In this Featured Fotoğrafı, Bursa’s whirling dervishes perform in the city’s Karabaş-i Veli Culture Center.
Tucked away on a quiet side street in Bursa’s old Ībrahimpaşa neighborhood stands the Karabaş-i Veli Culture Center, one of Bursa’s last remaining dervish lodges. The Karabaş-i Veli lodge was founded in the 16th century by Yakub Çelebi (d. 1550) of the Halveti Order, a Sufi fraternal organization that emphasized aestheticism and isolation.
As Sufi orders were outlawed in Turkey in 1925, the Karabaş-i Veli lodge today is run by the Bursa Mevlana Kültürünü Tanıtma ve Yaşatma Derneği (Bursa Mevlana Cultural Introduction and Appreciation Society) for the purpose of introducing tourists and locals alike to the cultural traditions of Turkey’s Sufi heritage. This heritage stems in large part from the historical Mevlevi Order, which was founded in the 13th century in the central Anatolian city of Konya by the famous poet/scholar Rumi (1207-1273) and flourished during the centuries of the Ottoman Empire.
Renovated in 2005, the Karabaş-i Veli lodge now hosts art shows, poetry readings, musical presentations, and nightly whirling dervish performances. These nightly performances are open to the public and often well attended.
If you’re in Bursa and have an interest in visiting the Karabaş-i Veli Culture Center, you can find it on Çardak Sokak a few blocks up the hill from Atatürk Caddesi. It’s not exactly easy to find, so you may want to take a look at this map. Nightly performances begin at 20:00 and all are welcome. It is generally advised the men sit in the lower level and women sit in the balcony to view the performances.