LECTURE: A Life on the Road: the Exploits and Adventures of the 17th-century Ottoman Traveller, Evliya Çelebi

17 May 2018 18:30 to 20:30 | London

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AH

A BIAA lecture by Dr Caroline Finkel (Honorary Fellow; University of Edinburgh).

In 1640, aged 29, the Ottoman courtier Evliya Çelebi left Istanbul for the first time, to visit Bursa. His desire to travel had been nurtured by trips in the city’s hinterland, and meetings with dervishes who regaled him with tales of distant places. Evliya spent the rest of his life journeying to the ends of the sultan’s domains and beyond, from Vienna to the Sea of Azov to far up the Nile.
Evliya wrote in detail of his experiences, and his informative, entertaining and often fantastical Seyahatname or Book of Travels is considered the longest travel account in world literature. It is also the indispensible guide for anyone interested in re-imagining the 17th century Ottoman world.
In this talk we will accompany Evliya as he roams, observing the world through his enquiring eyes. We will highlight his 1671 Haj journey, whose northwest Anatolian stages are now a long-distance cultural route.

Dr Caroline Finkel, Honorary Fellow; University of Edinburgh, School of History, Classics and Archaeology is an Ottoman historian, and author of Osman’s Dream. The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923 (John Murray). She was co-director of the BIAA-supported Akkerman Fortress Project in Ukraine. Latterly she has focused on Evliya Çelebi and his travels, being a co-founder of the Culture Routes Society in Turkey, and of the cultural route established in Evliya’s name. She is also co-founder of the Hiking Istanbul project of 20km day-hikes in Istanbul’s hinterland.

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