Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Tünel, Beyoğlu - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'41.0"N 28°58'29.0"E / 41.028056, 28.974722

 photo galata_lodge121.jpg


Also called Kulekapısı Mevlevi Lodge in historical sources, it is known as Galip Dede Lodge, too. It is the first grand foundation of the Mevlevi path. Today it is located on the Galip Dede Avenue of Şahkulu neighborhood in Beyoğlu. It was built by İskender Pasha (1481-1512) who was one of the statesmen of the period of Bayezid II, in the hunting farm on the Galata hillside in 897/1491.

The Galata Mevlevi Lodge (mevlevihane) or as it is also known the Kulekapı Mevlevi Lodge which is now serving as a museum, is one of the institutions which reflect the culture of the era in the best possible way. The Mevlevi Lodges which for centuries combined scholarship with music had a great influence on the Turkish culture. A great number of those people who came together in a Mevlevi Lodge environment were educated in various areas of fine arts and their names were remembered for a long time as far as science and scholarship was concerned.

The Mevlevi mystic order was established by Sultan Veled, son of the 13th century Islamic philosopher Celaleddin-Rumi". One of the foremost Sunni mystic orders, Mevlevi philosophy takes the union between God and the universe as its starting point, and believes that everything which exists is in fact. an aspect of God. Where Mevlevi thought differs from that rationalism is the belief that not reason but divine love, ask, is the way for human beings to attain truth. Ask is profound love and yearning for God in the human essence.

Another feature of the Mevlevi order is that it was the first to make music a central part of religious practice. The ney, kudum and later instruments such as the tambur were used in Mevlevi ceremonies. It is said that at gatherings Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi recited poetry and engaged in the whirling dance known as the sema. Following his father's death, Sultan Veled laid down specific principles for the sema and other practices, thereby laying the foundations of the Mevlevi order.

The Galata Mevlevihane was the first Mevlevi dervish lodge established in Istanbul, although the building we see today dates from much later. The original building was constructed in 1491 during the reign of Sultan Bayezid II (1481-1512) on a hunting estate belonging to İskender Paşa. It was known as Kulekapı Mevlevihane or later as Galip Dede Dergah.

The first leader of the dervish community here was Sultan-i Divani Sema'i Mehmed Dede, followed by Safi Dede, under whom the lodge really became active The building was subsequently used by the Halveti order, and only repaired and restored as a Mevlevi lodge in the seventeenth century by Sirri Abdi Dede. When Sahir-i Mesnevi ismail Rusuhi Dede was appointed in his place, Abdi Dede was obliged to leave the dergah, and as a result founded the Kasımpaşa Mevlevihane.

In the early 17th century Evliya Celebi records that the Mevlevihane had a hundred dervish cells, but none of the buildings from this century remain apart from the fountain dated 1649 built in the courtyard by Director of Customs Hasan Aga, who was executed for his part in the uprising of 1656.

Gavsi Ahmed Dede was the first in a Mevlevi family which served as seyh of the lodge until the mid-18th century, and he was succeeded by Safi Musa Dede, seyh of the Kasımpaşa and Yenikapı Mevlevi lodges. Towards the end of the 18th century, under Abdülhamid 1, the Mevlevi order was shaken by rivalry between defferent seyhs for control. However, with the accession of the reformist Selim III (1789-1808) it began to play a central role in the progressive movement for modernisation of the empire.

The first seyh of Galata Mevlevihane during Selim's reign was Mehmed Es'ad Dede, better known as Seyh Galip (1757-1799), the famous poet whose work mainly treats mystic themes. During his time the lodge was extensively repaired, and the semahane or hall where the dervishes whirled into a trance of communion with God was rebuilt. He also restored the cells and wooden tombs.

The most renowned seyh of the 19th century was Kudretullah Dede, who held the post from 1818 to 1871, and it was during his time that most of the buildings we see today were constructed, with the assistance of Sultan Mahmud II. Kudretullah Dede, who is buried in the tomb facing the street, was succeeded by his son, Mehmet Abdullah Dede, who also carried out extensive repairs on the buildings.

The last seyh of the lodge was Ahmed Celaleddin Dede. The lodge was closed down along with those of all the mystic Islamic orders in 1925, on the grounds that they were sources of reactionary movements against the programme of modernisation launched in the new Turkish Republic established by Atatürk two years earlier.

Galata Mevlevi lodge is significant building not only because of the spiritual value, but also because of its architecture... Just at the entry of its yard there is a circular archway. On this archway there is Sultan Mahmud II’s monogram. Another work of art you can see on this arch is an epigraph belonging to the poet Lebib. The building you see is not the original, which burned in 1765, but its replacement, which was extensively restored between 1967 and 1972.

The Mevlevi Lodge which is located at the top of the steep street going down to Yüksekkaldırım is the oldest Mevlevi Lodge of İstanbul. It was built in 1491, on the hunting grounds of İskender Pasha who was a governor - general during the times of Sultan Bayezid. Its first master was Mehmet Mehmed Sema-i Çelebi. The building was struck by fire during the reign of Sultan Mustafa III. (1766) but was replaced by the existing Mevlevi Lodge by the same Sultan. In later years, the building underwent repairs during the reigns of Sultans Selim III, Mahmud II and Abdüllmecid.

