Konya, Turkey, one of the world's oldest cities (dating from 7000 BC), is the spiritual center of Turkey—this is where the whirling-dervish sect began (a weeklong dervish festival, which includes dancing, is held in December).

Plan a day there; it's 150 mi/240 km south of Ankara. This city has several attractions: the tiled Theological School of Karatay, the Ince Minaret, Alaaddin Mosque, the mausoleum and museum of Mevlana (the poet Rumi, founder of the dervish sect) and a museum displaying beautiful ancient rugs and copies of the Koran.

It's also a good base for visiting the Neolithic settlement of Catalhoyuk, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Cappadocia-esque landscape of Gokyurt, which has its own medieval rock-cut churches.

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