Konya, ancient Iconium and later Konia, is an important cultural center founded on Konya plain in the center of Anatolia. Because of its geographical location as a crossroads, many cultures inhabited and left prominent traces here. Çatalhöyük, one of the oldest settlements in Anatolia, is in the province of Konya. In the city center are the Anatolian Seljuk and Ottoman monuments of particular interest. What is identified with Konya iss Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who was a great philosopher and a mystic. He lived here; and he spread humanism and his doctrine all around the world from Konya. His doctrine, which was later the Mevlevi order, gained a great number of supporters in the Ottoman period. The Mevlevi order, which was predominantly accepted by the royal family, the executives, and the literate community, and the Bektaşi order were the most wide spread religious orders in Anatolia. The Seljuks embellished the city with monumental and graceful structures. The Alaeddin Mosque, the tombs of Seljuk sultans, the Karatay and İnce Minareli (Slender Minaret) Madrasahs, the Sahip Ata Külliye, the Sırçalı Madrasah are some of the foremost Seljuk monuments surviving to the present time. Konya, which also has some traces of the Karamanoğulları dynasty, was an important religious center in Ottoman period. The Ottomans elaborated the Mevlana Tekkesi (dervish convent) with a mosque, an imaret, and convent rooms and made it a religious complex.
Besides these structures, the Ottomans built a few sultan mosques in the city; such as the Selimiye and Aziziye mosques.
Every year in December, the Mevlana Festival of Whirling Dervishes is held in Konya and the festival attracts a lot of Turkish and foreign visitors.
The tomb of Nasreddin Hodja, world-famous like Mevlana, is in the town of Akşehir in Konya. Each year on 5-10 July, the International Nasreddin Hodja Festival is held in Akşehir.
In Konya, there are many museums, most of which are housed in historical buildings. Meram, 8 km from Konya, has always been a favourite with the domestic holiday makers. Sille, a few kilometers from the city, with the churches, mosques and baths, proves to be a place where Muslims and Christians lived in peace.
The area around Konya has historical and natural beauties like the city center. The Selimiye Külliye in Karapınar, Meke and Acı lakes, the Hittite relief in Ivriz, Ereğli, Hittite monuments in Eflatun Omar and Fasıllar, Beyşehir and the ruins of Binbir Kilise (A Thousand and One Churches) in Karadağ, Karaman are worth seeing.
Konya is now not only one of the most important agricultural cities in Turkey but also a developed industrial and commercial city with its universities.