Hodjapasha Cultural Center
Hodjapasha Cultural Center
4
About
1. Dervish Experience : Live Show & Exhibition : Everyday at 19:00 Price: 50 USD / Free hot and cold beverages. 2. Rhythm of the Dance :Featuring variety of charming folkloric dances of Anatolia combined with exotic Oriental dances and Ottoman Palace dances. Every Tuesday , Thursday & Saturday at 20:30 Price : 50 USD / Free hot and cold beverages.
Duration: < 1 hour
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Neighborhood: Sirkeci
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles2,150 reviews
Excellent
1,140
Very good
511
Average
221
Poor
124
Terrible
154

carlos
26 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
I had a brochure that my Hotel gave me with the price of 400 TL per person to see one of their shows. My Hotel made the reservation for 2 and we came very early to pay for the tickets. To my surprise they ask us 1000 TL per person. I said that was not the price from their own brochure and I show them. They didn't care and asked again for 1000 TL per person. That was more then double the price from their own brochure. It was measleading and we cancel on the spot the reservation and left.
Written October 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Karen L
Boston, MA3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015 • Couples
This is a difficult review to write, because I don't want to be gratuitously negative about what is, for its participants, a spiritual experience.

I urge you to read all the reviews carefully. You will note that there is an unusual disparity in the distribution of ratings. Some people feel strongly that this is an excellent experience; others feel just as strongly that it's not. I fall into the latter category.

I was aware going in that this is a religious ceremony. I was not expecting it to be a form of entertainment. However, I was expecting that observing a religious performance would be enlightening and interesting. In my travels I've had the opportunity to witness many different religious rituals, and in each I've found something fascinating to consider and admire. I did appreciate the unique qualities of this Sufi ceremony: the costumes, the musicians, the venue. However, as has been noted by others, the experience wore thin after just a few minutes.

I consider myself a fairly sophisticated, open-minded traveler. I like to sample most of the unique cultural experiences each destination has to offer. Those experiences can be rowdy and entertaining, or thoughtful and solemn. I don't feel the need to be constantly entertained in order to appreciate, enjoy, or recommend a particular experience.

So here are my thoughts:

- Don't be drawn in by the "Whirling Dervishes" label. The name conjures an expectation that something exciting is going to happen. Nothing exciting is going to happen. Let me repeat that: nothing exciting is going to happen. The "whirling" -- more like slowly rotating -- you see in the first 30 seconds is exactly the same as what you'll see 45 minutes later.

- Read about the Sufi order and the Sema ceremony before deciding whether you wish to attend. If you are particularly interested in religious practices, this ceremony may be perfect for you.

- Don't treat negative reviews (like this one) as a challenge to your travel machismo. We've all been in situations where we read a negative review and think, "oh it can't be that bad; I'd better check it out myself." Choosing not to go does not make you a xenophobic, uncultured boor. You can be a sophisticated world traveler, and still not find this event worthwhile.

This is a religious ceremony in which the participants' goal is to achieve a higher level of spirituality. Their goal is not to entertain you. Perhaps the best way to assess whether you are the right audience for this ceremony is to ask yourself whether you'd enjoy watching someone of another religion meditate. If the answer is yes, then give it a try. But make sure you discuss this with all members of your party before attending.
Written December 1, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andyvd81
Quebec City, Canada348 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2019 • Couples
I absolutely loved every moment of this intriguing, peaceful and mystical ritual. To be frank, my only disappointment was with the disrespectful audience members (this includes you, the bored teenager sitting next to me who kept on sighing and also you, the young couple who arrived with countless shopping bags and then decided to ostentatiously leave in the middle of the ceremony). If you are expecting to be "entertained," please do yourself and other audience members a favour and do not go. Whirling dervishes are not meant to be entertainment any more than Buddhist monk chanting or a catholic mass. If you feel this is the case, I recommend you read up on the meaning of this ritual in Sufism rather than giving this experience a low rating because you had wrong expectations.

I felt privileged to be able to attend this ceremony, clearly performed with a lot of respect for the tradition. The small museum is very informative and I recommend arriving at least half an hour ahead of time to visit the exposition -- this background knowledge sure helped me to appreciate the ritual even more. During the ceremony, some information is also projected; e.g., the 7 stages, which are also explained in the complimentary program.

