Catch the Whirling Dervishes at the Sirkeci Central Train Station every Tuesday and Saturday at 7:30PM.
I walked the length of the Theodosian Walls after feasting at Asitane Restaurant to the Sirkeci Central Train Station for evening tickets to see the Whirling Dervishes. Unfortunately, the tickets weren’t available for purchase until an hour before the show. For the next two hours, I sat and waited at the benches as the sky poured sideways.
The Sirkeci Central Train Station was built in 1889 and Europe’s first transcontinental express train. It was the destination for the renowned Orient Express, which brought a luxury of wealth and travel to Istanbul. The Orient Express has been immortalized in films, books and other parts of popular culture.
The current train station is preserved in its original state and trains now run various routes between London and Venice, but not as luxuriously as they did back in the days.
The trains that passed through the station made New York City’s subways look luxurious. In the 1950s and 1960s, the station had a restaurant where many journalists, writers and influential media people gathered. The restaurant today is called the Orient Express, coincidentally, and is a popular spot for many tourists.
Performances for the Whirling Dervishes are held at the Sirkeci Central Train Station every Tuesday and Saturday at 7:30PM. Tickets are available for purchase 6:30PM in a plastic booth. The one-hour program consisted of a Sufi Music Concert and the Whirling Ceremony.
The worship ceremony began with a performance by the flutists, drummers, chanters and choir, known as the mutrip. Then, it’s followed by the Sema, or the Whirling Ceremony, which is a form of mediation.