By Melike Kinaci
Local and foreign tourists gathered in a Turkey’s central province to mark the 745th death anniversary of Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi -- a 13th century Sufi mystic, poet and Islamic scholar.
Events to commemorate the anniversary of Rumi’s passing, known as “Sheb-i Arus" (the night of union), started on Dec. 7 in the central Anatolian province of Konya, where he is buried.
Ugur Ibrahim Altay, mayor of Konya Metropolitan Municipality, told Anadolu Agency the city is hosting locals and tourists from every part of the world.
"Hopefully, the final program will be organized on Sheb-i Arus on Dec. 17 with the participation of the Turkish president," Altay said.
Rumi is fondly remembered by his followers in Turkey as Mevlana -- which means scholar. He was a Sufi poet and philosopher born in present-day Afghanistan.
Upon his death in 1273, Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the Sema ceremony.
Every year, an international commemoration ceremony marking the anniversary of Rumi’s union with God is held in Konya between Dec. 7-17 as a reverence to the Muslim scholar.