Hodjapasha Cultural Center is located in Sirkeci, one of the liveliest districts of Istanbul. Two important art performances, Whirling Dervish Show and Rhythm of The Dance, are presented in Hodjapasha.
In this article, we will first get to know Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who inspired the Whirling Dervishes, and then focus on the shows at the Hodjapasha Cultural Center.
As an insider, I think watching the shows in Hodjapasha is a complete cultural experience. Since the shows are in the evening, you can go to Sirkeci early and enjoy the eating places and historical monuments in the surrounding area.
In the second part of the article, you can find information about Eminonu, the most vibrant historical district of Istanbul, and Sirkeci, a square inside it. Because there are many valuable historical buildings to see here.
Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi
Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who lived in the 13th century in Sultanate of Rum era, left a rich cultural legacy behind. His works and wise words as a philosopher, poet, and an opinion leader still attracts people all around the world.
Mevlevi Dervishes, the followers of Mevlana’s teachings, still keep his memories alive today via Mevlevi Order, combined with whirling dervish ritual, of which Mevlana founded the bases.
Whirling Dervishes ritual is a performance by dervishes as they focus on the love of god and whirl around themselves. The most spectacular show to witness this magical ritual is performed at Sebi-i Arus (Wedding Day) Ceremonies in Konya (ancient Iconium) every year.
However, even if you can’t go to Konya, you can still watch this great whirling dervishes performances in Istanbul. There are two places when it comes to whirling dervishes performance. One of these is Galata Mevlevi House in Beyoglu (aka Taksim) and the other one is Hocapasha Cultural Center in Sirkeci (nearby Sultanahmet).
Hodjapasha Cultural Center Shows
Whirling Dervish show has been performed in Hodjapasha for many years. A second performance, Rhythm of the Dance, has been added to Hodjapasha Cultural Center’s shows in recent years. You can find the current ticket prices of these two shows on the lines below.
1. Whirling Dervishes
Whirling Dervishes show starts every day at 19:00 at Hodjapasha Cultural Center and lasts approximately 45 minutes. As the gate of the place opens at 18:15, you can spend some time in the lounge until the performance starts.
Hodjapasha Whirling Derwishes Show ticket price is around 30 US Dollars as of September 2022. You can purchase the ticket from this link.
The derwishes will be spinning for a long time accompanied by a slow music. Some people might find it boring. If you think you do not like this kind of experience, you are advised to try Rhythm of the Dance Show which is performed in the same place.
2. Rhythm of the Dance
Rhythm of the Dance show will be interesting for those who are interested in the history of the Ottoman Empire and oriental motifs. After visiting Topkapi Palace and its Harem Rooms, you can take your experience further with this dance.
Hodjapasha Rhythm of the Dance Show ticket price is around 30 US Dollars as of September 2022. You can purchase the ticket from this link.
Hodjapasha Cultural Center opened with the restoration of a 15th century Turkish bath. It will be a colorful experience for you to watch a dance show with cultural motifs in an Ottoman-era hammam.
How to Get to Hodjapasha Cultural Center?
It is possible to reach Hodjapasha Cultural Center on foot from both Sultanahmet and Beyoglu (Taksim, Galata, Cihangir). To find Hodjapasha, I recommend you first find Sirkeci Tram Station.
In order to get to Hodjapasha Cultural Center from Sultanahmet, you can follow the tramway from Sultanahmet Tram Station and walk down the gently sloping road. After passing Gülhane Tram Station, you will arrive at Sirkeci Tram Station.
Hodjapasha Cultural Center is in the back street of the famous dessert shop named Hakkizade 1864 (Hafiz Mustafa) on the south side of Sirkeci Tram Station. There is also Eurostars Hotel on the street where the performance hall is located.
In order to get to Hodjapasha Cultural Center from Taksim Square, you can first take the Funicular F1 from the metro station and get down to Kabatas. Kabatas is the first stop of the T1 Tram.
When you get on the tram from Kabatas, you will pass Findikli, Tophane, Karakoy, Eminonu stops, and you will reach Sirkeci (5th stop) in about 15 minutes. When you arrive at Sirkeci square, you can find the sweet shop in the picture above and go to its back street.
Things to Do around Hodjapasha Cultural Center
Things to do around Hodjapasha Cultural Center include experiencing street food at local restaurants and then crowning this experience at the city’s most famous dessert shops.
You can also photograph buildings such as the Grand Post Office and shop at Spice Bazaar. Finally, you can visit the Rustem Pasha Mosque, which houses the best examples of Ottoman tiles.
1. Hocapasa Restaurants
Hocapasa Restaurants are located on a street adjacent to the performance hall. These restaurants offer the finest examples of local food culture in Istanbul, such as doner, cag kebab (marinated rotating lamb kebab), meatballs or beans.
Filibe Koftecisi (Turkish meetballs), Sehzade Cag Kebap (Lamb Kebab) and Kasap Osman (Doner Kebab) are the best restaurants in Hocapasa Street. World famous food blogger Mark Wiens has highly recommended Sehzade Cag Kebab in his Vlogs.
2. Grand Post Office
The Grand Post Office is a magnificent 19th century building from the late Ottoman period. This structure was built as part of the First national architectural movement initiated by two Turkish architects.
Other representatives of this architectural trend in the Old City are the buildings that host the Legacy Ottoman Hotel and the Four Season Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet.
3. Sirkeci Railway Station
Sirkeci Railway Station used to be the last station of Orient Express that served between Paris and Istanbul in the 19th century and it’s a historical monument that will definitely create a nostalgic atmosphere for its visitors.
This famous train, which used to be the most luxurious mode of transportation of its time, transported many famous figures like Agatha Christie. These famous people who set their feet on Istanbul stayed at hotels such as Pera Palace in Beyoglu.
4. Spice Bazaar
Spice Bazaar can be reached in a few minutes by following the street of the Grand Post Office across from Hocapasa Street. Spice Bazaar is one of the most famous historical shopping places in Istanbul and is 350 years old.
In a classic Spice Bazaar shop, you can find Turkish delight, tea leaves, local nuts, dried fruits, saffron and, of course, spices. Also, shopping in the streets surrounding Spice Bazaar is a true local experience.
5. Rustem Pasha Mosque
Rustem Pasha Mosque is one of the relatively little-known but most beautiful mosques in Istanbul. The mosque, which houses the most distinguished Iznik tiles from the Ottoman period, was chosen as one of the “100 hidden gems of the world” by Newsweek magazine.
Rustem Pasha Mosque was built by Mimar Sinan, the most prolific architect of the Ottoman Empire. As a person who lived during the peak period of the empire, Mimar Sinan also built the largest mosque in the city, the Suleymaniye Mosque.
Written by Serhat Engul