Marveling at the Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul

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Whirling Dervish at the Hoja Pasa Hamam.
Whirling Dervish at the Hoja Pasa Hamam.

One of the icons that foreigners associate with Turkey is that of the whirling Dervish.

Wearing a white robe and tall felt hat, a Suni Muslim from the Mevlani order enters into a trance and with all the solemnity and devoutness of the faithful, whirls and whirls and whirls.

As a tourist, we always want to experience, or at least view, important ceremonies or traditions of the country we are visiting, and this is one of those ceremonies. 

In December of each year, there are many shows in Konya, the city of origin, but you can see a shortened and somewhat informational version any day at the Hoja Pasha Art and Culture Center in Istanbul, so even if you only have one day in Istanbul, go.

The show is held in a 550 year restored haman (public bath) and costs about 40 Tl. for a one hour show.  It is a small venue so you can see and hear everything well no matter where you are seated.

The show begins with some traditional music, and then slowly the Dervishes come out, reveal their white robes, pray, and begin to whirl.  It is a touching ceremony, and just long enough for you to really appreciate their devoutness.

Also take a look at this awesome article about the various mosques in Istanbul.

If you would like to make reservations phone: +90-212-211-4626 or 4636 or email:

For more Istanbul sights and how to pay for them, check out: Is the Istanbul Museum Pass worth your money?

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