Konya (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈkoɲ.ja]), historically known as Iconium (Greek: Ἰκόνιον), is a major city in south-central Turkey, on the south-western edge of the Central Anatolian Plateau.

Clockwise from top: Konya city view, Selimiye Mosque, Aziziye Mosque, Konya Kültürpark, Mevlana Museum
Official logo of Konya
Konya is located in Turkey
Location of Konya, Turkey
Konya is located in Europe
Konya (Europe)
Konya is located in Asia
Konya (Asia)
Konya is located in Earth
Konya (Earth)
Coordinates: 37°52′N 32°29′E / 37.867°N 32.483°E / 37.867; 32.483Coordinates: 37°52′N 32°29′E / 37.867°N 32.483°E / 37.867; 32.483
RegionCentral Anatolia
 • MayorUğur İbrahim Altay (AKP)
 • Metropolitan municipality38,873 km2 (15,009 sq mi)
 • Urban
6,600 km2 (2,500 sq mi)
 • Metro
6,600 km2 (2,500 sq mi)
1,016 m (3,333 ft)
 (2021 estimation[1])[2]
 • Metropolitan municipality2,250,020
 • Density58/km2 (150/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density200/km2 (530/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density200/km2 (530/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (TRT)
Postal code
Area code(s)(+90) 332
Licence plate42

As of the last 31/12/2019 estimation, the Metropolitan Province population was 2,232,274 inhabitants whom 1,346,330 lived in the built-up (or metro) area made of the 3 urban districts making it the seventh-most-populous city in Turkey.[2] Konya is a large and industrially developed city[3][4][5] and the capital of Konya Province.

The Konya region has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC and was ruled by various civilizations such as Hittite, Phrygian, Persian, Hellenistic and Roman ones. Konya was known as Iconium during classical antiquity. In the 11th century the Seljuk Turks conquered the area and began ruling over its Rûm (Byzantine) inhabitants making Konya the capital of their new Sultanate of Rum. Under the Seljuks, the city reached the height of its wealth and influence. Following the demise of Rum, Konya came under the rule of the Karamanids, before being taken over by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. After the Turkish War of Independence the city became part of the modern Republic of Turkey.


Konya was known in classical antiquity and during the medieval period as Ἰκόνιον (Ikónion) in Greek (with regular Medieval Greek apheresis Kónio(n)) and as Iconium in Latin. Ikónion is the Hellenization of an older Luwian name Ikkuwaniya.[6]

By some the name Ikónion is commonly explained as a derivation from εἰκών (icon), as an ancient Greek legend ascribed its name to the "eikon" (image), or the "gorgon's (Medusa's) head", with which Perseus vanquished the native population before founding the city.[7]

According to the Suda, Perseus after he married Andromeda founded the city and called it Amandra (Ἄμανδραν) and the city had a stele depicting the Gorgon. The city later changed the name to Ikonion because it had the depiction (ἀπεικόνισμα) of the Gorgon.[8]

In some historic English texts, the city's name appears as Konia or Koniah.


Ancient historyEdit

Marble Sarcophagus, typical of Pamphylia. Roman period III century AD at the Konya Archaeological Museum

Excavations have shown that the region was inhabited during the Late Copper Age, around 3000 BC.[7] The city came under the influence of the Hittites around 1500 BC. Later it was overtaken by the Sea Peoples in 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. As Attalus III, the last king of Pergamon, was about to die without an heir, he bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman Republic. Once incorporated into the Roman Empire, 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.

According to the Acts of the Apostles, the apostles Paul and Barnabas preached in Iconium during their first Missionary Journey in about 47–48 AD,[9][10][11] having been persecuted in Antioch. Their visit to the synagogue of the Jews in Iconium divided the Jewish and non-Jewish communities between those who believed Paul and Barnabas' message and those who did not believe, provoking a disturbance during which attempts were made to stone the apostles. They fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia. (This experience is also mentioned in the Second Letter to Timothy,.[12] 19th century American theologian Albert Barnes suggested that Timothy had been present with Paul in Iconium, Antioch and Lystra[13]). Paul and Silas probably visited it again during Paul's Second Missionary Journey in about 50,[14][15][16] as well as near the beginning of his Third Missionary Journey several years later.[17][18] The city became the seat of a bishop, which in ca. 370 was raised to the status of a metropolitan see for Lycaonia, with Saint Amphilochius as the first metropolitan bishop.[19]

In Christian legend, based on the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla, Iconium was also the birthplace of Saint Thecla, who saved the city from attack by the Isaurians.[19]

Under the Byzantine Empire, the city was part of the Anatolic Theme. During the 8th to 10th centuries, the town and the nearby (Caballa) Kaballah Fortress (Turkish: Gevale Kalesi) (location) were a frequent target of Arab attacks as part of the Arab–Byzantine wars.[19]

Seljuk and Karamanid erasEdit

Ince Minaret Medrese (1279) in Konya

The Seljuk Turks first raided the area in 1069, but a period of chaos overwhelmed Anatolia after the Seljuk victory in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, and the Norman mercenary leader Roussel de Bailleul rose in revolt at Iconium. The city was finally conquered by the Seljuks in 1084.[19] From 1097 to 1243 it was the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum.[20] It was briefly occupied by the Crusaders Godfrey of Bouillon (August 1097), and Frederick Barbarossa (May 18, 1190) after the Battle of Iconium (1190). The area was reoccupied by the Turks after the crusaders left.

Established in 1273, the Sufi Mevlevi Order and its Whirling Dervishes are among the renowned symbols of Konya and Turkey.

Konya reached the height of its wealth and influence in the second half of the 12th century when the Seljuk sultans of Rum also subdued the Anatolian beyliks to their east, especially that of the Danishmends, thus establishing their rule over virtually all of eastern Anatolia, as well as acquiring several port towns along the Mediterranean (including Alanya) and the Black Sea (including Sinop) and even gaining a momentary foothold in Sudak, Crimea. This golden age lasted until the first decades of the 13th century.[citation needed]

Many Persians and Persianized Turks from Persia and Central Asia migrated to Anatolian cities either to flee the invading Mongols or to benefit from the opportunities for educated Muslims in a newly established kingdom.[21]

Mevlana Museum (1274) is the resting place of the Sufi mystic and poet Rumi in Konya, the capital of the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate.

Following the fall of the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate in 1307, Konya became the capital of Karamanids, a Turkish beylik, which lasted until 1322 when the city was captured by the neighbouring Beylik of Karamanoğlu. In 1420, the Beylik of Karamanoğlu fell to the Ottoman Empire and, in 1453, Konya was made the provincial capital of Karaman Eyalet.

Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic erasEdit

During Ottoman rule, Konya was administered by the Sultan's sons (Şehzade), starting with Şehzade Mustafa and Şehzade Cem (the sons of Sultan Mehmed II), and later the future Sultan Selim II. Between 1483 and 1864, Konya was the administrative capital of Karaman Eyalet. During the Tanzimat period, as part of the vilayet system introduced in 1864, Konya became the seat of the larger Vilayet of Konya which replaced Karaman Eyalet.

Greeks from Sille, a nearby village from Konya

Konya had a major air base during the Turkish War of Independence. In 1922, the Air Force was renamed as the Inspectorate of Air Forces[a] and was headquartered in Konya.[22][23] In 1923 in the frame of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the Greeks that inhabited Sille, a nearby village, left as refugees and settled in Greece.[24]


Konya Metropolitan Governorship

The first local administration in Konya was founded in 1830. This administration was converted into a municipality in 1876.[b] In March 1989, the municipality became a Metropolitan Municipality. As of that date, Konya had three central district municipalities (Meram, Selçuklu, Karatay) and a Metropolitan Municipality.


