Saturday, 20 July 2024
The Touristic and Historical Importance of Sille

The Touristic and Historical Importance of Sille

In our country, which has different characteristics every season and each region that should be visited, the Sille neighborhood of Konya stands out with its 8,000-year-old historical texture and cultural heritage.

The oldest settlement in Sille, located 8 km northwest of Konya, is the Sızma Mound, located in the north. During the excavations carried out here, remains belonging to the Phrygian civilization from the 8th-7th centuries BC were found. It is understood from the stone artifacts of ancient architecture found in the city that Sille, which was known as Sylata or Sylla in ancient times, was inhabited during the Roman period. The city was probably a stopping point near Konya on the King's Road, which went east from Ephesus during this period. Saint Paul must have also visited Sille when he passed through Konya in the same century.

In the 4th century AD, Ephesus lost its importance, and Istanbul, which became the capital of the Byzantine Empire, gained significance. Konya, located on the road from Istanbul to Jerusalem, also maintained its importance during this period and became a stopping point for pilgrims heading to Jerusalem. The inscription on the Aya Elenia Church indicates that the building was commissioned by Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, during this time. As the first Christian aristocrat, Helena went to Jerusalem during her lifetime to find the Holy Cross on which Jesus was crucified, and she built many churches along the way. The presence of the Aya Elenia Church in Sille shows that the town was indeed located on this route.

The settlement, which is not mentioned in historical sources from the Byzantine period, was also exposed to Arab raids like all other cities between the 7th and 10th centuries AD. The Gevale Castle, an important strategic point, made the region an easy target during this time, and as a result, the area was frequently invaded. After the Arab raids ended in Anatolia, the city became an important religious center. The rock churches in the region, especially the Ak Monastery, clearly demonstrate this importance.

From the 17th century onwards, it is seen that the administrative status of Sille was not clear. The main source of livelihood in the region, which was wheat, barley, and animal husbandry, was increasingly dominated by the Muslim population. Charles Texier, who came to the region in the second half of the 19th century and stated that Armenians and Greeks had summer houses in Sille. The Finance and Land Property Registers from the early 20th century show that 56% of Sille's population was Muslim, and 44% were non-Muslim. Bela Horvath, who came to Konya in 1913, also states that the Greeks in Konya had summer houses with private churches in Sille and that there were around sixty churches in Sille. Following the population exchange policy implemented in 1923, the Christian population in Sille migrated to Greece.

Sille, an important neighborhood where different cultures once lived together in harmony in Konya's Seljuk district, attracts tourists with its historical texture.

Sille has been a settlement since the time of the Phrygians. Since the Byzantine period, it has been an important settlement, one of the first centers of Early Christianity in Konya, as well as an important stopover point on the pilgrimage route between Istanbul and Jerusalem.

Today, it is a neighborhood within the district of Selçuklu and has been declared an "urban conservation area" by the Konya Cultural Heritage Preservation Board. Sille is now an important cultural and tourism center of Konya.

Places to visit in Sille Neighborhood

  • Aya Elenia Church
  • Ak Monastery
  • Devil's Bridge
  • Subaşı Bath
  • Sille Caves
  • Sille Museum
  • Sille Observation Hill
  • Karataş Mosque
  • Time Museum