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Whirling Dervishes of Saruhan

  • Avanos, Central Anatolia, Turkey

Last updated: 05 April, 2024

Saruhan Caravansaray is the nightly setting for the region’s famed Whirling Dervish ceremony, a moving and extraordinary ritual expressive of Sufi mysticism, and dating back to the 12th century. Watch on as the sect’s white-clad initiates spin themselves into a trance state to the haunting accompaniment of drum, flute and chant.

Often mistaken for a dance, it is rather a meditation practice, a form of ritual whereby the dervishes aim to reach a state of karma by focusing only on God and the music. The spinning helps concentration, and it supposed to symbolise the planets orbiting the sun.

The surroundings, a restored 13th-century fortified inn set amidst Cappadocian steppelands, add to the atmosphere of the occasion.


Price from: £10
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 8+
Frequency: daily
When: Daily
Duration: 40 minutes

Getting there & doing it

Saruhan is prominently situated on the main road between Urgup (6km) and Avanos (3km). Self-drive or take a cheap and easily available taxi from any of the main centres.

The ceremony lasts for about 40 minutes. Book through the website in advance. If visiting in winter, be sure to wrap up warm as it can get cold inside.

When to do it

The ceremony is held twice daily, all year round, though only daily when demand is low, as can be the case in the winter. Ceremonies, when operating to a full schedule, are twice-daily in the evening.

Who to go with: organised tours


Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Goreme

The Sema ceremony represents the mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through love and his search for truth and perfection. It is believed that once man has returned from his spiritual journey, he can love and be of service to all creatures surrounding him. Tonight, you have the opportunity to experience an authentic Cappadocian ceremony and witness an ancient Turkish ritual. You will be collected from your accommodation in Cappadocia and transported by luxury air-conditioned transport to the caravanserais, (caravan places). These abodes were built when trade across Turkey in medieval Seljuk times was dependent on camel trains. The buildings provided accommodation for the merchants and stabling for their animals. Today these ancient structures are the site of The Sema. The ceremony lasts for one hour and during this time your friendly and professional English-speaking guide will talk you through the ceremony and introduce you to Serbet, a traditional religious libation

Price €35

Min age 0

Rating 4.92 / 5 [205 ratings]

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  • Goreme

Whirling Dervish Ceremony: It is known as the most mystical dance in the world, created and developed with the inspiration of Rumi (1207-1273). It taught by Shams-i Tabriz to Mevlana. In fact, when looked more deeply, it is the ritual of the Mevlevi dervishes. It can be summarized as the ritual they perform by opening their arms to both sides, turning their right palm to the sky and turning their left palm to the earth, and taking them from God and giving them to the people, accompanied by instruments such as the Ney. (Reed Flute) Here, music is an instrument that helps meditation. *This a real dervish ceremony, not touristic show *The dervishes are real and musicians are live *The historical building is exotic and unique syrup is complimentery. *Evening time Light show about the formations of Cappadocia. * Transfer from hotel to Dervish House and back to hotel (13km from Goreme) * The show starts at 18.00 .

Price €43

Min age 12

Rating 4.69 / 5 [33 ratings]

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