Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum, Galata, Beyoglu, Istanbul

Dating back to 1491 and has become a museum in 1975, the Galata Mevlevihanesi is a lively place that variety of Turkish calligraphic art items, music items and items belonging to Mevlevi culture are exhibited.

An Ottoman trail in Pera
Istiklal Avenue is the busiest street in Istanbul. Every single day and night, in both summer and winter, on any hour of the day you can find a flood of people here. Istiklal lies within the district of Beyoglu, formerly called Pera, which is the centre of arts and culture. The avenue ends at Tunnel Square which leads to Galipdede Avenue. Right at the beginning of this avenue, on the left hand side, Galata Mevlevihanesi (Dervish Lodge) welcomes you with its historic gate. When you walk through the narrow corridor, you find a courtyard in sharp contrast with Beyoglu’s European and stone masonry architecture, the Ottoman-style timber building of semahane, the shrine and the fountain. This historical texture will both surprise and impress you.

When it was founded with the endowment of Iskender Pasha in 1491, Galata -alias Kulekapisi- Mevlevihanesi stood on a large sloping terrain that reached from Galata to Tophane.

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Today as a museum under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the mevlevihane is located on 6,800 square meters of this vast territory. Istanbul’s only mevlevi lodge in existence in its original form, Galata Mevlevihanesi was founded in 1491 during the reign of Bayezid.

It served as the ‘mevlevihane’ until 1925. In 1925, it closed with the other religious lodges. Mevlevihane lodges were used as a boarding house, primary school and police station. On 27 December 1975, it reopened as the ‘Divan Literature Museum’ thanks to the efforts of Mehmet Önder, then Museums Director, and upon the completion of refurbishments applied since 1967. Galata Mevlevihanesi was used as a police station also in the Ottoman era, because it was in Pera where foreign embassies and the Levantine population lived. It has always attracted the attention of foreign travellers, who wrote many articles and drew designs on the mevlevihane and the whirling dervishes.

Venue of eternity
The museum complex entails real properties of culture that still exist today. These are the main museum building Semahane, Halet Efendi Shrine, Sheikh Galib Shrine, Sebilküttab building, Adile Sultan Fountain, Hasan Aga Fountain and the mevlevi cemetery ‘Hamuflan’. Some of the people buried here include Ibrahim Müteferrika, who established our country’s first modern printing press, Humbaraci Ahmed Pasha – Le Compte CA Bonneval, who founded the first Western artillery school of the country, Leyla Hanim, first female Divan poet, Fasih Dede and Esrar Dede, Divan poets, and Nayi Osman Dede, ney master. The conservative perspective of the Ministry of Culture helped Galata Mevlevihanesi to survive until today.

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Now it is being reconstructed with a modern museum aesthetic. Visitors will be informed about lodge life, architecture and Mevlevi culture. The museum will present information on a valuable part of our culture. Guests of this ‘museum-venue’ will both discover that mevlevihane is an art academy and also have a chance to relax in its environment. Having survived years of neglect, Galata Mevlevihanesi is now nearing the end of its restoration process. Despite the supervision by Regional Directorate of Foundations, the repairs that began in 2005 seemed as if they would never end. But the Istanbul 2010 ECOC Agency came as a godsend. The restoration of Halet Efendi Shrine, fishy Galib Shrine and Sebilküttab buildings were finished first. Rearrangements of displays and surroundings also began.

by Yavuz OZDEMİR - Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum Director - Istanbul 2010 ECOC Agency

Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum Opening hours: open between 9.30am and 5 pm except Tuesdays
Address: Galip Dede Str. No:15, Beyoglu; Tel: (0212) 245 41 41

Galata Mevlevihanesi is also one of the best places to see in Istanbul.

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