Karaman is a city in south central Turkey, located in Central Anatolia, north of the Taurus Mountains, about 100 km (62 mi) south of Konya. It is the capital district of the Karaman Province. According to 2000 census, the population of the province is 231,872 of which 132,064 live in the town of Karaman. The district covers an area of 3,686 km2 (1,423 sq mi), and the town lies at an average elevation of 1,039 m (3,409 ft). The Karaman Museum is one of the major sights.
The town owes its name to Karaman Bey who was one of the rulers of the Karamanid dynasty. The former name Laranda which in turn comes from the Luwian language Larawanda, literally "sandy, a sandy place".
In ancient times Karaman was known as Laranda (Greek: Λάρανδα). In the 6th century BC it came under Achaemenid rule until 322 BC, when it was destroyed by Perdiccas, a former general of Alexander the Great, after he had defeated Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia. It later became a seat of Isaurian pirates. It belonged to the Roman and later Byzantine Empire until it was captured by the Seljuks in the early 12th century. Karaman was occupied by Frederick Barbarossa in 1190 and by Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia between 1211 and 1216. In 1256, the town was taken by Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey and was renamed Karaman in his honour. From 1275, Karaman was the capital of the Karamanid beylik.
In 1468 the Karamanids were conquered by the Ottomans and in 1483 the capital of the province was moved to Konya. Karaman has retained ruins of a Karamanid castle and some walls, two mosques and a Koran school (madrasah) from that age. An exquisite mihrab from a mosque from Karaman can now be found in the Çinili Pavilion near the Archeology Museum in Istanbul.
There was a Roman Catholic titular see for the city.
The poet Yunus Emre (c. 1238–1320) resided in Karaman during his later years and is believed to lie buried beside the Yunus Emre Mosque. A small adjacent park is adorned with quotations from his verse, many of them unfortunately graffiti-splattered. In 1222, the Sufi preacher Bahaeddin Veled arrived in town with his family, and the Karamanoğlu emir built a medrese to accommodate them. Veled's son was the famous Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, who married his wife, Gevher Hatun, while his family was living in Karaman. It was here, too, that Rumi's mother died in 1224. She was buried, along with other family members, in the Aktekke Mosque (also known as the Mader-i Mevlana Cami), which Alaeddin Ali Bey had built to replace the original medrese in 1370.
Karaman has a cold semi-arid climate under Köppen climate classification (BSk), with hot and dry summers and cold and snowy winters. Karaman is a very sunny city all year long.