The Book of Travels by Evliya Çelebi – UNESCO Man of the Year, 2011

The Book of Travels by Evliya Çelebi

UNESCO Man of the Year, 2011

Evliya Çelebi (1611 – 1684) was born in Constantinople (now Istanbul), the son of a goldsmith at the Ottoman court. As a student at the palace school, he began to write about his travels around the city, describing the people, customs and culture. Over the next 40 years, often as a representative of the court, he travelled widely to places such as the Middle East, Egypt and the Sudan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Greece, and Russia. Notes from his travels were later collected in ten volumes called the Seyahatname (The Book of Travels).

Now seen as an invaluable insight into the 17th century Ottoman Empire and surrounding countries, Çelebi’s writings nevertheless contain some exaggeration and descriptions of places and events he could not possibly have seen, but this does not detract from the importance of this marvellous work.

You can see a fascinating virtual exhibition about Celebi and The Book of Travel here:

The 1996 film, İstanbul Kanatlarımın Altında (Istanbul Beneath My Wings), portrays the lives of Çelebi and friends in 17th century Constantinople, and one of the earliest attempts at flight. You can read about the film here at IMDB:


About turkishtutor

Experienced and Cambridge certified teacher of English and Turkish. Lived and worked in Turkey and New Zealand, now back in the UK and teaching online for the past 5 years.
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2 Responses to The Book of Travels by Evliya Çelebi – UNESCO Man of the Year, 2011

  1. Great website. Nicely done! Very interesting. I had no clue you were Cambridge educated! Smart cookie! I will look up that movie. Sounds interesting!

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