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The way we were: Western views of Turkey

By Ian Irvine   219

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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…

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