Museums of Istanbul: Galata Mevlevi Lodge.

On my way to my first Turkish lesson near Galata Tower I noticed what looked like a very tiny museum at the top of Galip Dede Caddesi. From the street, through iron railings, you can see a cloth covered tomb and some tall gates, but little else. Yesterday having organised fried hamsi (anchovies) for lunch at the Karaköy Fish Market, and with time to spare, I took Anton by the hand and we went through the gate. What an oasis of calm we found. A few steps from one of the busiest streets in the city (Istiklal Caddesi) there is space and silence. I handed over 5 TL to a man who understood not to break the spell by speaking.

I deliberately didn't research the museum because it looked so mysterious and I wanted it to surprise me. I had heard the term Mevlevi before though, so had some idea that this place related to Sufis or 'whirling dervishes'. What we saw on the other side of the gates were gardens of graves wearing hats and bearing inscriptions in Ottoman calligraphy. Anton ran to play alongside these silent figures zig-zagging between them  and then standing like stone (in a three year old sort of way!).

The passage next to the tombs opens into a large courtyard with a pushchair friendly slope down to the bottom floor of the three-story semahane (dervish dance hall) which houses a beautiful and very new museum (it was completed on September the 19th this year). The exhibits: clothes and musical instruments used by Sufis, are displayed with due simplicity in cells around a large wooden room. I saw a lot less than I would have liked because the graveyard playground called to Anton, and it was lovely to go and play with the children in a place where people who spent their lives striving for unity with God had danced.

Galata Mevlevi Lodge.

Neve being held by the security guard in the museum.

Standing Stone.

Wearing hats.

Ottoman playground.

Sufi graves.

Ottoman inscriptions.

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2 thoughts on “Museums of Istanbul: Galata Mevlevi Lodge.

  1. I can imagine how the graveyard would be quite fascinating for a little one. With all the different writing and pictures on each stone. He looks totally enthralled.

  2. clea12:52

    Amazing. I agree I would have been fascinated as well. What a lucky little man to be living somewhere so interesting.


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