Summer 2017 Newletter

Our Winter/Spring edition of Nomads News offers the articles on ‘Ottoman Horizons’ – A Festival of Ottoman Culture; She’koyokh playing in The Nomads Tent; Your Mailing Options; Our Improved Rug Cleaning service; Roadshow Venues coming up: and the latest Rufus Reade Tours…

Click here to get a pdf copy of our Summer 2017 Newsletter.


Ottoman statue

Ottoman Horizons – A Festival of Ottoman Culture

A summary by Andrew Haughton During our 2016 symposium ‘In the footsteps of Marco Polo’, Julie Witford of Cornucopia magazine, textile specialist Jennifer Scarce and Near East botanical specialist Dr Janet Starkey raised the idea of an Ottoman theme for our symposium for 2017.

Tulips (lâle*) are of course one of the quintessential icons of the Ottoman era and from the start of planning a symposium for 2017 there was a botanical thread which naturally found its niche not at The Nomads Tent but at The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and resulted in a major conference ‘Travellers in Ottoman Lands; the Botanical Legacy’. Our normal one day symposium morphed into a plan for a whole fortnight of Ottoman inspired events with accompanying exhibition.

The Ottoman era was 600 years long so we wouldn’t be short of subjects. Musicians, chefs, mystical poets, Anatolian rugs and kilims, travellers, mercenaries and diplomats, Iznik pottery, Transylvanian/Anatolian rugs all came together as ‘Ottoman Horizons – a festival of Ottoman culture’. Along the way Julie Witford suggested I contact Caroline Finkel in Istanbul, a champion of the very great 17th century Ottoman traveller Evliya Celebi who I think would have loved this festival as he loved music, literature, people and their language (sacred and profane!).

Ottoman detail

He was a spiritual and cultured man who travelled the empire on the coat tails of Ottoman royalty and is read and revered in Turkey to this day. Celebi was the subject of the keynote talk in our symposium on Saturday 6th May ‘Travellers and Treasures of the Ottoman World’, presented along with enriching and enjoyable talks from Stefano Ionescu (all the way from Rome) on 500 year old rugs in Transylvanian churches, Roberta Marin revealing Venetian trade links. Warwick Ball truly amazed us with news that Edinburgh was invaded by Ottomans, and Jason Goodwin told colourful tales of European diplomats and adventurers among the Sultan’s harem.



She’koyokh playing in The Nomads Tent’

Our customers are the heart of The Nomads Tent thank you for coming and enjoying and bringing alive ‘Ottoman Horizons’. I am also indebted to my team at the shop who did not complain as the scale of this festival emerged; Sarah our marketing and administrative wizard, Kirstin who created all the wonderful brochures and posters, Alastair who became a music manager, Izidor who conjured up the most memorable dinner to accompany an evening of mystical poetry, and Marianna and Ruth whose steadfast and thoughtful support and hard work, often behind the scenes, kept the ship on course.


music gig


tulip garden
*Origin of English word ‘tulip’: French tulipe (earlier tulipan) from Turkish tülbend, turban: from the flower’s resemblance to a turban.

Julie Witford introduced me to composer conductor Emre Araci who along with Lucia Vigilante and the wonderful Edinburgh University String Orchestra shared their joyful 25th anniversary concert that was also our festival finale. John Clifford warmly encouraged us all along, and Tim Cornwell had some excellent advice on publicity matters.

The shop became a riotous concert hall with Meg Hamilton and She’koyokh, Chris Elmes and Helena MacGilp of Duo Hyperborea, Stella Mazeri and friends from Balkan and Greek band Boozoolia, and many musicians from Syn Music Group.

On the botanical front Ann Duncan opened the gates of her extraordinary tulip garden just for Ottoman festival goers and the sun shone and Ann raised £800 for her charity from tea and cake sales.


Two study sessions on Ottoman artefacts in the Museum’s Granton store presented by NMS senior curator Friederike Voigt were booked out. On their second visit to the Nomads Tent, performers Ashley and Flora brought us an evening of Rumi’s wisdom. Last but not least Turkish Consul Semih Lütfü Turgut and Uğur Yılmaz, representing the extraordinary country that is Turkey, enthusiastically attended almost every event.

With ‘Ottoman Horizons’ the Nomads Tent proved its potential more than ever for hosting all kinds of gatherings. We love to share this space with musicians, performers, speakers and we warmly welcome enquiries and proposals.


man on bike

Mailing Options

Let us know if you’d like to hear about events at the Nomads Tent via email or via post and email. To stay as you are, there is no need to do anything. (Perhaps you already did and this mailing has come unwanted – if so we are sorry; we had a glitch in our database in which some past change requests were deleted accidentally!)



We continue to offer cleaning, repair and moth treatment for rugs which includes freezer treatment. Our little moth traps have been selling like hotcakes and are available by post (see website).


Improved Rug Cleaning

Cleaning of rugs has moved to new levels of perfection. Oddly this is thanks to technologies developed in the US which have now become available here. We are really pleased to be working with Ian Norris who is highly trained in the use of these new methods, widely used by collectors and rug specialists. The results have hugely impressed us; they are as good as or better than we have managed to achieve before. Ian removes the grit and loose dirt, gets scientific with things like PH testing and for any risk of colour run. The rugs are then washed with precisely balanced compounds and detergents before being rinsed and drying.



An Ardebil runner came to us almost completely black



Roadshow Venues:

We will be showing at two great venues this year. Kirstie and Johnny Cuthbert at Myreton near Stirling (13th to 22nd October) and Andrew and Nicky Bradford at Kincardine Castle (3rd to 12th November).



Rufus Reade Tours

Rufus is pleased to announce his plans for 2018: if you’d like to join his email mailing list or receive the details of particular tours as they are published get in touch. Each tour is led by Rufus.  These tours are now open for booking:

January 2018: Orthodox Christmas in Moscow and the Golden Ring. After New Year Moscow is very quiet as Russians enjoy the extended holiday. Museums, monasteries and the metro are all open. Hotel prices are signi cantly lower. Join us for what promises to be a intimate visit of walks and a relaxed schedule. Max 12 people.

May 2018: The Natural World in Romania: bears and birds in the Carpathians and the Danube Delta with our guest birder Ian Andrews. Max 15 people.

September 2018: Creative Writing in Sicily with guest novelist Alice Greenway. We will stay in just four places and give lots of time to observe and write. Max 15 people.

November 2018: Japan seen through cra s, gardens and temples. Our aim is to keep away from the areas of mass tourism and see some
of the outstanding cra s, gardens and temples. Max 15 people.


Rufus Reade Tours

40 Pilrig Street

Edinburgh EH6 5AL

0131 554 1078

Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold


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