Entering the city through the Girne Kapisi (Kyrenia Gate), the Mevlevi tekke museum is fifty metres on the left. A tekke is a religious base, and this 17th C building was the home of the followers of Jelal-el-din-Rumi Mevlana, the Persian poet, theologian and mystic, who founded he order of Mevlevi in the 13th C. His followers became known as the Whirling Dervishes because of the dance they perform. The Muslim monks danced to the music composed by Jelal and played on a reed flute and drum. The music tends to be faintly hypnotic and the monks, robed in white cassocks whirled themselves into an ecstatic frenzy. The dance represents man as being the bridge between heaven and earth, with a monk standing centre stage symbolising the planets.
In 1925 Ataturk banned all monastic orders, however as Cyprus was under British Control the Dervishes residing in Nicosia escaped the ban. The last Dervish in Cyprus died in 1954, and the long room that leads off the main exhibition hall is the burial place of many who preceded him. This entire building is now a museum.