What are some insights on "The Book of Travels" by Evliya Celebi?

Quick answer:

Evliya Çelebi, who lived from 1611–1682, wrote the Seyahatname, or Book of Travels, a unique and precious account of life in his time. Evliya Çelebi was born in Istanbul in 1611. He spent forty years traveling across Anatolia. He also reached Cairo, Vienna (for two years), the Crimea and Caucasus. His 10-volume travel narrative provides an unparalleled record of his eyewitness experience as well as reported incidents of all walks of Ottoman life. While some reports are clearly invented and fantastic, the book is considered a forerunner of scientific geography and ethnography.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Evliya Çelebi (1611-1684) traveled through the Ottoman Empire in the seventeenth century. He grew up in Istanbul and reportedly spent forty years traveling across Anatolia, as well as reaching Cairo, Vienna, the Crimea, and the Caucasus.

His 10-volume travel narrative, the Seyahatname, or Book of Travels, provides an unmatched record of his eyewitness experience, as well as reported incidents, of all walks of Ottoman life. While some reports are clearly invented and fantastic, the book is considered a forerunner of scientific geography and ethnography. An alternate title is the Tarihi seyyah, "Chronicle of a Traveler."

The manuscript was completed in 1683 in Turkish, and in the 1740s, it was known to total over 4,000 pages. The first full Turkish publication came out piecemeal from 1896-1938. Portions appeared in German in the 1810s-1850s and in English in the mid-twentieth century.

A new, authoritative English-language edition of selected portions, translated and edited by Robert Dankoff and Sooyong Kim, was published in 2010.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial