NileGuide Expert Says:
The Sufi dancing show at the Wikala al-Ghouri in Cairo is one of the best in Egypt, and it's free
Wikalet al-Ghouri, Muhammad 'Abduh Street, behind al-Azhar Mosque
tel: +20 (0)2 2285 4509 (Tourist Information)
fax: +20 (0)2 2285 4363 (Tourist Information)
NileGuide Expert tip:
Try to arrive at the Sufi dancing show as soon as possible after the doors open at 6.30 pm, to ensure you get a seat
Three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, there is a Sufi dancing show at the Wikala al-Ghouri
, in Islamic Cairo
. Sufism is a mystical sect of Islam, that believes it is possible to enjoy a personal relationship with God through practices such as intense and sustained spinnning around in a circle, leading to a trance-like state. The most famous Sufi sect are the Turkish Whirling Dervishes.
The Sufi dancing show in Wikala al-Ghouri is a riot of dizzying colour, as dancers in multicoloured skirts spin and dance their way around the stage, all the while accompanied by hypnotic drum beats and other traditional Arabic instruments. The dancers are very skilfull, able to manipulate their skirts into shapes such as a cradled baby! The incredible thing is how, after the performance, they walk off in a straight line as if nothing has happened.
Although the Sufi dancing performance is undeniably touristy, it is not at all cheesy, and is one of the best in Egypt. Best of all, it's free. The performance begins at 8.30 pm and lasts around one-and-a-half hours. Only 250 tickets are available, and the staff are very strict on this, so it's best to arrive when the doors open at 6.30 pm to ensure you get in.
The venue for the Sufi dancing performances is the Wikala al-Ghouri, which is just behind al-Azhar Mosque
, and pretty much opposite Khan al-Khalili
. If you get lost, everyone in the area knows where it is and will be able to help you out.