Whirling Dervishes Show
#93 in Istanbul
The Whirling Dervishes are must-see for first-time visitors to Istanbul. You'll witness a unique religious ceremony which is believed to bring the dervishes closer to God. This spiritual ritual of the Mevlevi Order, accompanied by traditional music, will have you mesmerised! You'll also enjoy complimentary beverages before the show.
Experience the spiritual side of Turkish culture and broaden your horizons!
Hours & Schedule
How To Get There?
Take the T1 tram line to Sirkeci station. Walk up Ankara Street and take the first street on the left, Hocapaşa Hamamı Sk. The show takes place at the Hodjapasha Dance Theatre.
- One-time admission to the Whirling Dervishes Show is included.
- You will receive an email confirming your reservation.
- Last-minute reservations are acceptable, subject to availability, but we recommend that you make your reservation the day before you hope to attend to avoid disappointment.
- Pick-up to or drop-off from the hotel is NOT INCLUDED.
- Since the ceremony requires utmost silence, children under the age of 7 are not allowed in the show by the venue.
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Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi Order are one of the most famous and unique cultural symbols of Turkey. Watching these Sufi Dervishes perform their mesmerizing show live should be at the top of your list of to-dos in Istanbul. If you are interested in seeing these dervishes, which attract thousands of tourists each year, here are everything you need to know about them.
Most people know about the Whirling Dervishes Show of Turkey, but a lot less know about their extensive history and what their whirling means. Their history dates back more than 700 years as a part of Sufism and the Mevlevi Order.
Islam has many orders, and Sufism is one of the most known ones. It is directly associated with the inward search for God and a mystical dimension that shuns materialism. The Mevlevi Order was formed back in 1312 in the city of Konya. It was formed by the followers of the famous Mevlana Celaleddiin-i Rumi, or just Mevlana. He was a Persian poet and Islamic theologian and almost everyone in Turkey knows his name. He had 4 children, and one of them, Sultan Walad, formed the order in Konya and this movement got into the surrounding cities quickly. At its peak, the Mevlevi Order had more than 110 tekkes founded in the Ottoman Empire, even outside the boundaries of Anatolia.
the fall of the Ottoman Empire following WWI, Republic of Turkey was born.
Tekkes and religious organizations, including the Sufis, were declared illegal
because of the way they distorted religion, manipulated people and got into
politics. The tekkes were closed down, and their buildings either became
mosques or museums. Today, there are two large Mevlevi houses that remain in
Turkey: the Mevlana Museum (or the Mevlana Dervish Lodge) in Konya, which
Mevlana used during his life and where he is buried now, and the Galata Mevlevi
Lodge in Istanbul, which is a museum today. Though tekkes are still banned,
public Whirling Dervish shows were permitted in the year of 1953, and they have
been attracting millions of tourists ever since.
The Dervishes ‘whirl’ in these 7-century old performances as a form of dhikr. These performances were originally a weekly remembrance of God in which the whole Mevlevi communities were present. The white robe of the dervishes symbolizes the burial robe and their turban symbolizes the tombstone of the human ego. They come to the stage with black cardigans, which symbolizes the tomb, and they take these off before starting to whirl. All of these symbolize one’s rebirth on the way to becoming the “perfect human being”. While whirling, they open their arms to the sky, telling God that they are ready to receive his love and gift. Their left hand faces downward, toward the earth, symbolizing the fact that they are transferring the God’s love and gift to those who are watching the Sema show.
Whirling Dervish Show ticket prices for adults are 110 Turkish Liras (22
USD) for each ticket. If you have children, Whirling Dervish Show entrance
fees for children between 7 – 12 years is 80 Turkish Liras (16 USD).
Children below 6 years of age are not allowed to the
Whirling Dervish Show times are 7 PM every day. It lasts about 1 hour and there is a complimentary hot and cold drink offering before the show. Make sure you arrive on time, because if you can’t make it to the show’s first 15 minutes, your Dervish Show tickets will not be accepted and you won’t be able to enter the show. Taking photographs during the show is not allowed.
Dervishes Show Location
The most famous place that hosts Sema whirling dervishes is the Hodjapasha. If you are on the European side of the Istanbul, the easiest way of getting to the Hodjapasha is using the Kabatas – Bagcilar tramway line and getting off at the Sirkeci station. From there, Hodjapasha is a 5-minute walk away.
To get to the Hodjapasha from the Anatolian side of Istanbul, you can hop on an Eminonu ferry from Uskudar or Kadikoy. Hodjapasha is not that far away from Eminonu, so you can walk there in 10 to 15 minutes. But you can still get on the Kabatas – Bagcilar tramway line from Eminonu and get off at the Sirkeci, which is only 1 stop away. A faster and more efficient way of getting to the Hodjapasha from the Anatolian side would be using the Marmaray to go to the Sirkeci.
of its location in the Fatih district, there are many more culturally and
historically significant places you can visit near Hodjapasha.
Grand Bazaar is also located in Fatih and is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. It has 61 streets and more than 4,000 stores. Join a Grand Bazaar guided tour and get lost in this large bazaar which has almost anything you are looking for.
Topkapi Palace is another famous and historically important place in Istanbul. This large museum was built after the conquest of Istanbul, and functioned as the most important palace in the Ottoman Empire for centuries. Today, its most important parts are open to the public. Get a Topkapı Palace ticket to learn about the Ottoman history first-hand.
Another very popular touristic attraction in Fatih is the Hagia Sophia Museum. Being centuries old, this unique monument has the history of Istanbul embedded in its walls with its wonderful architecture and mosaics. Buy a Hagia Sophia Museum ticket to experience the history of Istanbul in this mesmerizing museum.
and Islamic Arts Museum is our last choice for the great attractions near Hodjapasha
Whirling Dervishes Show. The many examples of Turkish and Islamic art will
complement the Whirling Dervishes show, and they let you see how Turkish
people’s meeting with Islam affected their art. Grab a Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum ticket and experience some of the best examples of the arts that were born in
To visit all of these significant attractions at your heart’s desire and save money, getting a Istanbul Tourist Pass is also a great choice.