Whirling Dervishes Show Istanbul (2024 Sema Guide with Tickets)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive commission at no extra cost to you. Read disclaimer for more information.

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.

Where to Watch Whirling Dervishes Show Istanbul?

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. For touristic shows, there are 2 top venues: Hodjapasha Culture Center and Sirkeci Orient Express Hall. Both located at Sirkeci. Feel free to book online in advance (as you’ll get discounts), by choosing the eco-friendly option of online tickets below.

Buy Whirling Dervishes Tickets at Hodjapasha Culture Center

Buy Whirling Dervishes Tickets at Orient Express Hall

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.

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.

No Regrets Booking Advice

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

1. Galata Mevlevi House Museum

The Galata Mevlevi House Museum, also known as Mevlevihanesi, is renowned for being an authentic Mevlevi Whirling Dervish hall. Established in 1491, it holds historical significance as one of the most important Ottoman works in Beyoğlu.

Galata Mevlevi Lodge is a museum, that Turkish calligraphic art items, music items and items belonging to Mevlevi culture are exhibited. The museum is celebrated for preserving the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Mevlevi order, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the mystical traditions of the Whirling Dervishes.

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 (Highly 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.

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

Buy Hodjapasha Whirling Dervishes Ticket Online

4. Sirkeci Orient Express Hall (Recommended)

Located in Sirkeci Train Station, in the Historical Orient Express Hall, just within short walking distance from Sirkeci Tram station, this is a popular venue for Whirling Dervishes Performance in Istanbul.

How to Book?

Booking Whirling Dervishes Show at Sirkeci Orient Express Hall 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. And this is cheaper than the one in Hodjapasha Culture Center.

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 Orient Express Whirling Dervishes Ticket Online

Rebooking & Cancellation Policy: You want to cancel? No problem, you can cancel your reservation anytime and get your refund.

Share post:


  1. Hi my wife and I will be going to Istanbul 30th April to the 4th of may will the dance take place while we are there and we’re can we see it

  2. Thank you for such a comprehensive write-up about the history, context and where to see the Sema ceremony. Which among the venues would you say is the least touristic?

    • Hi Nancy, thank you. Well the Sirkeci Orient Express Hall and Sirkeci Hodjapasha Culture Center are the two top tourist venues for the show. The rest list on the page are the least tourist ones. You should call or email them to make sure they are giving service as due to pandemy, majority of these kinda venues stopped giving service. Best

  3. Helo, I will reach on 20 October to Istanbul for one week will be staying in Galata, I want your recommendation for the best whirling dervishes other than historical Hamamizade İsmail Dede Efendi Evi as I already visited it two years before, also best aquarium to take my kids 14 and 17 years old.

    thank you

    • Hi Christine, thank you. Well there are two popular tourist venues for whirling dervishes; Orient Express Hall and Hodjapasha Culture Center. Both are located in Sirkeci. For aquariums, you can take your kids to Sea Life Istanbul in Bayrampasa or Istanbul Aquarium in Florya. You are able to get your tickets online or on location. Just bear in mind you may need to buy whirling dervishes shows in advance as tickets may sell out. Best

  4. Is there anywhere in Istanbul we can see the whirling dervishes on Saturday or Sunday ? We’ve checked a few places and they all seem closed with Covid

    • Hi Saara, there are no ceremony at the weekends for now. I guess they may start like on Saturdays only after late April or May.

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hello from Istanbeautiful team!

As being locals with over 40 years of experience living in Istanbul, we are here to help you plan your tourist, business or medical Istanbul visit and days with ease.

You will find inspiration, key traveler information, tips and resources to help you make the most of your trip whether you are a first-time (maybe 10th) visitor to Istanbul or an expat, resident here wanting to see more of our beautiful city.

Read more about us…

Insider Advice: Kickstart your Istanbul adventure with Istanbul E-Pass or Istanbul Tourist Pass. These passes provide free access to top attractions with around 70% savings.

Most Popular Now

33 Things to do this spring in Istanbul in 2024: Spring Adventures

Find out the best things to do in Istanbul...

Bosphorus Cruise Istanbul | Cost ▷ TOP 10+ Boat Tours in 2024

15+ Bosphorus Cruises in Istanbul. ➔ The Bosphorus cruise ranking is based on traveller reviews, prices, and information from 41 boat tours

Whirling Dervishes Show Istanbul (2024 Sema Guide with Tickets)

Whirling Dervishes Ceremony or Show ("Sema" in Turkish) is...

