours?
Entrance to the Mevlana Museum is free. In 2014, with a decision taken during the Mevlana commemoration ceremonies, the entrance fees to the lodge of Mevlana, who said “Come again, no matter what you are”, were abolished and made free of charge.
Mevlana Museum and Tomb are open to visitors every day of the week. Mevlana Museum opening hours are 09:00 – 18:30 every day except Monday and closes at 16:40 in the winter season. Since the museum is small, the number of people visiting on weekends is naturally very crowded. Go on weekdays if you can.
Where is Mevlana Museum and how to get there?
Since there are signposts from everywhere to the Mevlana Museum, the symbol of Konya, it is possible to easily reach it by following the signposts if you are going with your personal vehicle.
If you have a tram option in your neighborhood, get off at Alaaddin stop where Alaaddin Hill is located and walk 1km (10 minutes) and you will reach Mevlana Museum. Mevlana Museum is located behind Konya Selimiye Mosque on Mevlana Street.