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Lake Bled with church, Slovenia
View of Lake Bled with the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, near the town of Bled in north west Slovenia. Built in the 15th century, weddings are held regularly at the church. A local tradition is for the husband to carry his new bride up the church's 99 steps, during which the bride must remain silent.
© Mary Evans/Hubertus Kanus
Medressa (religious school) & 2 Mevlevi Dervishes
Medressa (religious school - studying Koran) and two Mevlevi Dervishes. The Sheikh holds a tesbih (string of 99 prayer beads). Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes of Konya (Konia). This Dervish order was founded in memory of Jelaluddin Rumi (1207 - 1273) - mystic and poet. When the great Andalusian mystic Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi met Rumi (as a boy) with his Father in Baghdad - he commented when he saw him walking away behind his Father "How strange, there goes a Sea followed by an Ocean". The advancing Mongol hordes forced Rumi's Family to leave Balkh - arriving finally in Konya (Turkey). In Konya in 1244, a wandering Dervish met Rumi (Shamsuddin of Tabriz). After three years of friendship, Shamsuddin vanished mysteriously - some think he was murdered by Rumi's followers out of jealousy. Rumi wrote the Mathnawi - his most important work - called by some the 'Persian Koran'. Rumi's primary concern was not to found a Dervish order - it was his son, who after his Father's death instituted the formality of a Tariqah in his memory, hence the Mevlevi Dervishes today. The actual act of 'whirling' is known as the Sema ('The Hearing'). The Sema is formed of various cycles. The 'spiritual seeker' (Salik) must have personal freedom, in all aspects of life. The Salik's development is totally borne out of the culture of the place (personal development through trade apprenticeships etc.), moulding the individual in physical ad spiritual knowledge."
© Mary Evans Picture Library/Grenville Collins