A BRIEF HISTORY OF KONYA
One of the cities in our Heavenly Country, whose name has not been changed since the ancient times, is Konya. It is claimed that the name Konya is related to the word “Icon”, which means “Holy Depiction”. There are various rumors on this issue. In one of these; a monument is built as an expression of gratitude to the person who has killed the dragon that has haunted the town and a picture depicting the event is drawn on the monument. The name given to this monument is "Ikonion".
While the name Ikonion evolves into Icconium, new phraseologies are encountered during the Roman period changing with the names of the Emperors. These are; "Claudiconium, Colonia Selie, Augusta Iconium." Other names ascribed to our city, which is called "Tokonion" in the Byzantine sources, are as follows:
"Ycconium, Conium, Stancona, Conia, Cogne, Cogna, Konien, Konia..."
Our beautiful city, which the Arabs call Kuniya, has obtained its name in the Seljuk and Ottoman periods, which has not changed again and has reached the present day: Konya...
The Konya Province has been a settlement area since the year 7 thousand BC, and has been a cradle for many civilizations. If one is to recall that writing has begun to be used during 3500’s BC, it might be said that Konya is among the oldest centers of settlement in our country.
Çumra Çatalhöyük is known as the first center, not only in our country, but also on world-scale, where food culture has first started, agriculture is done, fire is used, settled life is adopted, and collaborative defense is made against attacks by wild animals.
Çatalhöyük is a Neolithic center, while Erbaba and Karahöyük are Chalcolithic centers, and Alaeddin Hill is an Old Bronze Age center.
During the historical periods, during the 6th century BC the Hittites and the Lydians, in the 4th century BC the Persians, in the 2nd century BC Alexander the Great, the Seleucids and the Kingdom of Pergamon, and in 395 AD Rome, have reigned in Konya and surroundings.
At the beginning of the 7th century, the Sassanids, and around the middle of this century the Umayyad under the command of Muawiyah, have temporarily invaded the city.
Konya, which has been a Byzantine state until the 10th century; was exposed to the raids of Moslem Arabs. The Turkish raiders who came first to Konya, before the Manzikert Victory, have been the Seljuks. (1069)
The Great Seljuks Sultan Alparslan has absolutely vanquished the Byzantine Emperor Romanos Diogenes in 1071 in Manzikert and opened the Gates of Anatolia to the Turks. Following the victory, Sultan Alparslan has ordered his commanders to conquer Anatolia fully. Konya was conquered by the Anatolian Conqueror, the Seljuk Suleiman ibn Qutulmish. Different opinions are provided in different works on the conquest date (1072, 1074, etc.) However, the fact is that the Suleiman ibn Qutulmish I, after conquering Konya, has steered towards the west and has established the Anatolian Seljuks State in 1074, choosing İznik as center. Accordingly, the conquest date of Konya should definitely be before 1074. By this conquest, the period of Turkish-Islam reign has begun in our City.
The Anatolian Seljuks State was founded in 1074, with its Capitol being İznik. When İznik was lost in 1097, during the 1st Crusades, the Capitol has been moved to Konya. Thus, Konya, opening a further new page in its history, developed from day to day, became decorated with many architectural works and soon became one of the most prosperous cities of Anatolia.
This is our characteristic: Our Ancestors made conquests to “Open a Place to Living”, because they were sure of themselves that the most equitable rule is in the Turkish land. Then, why should not this rule be carried over to new places, other groups of men! The Turkish States, far from arbitrariness, treating everyone equally, have gone to the lands they have conquered together with their cultural, economic, social and religious institutions, have not dissolved in local cultures, and have made the Turkish Culture the prevalent culture. And this is the secret of subsistence. The Turkization and Islamization of Anatolia has also been achieved by following this policy. Freedom of faith has been allowed, and the local people have been allowed to connect with the state with fidelity, and the Anatolian mosaic has been provided with perfect visible wealth, even during those years.
Although the German Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa has besieged Konya (May 18, 1190) during the 3rd Crusades, he has not been able to take possession of the fortress defended by Kilic Arslan II, and has had to retreat after five days. Until the fall of the Seljuks (1308), Konya has remained as the Capitol. Afterwards, it has been ruled by the Karamanids, as the largest city of the Karamanid Dynasty.
In 1387, the Ottoman Sultan, Sultan Murad I reached the fronts of the city. In 1398, his son Bayezid I – nicknamed Yıldırım – entered the city and put an end to the Karamanid State. However, following the 1402 Battle of Ankara disaster, the Karamanid Dynasty was re-established. From that point on, Konya has been the stage for Ottoman-Karamanid struggles, until 1465 when Mehmed II, the Conqueror, eliminated the Karamanid Dynasty.