Top Best Istanbul City Walking Tours – Insider Guide + FAQs

Everything you need to know to plan and book...

15 Must do day trips from Istanbul in 2024 with travel tips

Find out and book the best day trips from...

Best Turkish Bath & Hamams in Istanbul for 2024, Prices

Everything you need to know to plan and book...

Food & Drink

Istanbul Dining Guide 2024: What to Eat? Best Places + Advice

Being the ultimate dining capital of Turkey, Istanbul offers...

Top Best Rooftop Restaurants & Bars in Istanbul (Insider Guide)

Istanbul is a fantastic city also renowned for its...

Top 15 Best Restaurants in Istanbul: Locals Guide 2024

Tourist information and guide to top 10 best restaunrats in Istanbul for 2019, Turkey...

Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Istanbul: 2024 Best Dinner Cruises

Bosphorus Dinner Cruise is one of the most unique...

Top Best Bars in Istanbul (Insider Guide Advice)

The lively night time scene of Istanbul with variety...

Michelin Starred Restaurants in Istanbul to Experience

Looking for the finest eateries in Istanbul? Here's our...

Health & Beauty

Best Hair Transplant Clinics in Turkey ▷ TOP 10 Guide 2024

Best hair transplant clinics in Turkey, Istanbul ✓ 10 clinics and doctors compared | reviews, prices, FAQs, before and after.

Rhinoplasty in Turkey, Istanbul | Cost ▷ TOP 10 Surgeons 2024

Best rhinoplasty surgeons in Turkey, Istanbul ✓ 10 plastic surgeons compared | reviews, prices, FAQs, before and after.

Dental Implants in Turkey, Istanbul | Cost ▷ TOP 10 Dental Clinics

Looking for the best dental clinics for dental implants...

Bariatric Surgery in Turkey, Istanbul | Cost + TOP Surgeons 2024

All you need to know about Bariatric surgery in Turkey, Istanbul. Costs, Reviews, Methods, FAQs and the 10 best surgeons, clinics.

Botox & Fillers in Istanbul, Turkey: Best Clinics with 2024 Prices

Here you can read out all the necessary information...

Best Beauty Centers, Salons & Beauty Treatments in Istanbul 2024

Here you can find out information and insider advice...

Best Spas and Wellness Centers in Istanbul (2024 Relaxing Guide)

Your days in Istanbul can sometimes be very exhausting...

Leisure Parks

Visit the Istanbul Aquarium – Online Tickets & Tours 2024

Book Istanbul Aquarium tickets with best of the prices...

Visit the Sea Life Aquarium in Istanbul – Online Tickets

Book Sea Life Aquarium Istanbul tickets with best of...

Visit the Miniaturk Museum in Istanbul – Online Tickets & Tours

Book Miniaturk Museum tickets with best of the prices...

Visit the Vialand Istanbul Theme Park – Online Tickets

Book Vialand Istanbul tickets with best of the prices...

Visit the Museum of Illusions in Istanbul – Online Tickets

Book Museum of Illusions Istanbul tickets with best of...

Visit the Madame Tussauds Istanbul Wax Museum – Online Tickets

Book Madame Tussauds Istanbul tickets with best of the...

Top Tours & Tickets

Istanbul's Tourist Passes
Discount Cards

Istanbul Tourist Pass® Review: Is It Worth It? Insider Tips

The Istanbul Tourist Pass is one of the two...

Istanbul E-Pass (Worth It? How To’s? Fares, Insider Tips)

The Istanbul E-Pass is one of the two common...

Related Reading
Read More

Where to buy Jewellery in Istanbul? (Best Jewellery & Gold Shops)

Whether you are out for shopping for an elegant...

Best Wine Houses in Istanbul Advice

Nightlife in Istanbul - Top Best Wine Houses in Istanbul

Nightlife in Istanbul: 2024 Guide with Hot Spots, Districts, Clubs

Nightlife in Istanbul is outstanding. So much as Istanbul...

Private Yacht Rental & Boat Hire in Istanbul Bosphorus (Top Rentals)

Find out the best private yacht rental and boat...

How Much Does Bosphorus Cruise Cost in 2024 + Tips

Istanbul Bosphorus cruise cost attracts about hundred thousands of...

Top 15 Best Restaurants in Istanbul: Locals Guide 2024

Tourist information and guide to top 10 best restaunrats in Istanbul for 2019, Turkey...