Where to Watch Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul?

When you come to Istanbul, you’ll see many areas where modern city life and old traditions come together. The historical fabric of this unique city is carefully preserved and many events are held within the framework of respect for historical values.

There are various Ottoman art workshops in Istanbul and some religious ceremonies that you have a chance to participate in. Dervishes, one of the important symbols of religious life in Turkiye, are eye-catching and have religious meanings. During these Dervish dances in Istanbul, a special sherbet is drunk while watching the symphony, and this adds extra sophistication to the event. If you wish to witness this beautiful ceremony and watch the whirling dervishes Istanbul is the best place to do so.

If you wonder where to see whirling dervishes in Istanbul, you are in the right place. We listed the most famous places to watch whirling Dervish shows in Istanbul. Let’s start with the meaning and the history of the whirling dervishes.

What is a Whirling Dervish?

Sufi Whirling is a type of physically active meditation that originated among specific Sufi communities centuries ago, and is still practiced by Mevlevi Sufi Dervishes today. Rumi, a spiritual poet, formed the whirling Dervishes as an order in the 13th century. 

What is the meaning of whirling?

Whirling is distinguished by its continual rotation around a central radical axis while avoiding dizziness. It is a traditional meditation technique conducted during a sema, or worship rite, in which dervishes (also known as semazens) seek to attain the source of all perfection. This is attained through letting go of one’s nefs, ego, or personal desires, listening to music, meditating on God, and spinning one’s body in repeating circles.

Planning a visit to a whirling dervishes show in advance is a good idea. In order to see the best whirling dervish show Istanbul has to offer, you can book your tickets for upcoming shows here:

Best Whirling Dervish Shows in Istanbul

1. HodjaPasha Whirling Dervishes Show

HodjaPasha Whirling Dervishes Show

This is one of the most prestigious places in Istanbul to watch a sema show / Whirling Dervishes show. The venue is one of the show centres where many touring companies perform. The religious ceremony -the dervish dance- is performed to reflect the original ceremony in every detail so you’ll be witnessing Islamic culture firsthand.

Some other dances are performed here as well, yet every day at 7 pm, the Dervish show is available and you can get your ticket on their website.

More Information

Location: View on Google Maps
Phone Number: (0212) 511 46 26

2. Galata Mevlevihanesi Whirling Dervishes Show

Galata Mevlevihanesi

You can also visit the historical Galata Mevlevihanesi to watch the special dervish dance invented by the Mevlevi Dervishes in beautiful surroundings. This building, which is also used as a museum, contains many important historical monuments. After a visit to the museum, you can enjoy the Whirling Dervishes Show, which will take place at 5 am, to add something a little different to your experience. The site, also called Kulekapı Mevlevihanesi, is a historic building that has been used for many years to perform these dances. In 1975 it became a museum as one of the museums in Istanbul.

If you find, as most people do, that Galata is a magnificent place, here is a link to our post about the most famous streets and squares in Istanbul, which includes several spots in Galata: 

More Information

Open Hours: Hours: 9 am- 7 pm – closed on mondays
Location: View on Google Maps
Phone Number: (0212) 245 41 41

Insider Tip

This museum is dedicated to the Mevlevi Order of dervishes, and it offers regular performances of the dervish dance. The museum is also home to a number of artifacts and exhibits related to the history and practice of the dervish dance Istanbul.

3. Yenikapı Mevlevihanesi Whirling Dervishes Show

Yenikapı Mevlevihanesi

Many dervishes, who belonged to the Mevlevi religion, went on to open places of worship in different parts of Istanbul in order to live their religion. This place of worship opened just after the historical Galata Mevlevihanesi, is steeped in history and carefully preserved outside the hours of the sema show.

If you want to watch a real Whirling Dervishes Show with the most authentic ambiance then this is the place to go. Built-in accordance with the Sufi culture, this Mevlevihane was built around the 16th century and is listed among the 14 largest lodges in the world.

More Information

Location: View on Google Maps
Phone Number: (0212) 582 90 70

4. Les Arts Turcs Tours Whirling Dervishes Show

Les Arts Turcs Tours Whirling Dervishes Show

Les Arts Turcs Tours, which is known for its ateliers that combine modernity and history in Istanbul, is also attracting attention with its whirling dervishes shows. The Whirling Dervishes Istanbul event here offers good quality service and has a high customer satisfaction score.

The Real Whirling Dervish Ceremony is held here only on Thursdays. In order to attend, you must make a reservation via the internet or by phone as demand for the dervish dance is high, especially during summer.

You can meet with the officials of the institution in Sultanahmet and go to the ceremony area with them. If you wish, you can return to Sultanahmet, one of the famous tourist attractions in Istanbul, with them again at the end of the ceremony. From there it will be easy to find your hotel.

More Information

Open Hours: 10 am- 9.30 pm / on the weekend: 11.30 am- 9.30 pm
Location: View on Google Maps
Phone Number: (0544) 220 10 22

5. Bahariye Mevlevihanesi Whirling Dervishes Show

Bahariye Mevlevihanesi

To experience a traditional Istanbul Whirling Dervishes Show in a historical place of worship, Bahariye Mevlevihanesi in Eyüp is ideal. It also offers art exhibitions in which religious and mystical works of art are exhibited periodically.

If you’d like, you can visit here on the day of these exhibitions, which are among the best dervish dance Istanbul has to offer, and have the opportunity to examine both the sema show and the works of art that are complementary to this culture.

More Information

Open Hours: 12:00 – 00:00
Location: View on Google Maps
Phone Number: (0212) 501 31 71

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Planning a visit to a whirling dervishes show in advance is a good idea. You can book your tickets for upcoming shows here:

4.7/5 - (8 votes)

Dogus Gulyuva

Born and raised Istanbulite. Keeping an eye on the opportunity to explore this ancient city even more. Trying to do the best for nature.
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