Taşköprü in Beyşehir district of Konya

The city ranks among the Anatolian Tigers.[3][4][5] There are a number of industrial parks.[25] In 2012 Konya's exports reached 130 countries.[25] A number of Turkish industrial conglomerates, such as Kombassan Holding, have their headquarters in Konya.[26]

While agriculture-based industries play a role, the city's economy has evolved into a center for the manufacturing of components for the automotive industry; machinery manufacturing; agricultural tools; casting industry; plastic paint and chemical industry; construction materials; paper and packing industry; processed foods; textiles; and leather industry.[25]


Konya is the center of the largest province, the largest plain (Konya Plain) and is among the largest cities in the country. It is the seventh most populated city in Turkey.[27]

The city is in the southern part of the Central Anatolia Region. The land is broad and flat with a lot of lowlands and plateaus. The plateaus are covered with rich steppes; the southernmost part of Konya is largely surrounded by the Taurus Mountains.

The city and the southern parts of the greater Konya enjoy abundant sunshine across the country, resulting in big potential in solar farming. The largest solar farm of Turkey is located 20 miles west of the city.


Lake Tuz, known in Turkish as Tuz Gölü, is the second-largest lake in all of Turkey. This lake supplies Turkey with a large amount of Turkey's salt demand.

Beysehir Lake is on the western part of Konya and is near the border. It is the largest fresh water lake in Turkey and one of the most important national parks. Beysehir Lake is important for tourism in Konya and attracts thousands of people each year to its 2 beaches and 22 islands for water and mountain sports.

Meke Lake is on the border of the Karapinar province and is considered to be a heavily protected natural area.

Lake Aksehir is on the border of the Afyon Karahisar province. The area also provides a good habitat for famous Aksehir cherries.


Konya has a cold semi-arid climate (BSk) under the Köppen classification[28] and a temperate continental (Dc) climate under the Trewartha classification.

Summers temperatures average 30 °C (86 °F), although nightly temperatures in the summer months are cool. The highest temperature recorded in Konya was 40.6 °C (105 °F) on 30 July 2000. Winters average −4.2 °C (24 °F), and the lowest temperature recorded was −26.5 °C (−16 °F) on 6 February 1972. Precipitation levels are low, but precipitation can be observed throughout the year, most frequently in winter and spring.

Climate data for Konya (1991–2020, extremes 1929–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.6
Average high °C (°F) 4.6
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.3
Average low °C (°F) −3.9
Record low °C (°F) −28.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 35.9
Average precipitation days 10.53 8.97 9.80 10.83 12.47 8.10 3.00 2.63 4.40 7.27 7.13 10.10 95.2
Average relative humidity (%) 79 74 65 57 56 50 41 40 46 58 72 80 60
Mean monthly sunshine hours 105.4 138.4 195.3 216.0 269.7 309.0 344.1 334.8 291.0 235.6 159.0 102.3 2,700.6
Mean daily sunshine hours 3.4 4.9 6.3 7.2 8.7 10.3 11.1 10.8 9.7 7.6 5.3 3.3 7.4
Source 1: Turkish State Meteorological Service[29]
Source 2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (humidity 1931–1960)[30]


Mevlana Cultural Center in Konya

Konya was the final home of Rumi (Mevlana), whose tomb is in the city. In 1273, his followers in Konya established the Mevlevi Sufi order of Islam and became known as the Whirling Dervishes. Konya has the reputation of being one of the more religiously conservative metropolitan centers in Turkey. It was once known as the "citadel of Islam" and its inhabitants are still comparatively more devout than those from other cities.[31]

Every Thursday and Saturday, one can see a performance (Sama) by the Whirling Dervishes at the Mevlana Museum. Unlike commercial performances staged at other cities like Istanbul, this is a spiritual session meant to maintain the sanctity of the Order's tradition.