In 1470, Mehmed II, the Conqueror, following the Rumelia (Sofia), Anatolia (Kütahya), Roum (Tokat) States, has established the Karaman State, with Konya being the capitol. During the initial periods, Ottoman princes were appointed as governor to the state. Respectively, the state was governed from 1470 to 1513, by Prince Mustafa, the middle son of Mehmed II, and his younger son Prince Cem, Crown Prince Groom Abdullah, the older son of Bayezid II , his brother Prince Shehenshah (whose mother was Karamanid), and his son Prince Mehmed Shah. The appointment of the first governor outside the dynasty is not until 1513. During the Kanuni (Suleiman the Magnificent) period, the Crown Prince Selim II took this office.
During the 17th century, the state had 11 sanjaks and a size of nearly 80,000 km2. In the Reorganization period, the name “Konya” was used in place of the Karaman name. In 1910, the population of the Konya state, with an area of 102,000 km2, was 1,380,000. The Konya Centrum of 11 districts, was divided into the sanjaks (Provinces) of Niğde of 7 districts, Burdur of 2 districts, Teke (Antalya) of 5 districts and Hamid of 5 districts.
In 1825, population-wise the city was 11th in Turkey and the 69th city in the world. Later on, the population recessed; in 1875 it became 50,000. The population that was counted as 47,000 in 1927, reached 123,000 in 1960, 247,000 in 1975, and 329,000 in 1980. In the general consensus held on October 22nd, 2000, the population of Konya has been determined as 1,387,507 in the centrum and 993,214 in the districts and villages, and 2,380,721 in total.
Konya, listed among the limited cities of Turkishness from the viewpoint of historical works, since it has served as the capitol of the Seljuks for more than two centuries, is adorned with memorials that are accepted as favorite works of Turkish architecture. From this aspect, Konya has reached the “Most Spectacular Turkish City” rank during the Seljuk period, before Bursa, Edirne and İstanbul. It is said that the works built in Konya prior to the Turkish-Islam period have not reached the present. Although Hittite, Roman and Byzantine remains have been found by the excavations, all monuments in Konya that have been able survive have been built during the “Turkish Era”. The first one among these works is the Mevlana Museum, accepted to be the symbol of Konya. This magnificent monument of 16 segments, built by Architect Bedrettin Tebrizi and called Kubbe-i Hadra (The Greenest Dome), is covered by turquoise tiles and has reached its present appearance during the Republic period.
The Alaeddin Mosque, Sahib Ata Social Complex, Karatay Madrasa, İnce Minaret Madrasa, Sırçalı Madrasa are works from the Seljuks period. In Konya, which has numerous mosques, Turkish baths, fountains, bridges, kahnqahs, caravanserais, hospitals, waterways and other infrastructural buildings, from the Seljuks and the Beyliks periods, the most renowned works of the Ottoman period are the Sultan Selim and the Aziziye Mosques.
During the first half of the 12th century, during and after the Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad (1219,1236) period, Konya has earned the feature of being the World’s science and art center. Scientists and artists from all around the Turkish-Islam World have gathered in Konya.
Scientists, Mystics and philosophers such as Bahaeddin Veled, Muhyiddin Arabi, and Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, Sadreddin Konevi, Şemsi Tebrizi, Kadi Burhaneddin, Kadı Siraceddin, Urmemi have prepared their valuable works in Konya, and have illuminated the path for the world. This characteristic, which may be called the "Golden Age of Konya" has continued until mid-12th century.
The vast tolerance of these individuals and the new owners of Anatolia, their supremacy in science, art and technical fields, the deep-rooted cultural and social structure, have all played a significant role in making Anatolia our "Home Land". Thus, neither the Byzantine attacks nor the Mongol conquests, the Crusades, Italian and Greek conquests, have not been able eradicate the Turkish reign in Anatolia.
Konya and the spiritual architects of our national culture, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi has illuminated the path for the world, by his zest for life, view of the world and life philosophy; our Nasreddin Hodja has reflected the wittiness of the Turkish Nation by his jokes; while, Yunus Emre by his love for man and humanity, has in fact given “civilization lessons” to Europe, which was in the obscurity of the Middle Ages then.
