Sanctuary – For much of their history, the Mevlevi had hundreds of tekke lodges throughout the Ottoman Empire.
Since the Order was banned, the lodges were shut down. The Galata Mevlevihane in Istanbul is one of the few remaining.
Twilight zone – Whirling Dervishes perform a Sema ceremony in Konya, Turkey.
The Dervishes - also known as Mevlevi - are followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, the legendary Sufi mystic poet who died in 1273.
Altered state – The dance is modeled on Rumi's ecstatic rituals as he composed poetry. Dervishes enter a trance-like state during the performance. The dance is now recognized as intangible heritage by UNESCO.
Waiting in suspense – Whirling Dervish group leader prepares to start a ceremony. The dance is so physically demanding that it has been compared to military training.
Hot ticket – The most sought after performance occurs on December 17 each year during the Mevlana Festival, the date of Rumi's death -- or his "wedding night" reunion with God.
Tuning up – Dervishes backstage before a performance in Konya.
Dervish city – Dervish souvenirs are promoted intensively during the festival, although the Mevlevi Order has been banned in Turkey since 1923.
The state allows public whirling performances on the basis that they are cultural rather than religious displays.
Cross my heart – Whirling dervishes salute a "Postisin", leader of the troupe, at the end of a ceremony marking the anniversary of the death of Rumi.
Preaching to the choir – Whirling dervishes deliver a concert at the Galata Mevlevihane in Istanbul.
Branching out – After the ban on Mevlevi practices in Turkey, the order branched out to form new chapters across the world.
The tradition is maintained in the Arab world including in Syria and Egypt (pictured).
New frontiers – There are around 100 Mevlevi lodges in the world today, many in far-flung locations such as Colombia and Switzerland (pictured).