The Mawlavi Household of Galata
The Mevlevi sect established by Mawlana Celaleddin-i Rumi in the 18th century after dwelling at Kalenderhane in Vezneciler temporarily after the conquest of Istanbul, has established its “asithane” among the vineyards and gardens outside Galata Walls in 1491. The structural details of the first one called the "Kulekapı Mawlavi Household" are unknown. Since the building had no owner after 1548, it has been used as a Halveti tekke and medresah. In periods after its repair in 1608, the setting focusing on the "semahane (ritual hall)" has remained rather unchanged after the 1765 fire too. Selim III, who was known to be close to the Mevlevi sect has had the "Hünkar Mahfili" added to the building during the repair process he started in 1792.
In the wooden buildings which occupy a rather large area, the phases of daily life are arranged according to Mevlevi traditions and those migrating from this world to infinity continue their togetherness in the tekke with spiritual beings. The naming of Hazires: "Hamuşan" (Quiet Ones) and "Hadikatülervah" (Garden of souls) reflect this belief. The neighborhoods formed around the mescits of Müeyyetzade and Şahkulu built in the 16th and 17th centuries have caused the tekke lose its rural atmosphere with minorities and Levantines inhabiting the area after mid-19th century.
The powerful individual of the period Halet Efendi has the building complex which incorporates the main gate on the road called Galip Dede Street today built as a masonry structure in the early “empire” form. The multi-purpose structure on the right of the door is a two storey building which accommodates a sebil, fountain, "muvakkithane" on the lower floor and a library and school on the upper floor with access from the inner yard. The open tomb on the left was rebuilt in 1871 in a highly different and elitist style putting a pyramidal stepped marble roof on a vessel vault.
The three storey main building which looks like a rather large wooden konak in the yard was built in 1860. The main element of the main structure is the two floor high octagonal “semahane (ritual hall)" which is separated with fences outlined by eight wooden supports and wooden poles. On the right side of the “sisters” mahfil separated with a cage on the left of and behind the "züvvar" section for male audience which also accommodates the mihrab is the “şeyh suite”.
Three different stairs go to the upper floor. The section on one side of the octagon right above the door, the "Mıtrib maksüresi" is allocated to musician dervishes. On the right side of this floor, there are the “çelebi” mahfils allocated to "hünkar" and "Konya Dergahı Postnişini" (Konya Dervish lodge Postnishin) and there lie the mahfils of foreigners of the left wing.
The top of the mihrab is left vacant with all mahfils other than the Mıtrib maksure covered with cages. The lowest floor of the main building which is a semi-basement is accessed both by stairs from the ground floor and also from the side from the garden. There are “dedegah” cells on either side of the long space (hall) with four eyvans; two on the sides and two at the end.
It is believed that the “çilehane”, which one comes down through the yard is the ayazma of an old monastery known to have existed once upon a time. The harem section and the “mahbah-ı şenf" in dual design have not survived.
Ceremonies called “sema (cyclic ritual)” are being organized from time to time in the Mawlavi Household which has been functioning as a museum since 1975 and the rituals and traditions of one of the most deep rooted sects which have bloomed in Anatolia are made to live in the shows of the dervishes who reached ecstasy by music and dancing.