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Hodjapasha Cultural Center
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Whirling Dervish Show in Istanbul
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Whirling Dervishes at Hodjapasha
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Rhythm of the Dance Show at Hodjapasha In Istanbul
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 1. Dervish Experience : Live Show & Exhibition : Everyday Tuesday , Thursday , Saturday and Sunday at 19:00 Price: 70 TL / 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 & Saturday at 21:00 Price : 110 TL / Free hot and cold beverages.
Reviewed December 20, 2013

The Hodjapasha Theater is located on a dark side street in the old tourist area. We needed a 15 minute walk to get to the place from the white house hotel. There are 3 shows to choose from. The first show features the dervish. The second show which we watched featured the cultural dance and belly dancing. And the third show had a dramatic theme (love story?) to it.

The show had a live 6-8 member Turkish band and 5 men and women doing an assortment of cultural dances. The stars of the shows were the solo male and female belly dancers.

Surprisingly, the male performer was the standout of the night. It is uncanny how he can shake his upper torso separately from his hips. We did not think much of him when he came out mid show. But the rest of the show became anti-climactic after his number. The crowd was in awe. So better watch out for his number, should you decide to see the show.

The group dancers were also very good and synchronized. They had a lot of energy. Fatigue was not in their vocabulary, considering that they danced for about 1 hour. And they do this every night. Not sure if they are the same dancers for the last show.

The price of admission is certainly worth it. The Belly dance show/dinner packages that were offered at Istanbul tour websites are priced almost at double the cost. Video and photo without flash is allowed. This is a very memorable Turkish experience not to be missed.

1  Thank GreenThumb331
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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331 - 335 of 1,229 reviews

Reviewed December 14, 2013

We attended the 'white rose' show and it was beautiful. Loved every bit of it.

The center is conveniently located near the Eminonu tram station - 2 stops from Sultanahmet (cultural center is about 5 mins walk across the road) and easy to find.

Booking was easy (you have to arrive 1 hour in advance if you want to pick up tickets booked through the phone).

Avoid taking cabs from outside the center after the show (just walk across to tram station and catch a tram - the last service runs till midnight - White rose ends around Quarter past 11 at night)

1  Thank FindingNeverland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2013

Cannot go to Turkey and not see the whirling dervishes. The venue is good and clean and if you get there early and are nice to the lady you may get front row seats. They delivered what they said. I found it a bit boring

Thank Sumeet V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2013

The Sema ceremony was a wow experience. You need to look over the printed material to understand a bit before the ceremony. It is not meant to be a performance but a deeply moving religious experience. Try to get a seat in the front row so you can see better. The music and singing were very good. The five men who participate in this incredible experience are in a world of concentration. With their eyes closed, their right hands raised upwards, and their left hands downward, they whirl and spin around as if in a trance, and are perfectly balanced and apart from each other. The whole hour-long experience is very moving and for 60 TL, worth the visit. Go and you feel the intensity of their movement!

1  Thank markjoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2013

Seeing the whirling dervishes was one of the most amazing experiences of our visit to Turkey. The religious ceremony takes place in a historic bath, and the room where the dervishes whirl is perfectly round, with three rows of seats around the perimeter. Because the dervishes move symmetrically throughout the ceremony, there is no "front" or "back" as far as the view from your seat, so theoretically all seats should be good, although seats in the front row are definitely recommended for a perfectly unobstructed view. However, I do believe we had the perfect seats --- front row, directly across from the entrance door --- because, while the dervishes whirl in the center circle, the musicians are stationary and sit to one side of the door, so from our seats, which were across from both door and musicians, we had a perfect straight-on view of the musicians, as well as a perfect front-row view of the dervishes. (Note: the concierge at our hotel arranged for our seats, so I'm not sure what the usual procedure is if you're purchasing tickets on your own, whether or not you get to select your own seats).
The ceremony itself was just awe-inspiring. The fact that these men whirl, both in place and in an orbital circle, with their eyes closed and arms raised for more than 30 minutes is just astonishing. I would love to learn more about the training they receive. There is excellent information about the ceremony itself in the program booklet they distribute when you enter.
Prior to the dervishes' entrance, the musicians play some traditional music. I, personally, thought that was the least interesting part of the experience, and I would have been content to just have the musicians accompany the whirling without the opening "concert", as that just seemed like a needless time-filler. But once the dervishes entered, I was entranced from that moment on.
Prior to entering the theatre, everyone is served complimentary coffee and tea, which was a nice touch. The location was convenient --- we were able to walk to the cultural center from our hotel (Four Seasons in Sultanahmet), and there are nice shops and cafes along the way, so it makes for a nice evening stroll on your way there and back. Dress is extremely casual. Most people just wore jeans or khaki pants.
Overall, this was a wonderful, memorable experience. I had visited Turkey once before and had always regretted not seeing the whirling dervishes. I'm so glad I was able to see them this time! Definitely a worthwhile experience!

1  Thank katsusanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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