History of Central Anatolia

Around the time of 1200 BC, the Phrygians came to the Anatolian Plateau from Europe and established their capital, Gordion, near Polatli west of Ankara. Alexander the Great was supposed to have become the ruler of Asia by virtue of ‘undoing’ Gordion’s knot with his sword.

The tomb of the Phrygian king Midas, who according to legend turned everything he touched into gold, is located near Gordion. Near Eskisehir and Afyon there are a number of Phrygian cities and places of worship.

South of the vast fertile Konya plane on the northern slopes of the Toros Mountains, Catalhoyuk is one of the world’s oldest cities. Dating back to the Neolithic Era, it was an important cultural centre with many temples decorated with frescoes by city artisans.

Konya and the surrounding regions would later be ruled during the Chalcolithic, Bronze, Hittite, Phrygian, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras. It became the capital city of the Seljuk Empire in the 12th century and consequently experienced the most important Renaissance period of its long history. In the 13th century, Konya was completely transformed with Selcuk architecture.

The great Turkish philosopher Mevlana, who believed in human love and said that mystical unity with God could be reached by the Sema, a whirling dance to music performed by the dervishes, lived in Konya and established a following here.

Every year in December, Konya holds a Mevlana Week which includes performances of the Sema. Mevlana is buried with his father Bahaeddin Veled in the Green Tomb (Yesil Turbe), which has become the symbol of the city.

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