Whirling Dervishes Show Istanbul (Sema Guide 2020 with Tickets Advice)

Last Updated on October 22, 2020

Whirling Dervishes Ceremony or Show (“Sema” in Turkish) is one of the most visited Istanbul attractions with the tourists. It is because that this ceremony is a very unusual event for the tourists and when they hear about it, majority of them try to catch this one hour show and witness the miracle of the whirling dervishes.


Before we tell about where to find the Whirling Dance Ceremony in Istanbul, we want to give brief information below about what are the Whirling Dervishes and the Ceremony and why they do whirl?

What Is Whirling Dervishes Ceremony (Sema)?

Whirling dance ceremony, “Sema” in Turkish, is a mystical ceremony and part of the most important heritages from the Islam culture, inspired and improved by Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (1207-1273), a world famous Islamic mystical poet, theologian and a spiritual master (Sufi). It originates from the city of Konya and dates back to more than 800 years.

Sufis (Mevlevi in Turkish), also called Dervishes, are the ones who are dedicated their lives to seek and find a more close relationship with God.

And according to Mevlana’s disciples, this mystical journey for God is made through worship, prayers, a complex musical repertoire called “ayin” and this unique whirling dance ceremony. The Sufi who make this whirling dance ceremony are called Whirling Dervishes, “Semazen” in Turkish.

Who Performs the Ceremony?

The Whirling Dervishes performances are organised by local non-profit groups.


Why They Whirl?

Whirling dervishes ceremony is a mystical journey representing the Man’s spiritual ascent through mind, going towards the truth, be exalted with love and quit from his own “self” to get vanished in God and than coming back as a more matured man.

Whirling Dervishes Show Istanbul (Sema Guide 2020 with Tickets Advice)

What is the Idea in this Disciple?

When we examine this mystical ceremony in scientific terms, we see that the whirling or spinning act is the basic condition of existence. The common similarity between the beings in the universe, from the smallest bit to the farthest stars, is the rotation of the electrons and protons within their atoms, which forms the structure of each being.

And while everything whirls, we, the human beings also whirl naturally and unconsciously by means the body atoms’ spins, the turning journey of the blood in the body, coming from the earth and returning to the earth and turning with the world along the universe.

What makes the human beings different and above from the other beings is the “Mind”. And so the Dervishes participate to all those beings common turnings with their whirls together with their minds.

And so they make a mystical journey for God and come back to its servitude as a human being. It is return to all beings and creatures with a new spirit, love and service. As Whirling dervishes take off their coats, they do take a mystical journey to the eternal world and the truth.

Video Tour


Where to Watch?

There are several places to watch Whirling Dervishes Show/Performance in Istanbul. Some of them are living places that continue the Mevlevi culture, and some of them are touristic ones.

Our recommendation for catching the best Whirling Dervishes Performance;


1. Galata Mevlevi Lodge & Museum

Whirling Dervishes Show Istanbul (Sema Guide 2020 with Tickets Advice)

Located in the end of the Istiklal Avenue in Taksim, through the Tunel, this is a famous center and museum for Mevlevi culture. Galata Mevlevi Lodge is a museum, that Turkish calligraphic art items, music items and items belonging to Mevlevi culture are exhibited.

The center also hosts Whirling Dervishes Performances, takes place every Sunday around 17:00. Tickets cost around 100 TL. Ticket counters and museum entrance close at 16:00 when there is a Sema ceremony.

Wanna learn more about Galata Mevlevi Lodge & Museum?

2. Yenikapi, Eyup & Ismail Dede Efendi Mevlevi Lodges

Yenikapi Mevlevi Lodge in Yenikapi district, Eyup Bahariye Mevlevi Lodge in Eyup district, Ismail Dede Efendi Mevlevi Lodge in Cankurtaran. In the high season, they offer Whirling Dervishes Performance every day at 19:00.

All the halls ask for reservation. You may take info and make reservation from +90 505 678 06 18 , +90 535 210 45 65 , www.rumimevlevi.com

3. Hodjapasha Culture Center (Recommended)

Located in Sirkeci, close to the Sirkeci train station and set in a restored 550-year-old Ottoman Turkish bath, this is the most tourist taking venue for Whirling Dervishes Performance in Istanbul.

Whirling Dervishes Show Istanbul (Sema Guide 2020 with Tickets Advice)

The performances take place every day at 19:00 (Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday in winter). They also offer Rhythm of the Dance Show (Turkish Dance), a combination of folk dances performed by professional dancers.

Address: Hoca Paşa Mahallesi, Ankara Caddesi, Hocapaşa Hamamı Sk. 3/B, Fatih (See location map)

How to Book?

Booking online is by far the best and the most convenient way to attend the show. You may not find a ticket at ticket window on location.

Tip: The show is very popular among the majority of the tourists, and you should buy your tickets at least 2 or 3 days in advance, as many dates are selling quickly.

Buy Hodjapasha Whirling Dervishes Ticket Online

Free cancellation with a FULL REFUND up to 24 hours in advance

4. Sarnic Restaurant (Highly Recommended)

Located in Sultanahmet, in the Historical Sarnic Restaurant, just few steps from Topkapi Palace, across the Carpet Museum, this is a new venue and has become one of the most popular ones for the best Whirling Dervishes Performance in Istanbul.

We highly recommend this venue as it is a new one and within walking distance from Sultanahmet hotels. Their performance take place on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 18:00.

Address: Sarnic Restaurant, Sogukcesme Str. No 26, Sultanahmet, Fatih (See location map)

How to Book?

Booking online is by far the best and the most convenient way to attend the show. You may not find a ticket at ticket window on location.

Tip: The show is very popular among the majority of the tourists, and you should buy your tickets at least 2 or 3 days in advance, as many dates are selling quickly.

Notice: Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official page.

Buy Sarnic Restaurant Whirling Dervishes Show Ticket Online

Free cancellation with a FULL REFUND up to 24 hours in advance


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8 COMMENTS

    • Glad you enjoyed the show. Well in Konya, the whirling dervishes show take place every Saturdays at the Mevlana Culture Center ( http://www.mkm.gov.tr/). In addition there is an annual ceremony called “Seb-i Aruz” take place between 07-17 December.

  1. It was an excellent experience. The location was cool for it’s historical background. The arrangements were simple but that did not affect the performance at all. From starting to the end, the ritual was captivating. Highly recommend.

  2. Шоу впечатлило. Без всякого Микса с танцами живота, подтанцовок со стороны зрителей и т. д. В помещении Восточного экспресса, с прекрасным музыкальным сопровождением танец Дервишей ещё глубже подгружает тебя в неповторимый колорит Стамбула . Благодарю за доставленное удовольствие.

  3. It was such a beautiful experience. The music was mesmerising and watching the whirling dervishes was transcendent. I just wish people wouldn’t applaud during and after the ceremony. It felt wrong to me since we were just privileged to witness their spiritual practice. It didn’t feel like they were doing it for us, which I loved. I highly recommend this experience.

  4. What a lovely evening. The music was transcendent, the venue was majestic (the old train station depot for the Orient Express, no less!), and the dancers in their ritual were just breath taking and trance inducing. Do yourself a favor and experience this magic!

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