Religious places in Europe
Religious ceremonies around the world vary from the intricate to the mundane. But one ceremony stands out in the minds for any visitor to Turkey, the Sema. In the 13th century, in the Turkish town of Konya, the Mevlevi Order of Sufism was born. Practitioners of the religion spin repeatedly to put themselves into a trance. The Sema and the Mevlevi have been given the name of 'Whirling Dervishes". While the ceremony can be seen at any number of places throughout Turkey (some more authentic than others), to see it in the birthplace of the religion, along with a visit to the Mevlevi Museum, is worth the trip to Konya.
Underneath several gold-domed churches are two monastery caves, upper Lavra and lower Lavra. Each is an underground pathway with several niches where coffins and mummified monks are on display for public curiosity and worship. It is a strange religious tourist attraction where candle sellers also boast kitsch souvenirs like plastic icons. The passageways are pitch dark so you need to buy a candle to light your way, which can seem a bit dangerous when the tunnels get jam-packed with pilgrims. Though some visitors just come for the novelty factor, most consider it holy and a place for miracles. They cross themselves, kneel down for a short prayer and some might even kiss the glass cases containing a dressed corpse of a deceased monk. Photographing in the caves is not allowed, as you would have guessed from the above ground picture.