Yerasimos, Stephane (1991) [1] Les Voyageurs dans l’Empire Ottoman (XIVe-XVIe siècles). Bibliographie, Itinéraires et Inventaire des Lieux Habités, some pages in translation[2]

ISBN 975-16-0290-4

For his study, Yerasimos collected over 600 travel logs through Ottoman lands from the 14th-16th centuries, published by European travellers. The majority were from state officials (25%), a great number were religious people, and nobles, but also traders, writers, soldiers, artists and medics left their accounts.

From these travel logs, he extracted the itineraries. So his study not only provides an extensive list of travellers but also valuable insight into the way of travel in south-east Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.

In chapter two he lists all the ‘roads’ leading to Istanbul, that he found in the sources. One itinerary is of particular interest to the Sultans Trail, the one he called The Routes of the Imperial Ambassadors or “the middle way”. De description of these routes will be reproduced in translation below. Finally in his Conclusions, he presents some general characteristics of travellers and itineraries that will be of interest to us. This chapter too is reproduced in translation. Finally, we reproduce the Bibliography relevant to these Routes.

The route of the imperial ambassadors or “the middle way”, (p.43-53)

This is the route connecting Vienna to Constantinople by Budapest, Beograd, and Sofija, followed from 1553 and until the end of the century by all the imperial ambassadors whose path has hardly changed, except that the return journeys do not entirely correspond to the outward journeys since these are made by boat, going down the Danube from Vienna to Beograd. On the way back, this part of the route is overland but generally remains fairly close to the Danube. (p.43)

The same route is also followed by the Ottoman armies in their Hungarian campaigns, but the variants are more important, especially since the military routes are often different from those of the travellers. This is due in part to the military’s supply needs, but also to the very different nature of a military route. An army doesn’t care about caravanserais[3], it prefers to avoid cities and is often hampered by bridges. Similarly, the long crossing of large wet valleys is not suitable for transporting large pieces of artillery or cavalry, so these routes take the slopes and plateaus and do not hesitate to make a good detour to bypass a river or to avoid a steep neck. (p.43)

The nature of its use makes this road an exclusively route of dignitaries. We do not know of any description of this route by an individual who is not attached to a mission or an army. The others who want to reach Constantinople from Vienna by land will take the road through Transylvania which we will see right after. (p.43)

The nature of its use makes this road an exclusively route of dignitaries. We do not know of any description of this route by an individual who is not attached to a mission or an army. The others who want to reach Constantinople from Vienna by land will take the road through Transylvania which we will see right after. (p.43)

Among the embassies, some embark on the Danube in Vienna, others do so in Komarom, the last imperial city on this river. The land route, taken by couriers because it is faster, runs along the right bank of the Danube by Fishamend, Bratislava (Pressburg), Hedevàr and Györ (Raab). There is also a shortcut by Bruck an der Leitha and Mosonmagyaróvár. In Komarom, the embassies are handed over to the Turks and taken to Esztergom, the first Ottoman city. Between Komarom and Esztergom, the status of the villages on either side of the river is not specified: they must doubtless pay double tax to the Turks and the Imperials. These are Leanyvar and Zsitvato[4], which no longer appear on the current Mocs and Pàrkany maps on the Czechoslovak shore, Almàsneszmély, Làbatlan, Nyergesùsfalu and Tàt on the Hungarian shore. (p.43-44)

Esztergom, conquered in 1543, thirty later, has the appearance of a Turkish city. The ancient archiepiscopal city had lost much of its splendour by then, but the palace of archbishops which became the seat of the Turkish governor is preserved and very extensively described by travellers. The chapel is transformed into a mosque, but the decorations and the tombs are preserved. The citadel has a well, the water of which is raised from the Danube by three pumps. The city is divided into two parts, separated by a wall on either side of a stream that flows into the Danube. At the passage of Lubanau in 1587, a boat-bridge connects the two banks of the Danube. (p.44)

Past Esztergom, we find on the left bank Kamenica nad Hronom and Chl’aba, today in Czechoslovakia, Szob and Zebegény in Hungaria, and on the right bank Pilismarot and Dömös, before arriving at Visigràd, a former royal residence. An imposing castle built on the rock is guarded by 50 Turks during the passage of the embassy of David Ungnad in 1572. Below lay the ruins of palaces and gardens built by the last kings of Hungary. The city is also in ruins. (p.44)

Across the river lies, Nagymaros, a well-built open city, has a nice church used for Lutheran worship. There are also two ruined monasteries. (p.44)

A bit further on the left bank, we come to Kisorosz and Kismaros, a Turkish fortress, inhabited only by its garrison, and Veröcemaros, a fortified village, surmounted by a tower. Further on, Vàc, also fortified, is inhabited only by Turks. On the right bank, Dunabogdany, Tahitotfalu, Pocsmegyer and Szentendre are just mentioned. (p.44)

