The Whirling Dervishes

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Istanbul, Turkey

The Whirling Dervishes Istanbul Reviews

irenem irenem
152 reviews
The Whirling Dervishes Feb 25, 2017
The Galata Mevlevihanesi, is off the beaten track despite the fact it is right in the heart of Istanbul. It is located in Beyoglu not far from the Tunel. Actually, come to think of it, the Tunel itself is well worth visiting.The Tunel is one of the shortest underground rides in the world. It only has two stations: one in Karaköy at the bottom of Galata Hill, and one in Beyoglu at the top of the hill near the Galata Tower. The Tunel line is 573 metres long and was opened on January the 17th, 1875. It is the second-oldest underground line in the world. Only the London Underground, which dates from 1863, is older. The Tunel was created by French engineer, Eugène-Henri Gavand, during the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz. A ride on this line lasts about one and a half minutes!

Anyway near the top station of the Tunel there is an old building with a small sign revealing that it is the Galata Mevlevihanesi, a Mevlevi Whirling Dervish hall and museum. We loved this museum because it was amazingly peaceful inside. Outside you are not far from the end of traffic congested Istiklal Caddesi with its blaring horns and exhaust fumes. Through the entrance of the

museum, you are in a peaceful garden with beautiful ornate tombstones and roses. The museum has information about the Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes and a hall where they still conduct their whirling ceremony. If you want to see them whirl, check their schedule and buy a ticket for the ceremony in the museum shop.

I personally only saw a Whirling Dervish Ceremony once and that was in the Atatürk Cultural Centre.

The Whirling Dervishes were founded by Mevlani. Legend states that he was walking through his local marketplace one day, when he heard the rhythmic hammering of the goldbeaters. Their hammering sounded to him like the words: "There is no God but Allah". Mevlani was so filled with joy at this sound that he spontaneously stretched out his arms and started spinning in a circle - the Whirling Dervish was born.

Whirling Dervishes wear a white gown to symbolize death, a black cloak to symbolize the grave and a tall brown hat to symbolize the gravestone. At one point in the ceremony they throw off their black cloaks and spin on their left foot with their right palm facing upwards towards Heaven and their left hand pointing downwards towards the Earth. The whole ceremony symbolizes man achieving a deep sense of happiness through submitting himself to the will of God.

The Galata Mevlevihanesi was founded in 1491 by a nobleman from the palace of Sultan Beyazit II. The first leader of the Mevlevihanesi was Muhammed Semaî Sultan Divanî. He was a descendant of Mevlâna, the founder of the Whirling Dervish Sect. The original Mevlevihanesi was burnt down in 1765 and rebuilt in 1796.

In the peaceful, rose filled garden there were several Ottoman style tombstones. One is the grave of Galip Dede, the leader of the Galata Mevlevihanesi in the seventeenth century. One is the grave of

Kumbaraci Ahmet Pasha, the Islamic name of Claude Alexandre, Comte de Bonneval, a French nobleman who converted to Islam and entered the service of the Ottoman sultan. Another tomb is that of Ibrahim Müteferrika a Hungarian from Transylvania who converted to Islam and established the first Arabic moveable-type printing press in the Ottoman Empire in the 1720s.

For this tip I will add a photo of the Whirling Dervish Ceremony. I did not take this photo; I bought it probably inthe shop of this museum. I cannot write the name of the real photographer as I do not know who it was. My own photos of the Whirling Dervish Ceremony were taken with a camera with no zoom and they are very

poor quality.
A bought photo of the Whirling Der…
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