Classical Tour of Albania
The religion of the Dervishes, although they donít
practise whirling here
is a Sufi order founded in the C13th and introduced to
Albania after the Ottoman Conquest. It became widespread in
the C19th. It is a dervish sect combining elements of Shia
and Sufi thought into a unique blend of Islamic belief and
philosophy. It is a very liberal form of Islam and allows
pictures of the prophet women donít have to be veiled and
both men and women can pray together. As well as celebration
Ramadan they also celebrate Nevruz Day which marks the start
of the start of the new year and is a public holiday.
The order was founded by Balim Sultan (1457-1517) and his picture with the prophet can be see on the front of the administration building.
The Bektashi traditionally attracted people from all classes and were found throughout the Ottoman Empire. Ali Pashi was one of their followers. Its headquarters were originally in Turkey but after disagreements with Mustafa Kemal Ataturk over religious reform, it moved to Albania in 1925. The practice ceased during Communist times. It has now built a new modern headquarters on the edge of the city. We were privileged to meet and talk to a young man who was training to be a Dervish. There are only five Dervishes in the whole of Albania.
This is entered through a splendid archway.
Inside is a large brick built Administration Block with the white Inn of the Dervishes behind, which is the guest house.
Beyond is the recently completed Tekke building used for worship and has a museum in the basement.
At the far end is a small stone build mausoleum with three rooms containing splendidly carved wooden tombs of important members of the sect.
Later tombs are outside the building.
Pilgrims come to touch the tombs and then light a candle in the lamp house.
The Tekke was finished in 2016 and is a splendid building with a colonaade of pillars forming a walkway round the outside. There is a splendid lion carved on each side of the steps to the entrance.
Inside a circle of tall dark marble pillars supports the dome. The two columns on either side of the Mibrab can spin and give warning of earthquakes or landslips. The inside is beautifully decorated.
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