Whirling Dervish Ceremony

You are most welcome to witness the pray of the dervish and discover the spiritual face of Istanbul in an authentic house/museum that reflects the lives and art of Dervishes in Istanbul.

€16.00 €20.00

IMPORTANT NOTE: Our Location for our Ceremony is changed between 18.05.22 and 18.06.22. Our performance is now being performed at a 5-centuries old a 16th century madrasah (school) at the heart of the old downtown. The exact location on the map is here:

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

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. Our modest house is open for everybody who wish to learn about the way of tolerance and unity.

The ceremony starts at 19:00 and the usual duration is about an hour. If you wish, you can visit the house of Ismail Dede Efendi's house upstairs after the event. This would be make your experience more complete to learn about the arts of sufi masters. 

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. 

About the Ismail Dede Efendi Mevlevi House

Dede Efendi had been a very preeminent figure among the tradition of Sufi Dervishes in Istanbul. This elegant building, with purple wooden walls rising on white stones, was restored in 1980s by an Association that is funding the Preservation of Historic Houses of Turkey (TÜRKEV). The two-story house, where Dede Efendi lived between 1818 and 1846, was so transformed into a museum dedicated to the lives and arts of Mevlevi Dervishes. On the upper floor, there are two bedrooms, while in the first floor there is a large salon. The is now used as a museum.

The decorative style, from marblings and calligraphy to the furniture details, the rooms reveal the Ottoman culture in a very authentic way. Meanwhile, there will be several instruments from reed flutes to drums and lutes, which gave the voice to classical Turkish culture. 

Location, Starting Times and Tickets 

In the high season, everyday at 18:30 the ceremony starts with live instrumental Sufi music. If there is a day-off, you will notice on the calendar of the booking options. 

During the period, from October to April, you may find thee most up-to-date schedule on the booking screen. 

The location is Ismail Dede Efendi Dervish House in Istanbul that is a few minutes walking distance from the Blue Mosque. 

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.”

FAQ about the Whirling Dervishes and Mevlevi Order

Where can I watch whirling dervishes Daily in Istanbul Old Town?

Sufi whirling dervishes perform inside the Ismail Dede Efendi. You can check their schedule clicking here and book if you wish!

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 for the terms like Mevlevi, Sufi, Semazen and Dervish.

Do you need early booking for the Whirling Dervishes Show before the event?

In this traditional house of the Sufi Dervish, the space is limited unlike the modern venues. So, it is recommended to reserve before the day of the event. The Whirling Dervishes Ceremonies can get sold out easily in Istanbul!


Ahmad (France) - 2022-03-11 02:57:43

we loved it

Mira (Spain) - 2022-01-02 00:28:02

venue, instrumental music, ceremony all transcendental

Leandra (Canada) - 2021-12-15 20:07:32

the location, the house and the ceremony all together left a huge impression on us. glad we did it.

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