Trip Start May 05, 2008
Trip End May 09, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Friday, September 26, 2008

We had heard that Konya is the heart of the so-caled ''Koran Belt'' of Turkey, and we expected a traditional Middle-Eastern city with all its stereotypes. But we were very wrong- Konya is very modern, in fact during our dolmus (minibus) ride in the evening through the city, the mixture of malls and appartment buildings reminded us out of all places of some areas in Ottawa! True, there are a lot of conservative muslims, some dressed quite traditonally (especially the women), but the city is experiencing an economic boom and the prosperity is seen everywhere- from the skyscraper in the middle of the city, to the cleanliness of the streets and the expensive cars, and of course the prices, which are about the same as in Canada. The city is also famous for being the home of the whirling dervishes - a brotherhood of muslim mystic monks, who seek to find God through music, poetry, discipline and twirling around themselves quickly for hours. We unfortunately were a couple of days too early to see their show, but we did get to see the museum built around the mausoleum of their 13th century founder, Mevlana, where we saw some beautiful displays of Islamic art surrounded by pious old women praying at the shrine of the man they consider a great saint.
We should add that here as elsewhere in Turkey, we were very pleased with the honesty, hospitality and friendliness of the Turkish people, as well as the easy travel conditions in the country. After Morocco, we were very much on our guard, but we have had no problems of any kind in Turkey so far.
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