Galata Mevlevi Whirling Dervish House and Museum

Whirling dervishes fascinate me. Belonging to the order of Sufism, they dedicate themselves to a life of poverty and spinning around, the latter of which I do not understand.

Other people take hard-core drugs to achieve the same euphoric state of mind that the whirling dervishes achieve by going around and around in circles.

Galata Mevlevi

They detach themselves from the here and now, to reach a state of religious ecstasy that I think can be achieved in easier ways.

To be honest, the whirling dervish shows do not interest me. How many times can you watch someone go round and round before you get bored?

It is the history of the whirling dervishes and Sufism that intrigues me more.

Galata Mevlevi Whirling Dervish House and Museum

Galata Mevlevi Whirling Dervish Museum in Istanbul

Whirling dervishes belong to the order of Sufism, one of the many branches of Islam. So when in Istanbul, I was eager visit the  Galata Mevlevi Whirling Dervish House and Museum, which was a fully functioning house dating from 1491.

Galata Mevlevi Whirling Dervish  Museum

My two friends decided they would have more fun getting drunk in a bar, so they left me to pay the five-lira entrance fee and walk around on my own while ignoring the sullen and bored attitude of the staff.

Galata Mevlevi Museum

Whirling dervishes dedicated themselves to a life of poverty, so do not expect to see rich antiques, the likes of what is in the Dolmabahce palace. This is not about the royalty of the Ottoman Empire.

Galata Whirling Dervish House and Museum

The museum is about ordinary Turkish people who chose to follow a life of Sufism and dedication to the poet Rumi. It displays their clothes, books, art, and musical instruments.

Galata Mevlevi  House

If you also want  to watch someone spin around and around, this is the place to pre-book your tickets for the whirling dervish shows.

Galata Mevlevi Whirling Dervish Museum

Hall for the Whirling Dervish show

Did a visit to the museum satisfy my curiosity?

No, far from it. Mentions were made of prominent sheikhs throughout the years but did not introduce who they were and what they achieved in Sufism.

Very little explanation was given as to the tombs I was looking at and why they were significant in Sufism.

Also this is not the original house as that was destroyed in an earthquake and later on, a fire wrecked havoc again.

When I left, I had more questions than when I entered.

Galata Whirling Dervish Museum

Overall, I found the museum lacking in enthusiasm but anyone who has not encountered Sufism before, may find it interesting.

Instead, I hope that this year, I will be able to make it to Konya on December the 17th. It is an annual event remembering the death of Rumi but more specifically, it is the original city of the whirling dervishes. Perhaps then, I will be able to satisfy this curiosity once and for all.

Galata Whirling Museum

 Readers question : Have you seen a whirling dervish show?

Further Reading

A whirling dervish ceremony and photographs – Otts World

Top 3 Places to Watch Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul – Istanbul wizard

Official site of this museum

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Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. says

    some nice pics again Natalie! You might find it interesting to check out the long and varied history of Dervishes, for there are many different styles/types – Howling Dervish are just one example.
    Alan wrote about..A Night At The Opera

  2. says

    We avoided the whirling dervish shows in Turkey because they were beyond touristy — there were a lot of large American cruise ships in Istanbul when we were there.

    And wow, that museum really takes me back to Turkey. We saw so many “museums” like that throughout the country. They really like their mannequins!
    Lauren, Ephemerratic wrote about..Hitting rock bottom in Colca Canyon

  3. says

    ‘Whirling Dervish’ is a term I hear in passing from time to time that I never really consider. It’s just an expression – or so I thought.

    Should I ever make my way to Turkey (which I damn well hope I do), I’ll have to check a show out – a quiet tourist free one though.
    ANGLO/Dale wrote about..MEDIUM 500 x 10 – A Photo Series

  4. says

    Merhaba Natalie,
    Loved seein your photos – I was almost going to the Galata Mevlana Museum this summer, though couldn’t do it with lack of time. The Mevlana Museum in Konya is stunning though and if you can be there during the annual Rumi event, that’s so memorible; folks from all around the world enjoying it. I did see the whirling dervish show in Sirkeci Station and at the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, the one in the Cistern was so atmospheric and moving, hope you can catch that one.
    Ozlem’s Turkish Table wrote about..Delicious, Sun kissed Inspirations from Kalkan; Pasta with peppers, chili, garlic and tomatoes, in olive oil

  5. says

    Seeing the Whirling Dervishes is sadly one of the things I missed out on while in Turkey :( Guess there is a reason to come back 😉

  6. says

    I’ve never seen a show but would love to photograph one some day! Still hoping to make it to Turkey sometime!

  7. Tigger says

    No dates on your comment page, Natalie, so I don’t know if this is the year you’re heading for Konya.
    If it is, then leave a message for ‘Sian’ at the hotel Ulusan. I’m arriving on 11 December. I go there every year and would be happy to spend a day showing you around.
    Not 17th, though, as I’ll be very busy that last day of the festival…

    • says

      Will try and get the comment dates back on Tigger because many people ask for it. Unfortunately, all travel plans are on hold due to family illness but please keep in touch. So handy to know someone with an intricate knowledge of places. That way, I normally get to find out so much more. Thanks for the offer

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