The Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi toured Kosovo in 1660, northern Albania and Montenegro in 1662, and southern Albania in 1670. The present volume includes a critical edition and annotated translation of his descriptions of these regions, extracted from Books V, VI and VIII of his
Seyāḥatnāme or Book of Travels.
For seventeenth-century Albania, and in particular for the interior of the country, the
Seyāḥatnāme constitutes a mine of information and is a work of inestimable value. Evliya offers us detailed itineraries through
a virtual terra incognita, including, among many other things, surprisingly accurate descriptions of market towns, fortresses, mosques, pilgrimage sites and pleasure-grounds, and a sample of the Albanian language. His writings are of particular interest for our knowledge of the spread of Islam and the dervish orders in Albania. Evliya's descriptions of Albanian towns and villages reveal that these encompassed all the elements of a refined Islamic culture, of which tragically few traces have survived the course of history.
Robert Dankoff, Ph.D. (1971) Harvard University is Professor of Turkish at the University of Chicago. He has published several works on the seventeenth-century Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi, including
Evliya Çelebi in Bitlis (Brill, 1990).
All those interested in the Balkan region during the early modern period, also Ottomanists and Albanologists.