dervish dance

Whirling Dervish Istanbul 2024 – Dance Show

Enjoy the entertaining Whirling Dervish Dancing Show in Istanbul.

€ 35
1 hour
Dance spectacle

Whirling Dervish show in Istanbul

See the stunning Mevlevi Sema ceremony while in Istanbul. Enjoy a complex musical and dance repertoire with whirling dervishes and set out on a mystical dance journey showing man’s spiritual ascent through mind, perfection, and love.


Whirling Dervishes Performance

Enjoy the Mevlevi Sema ceremony at the HodjaPasha Culture Center in central Istanbul and see the whirling dances and dervishes. Enjoy complimentary drinks during the show.

Step inside a 550-year-old Ottoman Turkish bath in Sultanahmet-Sirkeci and take your place right in front of the dancing stage. Learn more about the Mevlevi Sema from the provided booklet and displays in the cultural center.

The Mevlevi Sufi order spread gradually through the Ottoman Empire from its founding in 1273. Today, Mevlevi communities are found throughout the world, but Istanbul remains the most active center of the order’s activity.

The program begins with a classical Turkish music concert and continues with amazing dancing acts that will leave you in awe.

Following the chant, hear the drum voice as the dervishes perform the seven-part Sema ceremony, representing humanity’s birth. During the choreography, they pray and enter a trance-like state, spinning faster and faster. They raise their right palm heavenward to receive blessings from God while their left palm points to the ground, symbolizing the transmission of those blessings to Earth. The Sema ends with a recitation of the Fâtiha, a prayer for the well-being and prosperity of the nation and its people.

  • Ticket to the ceremony
  • Program booklet
  • Bottled drinking water
X not suitable for
  • Children under 7 years
  • Wheelchair users

Meeting Point

Arrive at the Hodjapasha Culture Center, located about 100 meters from the Sirkeci Train Station, and continue inside to scan your ticket.

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Fast & Easy Online Booking Process!

Memorable Experience

Enter the HodjaPasha Culture Center, a restored Ottoman Turkish bath, and see an extraordinary dance show that dates back 800 years.

Traditional Music and Dances

Watch the miraculous whirling dervishes and enjoy a fantastic musical repertoire while you learn something about the Mevlevi Sema spiritual journey.

whirling doll


Can you see whirling dervishes in Istanbul?

Yes, in fact, we highly recommend you to go and see the whirling dervishes show while staying in Istanbul. You can easily book your tickets online and in advance.

Where can I watch dervish dance in Istanbul?

The Whirling Dervish Show is held in the HodjaPasha Cultural Center in Istanbul. The Cultural Center is located close to the tourist center of Istanbul, which is Sultanahmet Square.

What is a whirling dervish?

The Whirling Dervishes, also known as the Mevlevi, are a Sufi order. The sect was founded in 1273 in the Turkish city of Konya, located south of Ankara. The ‘whirling’ ceremony that the Mevlevi order is known for is a ritual designed to bring participants closer to God.

Why do whirling dervishes spin?

Spinning is a way for Dervishes to worship God. Dervishes live in monastic conditions, similar to Christian monks, and take a vow of poverty. The ritual is sacred and focuses on the relationship between man and God and between body and soul. If you want to have an unforgettable experience while traveling to Istanbul, we highly recommend going to the Whirling Dervish Dance Show.
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Whirling Dervish Show

Fun Facts

  • In 2005, the United Nations’ cultural body, UNESCO, proclaimed the dervishes’ ritual a masterpiece of “the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.”
  • From the 13th century, dancers used to spend 1,001 days in Mevlevi-houses (mevlevihane) practicing prayer, musical performances, poetry, and dance skills while learning about ethics and codes of behavior. After this training, they remained members of the order but returned to their work and families.
  • Turkey’s very first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, closed all hermitages and orders in 1925. The Turkish government allowed Whirling Dervish performances again in the 1950s, but only in public. The rest of the restrictions were eased in the 1990s.
  • Traditionally, the Whirling Dervish dance has only been performed by men, but now things are changing. In Istanbul, both men and women can participate in the ritual.

Valuable tips for visiting the Whirling Dervish Dance Show

  • Book your tickets in advance! Tickets for the Whirling Dervish Dance Show sell out quickly. For that reason, it is highly recommended to book your tickets early.
  • Make sure to arrive at least 10 minutes before your scheduled time.Seats are allocated on the basis of first booked first served. Please note that guests will be denied entry to the site once the show starts. 
  • Please dress appropriately. You aren’t required to be in formal dress but consider that this show is of a spiritual and religious nature. 
  • No photographs or videos are allowed. You are not allowed to take photos or record videos once the show starts.
  • Applauses are prohibited. 
  • Children under the age of 7 are not permitted.
about dervishes

A must-do activity!

This was definitely a highlight of my trip. The cultural center is a short walking distance from the city center in Sultanahmet Square. The venue was majestic (the old train station depot for the Orient Express), and the price was amazing for the show you get to see. If you’re in Istanbul, this is the one thing I would recommend you check out.


I had a great time!

A great way to spend a night is by seeing this whirling dervish ceremony in Istanbul. It will leave you in awe! I had so much fun, and the dancers and musicians were so talented. It’s something I would like to see again if I were in Istanbul.


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