Culture Turkey

Culture Turkey

Whirling Dervishes (Mevlevi)

The whirling dervishes are Muslim clerics. Their name originates from the Persian word darwich which means "DïRümï (nicknamed Mevlana," our master ") in the 2th century, the Sufi order of mevlevi, commonly called whirling dervishes, is only present today in XNUMX cities: Konya et Istanbul. There are still several active tekke (convents).

Their circle and in two stages. The first symbolizes creation (descending arc, proceeding from God); the second, when the dancer turns in the other direction, spiritual communion (ascending arc). This dance is performed with the palm of one hand facing up and the other facing down. The 1st hand receives the word of God and the 2nd transmits it to believers. Finally, the head is tilted towards the right shoulder, which keeps the circulation of blood centrifuged in the upper part of the brain. These tournaments, which are accelerating to the bewitching rhythm of drums, ney (flute) and Sufi songs, induce a state of mystical trance in the dancers.

With the establishment of the secular state in 1924, sects and religious brotherhoods were prohibited: ritual dances disappeared.

Today however, in December, the whirling dervishes commemorate for ten days the anniversary of the death of the poet Mevlana.

Àspectacleq every Sunday afternoon (reservations are advised). A free show is offered on Saturday evening at the Mevlana Kültür Merkezi in Konya; another, every evening at the Sarıhan caravanserai, near Avanos (but entry is not given).

  • More info on the whirling dervish ceremony in Konya


In Turkish: hamam is written with a single "m". It was once called the Turkish bath. They are found in almost all cities in Turkey.

The Romans are at the origin of the hammam, with the thermal baths. Muslims only adapted the concept of bathing to their own traditions, preferring running water to stagnant water from Roman baths.
We do not completely undress, even in the hammam. The women bring their peştemal, a fabric that they tie around the waist. Tourists can get them at the entrance.

The traditional hammam is never mixed. One part is reserved for women, the other for men. If the place has only one room, the hours are different.
We undress in a 1st room, which also serves as a rest room: we lie down on mattresses to drink tea. The next room is surmounted by a dome that lets in light. We wash at the foot of small wall fountains before going to sit on the central platform, in marble, heated from below. The atmosphere is sometimes suffocating but you come out with a baby's skin.

Le massage is energetic, and there is no need to cry for mercy, the masseur will ignore it. In the section reserved for women, a woman will come and rub you. If a man offers to do it, ladies, categorically refuse.
By tradition, the hammam is still a place where men and women (each on their own) liked to meet.


The narghile was very common in the Ottoman Empire. It's today an institution in Turkey. Since the law banning smoking in public places came into force in 2009, people now smoke on terraces.

To smoke hookah, you have to be patient. Smoking a pipe takes 1 to 2 hours. The tobacco attendant prepares a mixture which he rolls in a large sheet of wet tobacco. He takes out a disposable plastic tip, and the pipe which will allow the smoke to cool by making it circulate through the jug of water. Then he goes from one table to another, bringing pieces of glowing charcoal that he places on the tobacco cylinders.
A hookah must be regularly relighted. Regulars sometimes come with their own mouthpiece, made of amber, and a tweezer with which they move the embers on the stove. When the throat is too dry, we drink tea or linden in small glasses.
The mind gently goes numb. The blend is made exclusively from molasses soaked tobacco with artificial fruit flavors.

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