The institution which carried out its activities until 1925 was once more restored between the years 1967 - 1972. The Mevlevi Lodge which was built as a complex contained rooms and spaces for pray chanting, dervish cells, the quarters of the master (şeyh), special prayer (namaz) area for the Sultan, the section for the female members, library, fountain for the public, clock room, kitchen, mausoleums and an enclosed graveyard.

Galata Mevlevi House History
It is the first Mawlawi House in İstanbul  (1491) where was built by Divane (Semai) Mehmed (Chalabi) Dede, Sheikh of Afyon Mawlawi House, on a land at Galata ridge whose Iskender Pasha owned during the reign of Bayezid II (birth 1481 AH -1512 CE)The building was swayed by the big earthquake in İstanbul (1509) otherwise known as "little doomsday"; repaired and renovated and turned out to be a complex of building after new sections added.

The first known reparation was the Construction Work in the Mawlawi House by the Fiduciary of the Kitchen Ismail Ağa. The oldest property that has survived today is Hasan Agha Fountain which is dated to 1649.The Mawlawi house was destroyed in the big fire at Tophane (1765) and repaired in the same year by Yenişehirli Osman Efendi  who was designated as the buildings' fiduciary by Sultan Mustafa  III.

The Mawlawi house was renovated by reparations which were financed by Sultan Selim III (1789 -1807), after Sheikh Galib's chair period began in 1791. In the 19 century, the Mawlawi House turned out to be current configuration by the constructions during the reign of Mahmud II (1808-1839) in 1819 and 1835; in the reign of Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861) 1851-1852 and in the years of 1959-1960.

The function as Mawlawi House was ceased due to The law no 677 and dd. 13 December 1925; on closure of dervish lodges, hospices and shrines and on abolition and banning to the shrine offices and particular titles and the buildings were began to use as a school by Arbitrament from Istanbul Principal Council on Galata Mawlawi House's converting to a school.

After being used as the 35th Elementary school, although it was transferred of the title to the Educational Department for "being a museum" by Arbitrament from the Cabinet on 2 October 1946; opening was only became possible after receiving visitors under the title of "Divan Literature Museum" on  27 December 1975.

Between 2005-2009, The Sema House was restorated under the control of Provincial Department for Foundations.  Halet Said Efendi (Kudretullah Dede) Tomb and Sheikh Ghalib (Ismail Ankaravi) Tombs were restorated and The Museum started to receive visitors by Ministry of Culture and Tourism and with the contributions of İstanbul 2010 European Cultural Capital Agency.

Architectural Counterpart to the Mevleviye
Despite a number of structural similarities between the Mevlevi lodges and other tarikat edifices, there were, due to differences in purpose and function, also notable distinctions. Activities such as the sema ceremony and the one thousand and one days of austerity and asceticism the Sufis practiced as part of their ethical and behavioural training, alongside the need for certain features, such as the Dedegân odaları (the elders' chambers), the semahane hall in which the sema was performed), the Matbah-ı Şerif (the kitchens) and Meydan-ı Şerif (courtyard), meant a specific type of structure was required.

However, when these architectural elements took place within the context of the emergence and development of the Mevleviye remains unknown, as a precise date or era for the emergence of the final form, or definitive version, of the sema and the one thousand and one days of austerity training - the essence of the Mevlevi creed - has yet to be ascertained.The dargah was entered via the cümle kapısı, the main entrance.

The sheikh's private quarters were in a separate location, further away from the main complex of buildings and with a separate entrance. The selamlık, the rooms in which the sheikh greeted and welcomed guests, would undoubtedly include a coffee preparation area and sleeping quarters. The Meydan-ı Şerif, usually located in close priximity to the sleeping quarters, was a large area in which the members of the order would assemble after the morning prayers to discuss the day's issues.

The other structure adjacent to the sleeping quarters was the stoves, the Matbah-ı Şerif, where food was prepared and also where the novices and new recruits could go to relax.The semahane was located in a separate building and was generally under the same roof as the burial crypt, although not every functioning tekke (lodge) would necessarily include such an edifice.

Museum Sections
Kitchen, Mevlevis in İstanbul, Masnawi, Literature, Worship And Dhikr, Lodge Music, Fine Arts, Hologram, Last Mevlevis, Semahane, Mıtrıp Mahfeli, Foreigner Guest Room, Hilye-i Şerif, Calligraphy, Mustafa Düzgünman Room, Çelebi Mahfeli, Hünkar Mahfeli, Janissary Band Room, Music Room.

Orders' Structures
Architectural spaces with religious content were emerged as a matter of course that meet the orders' institutional needs to observe their rituals and shaped distinctively developing in accordance with demands. These architectural spaces are entitled the same names and have many commonalities although they vary according to each order.Dervish Lodges: Literal meaning of "takkah" in Persian is derived from "takyah" which means, "leaning, relying, reliance, gathering location for dhikr and rosary."

