If you’re interested in exploring the spiritual and cultural side of Istanbul, the Galata Mevlevi House Museum should be on your must-visit list. This museum is a significant site for the Mevlevi Sufi order and offers an insight into their beliefs, culture, and music. Here’s everything you need to know about the Galata Mevlevi House Museum, from opening hours to tips for visiting.

Introduction

The Galata Mevlevi House Museum, also known as the Galata Mevlevihanesi Müzesi, is located in the Galata district of Istanbul. It is the first Mevlevi house built in Istanbul, constructed in 1491. Initially, it was a place where Mevlevi dervishes would come to pray, meditate, and perform their ritual dances. However, it was converted into a museum in 1975 and underwent a renovation between 2005 and 2009. Today, it is a museum that showcases the Mevlevi Sufi order’s culture, traditions, and beliefs.

What to See in the Galata Mevlevi House Museum

When you enter the museum, you’ll be welcomed by a peaceful courtyard and a cemetery that provides a calm respite from the busy streets of Galata. The main museum buildings include the Semahane, Halet Efendi Shrine, Sheikh Galib Shrine, Sebilküttab building, Adile Sultan Fountain, Hasan Aga Fountain, and the Mevlevi cemetery “Hamuflan”. Visitors will have a chance to learn about the lodge life, architecture, and Mevlevi culture. Here are some highlights of what you can see in the museum:

Sema Area (Sema House Ground Floor)

The Sema area is where the whirling dervish ceremony takes place. This is the main feature of the Galata Mevlevi House Museum, and visitors can learn about the symbolism and meaning behind the Sema ceremony. The walnut floor is an essential part of the Sema area as it serves as a platform for the dervishes to perform their ritual dance. The mihrap and minber, located at the back of the Sema area, are significant religious symbols in Islam.

Lodges (Sema House Upstairs)

The lodges on the upper floor of the Sema House exhibit a variety of works from the museum’s collections. Mustafa Düzgünman’s Marbling Exhibition showcases the traditional Turkish art of ebru, while the Calligraphy Exhibition displays a range of calligraphy styles from different periods. The Hilye-i Şerif Sheets Exhibition exhibits calligraphic depictions of Prophet Muhammad’s attributes, and the Çelebi Lodge and Royal Lodge give visitors an insight into the lifestyle of the Mevlevi dervishes. Additionally, the Ottoman Army Band and Musical Instruments Exhibition displays traditional musical instruments used in the Ottoman Empire.

Tomb of Sheikh Galip (İsmail Ankaravi)

The Tomb of Sheikh Galip is a historically significant site in the Galata Mevlevi House Museum. Sheikh Galip was a renowned poet and composer who lived during the Ottoman era. He is widely regarded as one of the most prominent figures in Turkish literature, and his tomb serves as a tribute to his life and works. The other figures buried in the tomb were also important figures in Mevlevi history.

Tomb of Halet Efendi (Kudretullah Dede)

The Tomb of Halet Efendi is another notable site in the Galata Mevlevi House Museum. Halet Efendi was a poet and musician who lived in Istanbul during the 19th century. He was known for his contributions to Turkish music and literature and is regarded as one of the most important Mevlevi poets of his time. The other figures buried in the tomb were also significant figures in Mevlevi history and played important roles in the development of the sect.

Visiting the Galata Mevlevi House Museum

The Galata Mevlevi House Museum Hours and Entrance Fee (2023)

Closed Days: Monday

Summer Period Hours: 1 April – 1 October

  • Opening time: 09:00
  • Closing time: 20:00

Winter Period Hours: 1 October – 1 April

  • Opening time: 09:00
  • Closing time: 18:30

Entrance Fee: 100 TL

How to Get to the the Galata Mevlevi House Museum (2023)

The Galata Mevlevi Lodge is located where Istiklal Street ends at the Tunnel Square and leads to Galip dede street. You’ll find its historic gate right at the beginning of the ramp down on the left-hand side. You can also refer to the location map for guidance.

Transportation

The most practical way to get to the top of the Galip dede ramp is by walking down from Istiklal Street or up from Karakoy/Galata Tower. Here are some transportation options depending on your starting point:

  • Take the funicular from Karakoy to Tunel and walk down for about a minute.
  • Walk upwards Galip dede ramp from Karakoy.
  • Walk downwards from Taksim and Istiklal Street to the end and then turn left down to Galip dede ramp.
  • From Sultanahmet, take the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line) to reach Karakoy.
  • If you are staying at Taksim hotels, you can easily walk to the museum.

