Photography Day 5: Whirling Dervishes

The evening began with music.

Our next photography expedition was a challenge. Jerry and I went to watch the Whirling Dervishes, who are always interesting to watch, although very difficult to photograph, as we were trying to capture fast movement in low light.

Next, the instrumentalist changed into their symbolic garments.
...the camel hair hat, representing the tombstone of the ego, 
and the wide skirt the ego's shroud.

The Dervishes are advanced students of Sufism, and are sometimes described as the mystics of Islam, whose beliefs centre on the quest for personal enlightenment. The 14th century Arab historian, Ibn Khaldun, described Sufism as: ... dedication to worship, total dedication to Allah most High, disregard for the finery and ornament of the world, abstinence from the pleasure, wealth, and prestige sought by most men, and retiring from others to worship alone.

The Dervishes enter in black cloaks. Their removal symbolises 
being reborn to the truth. The Sufis then cross their arms, 
to show the unity of God.

The Dervishes always whirl from right to left, with the right hand turned upward to the sky, and the left one to the earth.

There are 4 parts to their ritual, and they whirl 
faster and faster with each one.

At the end, the Dervishes put on their black cloaks and pray...

...and gradually leave the room to go and meditate.

After that fascinating experience we left for the ferry and home, although we couldn't resist taking night photos on the way!

The Kadiköy tourist balloon

Reflections in the water by Kadiköy harbour.


  1. You got some great photos of them whirling! Was this at that place in Tünel?

  2. No. We saw them at Sirkeci Station. They were performing in one of the waiting rooms there. It wasn't the greatest venue for photography as the lighting was so bad.


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