10 Aralık 2013 Salı

Where Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul?


"Come, come again, whoever you are, come!
Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!
Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,
Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are."

                                         Mevlana Jelaleddin-i Rumi

The best place to witness the Whirling Dervishes is of course in Konya, where the Mevlevi order (tarikat) was founded in the 13th century. But also in Istanbul, you have plenty of opportunities to see the Dervishes whirl. And because of the many choices, visitors often ask me: “What is the best place to watch a Whirling Dervishes performance, and what is it really all about?”

What Are the Whirling Dervishes?

The Whirling Dervishes took their name from Jelaleddin Rumi (1207-1273), the mystical poet and great Sufi master, called Mevlana (our leader) by his disciples. Sufis seek a close relationship with God, and for Mevlana it was through chants, prayers, music and a whirling dance.

This ceremony (sema) can be witnessed by visitors just like you. Keep in mind though that although it may look a bit like a performance, it is still a religious ceremony. Refrain from talking, leaving your seat or taking pictures with a flash while the dervishes are spinning.

Where to Best Catch a Whirling Dervishes Performance?

Whirling Dervishes in action.

The Galata Mevlevihanesi, or tekke, is a undoubtedly the most famous Mevlevi Whirling Dervish hall. It is located on Galipdede Caddesi, not far from Tünel at the end of Istiklal Caddesi. Also called the Galata Lodge, the first and only original dervish hall in the city.


Act like the sun in love and compassion!

Act like a river in friendship and fraternity!

Act like the night in covering the faults of others!
Act like the soil in humility and selflessness
Act like dead one in anger and furry!
Act in accordence with the way you look!
Act in accordance with the way you act!

                                                        Mevlana Jelaleddini Rumi 

About the Galata Mevlevihanesi

The Galata tekke has a long and revered history, having been founded in 1491 by a Ottoman grandee from the palace of Sultan Beyazit II. The tekke's first şeyh (sheikh, leader) was Muhammed Semaî Sultan Divanî, a descendant of Mevlâna Jelaleddin Rumî himself.

The building you see is not the original, which burned in 1765, but its replacement, which dates from 1796 and was extensively restored during the 19th century, also between 1967 and 1972, and again in 2008. 

The museum is open daily except Monday from 09:00am to 16:30 (4:30pm), with last entry at 16:00 (4pm). There is a small admission fee.

Galip Dede, a renowned 17th-century sheikh of this tekke, is buried in an ornate tomb to the left as you enter from the street. 

Before reading even one more word, begin playing a song that calms your psyche and rouses your soul. Step away from your computer into the part of the room where you won’t crack your head when you fall. Now spin. Spin until your eyes fall back into your head and bile forms in the back of your throat. Spin until your face turns green. Spin until you lose consciousness.

Better? Now consider the Mevlevi Brotherhood, more famously known as “The Whirling Dervishes,” who believe that closeness with one’s gods is achieved by elaborate whirling. They also twirl. And at certain moments, you might see something suspiciously like a spin. It’s the whirling that gets you, though.
Much is made of Istanbul’s physical/cultural/spiritual position as the Earth’s definitive crossroads. When you begin, for instance, at the Beyoglu end of Istiklal Caddesi—arguably the busiest pedestrian street in the world—you are still in a Europe teeming with old cafés and modern art galleries, pocked by all the obvious global brands. But towards the minaret-riddled Golden Horn side, Caddesi dissipates into a maze of hazy side lanes; one becomes an underground tunnel, where the world’s second oldest metro creaks down a steep hill, beneath mosques and ancient baths, to the Galata bridge where old men fish for sardines and drink thick coffee and smoke nargile and hatch wondrous plots over the Golden Horn.

For more info please visit http://www.galatamevlevihanesimuzesi.gov.tr/en/index.html

by Erlend Geerts

                                                         Please listen the Mevlevi Chant 

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