3. Turkey: Mevlana Rumi museum drew 3.4M visitors in 2019
Turkey: Mevlana Rumi museum drew 3.4M visitors in 2019

Turkey: Mevlana Rumi museum drew 3.4M visitors in 2019

Last year saw record visitor numbers for museum in Konya honoring Muslim poet and mystic Mevlana Rumi, leaping 23%


A museum in central Turkey dedicated to the 13th-century Muslim mystic poet Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi hosted a record of nearly 3.5 million visitors in 2019.

The Mevlana Museum, located in Konya, drew a total of 3,464,000 local and foreign tourists last year, becoming the country's number two museum destination after the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul.

It attracted visitors from almost every nation, especially Iranian, Chinese, Taiwanese, Americans, and South Koreans.

In 2019, the museum saw a 23% rise in visits, reaching a 10-year record.

Nurten Kilic, a visitor to the museum, said she came from Turkey's Aegean city of Izmir.

Visiting the museum honoring Mevlana – better known in the West as Rumi – for the first time, she said: "I'm really excited. I always heard about Mevlana from my mom. I've wondered about him since my childhood."

Yuksel Cegez, another visitor, said he regularly visits the museum with his family.

"Mevlana has many things to teach us, and we have to study them," he said.

The sublime acoustics of the museum induces goosebumps as one walks through, he added.

In Turkey, Rumi is fondly remembered by his followers as Mevlana -- meaning scholar.

Upon his death in 1273, Rumi's followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the sema ceremony.

The Mevlana Dervish Convent and Tomb opened in 1926, and in 1954 became the Mevlana Museum.