Whirling Dervish Ceremony

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Regular: €30 | Discounted: €25.00
Overview Overview

You are most welcome to witness the transcendental pray of the dervish and discover the spiritual face of Istanbul in a centuries-old genuine house exhibiting Sufi heritage with instruments, decoration & architecture.


Highlights Of Sufi Whirling Dervish Ceremony:

  • Join this mystical journey at an authentic house that reflects the lives of Dervishes in Istanbul
  • Feel the spiritual Istanbul while witnessing the ritual of Sufi Dervishes at the heart of the old town
  • Learn about the Mevlevi Order, a centuries-old old tradition of the followers of Rumi, the medieval poet from Konya


What To See At Whirling Dervish Ceremony?

This is a special ceremony in a unique environment. In other words, a great event awaits you to reveal the spiritual character of Istanbul and Turkish people. This is, first and foremost, a poetic experience. The original name “Sema” has two meanings: the skies and hearing. The dervishes are raising their hands while whirling to feel the universe, its creation and motion. This is the way to reach maturity as a human being in an ecstatic moment full of love.  

Concerning the performance at the ceremony, the classic sufi music is essential. It sets the stage and makes you to feel the emotional intensity before the rite starts. Then the whirling dervishes come forward to lift the curtain between the body and soul.

Although it was never seen as the mainstream, the mystical ritual of the Mevlevi Order has been a significant part of history in the city. Because the literate parts and cultured ranks of the society admired the approach in Sufi way of living. Even some of the sultans favored the Mevlevi Order and their rituals. The whirling ceremony is an apparent form of a Sufi Dervish' humility, where the human existence reach a transcendental level. 


Location, Starting Times And Tickets 

In the high season, everyday at 18:30 the ceremony starts with live instrumental Sufi music. 

During the period, from October to April, you should check our schedule on the booking screen. 

The location is called Kizlaragasi Medresesi. The school is built by a Chief Eunuch of Topkapi Palace Harem, hence the title is Kizlaragasi (literally translates Chief of Girls)


The History Of Sufi Mevlevi Order

The Mevlevi Order was found by followers of a mystic poet Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who lived in the city of Konya. Actually, Rumi was born in 1207 and his family migrated to today's Turkey from central Asia because of Mongolian expansion under the rule of Genghis Han that created a massive push towards west. His father had been an islamic scholar in the city of Balkh in Afghanistan today.  

Until they settled in central Anatolia (the peninsula containing majority of Turkey's geography), they established strong connections with other influential figures from cities like Samarkand to Iran. When his father passed away in 1230s, he had taken the lead of a community. Rumi was a teacher and philosopher at the highest level. During his old age, he collected his most essential works under the title “Masnavi”. He was writing in Persian, the most suitable language for poetic expression. His students and followers gathered a huge portion of his letters as well after he deceased in 1273. 

In short, his very sophisticated worldview and poetic quality were in fact a product of a great turmoil that fused cultures from China to the shores of Mediterranean Sea. His major message was always about love, being permissive and open. As his most renowned lines show as follows:

“Come, come, whoever you are, 

wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving, 

it doesn't matter. 

Ours is not a caravan of despair. 

Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times. 

Come, come again, come.”

Hours & Schedule Hours & Schedule

  • Reservation required! You must make a reservation at least 2 hours in advance.
  • Only Wednesday,  Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 18:30. The ceremony starts with live instrumental Sufi music.
  • The hall is called Kizlaragasi Medresesi
  • No refunds after the reservation. 
    If you do not attend the attraction/tour at the reservation time, you lose your right for the attraction/tour.

Attractions Nearby Attractions Nearby

Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace Museum, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Istanbul Archaeological Museum, Hagia Irene Museum, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.

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FAQ About The Whirling Dervishes And Mevlevi Order

  • Where can I watch whirling dervishes Daily in Istanbul Old Town?
    Sufi whirling dervishes perform inside Kizlaragasi Medresesi
  • What does Whirling Dervish mean?
    The Whirling Dervishes are locally called Semazen in Turkish, who are the performers of mystical ritual that is practiced by followers of Sufi/Mevlevi order and its iconic founder Rumi the Poet of 13th century Anatolia. Here, you may find more detailed definitions fort he terms like Mevlevi, Sufi, Semazen and Dervish
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