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History Entrance Ticket

Whirling Dervishes Show Entrance Ticket

Witness the 800-year-old ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes. Enjoy the live music accompaniment and be mesmerised by the graceful movement!

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Duration 1 Hour

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The Whirling Dervishes are must-see for first-time visitors to Istanbul. You'll witness the mystical religious ceremony of the Mevlevi Order, which has been classified as an important cultural practice by UNESCO. The Sema ceremony is a spiritual journey of man seeking a close relationship with God. It's an unmissable experience that will have you mesmerised!

Witness the 800-year-old ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes. Enjoy the live music accompaniment and be mesmerised by the graceful movement!

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  • Discover the historic Whirling Dervishes ritual of the Mevlevi order.
  • Enjoy the classical orchestra and Mitrip Band accompaniment.
  • Show start time > 19:00

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Know Before You Go

Children under the age of 7 are not allowed into the show by the venue. Please note that an E-mail concerning the reservation will be sent to you after the purchase


A General View To The Whirling Dervishes

The Whirling Dervishes, also known as ‘Sufi Whirling’ or ‘Semazen,’ perform the most mystical dance globally. The dance, in other words, a mediation or cultural show, was created and developed with the inspiration of Mevlana (1207 - 1273). When looked at more deeply, it is the dhikr ritual of the Whirling Dervishes. The ceremony is accompanied by mostly ‘ney,’ a traditional Turkish instrument. The ritual they perform is spreading their arms to both sides, turning their right palm to the sky and their left palm to the earth, taking from God, and giving to the people. Music is an instrument that helps meditation, and the sky has visible and invisible aspects. When you go see this cultural show, first, the Mesnevi is read, then they pray, and dhikr is performed. The ritual takes place in Hodjapasha Dance Theater, one of the must-see tourist attractions.

Get To Know Mevlana

Before watching the cultural show Whirling Dervishes, everyone should have some knowledge about the great philosopher Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. Mevlana exhibited a Sufi understanding based on divine love, blended with music, sema, and poetry during his lifetime. He never aimed at establishing a sect, his mystical understanding, and life, which he put forward in his lifetime. But the Mevlevi order, which would be established by those who came after him, was structured within the framework of the principles revealed by Mevlana and became a sect. Mevlana’s famous 7 Advices are:

Be like a stream of generosity and help.
Be like the sun in tenderness and mercy.
Be like the night in covering others' flaws.
Be like the dead in anger and irritability.
Be like the earth in humility and humility.
Be like the sea in tolerance.
Either appear as you are or be as you look.

Why Are They Whirling?

Whirling Dervishes’ basic condition of existence is to whirle and reach higher spiritual levels, which is worth seeing as a tourist attraction. Since everything in this cultural show has a different meaning and beauty, Hodjapasha Dance Theater is one of the best places to visit in İstanbul. In this special show, from the shape of the area called Semahane, to the colors of the skins on which the Whirling Dervishes are sitting, from every garment that they wear to every move they make, all of them represent a symbol. For example, Semahane is a circular area and symbolizes the universe. Red is the color of 'vuslat', the color of meeting Allah. Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi met Allah as the sun was setting. As it is known, the sky turns red both at sunset and at sunrise. As for the dress of the Whirling Dervish; 

The coin (sikke) represents the gravestone of man's bad habits.
His white dress represents his shroud. 
The cardigan he wears represents his will.
When the Whirling Dervish starts the sema, he takes off his cardigan and takes a step towards a spiritual cleansing. The standing of the Whirling Dervishes with crossed arms expresses the oneness of Allah. It is as if he embraces the universe with all his heart as he turns from right to left by spreading his arms to both sides. With his right hand facing the sky, he distributes what he receives from God to the people with his left hand facing the earth. In this cultural show, the disappearance of Whirling Dervishes in the belief of Allah is also emphasized.

A Closer Look at the Whirling Dervishes

They are whirling, but they are not having dizziness, however, there’s an explanation for that. There are three semicircular canals in the inner ear, the three channels are equidistant from each other. Whirling Dervishes also tilt their heads 20-25 degrees to the right while performing whirling, since it is tilted to the right; the three channels are stimulated equally and dizziness is not experienced. Whirling Dervishes whirl on their left foot after tilting their heads to the right. During the whirling, their eyes are half-open, and they look at the thumb of their left hand, which replaces the horizon line. The axis of rotation of the whirling dervish passes through the head, heart, and left leg. If the left foot is rotated on a single axis around the heart and head axis, dizziness will be minimized. In addition, semazens prevent the drowsiness that occurs in their heads by making dhikr during the sema. Whirling Dervishes never close their eyes, keep them slightly open and see their surroundings.

The Importance Of Hodjapasha Dance Theater

Hodjapasha Dance Theater is actually a double hammam, Turkish bath, built in 1470 by Hodja Sinan Pasha, the teacher and vizier of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, and used as a bath until 1988. Hodjapasha Bath, which is a large structure with its high domes, was built of cut stone with brick beams. It has neat lines and corner squinches in the shape of a peacock tail. Today, the place is called Hodjapasha Cultural Center, is located inside the historical Hodjapasha Bath in Sirkeci, which is used as a bazaar today.

Frequently Asked Question

What is a whirling dervish and why is it called that?
The sufi dervishes are also known as the “whirling dervishes” due to their famous practice of whirling as a form of remembrance of God. Dervish is a common term for an initiate of the Sufi path; whirling is part of the formal sema ceremony and the participants are properly known as semazens.
Do whirling dervishes still exist?
The whirling dervishes ceremony is commonly a cultural asset now more than a religious act. ıt is not a common way of Islamic belief and is not practiced as a common religious ritual.
What religion is the whirling dervish?
Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam, and it emphasizes universal love, peace, acceptance of various spiritual paths, and a mystical union with God. It is associated with the dancing of whirling dervishes, who originated in the 13th century as followers of the poet and Muslim mystic, Rumi

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Whirling Dervishes Show Entrance Ticket
Total Price 32.00 €
12 January 2022
2 Adult(s), 1 Child
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