Whirling Dervishes at the Galata Mevlevihanesi

Whirling Dervishes at the Galata Mevlevihanesi

With their heads slightly tilted, arms raised in exaltation and spinning in graceful circles, the whirling sufi dervishes are among the most enduring images of Turkey. Istanbul boasts a number of places in which to catch a ceremony, but we chose to attend the twice-monthly performance in the Galata Mevlevihanesi; the city’s oldest tekke.

Dervish Dance

Before the sema ceremony, I wasn’t sure what to expect apart from men in tall hats spinning slowly. And as it turns out… these expectations were spot-on. The performance is uplifting. Very spiritual and strange, and very moving. But it really is just dudes spinning around to strange music, for almost an hour. And I’ll confess that I started getting bored, after spin #235. (Everybody’s got a dervish spin limit. At 235, mine is acceptable. Those who are more mystically inclined might have a higher tolerance. 5000, say. But everyone has a limit.)

Dervishes are adherents to sufism: a mystical interpretation of Islam, which aspires to a perfectly pure state of worship. Each dervish order is based around an exalted teacher or saint, and each has different practices. In general, dervishes ascribe to an ascetic lifestyle of extreme poverty, and are fairly similar to Catholic monks. The Mevlevi Order was based around the teachings of the Persian mystic Rumi, and was among the most prominent dervish sects in the Ottoman Empire. Even sultans would come to watch their ceremonies in Galata.

Established in 1451, the Galata Mevlevihanesi is the oldest surviving tekke (dervish monastery) in Istanbul. It’s now been converted into a museum dedicated to the Mevlevi Order, with exhibits that illuminate their way of life, rituals, music, and beliefs. The brothers of the order didn’t spend all day whirling; they were skilled in calligraphy and art, and masters of specialized professions like watchmaking. The museum does a good job of introducing the dervishes, and their beautiful old tekke.

The sema ceremony is held in the Galata Mevlevihanesi on the second and last Sunday of each month. It’s probably the most authentic possible setting in Istanbul to watch the Dervishes do their thing.

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  • Whirling Dervishes Istanbul

    1- The days of sema performances (Whirling Dervishes Ritual )Everyday, hour: 19: 30 (Advance Reservation Required – Please Contact.)Advance Reservation Required – Please ContactReservation Request Form:http://www.rumimevlevi.com/en/reservation-request-form2- The places of sema performances( Whirling Dervishes Ritual ):Sirkeci Train Station Event Hall, Galata Mevlevi House, Yenikapi Mevlevi House, SultanAhmet Cankurtaran Mevlevi Ismail Dede Efendi House, Kizlaragasi Mehmed Aga Medresesi Culture and Arts Center, Cemberlitas Firat Culture Center,Via e-mail ( info@rumimevlevi.combilgi@rumimevlevi.com ), Reservations required this information for;1 – What is the date you want to join the Show.2 – Group name and surname of the person responsible for what is it?3 – The number is how many people will attend the show?4 – What is the responsible person’s mobile phone number?Call Center :PHN : +90 505 – 678 06 18 / +90 535 – 210 45 65e-mail : info@rumimevlevi.comweb : http://www.rumimevlevi.com / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHSEjqCex_M facebok :  https://www.facebook.com/RumiandShamshttps://www.facebook.com/GalataMevlevlevihanesi.GalataMevleviHouseThe Mevlevi Sema Ceremony :Mevleviye are known for their famous practice of whirling dances and dervishes. At their dancing ceremonies, or Sema, a particular musical repertoire called ayin is played. The Sema ceremony represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to Perfect.Program starts with the classical turkish religion music concert performed by a traditional orchestra for 15 minutes. Then after The ceremony starts and lasts about 45 minutes under the amazing lighting and mystic atmosphere of Samakhana.

    November 12, 2014 at 8:47 am

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