Classical Tour of Albania

Day 7 - World Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal Sect of Islam, Tirana


The religion of the Dervishes, although they donít practise whirling here


Bektashism 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.

World Headquarters of Bektashi
                Liberal Sect of Islam, Tirana

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.

World Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal Sect of
              Islam, Tirana

This is entered through a splendid archway.

World Headquarters of Bektashi
                Liberal Sect of Islam, Tirana

Inside is a large brick built Administration Block with the white Inn of the Dervishes behind, which is the guest house.
 
Admin building, World Headquarters of Bektashi
              Liberal Sect of Islam, Tirana

Inn of the Dervishes, World Headquarters of
              Bektashi Liberal Sect of Islam, Tirana

Beyond is the recently completed Tekke building used for worship and has a museum in the basement.

Tekke, World Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal Sect
              of Islam, Tirana

At the far end is a small stone build mausoleum with three rooms containing splendidly carved wooden tombs of important members of the sect.

Mausoleum, World Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal
              Sect of Islam, Tirana

Mausoleum, World Headquarters
                of Bektashi Liberal Sect of Islam, Tirana

Mausoleum, World
                  Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal Sect of Islam,
                  Tirana   Mausoleum, World
                  Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal Sect of Islam,
                  Tirana

Later tombs are outside the building.

World Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal Sect of
              Islam, Tirana

Pilgrims come to touch the tombs and then light a candle in the lamp house.

Lamp house, World Headquarters
                of Bektashi Liberal Sect of Islam, Tirana

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.

Tekki, World Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal Sect
              of Islam, Tirana

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.
 
Tekki, World Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal Sect
              of Islam, Tirana

Tekki, World Headquarters of Bektashi Liberal Sect
              of Islam, Tirana

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