Yenikapi Mevlevi Lodge

Yenikapı Mevlevihanesi (1597)

Yenikapi Mevlevi Lodge (Mevlevihane), referred to as "Mevlanakapı", was the most important (and the largest in Istanbul) Mevlevi lodge in Turkey after its main Mevlevi center in Konya.

Yenikapı Mevlevi Lodge was built in 1597 on the land donated by Malkoç Mehmet Efendi, the Chief Caliph of Janissary, nicknamed Kocabektaş, the neighborhood where it was established, which was located beyond the city borders during the expansion period of the city, as was the case with the Galata Mevlevi Lodge.

The Yenikapı lodge complex (külliye) was a dergâh, which is a higher ranked Mevlevi Lodge, namely "âsitane", which was authorized to provide Mevlevi education; the complex (külliye) was large enough to contain many functional sections for various purposes by the Order, including 18 dervish cells. The last Sheikh (Postnişin) of the dergâh was Abdülbaki Baykara Dede, who died in 1935.

The complex included a ritual hall (Semahane), a library, a mausoleum, a fountain (sebil), a timing room (muvakkithane - to calculate the time of prayer services), guest room (misafirhane), cistern (sarnıç), harem section (residence), bath house (hamam), bakery, kitchen, and cellar. Some of these facilities, including the semahane and the mausoleum, were added by Sultan Mahmud II in 1818.

The Mevlevi Lodge gave fine art lessons to talented dervishes and hosted many artists in its facilities. Among those famous artists were Buhurizade Mustafa Itrî (1640-1711, Turkish classical music composer), Hamamîzade İsmail Dede Efendi (1778-1846, Turkish classical music composer), Şeyh Galip (1757-1798, Turkish Divan poet).

The lodge was closed after the law (tekke ve zaviyeler kanunu) banning all the lodges, became effective in 1925. The structure was later used as a shelter for homeless children.

Three big fires occurred in 1903, 1961 and 1997 destroying almost everything. Fortunately the lodge complex went under a comprehensive reconstruction. Every facility was rebuilt and restored according to their original architectural dergâh design. The work was completed in 2012. The complex, given to the use of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Waqf University in 2010, is now serving as an art and scientific center for researchers.

Location: It is located in the Merkez Efendi neighborhood of Yenikapi in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul.
Admission: Free
Address: Mevlevihane Caddesi, Zeytinburnu
Rules: if there are signs, such as clearly prohibiting the use of flashes to protect the artwork, please, follow the rules.

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