In brief, if you are curious about this part of Turkish culture, and can manage to quietly enjoy a one-hour performance, I whole-heartedly recommend the Whirling Dervishes at the Hodjapasha cultural centre!
Written June 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WY_GrandTour
Hong Kong, China223 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018
it was an one hour show with the first 15 minutes a powerpoint presentation followed by another 15 minutes of instruments playing. the dancing didn't last that long which wasn't what i expected.
Written October 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mwaddington
Christchurch, New Zealand87 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018
I was very interested to attend a performance. The display explaining the history of this order was very intersting and while the quality of the performance was undoubtedly authentic, it was just wasn't very interesting (and was extremely repetitive). As a photographer I was bitterly disappointed that photography is completely banned. I understand this during the solemn performance, but I had been told by others that there is typically a chance to take "set-up" photos after the performance. I couldn't, in good conscience, recommend this attraction to others. Save your money.
Written July 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marcia71
Jerusalem, Israel207 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2014 • Couples
When I was about 11 years old, I read about the Whirling Dervishes. Since that time I have always wanted to actually see them in their meditative state. When in Istanbul, we bought tickets for the "performance" at the Hodjapasha Dance Theater. Expecting the attraction to be a typical tourist activity, we were first of all surprised with the theater which is a restored bath house (hamam) from the 15th Century and is quite lovely. Second, we were surprised by the formality surrounding the actual dancing and whirling. Silence is requested, photographs and applauding are not allowed. The purpose of the ritual whirling is to achieve a meditative and spiritual state. One should not attend if one expects to see a dance performance. The music and chanting that accompanies the whirling add to the mystery of the experience. My husband remarked that after 25 minutes of whirling, he was amazed at the stamina and obvious heightened spiritual consciousness of the men who participated. This is an attraction for anyone who wants to see a truly unique cultural event. Before the event, refreshments are served as part of the entrance fee.
Written December 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

travelenthu2015
Rutherford, NJ19 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018
The show was excellent and used modern technology to enhance it. The performers were very professional and there was not a dull moment. We had difficulty locating the place but eventually found it!
Written June 28, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Faisal K
London, UK62 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Couples
The Hodjapasha is tucked into a side alley a minute across the road from SIRKECI on the T1 tram line. The entrance looks more like a Soho jazz bar than a cultural centre but the decor is pleasant and none of it distracts from the feeling that you are about to see something special.

For my wife the dervishes were one of the highlights of our stay and it's not hard to see why. The performance lasts an hour and the first quarter hour is spent last listening to traditional music on wooden instruments. The ritual itself begins with five men, the significance of each act projected on the walls of the crucible to better understand the event.

For those who offer low ratings it is best to realise this is a religious ritual not performance art. Women in short skirts are offered a thin shawl in this respect as mark of modesty and no photography or clapping is permitted. After all, one does not clap or cheer a Gregorian or Buddhist monk intoning scripture and this is the sema ritual, scripture and devotion made manifest in a breathtaking display of physical skill. For those who decry it as five men spinning compare the techniques of European ballet to the near constant motion of the dervish and admire the technical skill if nothing else. I'd recommend the excellent documentary Baraka if you prefer more majestic settings but here in the theatre, you are so close to the performance that the cold air whipped by the dervishes as they spin within inches of you keeps your mind from distraction. Throughout the performance there is live music and chanting of scripture with a final recitation of the Quran.

For those open to culture and insight into spiritual enlightenment the Hodjapasha's presentation of the Sema ritual is worth seeking out.

As a side note for any man of grooming, next to the theatre is a tiny but supremely good Turkish barber where for fifteen lire a gentleman may enjoy a serious cutthroat shave, face massage, moisturiser and cologne with hair wax.
Written June 25, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tony D
Vancouver, Canada6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015 • Couples
The Whirling Dervishes was educational performance of a high standard. We were in Istanbul for a week and rather than book online we went there to the centre ensure front row seating ( there are 3 circular rows and some standing). We went there as as other reviews have stated it is a little tricky to find first off, secondly to get good seating and thirdly to ensure we were on time for the performance which for us seating commenced at 7pm, however you need to convert your booking into the actual ticket/seat numbers.
The only disappointing aspect is the human behavior of tourists who come ill prepared, carry their daily tourist bag shopping, talk disrespectfully during the trance like performance, the % of people who insist on taking photos during the performance dispite the numerous requests and signage not to. The lady who took a phone call mid performace again after specific requests by a very friendly and well organised management to turn phones off. Hence as reasonably well travelled tourists we knew the effort to minimise the visual disruption and would maximize our enjoyment.
It always does my head-in to read reviews that seem to blame venue and performers over their own lack of reseach. No excuses these days with Google maps, tripadvisor reviews etc etc.

Final recommendation: Excellent cultural exprience, just remember to bring your manners (assuming you own some).
Written October 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joanne
Columbia, MD22 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2011 • Friends
I agree with the other reveiwers that this is a great show. But the seats along the side are definitely NOT worth the same price as the center seats.

I booked two tickets in person at the box office about ten days ahead of time.I asked for center seats. I was told there is no way to know which seat numbers are being assigned at the time of booking. I took a chance, because the guy told me I was one of the first people to reserve seats for the night of the 28th and that I was assured of getting good seats.

My friend and I were sitting at the very end of the first row... the last (or first) two seats in that row. For most of the show, we were either looking at the side or the backs of the dancers... AND the lighting in front of our seats was very poor. Even the few times we had dancers directly facing us, they were not lit up like the dancers facing the center seats. All in all, I have to say I was disappointed. If I had paid less than the price of the center seats, I might have felt okay. But paying the same amount, I felt cheated.

I strongly feel they should charge MORE for the center seats because they are so obviously much better than the side seats. That way it would be fair to everybody attending the show.
Written July 5, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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