Once a district of Konya, Karaman is in the south of central Anatolia, Turkey, at the northern foot of the Taurus mounts. The ancient Laranda, Karaman was renamed after the chieftain of a Turkic tribe who conquered the city c.1250 and set up the independent Muslim state of Karamania, which at one time comprised most of Asia Minor. A successor state of the Seljuk empire, Karamania existed until its final subjugation by the Ottoman Turks in the late 15th century. Karaman has retained ruins of the Karamanid castle and of two fine mosques.
Its area is 9.237 square km and its population is around 234 thousand (2012). Karaman became a province of Turkey in 1989.
Karaman is formed by Karaman (center), Ayranci, Ermenek and Kazimkarabekir districts. Some sites of Interest and history are; Gokce forest recreation area, Maraspoli Cave, Kraman, Ermenek (Firan) and Mennan castles, Binbirkilise, Hatuniye, Emir Musa, Ibrahim Bey old theological schools (medrese) for alms and Tol Medrese, Gaferyad (Ermenek, Kazimkarabekir) and Yollarbasi (Ilisra) village Grand Mosques, Haci Beyler, Aktekke (Valide Sultan), Arapzade, Pasha, Dikbasan (Fasih), Akcasehir, Sipas and Mimar Emir Rustem Pasha mosques, Yunus Emre Mosque and Lodge, small mosque of Seyh Celebi and Akca Mescit, Karamanoglu alms house and mausoleum, Bicakci Bridge and Ala Bridge, Fountain With Seven Sprouts, Karaman Museum, Canhasan - Center - Alcatikoyu, Karadag Thousand Churches - Center - Madensehir, Uckuyu Village.
This province is also famous with its special breed of sheep and delicious yogurt.
Some significant dates for the city are:
Culture and Art Week, Karaman, May 5-12th
Commemoration Ceremonies for General Kazim Karabekir, at Kazim Karabekir district, January 26th
Commemoration Ceremonies for Mader'i Mevlana, Karaman, December 10th
Celebrations of Language Day, Karaman, May 13th
Celebrations of Day of the Province, Karaman, June 21st
The museum is located at the city center on the former Hastahane Caddesi now named as the Turgut Ozal Caddesi and behind the Hatuniye Medresse which is one of the best examples of the architecture of the Karamanogullari Principality Era.
In Karaman and its environs traces of a large number of civilizations both from the pre-historic and historic periods are evident. Today both Karaman and the nearby region display a large number of mounds and historical sites. However as museum activity had a late start in Karaman, many of the portable works discovered at these sites were removed to other museums.
Motivated by the notion that this rich archaeological and ethnographic heritage should be protected at its place of origin, the first museum was established in 1961 at the Tourism Association and Library with the support of some local administrators and prominent members of the Karaman community. In 1963 it was moved to a building in the market area, in 1966 to Imaret (alms house) of Ibrahim Bey, in 1968 to a rented house and was finally opened to public in its present building in 1971.
The museum is a two storey building where each floor has a usable floor space of 550 square meter. At the lower floor there is a second exhibition hall which can be opened to visitors in the future, storage areas, a photography laboratory, workshop and the library.
The exhibition hall on the upper floor consists of two sections and the material is exhibited in 33 cases. In the archaeological section there are works from the Neolithic Age to the late Byzantine. In the ethnographic section there are material from the Seljuk, Anatolian principalities, Ottoman and the Republican periods.
Among the material exhibited, the Neolithic - Calcolithic Age findings from the Canhasan Mound excavations are particularly interesting. Canhasan Calcolithic age findings displayed in cases numbered 1, 2, 3, 14 and 17 consist of baked earth cups and pots, human and animal figurines, stone axes, obsidian arrow heads, scrapers made of bones, small artifacts such as bracelets and necklaces, sea shells ornaments, necklaces made with blue apatite stone and grinding stones from basalt.
In case no. 4 where material from the Bronze Age are exhibited, besides the pottery found at the Sisanin Mound and the Gokce village, there are also black and dark gray colored polished pottery belonging to the Western Anatolia Yortan culture.
The majority of the Roman period material exhibited in case no.6 are collected from Karaman - Taskale, Bayir, Karacaören and Kazimkarabekir area. They include human and animal figurines from baked earth, oil lamps, small pitchers and plates.
In case no. 7 lachrymatories and perfume bottles from the Roman and Byzantine periods are exhibited. Some of these are plain and without any motifs while others are very colorful and richly decorated.
In case no. 15, Urartian bronze bracelets, figurines and offering plates are displayed. These materials were generally obtained through purchases and added to the museum collection.
In case no. 16 there are stone stamp seals and cylindrical seals from the early and late Hittite periods and the case also contains the photographs of the inscriptions made with the seals on display.
In case no. 20 in the Ethnographical section there are tiles and mosaics, enameled and over and under glazed tiles, plaster relieves, and tiles from Canakkale and Kütahya from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
In cases no. 21 and 22 cauldron, tray, plates, medicine cups, mortar, lunch box and ewer with geometrical design and plant decorations from the 14th and 19th century Seljuk and Ottoman periods are exhibited which were collected from the vicinity of Karaman.
In cases no. 24 and 25 among the wood work displayed there is mother of pearl inlayed coffer, clogs, spinning wheel, hand mill for grinding coffee, coffee coolers, mirror cases, spoon container, measuring cups, musical instruments and similar objects.
In cases no. 28 and 29 there are gold inlayed Korans from the Karaman Dynasty and Ottoman periods, decrees written in the courtly style, religious court decisions and Ahi Evran Fütüvetname, the document which defines the rules which governed the guilds.
Case no. 30 has various samples of oil lamps in different forms.
Case no. 30 holds samples of silver jewelry, hair ornaments, coined fez and pocket watches.
In case no. 32 there are examples of hand knitted socks and gloves which are still reproduced in the region.
In case no. 33 there are samples of bells of various size used for different animals.
Apart from these, in two table cases there are examples of objects such as weapons, gunpowder containers, candle cutters, spoons, door handles, whips, seals, cigarette holders and worry beads.
The museum also displays traditional rug and kilim samples which are hung as panels between the display cases, an Aesculapius statute in the Archeological Materials Hall, one facade of a Sidemara type sarcophagus and a mummified female body from the Byzantine period.
In the lower floor section of the museum, which started to be restored last year, there are cupboards, doors, shelves and fireplaces removed from Karaman houses and they are all mounted onto the walls. This section also contains some agricultural tools. However this part of the museum is not yet opened to visitors.
In the upper floor, besides the administrative offices, there is a gallery where the artistic works of the students and the citizens of Karaman are exhibited periodically.
Source for Karaman Museum: Ministry of Culture and Tourism.