in training wear
Oddly enough, Istanbul is the easiest city in which to see whirling dervishes. (In Konya, the Mevlevis' home city, they whirl reliably only on Saturday. More...)
are popular with
foreign visitors, and all seats are often sold
out, often in advance. You cannot
just go and expect
to buy a ticket at the time of the sema.
(If you do decide
to chance it, go several hours before
the time of the sema.)
The best way to assure that you'll
be able to see the dervishes is to procure your tickets a
day or more in advance of the sema you
want to see.
If you have reserved a hotel
room for your Istanbul stay, your hotel
may be willing to send someone to buy
tickets for you. They may charge
a fee for this service, as it is an
expense for them. A travel
also be willing to buy you tickets
(for a service fee), especially if
you are also reserving other services
through them, such as hotels, rental
cars or tours.
The Hodjapasha Art & Culture Center near Sirkeci
Station is perhaps the easiest and most reliable venue for seeing the dervishes. More...
Dervishes whirl in a restored Ottoman hamam
at Hodjapasha Art & Culture Center.
Mevlevihanesi (a dervish tekke, or
hall) in Beyoğlu hosts performances of the Mevlevi
dervishes' whirling sema ceremony on Sunday evenings. Admission costs TL40.
Drop by the Galata
Mevlevihanesi, just off Tünel Square at the southwestern end of İstiklal Caddesi, check the schedule and buy advance tickets if you can.
A grand hall at Sirkeci Station hosts the sema on Monday and Friday at 19:30 (7:30pm), for TL40. For more information: tel. +90 (536) 284 57 07, email@example.com.
Mevlana Cultural Center
Lovers of Mevlânâ Society (Evrensel
Mevlânâ Aşıkları Vakfı), a
forward-looking Mevlevi group very
much in the spirit of Rumi (Mevlânâ),
performs the sema each
Thursday evening at the Silivrikapı
Mevlana Cultural Center,
Mevlânakapı Mah., Yeni Tavanlı
Çeşme Sok. No: 8, Silivrikapı,
Fatih, İstanbul (map;
firstname.lastname@example.org, tel +90 (542) 422
1544). The program begins at 19:30 (7:30pm) with a question-and-answer hour, mostly in
Turkish, with some translation into English. This is followed by the singing of hymns, then the sema, ending about 23:00 (11pm).
Performances on December
17, are in honor of Şebi-
Arus (SHEB-ee ah-ROOSS), Mevlana
Jelaleddin Rumi's "wedding
night with God" (the night of
his earthly death).