Whirling Dervish Sema Ceremony Featured in
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.