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The way we were: Western views of Turkey

By Ian Irvine   June 2014

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A seraglio—Living quarters for Ottoman wives—by John Frederick Lewis, 1873. © Bridgeman art library 

English traveller Thomas Coryat describes visiting the whirling dervishes in Galata in 1613:

“Upon a sudden the musicians sounded much louder than ordinary, whereupon some five and twenty of the two and fifty dervishes, suddenly rose up bare-legged and bare-footed, and casting aside their upper garments some of them having their breast all uncovered, they began by little and little to turn about the Interpreter of the Law turning gently in…

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