First of all we need to clarify the basis of Sufism, to understand what we’re talking about. Sufism, in Arabic “tasavvuf”, is a general term used to refer esoteric aspect of Islam. The Mevlevi order, in turkish “mevlevilik”, is one of the many “tarikat” sufiste, founded in the thirteenth century by Celaleddin-i Rumi and is spread widely in Syria and Anatolia. The term “tarikat” means brotherhood, and the brotherhoods sufiste, just like those of monks and nuns in the Catholic religion, have different founders, different “rules”, but they fit entirely within the Muslim religion, accepting all theories of the Koran and the Prophet Muhammad. this event
Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi (born in today’s Afghanistan), strongly influenced by his father, became a university professor in the Madrasa of the Anatolian city of Konya, where his family was finally established after having wandered in several eastern cities. His life was totally dedicated to the search for religious enlightenment and reunification with the love of God. The day of his death is called Seb-i Arus and is commemorated on December 17 in Turkey with various events, the most important of them takes place in Konya, where ‘marriage’ (as this event is called) lasts 17 days. Mevlana left a huge number of works in prose and poetry, and a brotherhood that has arrived to the present day. His descendants still live in fact in Turkey, where they formed an organization in order to protect this great tradition. To learn about this discipline, always fascinating but very complex, the board is just one: read a lot …
Once you are in Istanbul, though, you’ll definitely have some more chance to get a visual experience of the so-called whirling dervishes. Istanbul was one of the cities in which Sufism took root more than others, and it is for this reason that there are several “Mevlevihane” (special places where Sufis practice their rituals) within the city.
The advice I give is to have a clear idea of what you want to see. If you want to attend a “show” you will be spoiled for choice, because now there are many who take advantage of the popularity of Sufism and to present it as a show (for a fee of course) in some places absolutely not relevant, such as in a Sultanahmet cafe or at the Sirkeci train station.
Even at some famous tekke, such as the Galata Tekke, the ceremony took on the connotation of the show, and despite everything takes place in a serious order and in a fascinating location, it is quite clear the commercialization of the product.
If you want to attend a real “ceremony” you’ll have to reckon with more effort, both to reach tekkes found in remote areas of the city, moreover in true religious ceremonies the dance of the dervishes is only a marginal part of a rite involving prayers, songs, live music that lasts almost three hours. To attend a ceremony of this type (for example at the Tekke of Karagumruk) is certainly a great privilege, especially because community members welcome visitors warmly. They ‘must, however, have the utmost respect, starting from clothes, and they need to turn off cameras and mobile phones, also men and women must sit in separate areas. Remember it’s a ritual, not a show, consequently for those who are not really interested may easily get bored. We therefore recommend the participation only people really interested.
If your desire is just to see the famous dance of the dervishes and not lose too much time we would absolutely recommend a ceremony demonstration with an admission fee.
Here is a list of the main places in which you can attend ceremonies or events (as of October 2015, we are not responsible for any changes in time and / or day that can happen at certain times of the year):
– Yenikapı Mevlevihanesi: Restored in 2010 was initially given under direct management to the Mevlana Foundation, chaired by Faruk Çelebi Hemdem (22nd grandson of Mevlana Rumi). The complex is entered later in the possession of the University of Fatih, and inside there are regular classes for students. But the ceremonies are held the first and the third Thursday of the month and every last Friday of the month, starting at 19. Admission is free but booking is required by phone, which can be done from your hotel, at the following number: 0090 212 5829070 or through the convenient online form. Address: Mevlevihane Caddesi # 25, Merkez Efendi Mah, Zeytinburnu. Management by the Mevlana Foundation.
– Silivrikapı Mevlevihanesi: here ceremonies are held every Thursday, from 19.30 to 23. The price is 35 Turkish lira, no reservation required. Address: Yeni Tavanlı Çeşme Sokak No # 8, Mevlânakapı Mahallesi, Silivrikapı. Management by the EMAV.
– Tekke of Karagümrük (Nurettin Cerrahi Tekkesi): This is the home of the order of Sufis Cerrahi. An old building where the typical ceremon of this order takes place, during which they practice the whirling along wth the religious hymns accompanied with music.. The ceremonies are held every Monday night at 21. Admission free, booking is not possible. Address: Canfeda Cami Sokak, Derviş Ali Mah Fatih
– Zawie (small Tekke) of Fatih: Part of the Cerrahi order, this is a real academy of Sema. Every Sunday the ceremony is performed based on the tradition of the founder of the order, Jalal ad-Din Rumi. It is much smaller and less impressive than the tekke Karagümrük as venue, but the Master is a terrific host and not let you go without sharing a typical Sufi meal. The meeting is on Sunday at the end of the sunset prayer in the courtyard of the Fatih Mosque, where someone will escort you to Zawie.
– Galata Mevlevihanesi: Ceremonies are held every Sunday at 17 and replication at 18. The price is 50 Turkish Liras. You can not book but you can buy the ticket from Saturday morning. Address: Galip Dede Caddesi No. 15, Sahkulu Mahallesi, Beyoğlu. Management by the Mekder Association.
– Cultural Centre Hodjapasha: Entertainment center in a well restored ancient Hamam situated in Sirkeci, in care of the cultural center Hocapaşa. Tickets for the show of dervishes (daily at 19 except Mondays and Fridays) costs 60 Liras. Reservations are required, we are available for this purpose. The cultural center also organizes performances of folk dances including belly dancing.