POINTS OF INTEREST
Istanbul's oldest Mevlevi dervish lodge, which served as a meeting place and residence for "whirling dervishes" (followers of the Sufi mystic Celaleddin Rumi), was founded on this site in 1491 and rebuilt after a fire in 1765. Recently restored, it now houses a small but interesting museum with displays of dervish garments, handicrafts, and other artifacts, along with background information about the Mevlevi order and Sufism more generally. On the upstairs floor of the lodge's semahane (ceremonial hall) are additional exhibits of calligraphy, ebru (traditional marbling art), and musical instruments; the serene, leafy grounds contain a handful of tombs and a small cemetery. The biggest draw are the sema ceremonies (popularly known as whirling dervish ceremonies) that are performed by different Sufi groups at 5 pm each Sunday in the semahane. Tickets are sold in front of the museum on ceremony days only; it's best to buy them early in the day because performances can sell out.