The Mevlana Museum in Konya, which had more visitors, around 2.5 million, than the Topkapı and Hagia Sophia museums in Istanbul, drew interest mainly from Chinese, Iranian and Taiwanese tourists in 2017.
Featuring the Sufi culture of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi, the Mevlana Museum had 2,571,267 visitors in 2015, and 2,429,531 in 2016. Last year, the greatest interest was from East Asian countries.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), City Culture and Tourism Manager Abdüssettar Yarar said that the museum was the most visited museum in Turkey in 2016 and 2017.
He believes that the Mevlana Museum will also increase its number of visitors in the coming years and added that the majority of tourists visiting the museum were from China, Iran, Taiwan, the United States and Japan. One-sixth of all visitors were international tourists, and according to Yarar, tourists prefer Konya for cultural tourism. He said that during Shab-e Arus, the anniversary of Rumi's death on Dec. 17, 1273, approximately 6,500 tourists visited Konya in 10 days in 2016, and it increased to 9,500 in 2017.
The high-speed train now allows tourists to get from Istanbul and Ankara to Konya much quicker. The number of flights also increases during the festival each year.
Rumi's most important work, "Mathnawi," is a popular book all worldwide. "We are doing what we can to increase the number of tourists both from Turkey and abroad, and the grave of Rumi lies within the museum, rendering the museum more special for those looking for some spirituality.