The Mevlana Museum, Turkey's third most visited museum after Topkap? Palace and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, is located in the central province of Konya and is currently undergoing its largest-ever restoration.
The museum, also known as the Green Mausoleum or Green Dome, is the original lodge of the Mevlevi whirling dervishes, a traditional Islamic Sufi Way. It contains the tomb and shrine of the Hz. Mevlana, or Jalaluddin Rumi, founder of the Mawlawiyya Sufi order.
As part of the restoration works launched three months ago, the renovation of the minaret was completed and now dervish cells will be restored to their original 16th century state. Experts will also replace old tiles with new ones and fix damaged tiles on the inner part of the dome, the Kubbe-i Hadra, or the Green Dome, which is the symbol of the historical monument. Lighting fixtures and the museum’s courtyard will also be restored, museum officials said.
Museum's director Yusuf Benli said that restoration works are expected to be completed in two years.
"Usually, museums all over the world are closed during restoration works but we preferred to keep the museum open. The restoration of the dervish cells will not be completed in time for the “The 736th Commemoration of Hz. Mevlana's Reunion With the Beloved”, which will be held from December 7th – 17th. But the mauseloeum and the other sections of the museum will still be open to visitors. The number of foreign visitors in October 2008 was 24,000 but it doubled in October 2009, which shows us that restoration works have not negatively affected the number of visitors," Benli said.
The museum was visited by 2 million people in 2008 and visitors are still welcome despite ongoing restoration works, he added.
KONYA - Anatolia News Agency