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

Last Updated on September 26, 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 is Hodjapasha Culture Center and Sirkeci Train Station Orient Express Hall.

Buy Your Whirling Dervishes Show Ticket Online

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

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. Read more about Galata Mevlevi Lodge & Museum

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

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 Whirling Dervishes Show at Hodjapasha Culture Center (HCC) 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

Sirkeci Orient Express Hall

Located in Sirkeci, in the Orient Express Hall of the Sirkeci train station, in a historical venue, this is also one of the most tourist taking venues for Whirling Dervishes Performance in Istanbul. Their performances take place every day at 19:30 except Tuesdays.

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

Address: Sirkeci Tren Gari, Hocapaşa Mahallesi, Ankara Caddesi, Fatih (See location map)

Buy Orient Express Whirling Dervishes Show Ticket Online

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

Bosphorus Cruises with Whirling Dervishes Ceremony

Typical day time sightseeing cruises along the Bosphorus are popular and unique experience to Istanbul, but the ones with dinner and entertainment during night can be the best option to do something unique and special in Istanbul.

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

During your Bosphorus Dinner Cruise, you’ll enjoy a full program of entertainment, such as Turkish classical music, belly dancing, a whirling dervish show, folkloric shows, an international singer, and an on-board DJ. You’ll definitely have a unique Istanbul experience.

Book Bosphorus Cruise with Sema Ceremony

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

Go Harass Us in the Comments Below

Have you attended to the show? And was it worth it?

And don’t hesitate to join the Whirling Dervishes Show discussion here, as you can ask any questions, complaints, happy moments, and chat with thousands of Istanbul travelers.

We also would be glad to read your Whirling Dervishes Show experience. So fire it up!

We'd be so glad by giving us a like below and join our Facebook page, where you can also ask any questions, share your Istanbul experiences, pictures, yell out complaints, and chat with thousands of Istanbul travelers.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.