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Almost 4000 years ago the Hittites called this city ‘Kuwanna’. It was Kowania to the Phrygians, Iconium to the Romans and then Konya to the Turks. Iconium was an important provincial town visited several times by Saints Paul and Barnabas. There are few remains of its early Christian community, but Sille has several ruined churches.

From about 1150 to 1300 Konya was capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, one of the successor states to the Great Seljuk Turkish empire of the 11th century. The Sultanate of Rum encompassed most of Anatolia, and the Seljuk sultans endowed its capital with dozens of fine buildings in an architectural style that was decidedly Turkish, but had its roots in Persia and Byzantium.

Traditionally Konya lay at the heart of Turkey’s very rich ‘bread basket’, but these days light industry is at least as important as farming, and pilgrimage tourism is also a big earner.