Enigmatic Istanbul is an endless story. It’s the story of Istanbul’s many names, the story of settling the city, ‘Opposite the blind’. Although these two stories might be enough for some, for others they are just the beginning. Istanbul is rich in many things. One cannot miss the history Istanbul offers. Then, there is the culture. Turkish cuisine. Definitely, spiritual Istanbul. A day is not enough to see the city but you need a day, even a few hours, to feel addicted to it. Istanbul daily tours
Mevlana and the whirling dervishes
Mevlana is a symbol of love and tolerance. And the dervishes are members of the Mevlevi Order of Sufis. They are the creation of Mevlana. They are the ‘turners’ or ‘dervishes’ who symbolise their religious beliefs by means of their ecstatic dance. This dance is a prayer. It is an attempt for a closer relationship with God. A spiritual journey of the soul.
‘There are many roads which lead to God. I have chosen the one of dance and music.’ (Rumi)
Mevlana Rumi is a gift of love. He had a higher love of God. Famous Sufi teachers began composing love poetry at the time. It was an erotic poetry often seen as a metaphor for the relationship between a human and God. Rumi’s poetry was one of love and joy. Also, Rumi’s way to access God, to become one with God, was through dance and music. He was interested in the practice known as ‘Sema’. This is what dervishes dance in honour of their great teacher.
Sema, the spiritual dance and guided Istanbul tour whirling dervishes
‘Sema’ is not simply a movement of the body. It is, actually, a bodily movement whose aim is to respond to either poetry or music. In this way, the mind gets empty so that it can focus on God. At the same time, ‘Sema’ is a spiritual experience. The combining of the music, the listening and the dance as one. The dance is also a kind of meditation through which dervishes can access the metaphysical world. There is nothing unnatural in the movement of the body. In fact, our very existence depends on that movement – revolving, unconscious revolution. This creates the relationship between the human and the divine.
‘Sema’ consists of four phases. The first one is when you think of yourself, of the meaning of you and who you are. The second one is the acceptance that you are a human. Then, comes the third part when you realise there is a force. And this is the time when a human gives his heart to God. In the last phase, the human soul goes back to its body and you understand that you are a human. This whole process is called alienation or depersonalisation, loss of identity. In other words, this is the extinction of one’s self, one’s ego, one’s conscious awareness of the individuality.
If ‘hungry’, visit Istanbul
Istanbul private tours Mevlevi , Mevlana’s poetry and dervishes will surely ‘feed’ one’s soul. Not only that, but they will take Istanbul’s every visitor to a different world.
But then, there is the other hunger. The one which is impatient to get on the wings of culinary Istanbul city tours Istanbul and try Turkish cuisine. Food is an important part in the life of Turkish people. Ottoman cuisine is often regarded as one of the three great cuisines of the world. It’s a rich mixture of the inheritance of a great cuisine culture. Its rich variety is related to many factors – the interaction with many different cultures throughout the history (Greek, Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines), the new tastes evolved in the courts of empires such as Selcuk and Ottoman… It is simple. Really!
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