Mevlevi Tekke, Nicosia

Less than 100 metres south of Kyrenia Gate is the entrance to this small museum. It is housed in the former Muslim monastery (tekke) of the Mevlevi order (the Whirling Dervishes) that existed here until the middle of the 20th century. A kind of monastic brotherhood, it was founded in the 13th century in Konya by the poet Celaleddin Rumi, later known as Mevlana and revered as one of Islam’s greatest mystics.

Dervishes whirl to the music of a reed flute, a Levantine lute and a drum. To them the dance represents the spiritual search for Divine Love, a provides a means of inducing ecstasy that frees human beings from all suffering and fear.

The museum, contains figures of Whirling Dervishes accompanied by an instrumental trio sitting in the gallery. The display cabinets contain musical instruments, traditional costumes, small metal objects, embroidery, photographs,illuminated copies of the Koran and other Turkish objects.

The adjacent hall features a replica of the dervish’s living quarters. Next to this is a mausoleum with sarcophagi covered with green cloth, containing the bodies of 15 religious leaders, including the last leader of the order, Selim Dede, who died in 1953. In the courtyard are several tombstones from a former cemetery that occupied this site.