Konya one of Turkey's oldest continuously inhabited cities was known as Iconium in Roman times. As the capital of the Seljuk Turks from the 12th to the 13th centuries, it ranks as one of the great cultural centres of Turkey. During this period of social, political and religious growth, the mystic Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi initiated a Sufi order identified in the West as the Whirling Dervishes.
The beautiful green-tiled Mausoleum of Mevlana in Konya’ and attached to the shrine; is the former Dervish seminary now serving as a museum storing manuscripts of Mevlana's work and various artefacts relating to the mysticism of the sect.
Every year during the first half of December, a ceremony is held in commemoration of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, with the trance-like turning or sema of the white-robed men creating a fascinating performance for the viewer.