Dervish Lodges are the structures as a matter of their institution where orders' affiliated people gather and observe their own rites, worships and services according to their own customs, traditions and principles.

A Zaouiah (hospice) is the smallest size dervish lodge building. Hospices would be able to transform to lodges undergoing a transition of expanding as quality and quantity, being supported by foundations and becoming important congregation centers during a certain evolutionary process in time.

A building which is considered superior relative to the other branches among buildings peculiar to orders and where a shrine of one of the seniors or the founder of the order (Pir) is called a "Khanqah". It derives from Persian "Khangah" or "Khanegah" and used as referring a big lodge called "pir's chair (pir makamı) as well.

Dargah and Asitaneh
They are two terms which were used for naming after specifying differences of status and importance among structures peculiar to orders.  Persian "Dargah" means gate and "Asitaneh" means treshold which were used as architectural terms metaphorically although they do not refer to architectural concepts. Asitaneh of these terms mean the biggest dargah that is superior among other buildings of that particular order. And dargah is used to refer to a lodge in general terminology. Word dargah is used for no matter what the status and importance grading is and does not carry any quality referring any kind of value judgement.

Semahane (Ritual Prayer Hall)
On the entarence door of this wood structured section there is the restoration statement of Sultan Abdülmecid dated 1853. The building has an octagonal plan and a good sample of the baroque style of the 18th century. In this section Turkish musical instruments and works related to the Mevlevi culture are exhibited. In the upper section which is divided with wooden grills, the poems (divan) of the Classical Ottoman poets and manuscripts belonging to Şeyh Galib, İsmail Ankaravi, Esrar and Fasih Dedes and the poetess Leyla Hanım who were trained and educated at the Mevlevi Lodge are kept in chronological order. The quarters of the master (şeyh) and the special praying area for the Sultan are upstairs.

Dervish Cells
It is constructed with stone and consists of rooms in a row.

Galip Dede, a renowned 17th-century sheikh of this tekke, is buried in an ornate tomb to the left as you enter from the street. It was built by Halet Said Efendi at the beginning of the 19th century. It has a square plan. Mehmed Ruhi, Hüseyin, İsa Selim, Şarih, İsmail Ankaravi who first annotated the Mesnevi and Şeyh Galib Efendi are buried here. Şeyh Galip's mausoleum, who was one of the most important figures of Mevlevi order, is also located in the yard. It was built at the same time as the other mausoleum. Has a square plan. Inside, Şeyh Kudretullah, Ataullah Efendi, Halet Said Efendi and Emine Esma Hanım who is the wife of Ubeydullah Efendi are burried.

Hasan Ağa Fountain
To the right of the entrance stand a sebil (fountain for the distribution of drinking water to the public) with a cistern and sadirvan (fountain for ablutions). The masonary structure was built in the early 19th century.

Clock Room
A room in which astronomical instruments for the calculation of time were kept, library and school.

Halet Efendi Library
It was built by Halet Said Efendi. It is at the entrance of the place. It is on the top floor of the special prayer place and contains 3455 volumes.

Treasury (Graveyard)
Those who functioned as masters (şeyh) at the Mevlevi Lodge, their spouses, the "kudum" and "ney" playing musicians and poets who had "divans" (volume of collected poems) are burried here. The graves of Humbaracı Ahmed Pasha, İbrahim Müteeferrika who set up the first printing press in Turkey, the composer Vardakosta Seyyid Ahmet Ağa, Nayi Osman Dede, and the family members of Tepedelenli Ali Pasha are also here.

Humbaracibasi Ahmet Pasha, a leading figure in the reform of the Ottoman army in the 18th century, better known in the west as the Comte de Bonneval, a French nobleman who converted to Islam and entered the sultan's service as a bombardier general, is also buried on the tekke's grounds, as is Ibrahim Müteferrika, who established the first Arabic/Ottoman printing press in the empire in the 1700s, and Leyla Saz the famous 19th century poetess and composer can also be seen at Galata Mevlevihane. The tomb stones are significant for their inscriptions and decorations.

Sema Ceremonies
Dervish Lodge continues its activities today as well. Inthe special ceremonies organized for visitors, articles are read mentioning about Mevlana philosophy, the musicians perform Sufi music and then sema starts. Whirling symbolizes a spiritual coming and going. This whirl is performed from the right to the left around the heart and it means embracing all creatures with love and affection. During the ceremony, the soul leaves the world and unites with God freely, with an excessive joy.

While whirling, the right arms are open, directed to the skies, ready to receive God’s beneficence, whereas the left hand is turned toward the earth.  Therefore, God’s spiritual gift is conveyed to the people, upon looking with the eyes of God.


WEB SITE : Galata Mevlevi Lodge Museum

E-Mail : galatamevlevihanesi@kultur.gov.tr
Phone : +90 212 245 4141
Fax : +90 212 243 5045

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