dervish show in istanbul

Is the Whirling Dervish Show Worth Seeing?

Is the Whirling Dervish Show worth seeing?

Whirling Dervish show, also known as “Mevlevi sema” or simply “sema” in Turkish, is a religious trance dance with music unique to the followers of the Mevlevi Order indigenous to Turkey. Mevlevi Order was founded by the followers of Mevlânâ Celâleddîn-i Rûmî, simply known as “Rumi” in the west, who was a Sufi mystic Islamic scholar and a prominent poet.

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Sufism, which is the practice of Islamic mysticism with a focus on spirituality, has many different orders with a wide range of different approaches and rituals but is always focused on getting closer to God and embracing divine presence in life. The unique approach of the Mevlevi Order, however, is that this goal can be achieved through a physically active meditation, that is spinning in harmony with mystical music.

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Is the Whirling Dervish Show worth seeing

Many other orthodox Sufis prohibit dancing and music in an attempt to draw closer to God, but for Mevlevi practitioners, this is the way. Music, dance, and trance, the Mevlevi practitioners who do the whirling dervish dance, go in full trance mode while spinning with one hand facing the sky and one hand facing the earth, accompanied by mystic oriental music in an attempt to let go of their desires and ego, and focus on getting closer to God and divinity.

Sema, or the “Whirling Dervish Show” isn’t for everybody, as it is quite repetitive, which is in the nature of most religious trances. It can, however, be very moving and intense if you’re a believer or practitioner of spirituality. I know people who go to a dervish show and get bored after 5 minutes, but I also know people who break into tears and enjoy every single moment. Note that it is not “entertainment”, it’s a religious trance and is very unique. Unless you come from a similar culture, chances are you have never seen anything like it.

Where to watch the Whirling Dervish Show in Istanbul?

Is the Whirling Dervish Show worth seeing

There are quite a few places where you can watch the Whirling Dervish Show in Istanbul, however, it is quite important to go to a genuine one, one that is done properly and diligently. You will be given plenty of options by numerous people during your visit, but most of these shows are done in small places by semi-professionals with not so much impact. If you want to see the best whirling dervish show there is to see in Istanbul, our recommendation is hands-down, Hodjapasha Culture Center. It is legit, it is professional, it is pleasing to the eye, well-organized, and presented with grace.

If you’d like to watch a Whirling Dervish Show, make sure you book in advance as the show happens only once or twice a day (depending on the season) and the seats are limited. Click here to book a spot on the next Whirling Dervish Show.