Experience the wonder of the Whirling Dervish Festival

Added 03/12/2010

For something a little different, and a taste of real Turkish culture, take a look at the Whirling Dervish Festival. The event is held annually from 10 to 17 December and each year it attracts around one million people. Tourists often attend the Whirling Dervish Festival to immerse themselves in the local religion and culture.

The Whirling Dervish Festival is a celebration of the life of Mevlana, who was born in 1207. He was a revered saint who taught tolerance, positive thinking and an awareness of God through dance. The festival is held in Konya, the ancient Seljuk capital.

As the Dervishes whirl in their mesmeric dance, their hands are turned towards Heaven, seeking guidance from above. As they spin, their skirts flare like perfect umbrellas. It’s truly an enchanting sight.

A dance takes place each night of the Whirling Dervish Festival, and the festival culminates in a special display on the final night.

If you plan to visit the Whirling Dervish Festival in Konya, you must be aware that the city is religious and you should remember to dress conservatively. Women would benefit from carrying a headscarf as they might not be able to enter tombs or mosques without one. Konya has a very traditional culture, perhaps more so than Istanbul.

To get to Konya, you could take an internal flight from Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. Many budget airlines run services between London and Istanbul. Why not spend some time in Istanbul before heading to Konya to witness the Whirling Dervish Festival.

There are plenty of hotels to choose from in Konya, whether you want a traditional Turkish retreat, or a plush hotel in the heart of the city.