Though Konya's architectural heritage is most widely associated with its development during the Seljuk Empire, excavations in the city center have suggested that the site may have been inhabited since the 8th century BCE. From its prehistoric origins through the Byzantine Empire, Konya was the site shifting power, occupied by the Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians and Persians, and Greeks, before finally being passed to the Seljuks, who made it their capital in the 12th century.
The city's first walls are projected to have been built as early as 1214/611 AH, around a citadel. By 1221, Sultan Keykubad I had ordered the construction of towers at the citadel's main gates. Though the citadel walls no longer exist, they were still standing in the nineteenth century, when travelers recorded them in detail. Charles Sexier, who visited Konya in the 1860's, measured the remains. Its walls had one hundred and eight towers in Texier's day (of an original one hundred and forty four), spaced along the wall every 14 meters and measuring 10 by 8 meters. The towers and walls were decorated with Seljuk sculpture as well as carvings from earlier Greek and Byzantine empires. Many of these are now in Konya's museum. Sites within the citadel's domain, include the Alaeddin Mosque and the palace of the Seljuk Sultans, the Seljuk Kiosk.
Among the prominent Seljuk architecture remaining are several mosques, including the Mosque of Haci Ferruh (1215), the Sirçali Camii (c. 13th century) and the Sahib Ata Masjid, and tombs, like the Gömeç Hatun Türbesi.
Under Ottoman rule, the city lost much of the political importance it had maintained under the Seljuks and adopted a new architectural aesthetic. The Selimiye Camii represents the introduction of a typical Ottoman provincial mosque construction into the religious architectural landscape of Konya, and the Serafettin Camii, constructed with a typical Istanbul-style plan, was built atop a Seljuk mosque in the late 16th-century.
Çolak, Hasan. “English abstract of 'Sixteenth Century Ankara and Konya: A Contribution to the Urban Historiography of the Classical Ottoman Period'". Translated by Hasan Çolak. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 156. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Ergenç, Özer. XVI. Yüzyılda Ankara ve Konya: Osmanlı Klasik Dönemi Kent Tarihçiliğine Katkı. Ankara: Ankara Enstitüsü Vakfı, 1995, 247pp.
Sixteenth Century Ankara and Konya: A Contribution to the Urban Historiography of the Classical Ottoman Period
XVI. Yüzyılda Ankara ve Konya: Osmanlı Klasik Dönemi Kent Tarihçiliğine Katkı
Written by a prominent historian of Ottoman socio-economic history, this book analyses two Ottoman cities in Anatolia, Ankara and Konya, in the sixteenth century. As the title suggests, this work is not only a study of these two cities, but also a contribution to Ottoman urban history, which the author maintains, can be contrasted in terms of its relatively limited output to the abundance of works on the Muslim city in the pre-Ottoman Middle East. Another merit of this book is that it focuses on the sixteenth century, a period for which it is difficult to find sijillat (court records), especially in combination with tahrir and vakfiye defterleri (tax, population and endowment registers), the major source for Ottoman social and economic history.
The book falls into three unevenly balanced chapters. The first compares the physical features of the two respective cities with a focus on their general appearance and major road systems, places of trade and art, administrative loci, religious and social buildings, and neighbourhoods.
The second offers a survey of demographic features of these cities, namely population and nutritional resources, and distribution of the population according to neighbourhoods, religious communities, and the tax status of their inhabitants. Here Ergenç makes comparative use of sijillat and tahrir and vakfiye defterleri.
The bulk of the work concentrates on chapter three, where the author analyses social relations in the Ottoman city with regard to administration, economy, and social life. He first explores the role of the city-dwellers in the administration vis-à-vis the legal and administrative officials. Next, he draws attention to the economic role of these cities in producing and marketing of certain goods. Finally, with respect to social life, he explains various social groups and daily life. Ergenç concludes that the Ottoman city had at least some distinct features from other Muslim cities. This work is indispensable for those interested in Ottoman urbanism and socio-economic history.