Cappadocia Dervish Show


Held in the spectacular setting of Saruhan, a 13th century Seljuk Caravanserai (motel for camel trains), this Semâ (Whirling Ceremony) is the inspiration of Mevlânâ Celâleddin–i RumÎ (1207 – 1273) as well as being part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture.

The ceremony has seven parts which symbolize the different meanings of a mystic cycle to perfection; a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through love, the desertion of the ego, finding the truth and arriving at the “Perfect”. The return from this spiritual journey is as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection; to love and to be of service to the whole creation, to all creatures without discriminating in regard to belief, class, or race.

The clothing has special significance:
 • the tall hat represents the ego’s tombstone
 • the skirt the ego’s shroud
 • the color white the spiritual birth into the truth
 • the removal of the black cloak initiates the journeys and advances towards spiritual maturity through the stages of the Semâ.

The position of arms and hands is also significant:
 • At the onset of each stage, holding arms crosswise represents number one, and testifies to God’s unity
 • Whirling with arms open and the right hand directed to the sky signifies readiness to receive God’s beneficence
 • Gazing at the left hand turned toward the earth, turning from right to left and pivoting around the heart, is a way to embrace all of humankind and all creation with affection and love, thereby conveying God’s spiritual gift to people over whom God looks with a Divine watchfulness.

In season, there is usually a performance at 6pm every night, and sometimes an “overflow” performance a 9pm. Out of season performances are subject to demand, but definitely worth asking for.

The performance lasts for an hour, and at the end of the performance, if it is dark, there is a light show of scenes from Cappadocian history and culture shown against one of the walls of the Caravanserai.

This Mevlevi Sema Ceremony is such an important cultural heritage for both Turkey and the world that it is listed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List ››

Because the performance is held in respectful silence, children under 7 years and the taking of photographs during the performance are not permitted.

Visitors to the performance often feel a great sense of relaxation upon their return.

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