Whirling Dervish Istanbul

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Enjoy Turkey’s Whirling Dervish Istanbul performing a traditional sema dance ceremony at the iconic Hodjapasha Dance Theatre Istanbul. It is an old ceremony that enjoys its origin around centuries back. It is a spiritual performance that features a graceful choreography, traditional Turkish music played by the on-site orchestra, and Persian chanting etc. You can enjoy a drink and some Turkish delights from the bar. Afterwards, you will be sitting captivated as the dervishes will be gliding around the stage wearing eye-catching robes. It will be a perfect evening out there for all those having a taste of age-old Istanbul culture.


  • You will be enjoying an hour and a half whirling dervish performance during your Whirling Dervish Istanbul tour in Istanbul
  • As soon as the show will start, you can enjoy a drink or some kind of Turkish delights
  • Enjoy watching the UNESCO listed ceremonial dance inside the Hodjapasha dance theatre
  • You will find yourself completely captivated as the semazens dance chanting their way around the stage
  • Entertain your ears with traditional Persian and Turkish music live from orchestra

What to expect?

You will have to be at the pre-decided departure point timely as we will be leaving for the destination sharp at 06:30 p.m. You will start enjoying the Whirling Dervish Istanbul tour as soon as you will enter the Hodjapasha Dance Theatre in the Sirkeci neighborhood of Istanbul. You will not have to pay the entrance fee as it will be included in the Whirling Dervish Istanbul tour fee. The building itself is self-explanatory and enjoys its history that dates back to the 15th century. It was once when it was the home to Turkish baths. It is known to be well known in the city being considered to in the top of the list of the traditional Turkish ceremonies and dances

Once you will be done with your drink, just take your seat in the main hall so that you will be able to enjoy a show of 1.5 hours. This show will constitute a 15 minutes Turkish classical music concert that is followed by a 45 minutes Mevleviye sema dance. It is usually performed by a troupe of semazens or whirling dervishes. This alluring ceremonial dance is believed to date back around as far as 800 years. It is one of the facts that enabled the dance to land spot on the UNESCO’s intangible World Heritage List.

Experience and enjoy the whirling dervishes gliding around the stage in a decent flurry movement, dancing in time to traditional Turkish and Persian music played live by the onsite orchestra of theatre. The kettledrum, flute, and cymbal music is accompanied by the chanting ancient Persian prayers and poems and songs.

The whirling dervish’s ceremony represents all the mystical journey of spiritual of a man’s ascent through finding the truth, love, and finally arriving to the perfect. Afterwards, he returns from his spiritual journey as a man who reached maturity and greater perfection to serve the whole creation, to all creatures without any discrimination regarded to class, belief or any race. The dervish with hat and the white robes is actually born to the truth. The hat is the tombstone of ego while the white skirt is the ego’s shroud. He removes his black cloak and journeys towards the spiritual maturity through certain stages of Sema.

At the beginning of the each stage of Sema, they hold their arms crosswise representing number one and testify the unity of God. While they whirl, their arms are open, their right  hand directed towards the sky and all ready to receive the beneficence of God, while gazing his left-hand turns towards the earth, for giving to the poor, whatever he received from the sky. They turn from right to left pivoting around they heart. This is just a way of conveying the spiritual gift of God to the people upon whom there is a Divine look of God. When they revolve from right to left, they embrace all the humankind and all the creation with love and affection. This is the beauty of this Whirling Dervish Istanbul that it will make you travel to skies and then come back to earth with a spiritual feeling in you.           

The full performance lasts for around one and half hour. Once the dancing performance ends, you can feel free to stay in the venue and enjoy more drinks if you wish to. But you will have to pay for the extra drinks as they are not included in the Whirling Dervish Istanbul tour.                        

Hodjapasha Dance Theatre:

During your Whirling Dervish Istanbul tour, you will be visiting this dance theatre. It is an Ottoman hamam (Turkish bath) that has been beautifully restored in Sirkeci district of Istanbul. It is now used for the whirling dervish performances, belly dance, and Turkish folk dances. It is a fascinating space with good lighting and acoustics, just perfect for the mood of the performances. As the building is ancient enough, it cannot accommodate the wheel chairs. Our Whirling Dervish Istanbul will enable you to explore the beautiful dance theatre at its best. 

Whirling Dervishes:

The whirling dervish performance is held at Hodjapasha every evening at 07:30 p.m. Kids under 7 years are not allowed in the theatre. The performance begins with a short concert of Ottoman classical music. As it is a secular performance hence applause is allowed but afterwards for the rest of the evening, applause is not at all appropriate.  After this concert, the musicians leave the stage and when they return, they are dressed up in their dervish robes. After them the dervishes enters slowly. Hafiz chants the prayers and the dervishes whirl four times for 10 to 12 minutes each.

The final whirl ends with a single instrument being played and then silence as the whirling of dervishes continue. In the end, the final prayer and the slow retreat of dervishes end the sema. This Whirling Dervish Istanbul tour will be a whole new experience for you in every manner. Once the show ends, you may sit and enjoy more drinks and delights, at your own expense or we may journey back to your hotel in Istanbul. You will not be able to forget the moments spent at the theatre for the rest of your lives. For more such Whirling Dervish Istanbul tours, you may visit our website in detail.     

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