Galata Mevlevi Lodge
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Inspirational Mevlevi Sufi Lodge Museum, Istanbul
Just off the busy pedestrian street, Istiklal Caddesi, and a few steps down Galip Dede Caddesi in the Galata area, is the quiet and inspirational museum of the Sufi Mevlevi Lodge (Divan Edebiyati Muzesi). The Sufis are one of the mystical branches of Islam, and this lodge was run by one of their sects known as the Whirling Dervishes. Set in lovely gardens, the museum is a restful break from busy city life. Many aspects of Sufi culture are represented in the rooms and glass displays downstairs, including traditional music and instruments, clothing, manuscripts, and the rituals of daily life, all beautifully presented. Delightful music accompanies your meanderings. Upstairs is the large octagonal floor still haunted by the whirling dancers. In rooms surrounding the dance floor is the fabulous evidence of their traditional script and their poetic achievements. A stroll in the gardens reveals the old cemetery full of ornate headstones, many topped with a carving of the traditional hat representing the person's status in the sect. Before returning to modern city life, take time to sit and reflect on one of the garden benches or patio seats. (At the time of this writing, the Whirling Dervishes still perform their ritual the last Sunday of the month.)
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