Following the Mudros Armistice, Italians have invaded Konya, in addition to Antalya and surroundings. There has not been any armed struggle with the Italian soldiers, who were aiming to achieve economic interest and use the city as a colony. The Italian soldiers coming up to Akşehir and assuming the patrol duty, have not been involved in considerable activity in the Konya city center. During the days we have won the İnönü Battles against the Greeks on the West Front; falling into a dispute with the Allied Powers, Italy has given up on the invasion and has started to depart from Turley, as of March 12th, 1920. On March 20th, 1920, Konya has been completely relieved from invasion.
Konya during the Anatolian Seljuks Period
Once Konya has come into the hands of the Seljuk Turks (1076-1080), after the 1071 Manzikert war, it has experienced its golden era and Culture and Arts during the period of being the capitol of the Anatolian Seljuks State (1096-1277). It has embraced renowned Scientists, Philosophers, Poets, Mystics, Teachers, Music Lovers and other artists. Primarily led by Bahaeddin Veled, Mevlana Celaleddin, scientists such as Kadi Burhaneddin, Kadi Sıraceddin, Sadreddin Konevi, Şahabeddin Sühreverdi, mystics such as Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi have settled in Konya, and they have transformed the city into a cultural center by the works they have generated. Especially, Mevlana has enlightened humanity by his ideas and philosophy, and this influence still continues in his works such as the Masnavi and the Divan-e Kabir.
Again, Nasreddin Hodja is a wise man, who continues to help the development of cultural and social life in Konya, by his jokes that make one laugh and think.
In the Seljuks’ period Konya, Libraries have been opened, major historical and cultural advances have been made in the fields of History, Literature, Philosophy, Art, Medicine, Cosmography, Law and Religion, and correspondingly Madrasas, Mosques, Libraries, shrines, fountains, fortresses, inns, baths, markets and covered bazaars, bridges and palaces have been built.
Konya during the Karamanids Period
Developments in science and culture have continued in Konya also during the Karamanids (1277) period, scientists and Mystics such as Ulu Arif Çelebi and his sons Adil and Alim Çelebis, and Ahmet Eflaki and Sarı Yakup have emerged.
Historical and Cultural Works of the Karamanids Period;
Ali Gav Zawiyah and Shrine, Kadi Mürsel Zawiyah and Shrine, Ebu İshak Kazeruni Zawiyah, Hasbey Dar-ul Huffaz, Meram Hasbey Mosque, Şeyh Osman Rumi Shrine, Ali Efendi Muallimhane, Nasuh Bey Dar-ul Huffaz, Turgutoğulları Shrine, Kalenderhane Shrine, Tursunoğlu Mosque and Shrine, Burhaneddin Fakih Shrine, Siyavuş Veli Shrine.
Konya during the Ottoman Period
By 1467, Konya is within the Ottoman borders. It is a place frequented by Ottoman Sultans such as Yavuz Sultan Selim, Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (Suleiman the Magnificent) and Murad II, who have made expeditions to the East. The science, culture and art activities continue without any interruption. It is a center where renowned poets, scientists, historians and philosophers gather. During this period, architectural works such as Mosques, Fountains, Madrasas, etc. are built.
Historical and Cultural Works of the Ottoman Period
The Selimiye Mosque, Yusufağa Library, Piri Mehmet Pasha Mosque, Şerafettin Mosque, Kapu Mosque, Hacı Fettah Mosque, Nakiboğlu and Aziziye Mosques, Sheikh Halili Shrine and the Mevlana Kulliye are some of the architectural works of the period.
During the last period of the Ottomans, renovations have also started in Konya by the Reorganization move, in addition to Madrasas, Elementary Schools (İptidai), Teachers’ School (Darülmualimin) and Secondary School (Rüştiye) have been opened. The first high-school (idadi) has been opened in 1889, and during the same years the Konya School of Art has been opened to service by Governor Ferit Pasha. In 1900, the number of madrasas in Konya, including the districts, has reached 530.
Konya in the Republican Period
By the proclamation of the Republic on October 29th, 1923, new schools are opened in addition to the existing ones, and new newspapers and magazines start to be published. As is the case throughout the country, Elementary, Secondary, High Schools and Higher Education is transferred to state administration, campaigns are initiated to build schools and for reading, and schools educating teachers, technical and art schools, academies are renewed and increased based on the country’s requirements.
By the establishment of the Ministry of Culture, libraries and museums have been handed over to the surveillance of the Ministry of Culture, under the Protection of our Cultural and Natural Heritage Law numbered 2683, and the revised “Law on the Protection of Cultural and National Heritage” numbered 3386. Provincial Cultural Directorates, to represent the Ministry, have been organized in all provinces, and the cultural and art activities have been put into a systematic form in the Republican period.