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