ImageYuksel Oktay - UNESCO has added the 400th anniversary of the Ottoman Turk traveler Evliya Çelebi’s birthday to its timetable of celebrations in 2011 (1). Many events will take place on the life and travels of Evliya Çelebi, including a writing contest by the Turkish Travel Club in Istanbul.

Evliya Çelebi was born on March 25, 1611 to a family originally from Kütahya. He began his travels in and around Istanbul, describing buildings, customs, markets and culture and began his long journey accross Turkey in 1640. He was well educated and even studied in Enderun which was established to eduacte the young members of the royalty at the Palace. Wherever he went, he took notes and compiled them in a 10 volume book called the ‘’Seyahatname – Book of Travels.’’
The book is of course in Ottoman Turkish and not easy to follow for modern day Turks. Some believe that many of the descriptions in the book are presented in an exaggerated manner and some are inventions. The first volume deals with Istanbul. It is well known that thirty Turkic dialects and languages are cataloged in the travelogue.
There is no curret English translation of Çelebi’s entire work although various parts of the book have been published in Enfglish (2). A 30 page selected stories from the Seyahatname in English was distributed at the Iran Book Fair in April, 2010, among other Turkish books, including stories from Masnavi by Celalddini Rumi, who they consider  Iranian.
An article in TURSAB Magazine states that Evliya Celebi died during a trip from Egypt to Istanbul.
Turkish Travelers Club competition
The third competion of Evliya Celebi Travel Composition has been initiated by the Turkish Travelers Club. The latest date for partipation is 31 january 2011. The results of the competition will be announced on 2 April 2011 and the compositions will be published in a book. Those interested can learn about the competition in the Club’s web page, www.gezginler.org.tr.
Other famous World Travelers
Among the other famous world travelers are Ibn-i Batuta from Morocco and  Marco Polo from Italy.
(1)   Earlier celebrations of famous Turks included the 100th anniversary of Mustafa kemal Ataturk, commemorated in 1981.
(2)   Robert Dankoff of University of Chicago published an introduction to Çelebi’s work, titled, ‘’The World of Evliya Çelebi: An Ottoman Mentality

Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07