Best time to go to Istanbul

Whirling Dervish Sema Ceremony 2023-2024

Spinning prayers pave their way to the divine and pass on newly established spiritual treasures to spectators

Whirling Dervish Sema Ceremony
Whirling Dervish Sema Ceremony

Whirling Dervishes is not a theatrical performance as one might expect; in fact, it is a religious ceremony that involves chanting and dancing. This unique element of Turkish culture and UNESCO-recognized cultural heritage dates back to the 13th century and is largely associated with contemporary mystic poet and Sufi master Jelaleddin Rumi. He invented such a form of prayer in an attempt to establish a closer relationship with God.

The spectacle is a regular and year-round event. Whirling Dervishes can be observed at numerous venues across Istanbul, yet mostly take place once or twice a week. Some places like Hodjapasha Dance Theatre host the religious performances on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The orchestra lead-in, historic setting, and special effects make for an unforgettable cultural experience.

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin