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Whirling dervishes: the mystic dance

art & culture

Discover the history of whirling dervishes and attend a ceremony at the Galata Mevlevi Museum.

This former convent was built in 1491 to host the Mevlevi lodge, an order of dervishes founded in the 13th century under the Ottoman Empire. The Sufi brotherhoods, faithful to the origins of Islam, emphasise the unity of humanity before God. His disciples communicate with the latter by a form of prayer, accompanied by music, body movement, and quotes from the Koran. Dervish orders were banned in 1925 by Kemal Atatürk because of their conservatism.

It has since been re-established, but there are very few practitioners. Whirling dervish ceremonies are held on Saturdays and Sundays at 5:00 p.m. at the Galata Mevlevi Museum. Stay completely silent: it is a mystical moment, shared in communion, and selflessness is supposed to promote contact with the divine.

The museum houses a room of the order of dervishes, which displays clothes, turbans, and musical instruments. There is a small, very beautiful cemetery in the courtyard.

Galata Mevlevi Museum
Şahkulu Mah.
Galipdede Caddesi 15
34420 Istanbul

+90 212 245 41 41

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