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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


The Ottoman Route (Istanbul – Damascus – Mecca)

The Ottoman Route (Istanbul – Damascus – Mecca)

Matt Bigg

During the rule of the Ottoman sultans, the ceremonies surrounding the departure of the Hajj caravans from Istanbul were at their most spectacular. The main hub for this route was Damascus drawing pilgrims from across the Ottoman Empire and beyond.

Following the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517, the Ottomans took charge of the Hajj. They took control of the Hijaz and the holy cities and each year they spent vast sums on protecting the caravans, maintaining the routes and taking care of the holy sanctuaries at Mecca and Medina.

From fear of not arriving on time, no rest is permitted from Muzayrib [outside Damascus] ... everyone kept on walking while munching on a biscuit from his own scrip. Even the camels were fed balls of dough while walking. We kept flowing like a human stream.
Evliya Çelebi (1611–85)

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council