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Kurabiye have been a part of family life for generations and are best home-made. Every child has sweet memories of coming home to the heavenly aroma of freshly baked kurabiye. Every mother, every aunt, every grandmother, every neighbour has her own speciality.
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When Süleyman the Magnficent’s two youngest sons, the princes Beyazıt and Cihangir, were circumcised on November 1, 1539, the festivities surrounding the ceremony were designed not just for the court, royal servants and dignitaries, but for all the sultan’s subjects. The included spectacular processions of guilds, acrobats, magicians, tournaments and non-stop feasting…
First came the savoury courses: soups, stews, roasts, pilavs, böreks, and thousands of savoury buns known as çörek, which are accompanied by fragrant, flower–scented sherbets of inexhaustible variety. Then follows a prodigious procession of sweets that includes countless puddings, helvas, candies, compotes (hoşaf), jams, jellies, served with a kaleidoscope of sweet pastries…
In Ottoman Bursa, silver trays laden with Kurabiyes shaped like pears were sent round to the wedding house by friends and neighbours before the ceremony started. The classic ratio of butter to sugar is old recipes is one-to-one, with slight variations….
By the mid-1990s the Zeyrek Camii was in a state of alarming decrepitude. Now that the Byzantine masterpiece has been rescued, what lessons have been learnt? For Robert Ousterhout, who was closely involved in the restoration, the old ways are always the best. Photographs by Jürgen Frank
For three years, the main Islamic Middle East gallery at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum was closed. It reopened in 2006 with spectacular effect. Here we present some key aspects of a stunning permanent collection that can now be seen, literally, in an entirely new light. Commentary by its curator, Tim Stanley. Gallery photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg
The Crimean War of 1853–56 which ended 150 years ago this year  now seems very remote. Why were Great Britain and France, in alliance with Ottoman Turkey, fighting Russia in the Black Sea? Norman Stone investigates the causes and reviews an exhibition of Crimean War memorabilia at the Sadberk Hanim Museum.