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Konya (Ottoman Turkish: قونیه; also Koniah, Konieh, Konia, and Qunia; historically also known as Iconium (Latin), Greek: Ἰκόνιον Ikónion) is a city in Turkey, on the central plateau of Anatolia. It has a population of 1,412,343 (in 2007).
Ancient history
Excavations have shown that the region was inhabited during the Late Copper Age, around 3000 BC. The city came under the influence of the Hittites around 1500 BC. These were overtaken by the Indo-European Sea Peoples around 1200 BC. The Phrygians established their kingdom in central Anatolia in the 8th century BC. Xenophon describes Iconium, as the city was called, as the last city of Phrygia.

The region was overwhelmed by Cimmerian invaders c. 690 BC. It was later part of the Persian Empire, until Darius III was defeated by Alexander the Great in 333 BC. Alexander’s empire broke up shortly after his death and the town came under the rule of Seleucus I Nicator. During the Hellenistic period the town was ruled by the kings of Pergamon. When Attalus III, the last king of Pergamon, died childless, he bequeathed his empire to Rome. Under the rule of emperor Claudius, the city’s name was changed to Claudioconium, and during the rule of emperor Hadrianus to Colonia Aelia Hadriana.
Iconium was visited by Saint Paul and Barnabas, according to the Book of Acts, in 47, 50 and 53 AD. In Christian legend, it was also the birthplace of Saint Thecla. During the Byzantine Empire the town was destroyed several times by Arab invaders in the 7th-9th centuries.
Seljuk era
The city was captured by the Seljuk Turks following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, and from 1097 to 1243 it was the capital of Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate, though very briefly occupied by the Crusaders Godfrey of Bouillon (August 1097) and Frederick Barbarossa (May 18, 1190). The name of the town was changed to Konya by Rukn al-Dīn Mas’ūd in 1134.
Konya reached its height of wealth and influence as of the second half of the 12th century when Anatolian Seljuk sultans also subdued the Turkish Beyliks to their east, especially that of Danishmends, thus establishing their rule over virtually all of eastern Anatolia, as well as acquiring several port towns along the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and even gaining a momentary foothold in Crimea. This golden age lasted until the first decades of the 13th century.By the 1220s, the city was filled with refugees from the Khwarezmid Empire, fleeing the advance of the Mongol Empire. Sultan Alā al-Dīn Kayqubād bin Kaykā’ūs fortified the town and built a palace on top of the citadel. In 1228 he invited Bahaeddin Veled and his son Mevlana, the founder of the Mevlevi order, to settle in Konya.

In 1243, following the Seljuk defeat in the Battle of Köse Dag, Konya was captured by Mongols as well. The city remained the capital of Seljuk sultans, vassalized to the Ilkhanate until the end of the century.

Following the fall of the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate, Konya was made an emirate in 1307 which lasted until 1322 when the city was captured by the Beylik of Karamanoğlu. In 1420, Karamanoğlu fell to the Ottoman Empire and, in 1453, Konya was made the provincial capital of the Ottoman Province of Karaman.
Ottoman Era
Under the Ottoman Empire, in the vilayet system established after 1864, Konya was the seat of the Vilayet of Konya

According to 1896 census, Konya had a population slightly above forty thousand, of which 42,318 Muslims, 1,566 Christian Armenians and 899 Christian Greeks. There were also 21 mosques and 5 Churches in the town. A still-standing Catholic church was also built for Italian railroad workers in the 1910s. By 1927, after the Greek-Turkish population exchange of 1923, the city was almost exclusively Muslim.
Konya is home to Selçuk University, one of the largest universities in Turkey.
Points in history
The tomb of Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, the Persian mystical poet commonly known as “Mevlâna” to his citizens and who is the founder of the Sufi Mevlevi order (famous for The Whirling Dervishes), is located in Konya where he had spent the last fifty years of his life.
Ibn Arabi, the great Sufi visited Konya in 1207 on the invitation of the Seljuq governor of that time and married there with the mother of his disciple Sadreddin Konevi.
Hazrat Shah Jalal was born in 1271 in Konya.
Notable Structures
Alaeddin Mosque
Ince Minaret Medrese Museum
Karatay Medrese Museum
Mevlana Museum, formerly the tekke of Mevlana
Alongside a generally high level of instruction and very modern buildings, Konya has a reputation of being one of the more religiously conservative metropolitan centers in Turkey.
One of the best known Turkish folk songs is named “Konyalım” (making reference to a loved one from Konya). The song’s slightly suggestive lyrics are known virtually by everybody in Turkey.

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