Mevlevi Dervishes

The Mevlevi Dervishes are a Sufi Muslim order that originated in Konya, Turkey, in the 13th century. The order is famous for its unique practice of whirling, which is a form of meditation and spiritual connection with God. The Mevlevi Dervishes were once a significant political and religious force in the Ottoman Empire, but their influence declined over time. Today, the Mevlevi Order is mostly known for their performances of the whirling dance, which has become a popular tourist attraction in Turkey.

The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony

The Mevlevi Sema ceremony is a mystic religious ritual that originated from Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi’s ecstatic whirling in the streets of Konya, Turkey, in the 13th century. The ceremony is known for the whirling dervishes, who are members of the Mevlevi Order, a Sufi order founded by Rumi. The Mevlevi Sema ceremony is a spiritual journey that represents the dervishes’ love of God, humanity, and all creation. The ceremony consists of seven parts:

  1. Natt-i Serif: The ceremony begins with a recitation of the Natt-i Serif, which is a eulogy to the Prophet Muhammad.
  2. Kudum: The sound of the kudum, a double-sided drum, is heard, symbolizing the heartbeat of God.
  3. Ney: The sound of the ney, a reed flute, is played, representing the human soul’s yearning for God.
  4. Greeting: The dervishes greet each other, acknowledging that all are equal before God.
  5. Whirling: The whirling dervishes begin to spin, representing the earth revolving around the sun, and the dervishes’ surrender to God’s will.
  6. Prayer: The dervishes raise their arms to the sky, asking for God’s blessings.
  7. Fatiha: The ceremony ends with a recitation of the Fatiha, the opening chapter of the Quran, to honor the Prophet Muhammad and ask for his intercession with God.

Buy Tickets Online to Whirling Dervish Ceremony

Where Can I Watch a Whirling Dervish Ceremony in Istanbul?

Hodjapasha Cultural Center

One of the most recommended venues for a Whirling Dervish ceremony in Istanbul is the Hodjapasha Cultural Center located in Sirkeci, close to the Sirkeci train station. The center is set in a restored 550-year-old Ottoman Turkish bath and offers performances every day at 19:00 (Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday in winter). They also offer a Rhythm of the Dance Show, which is a combination of folk dances performed by professional dancers.

• Please be available at the theater 30 minutes before the show time. See the location…

Sirkeci Orient Express Hall (Temporarily Closed)

Another popular venue is the Sirkeci Orient Express Hall, located in Sirkeci Train Station in the Historical Orient Express Hall, just within a short walking distance from Sirkeci Tram station. They have moved here.

Kızlarağa Medresesi: A Historical Landmark in Turkey

Kızlarağa Medresesi is a beautifully preserved historical landmark located in the city of Bursa, Turkey. Built in the early 14th century during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, this medrese (Islamic school) was dedicated to the education of young women.

The Whirling Dervish Ceremony takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, except for Tuesdays. The show starts at 7:00 PM and finishes at 8:00 PM. The price for admission is 500 Turkish Lira for adults and 400 Turkish Lira for children. More info >>

Or Enjoy Whirling Dervish Show for Free with Istanbul E-Pass

You can either purchase tickets for this mesmerizing event on the Istanbul E-Pass website or enjoy it for free with your Istanbul E-Pass, which also grants you access to over 50 other attractions across the city! It is cheaper than on the official website!

What is the purpose of Whirling Dervish?

The purpose of Whirling Dervish is to reach a state of religious ecstasy and spiritual connection with God. The whirling dance is a form of meditation that helps the practitioner let go of their ego and become more aware of their surroundings. The dervishes believe that the whirling dance allows them to connect with God on a deeper level and to experience a state of spiritual union.

The Galata Mevlevi House Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the spiritual and cultural side of Istanbul. With its rich history, beautiful architecture, and unique cultural artifacts, the museum offers visitors an insight into the Mevlevi Sufi order’s beliefs, culture, and music. From the whirling dervish ceremony to the traditional Turkish art of ebru, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a peaceful respite from the busy streets of Istanbul, be sure to add the Galata Mevlevi House Museum to your must-visit list.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Galata Mevlevi House Museum in Istanbul is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the spiritual and cultural side of the city. From the whirling dervish ceremony to traditional Turkish art, the museum offers visitors an insight into the Mevlevi Sufi order’s beliefs, culture, and music. With its rich history, beautiful architecture, and unique cultural artifacts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a peaceful respite from the busy streets of Istanbul, be sure to add the Galata Mevlevi House Museum to your must-visit list.

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