Konya produced Turkish carpets that were exported to Europe during the Renaissance.[32][33] These expensive, richly patterned textiles were draped over tables, beds, or chests to proclaim the wealth and status of their owners, and were often included in the contemporary oil paintings as symbols of the wealth of the painter's clients.[34]

A Turkish folk songs is named Konyalım, Konyalıya Güzel Derler and Konyalım Yaman Çalar Şak Şak Kaşığı, making reference to a loved one from Konya.[35]

The local cuisine of Konya includes dishes made of bulgur wheat and lamb meat.[36] One of the renowned dishes of the city is etli ekmek, which is similar to lahmacun and pizza.[36]

Main sightsEdit

Alâeddin Mosque (1235) in Konya


Etli ekmek is a local dish of Konya

Etli ekmek – flat bread baked with ground meat, peppers, onions, and tomatoes

Pişmaniye – similar to American cotton candy and resembling a fully white ball of yarn

Fırın kebab – oven-cooked meat (usually lamb)

Various candies – Konya is known for its sweets, including cezerye, an old Turkish sweet made of carrots

Tirit – a traditional rice dish that is made with meat and various vegetables

Tavuk suyu – a tomato broth-based soup made with shredded chicken and noodles


There is one stadium in the city. Its name is Konya Metropolitan Stadium.

Konyaspor is the football club of the city, that appear in Turkish Professional Football League. On May 31, 2017, they won the first national trophy of their history, winning Türkiye Kupası in the final against İstanbul Başakşehir in penalty shootout. The team repeated on August 6, 2017, following winning Türkiye Süper Kupası against Turkey's Beşiktaş champion.

The city is scheduled to host the 2021 Islamic Solidarity Games.


Selçuk University had the largest number of students, 76,080, of any public university in Turkey during the 2008–09 academic year.[39][better source needed] It was founded in 1975. The other public university is Necmettin Erbakan University which was established in Konya in 2010.[40][better source needed]

Private colleges in Konya include the KTO Karatay University.[41][better source needed]

Konya hosts the Tactical Training Center Anatolian Eagle, a center for training NATO Allies and friendly Air Forces.[42][better source needed]


A Škoda 28 T tram produced for the Konya Metropolitan Municipality


The bus station has connections to a range of destinations, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir.


Konya has a tramway network in the city center, on which the Škoda 28 T trams are being used.[43] The Konya Metro is currently in the planning and development phase and is slated for construction starting in 2020.


Konya is connected to Ankara, Eskişehir and Istanbul via the high-speed railway services of the Turkish State Railways.[44][45]

Airport and airbaseEdit

Konya Airport is a public airport and military airbase that is also used by NATO. In 2006, Konya Airport served 2,924 aircraft and 262,561 passengers.[46] The Third Air Wing[c] of the 1st Air Force Command[d] is based at the Konya Air Base. The wing controls the four Boeing 737 AEW&C Peace Eagle aircraft of the Turkish Air Force.[47][48]

Notable peopleEdit

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Konya is twinned with:

See alsoEdit

Christian saints born in Iconium
  • Theodosius the Cenobiarch (c. 423–529 AD), monk, abbot, and saint born in Iconium; a founder and organiser of the cenobitic way of monastic life
  • Thecla or Tecla, 1st-century virgin saint of the early Christian Church born in Iconium



  1. ^ Turkic:Kuva-yı Havaiye Müfettişliği
  2. ^ "İhtisab Agalıgi" (Islamic-Ottoman office for public regularity)
  3. ^ Ana Jet Üssü or AJÜ
  4. ^ Hava Kuvvet Komutanlığı


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Further readingEdit

Published in the 19th century

Published in the 20th century

Published in the 21st century

  • C. Edmund Bosworth, ed. (2007). "Konya". Historic Cities of the Islamic World. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill.
  • "Konya". Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art & Architecture. Oxford University Press. 2009.

External linksEdit