Founded by Divane Mehmed Çelebi Dede in 1481 during the reign of Sultan Bayezid II, Galata Mevlevi Lodge Museum was the oldest Mevlevi Lodge in Istanbul and the second largest Lodge after Yenikapi Mevlevihanesi.
As it is located on Galata, which was then the center of hotels, foreign embassies, churches, Levantines and foreign traders, the Lodge always caught foreigners' attention.
Because of its status, the Lodge sometimes employed the Sheikhs who had knowledge of Western culture, making it easier to communicate and explain the Mevlevi Order. The Order embraced visitors of all the religions. Unlike mosques, everybody is able to go to the Lodge without special permission to see the Sema (ritual). Therefore, foreigners, who were fascinated by the Order, always recommended others to visit those Lodges.
Besides the octagonal wooden Semahane (ritual hall), the Lodge complex includes dervish cells exhibiting the order’s traditions, sheik’s rooms, a library, a fountain dated from 1649 (the oldest property in the complex), a graveyard, mausoleums of Galip Dede and Halet Said Efendi, and a kitchen. The museum displays musical instruments, manuscripts, the Hilye-i Şerif" (The Noble Physiognomy), and other items related to the culture of the Order.
As the ultraconservative religious sects in general were banned in 1925, the Mevlevi Order stopped functioning and the facility was used as an elementary school.
Presently, Mevlevi functions are being displayed in the old dervish cells. In the dignitary boxes on the second floor, built for the foreigners to watch the performances in the Semahane, Turkish calligraphy and ebru-painting are exhibited.
The complex was severely damaged by the big earthquake in 1509 and by the big fire in 1765. The Lodge underwent major restorations in the reigns of Sultan Selim III (1789-1807), Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839) and Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861).
After five years of restoration, the complex, occupying the area of 6800 m², was converted to the Museum of Divan Literature (Divan Edebiyatı Müzesi) in 1972. The recent renovation started in 2005, and it was completed in 2011.
Sema performances of the Whirling Dervishes take place every weekend.
Duru, Necip Fazıl "The Place of Whirling Dervishes from the Point of View of the Western Travelers",
Location: It is located in Tünel neighborhood of the Beyoğlu district in Istanbul.
Hours: 09:00 am to 19:00 pm every day, between May 15 and September 30,
09:00 am to 16:30 pm every day, between October 1 and May 14
Address: Şahkulu Mh.Galip Dede Caddesi No: 15 Tünel, Beyoğlu, Istanbul
Admission; 5 TL
Telephone: +90 212 245 41 41
Rules: The museum is closed to public in the first day of the religious holidays.
If there are signs, such as clearly prohibiting the use of flashes to protect the artwork, please, follow the rules.
Attractions Nearby: Galata Tower, Beyoğlu, Taksim