Whirling Dervishes Of Istanbul: When And Where To Find Them

Courtesy of Hodjapasha
Courtesy of Hodjapasha
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

The whirling dervish may have become an iconic image synonymous with Istanbul, but its roots lie with Sufism and the Mevlevi Order, which was formed in 1312 in the Turkish city of Konya. Sufis are followers of the 13th century Persian poet, Islamic theologian, and Sufi mystic Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (or Mevlânâ). Nowadays, the whirling dervishes have become a cultural spectacle with many displays organised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. We take a look at some of the best places to watch the dervishes in all their glory.

1. Sirkeci Train Station

Train Station

Istanbul Sirkeci
© Martin Dürrschnabel/Wikimedia Commons
Built in 1890 by the Oriental Railway, the Sirkeci Train Station is as much part of the city’s symbols as the Haydarpaşa Train Station on the Asian side. After the Crimean War, a railway connecting Europe with Istanbul was seen as essential by the Ottoman authorities, and one of the country’s most famous railways, the Orient Express, began running from Paris to Istanbul beginning in 1883 until 1977. It is also in this striking and nostalgic environment that the Whirling Dervishes are especially inspiring, and regular performances are held every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday at 7:30pm with an admission fee.

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