Buda Castle, late 16th century, exterior view, engraving after a manuscript of Bibliotheca Corviniana. Credit: alamy.com

In Buda, the embassies reside for a few days, visit the Pascha and receive their safe-conducts for the rest of the trip. Thus the city is well described, in particular the royal palace which has become the residence of the Turkish governor. The first to describe the city under the Ottomans was Busbeck during his first visit in 1554: “We can still see the Palaces in which these Princes lived which almost fell into ruin, what remains is supported by props and serves as barracks for Turkish soldiers, who receive just enough pay to live, and do not make any repairs, as long as their bed is sheltered from the rain (..), they occupy only the ground floor and abandoned the upper apartments with the rats and the weasels”. (p.44).

On his return, a few months later, Hans Dernschwam, after leaving Buda, where had lived as a representative of the Fugger house during the time of the Hungarian kings, gave a detailed description of the city. The Fugger house is inhabited by the defterdar[5] who had built wooden stables next to it. Likewise, the house of Hans the Prussian was transformed into a stable while wooden constructions filled the open spaces. The Church of the Virgin became the Paşa Camii, that of St. George the Süleyman Camii, the monastery of St. John had become the Fethiye Camii, while the monastery of St. Nicolas was turned into a warehouse. Ste. Madelaine, the future Orta Camii was assigned to Christians. The Ragusans[6]  occupied the choir dedicated to Catholic worship and the Hungarian Lutherans the nave. Next to this church was a Christian school. (p.44)

The interior of the city appears to have been inhabited by low-income people and the military while wealthy or high-ranking Turks lived outside. To the south of the city was the castle where the palace of Hungarian rulers was located. Travellers give very long descriptions of its rooms and in particular of the library attributed to Matthias Corvinus. (p.45)

On the left bank, Pest, connected to Buda by a boat-bridge and inhabited by Turks, Hungarians and Jews seems to be a commercial and lively city. Surrounded by a rather basic wall, it has covered markets, a hot bath and two mosques. (P.45)

The natural hot baths located outside of Buda are described by several travellers and Wyts (1572) mentions the ruins of two monasteries as well as a tekke of dervishes on the island of Ste Marguerite. (p.45)

Leaving Buda, the ships take the eastern branch of the Danube and have the island of Sziget on their right. After passing the villages of Szigetcsép and Szigetszentmàrton, at the end of the first stage, Ràckeve is reached. It is a market-town inhabited by Hungarians, Turks and Ragusans, where goods are found that come from Vienna. There are two churches, a Catholic and a Protestant, the latter is the most important and is dedicated to St. Nicholas. (p.45)

Next stages are of Dunaföldvàr and Paks which we will see in more detail on the return route. On the left bank of the Danube are the localities of Kalosca, Baja and Szeremle. Baja is a market town and Szeremle is a small town with a tower and a ruined church. After passing Mohacs, you reach Batina, today in Yugoslav territory, and Erdut, just after the confluence with the Drava. Erdut is “a small antique chateau sitting on a low and round hill or mound (..) and a village inhabited by Hungarians”. You can see mills on the banks of the Danube. From there to Beograd, it is a succession of castles on the river. After Borovo, Vukovar is an important fortress with a town of 400 houses, of which around forty are inhabited by Hungarians and the rest by Turks. Dernschwam mentions in 1555 a small mosque as well as the wooden bridge over the Vuka. In 1587 there was a caravanserai built near the water. Sotin is a square fortress flanked by a village with a beautiful church. (p.45) After Opatovac Castle and the city Bukin, located on the left bank, we arrive at Šarangrad, a castle with village and church, and then at Ilok “castle and town surrounded by a simple wall”. Neštin is another castle further on, still on the right bank, while opposite the Danube lies Celarevo, a town surrounded by a wall with wooden houses and surmounted by a castle. Another fortress on the same shore cited by Dernschwam and Wrancic could correspond to the current Gložan, while “the ruined village called Chebet” could be Begeč. (p.45)

Just opposite, on the right bank, is Banoštar, castle and ruined village with eleven mills on the waterfront, followed by Čerevič, another ruined castle with some remains of a monastery and a church and a large village on the riverbank. Sremska Kamenica seems just as ruined and the only important locality on the edge of the river there is Petrovaradin on the left[7] bank. It is a city of about 500 houses, located partly on the side of the hill and partly in the plain, surrounded on three sides by the river. The surrounding walls with round towers also include the high citadel. Guarded by 200 Turks, it preserves the old church transformed into a mosque. Another active church is in the town where the houses are made of wood. On the shore, there are a dozen mills. (p.45-46)

From Petrovaradin to Sremski Karlovci, the region is covered with vineyards. In this last borough of 400 houses, there is a majority of Christians, which explains the presence of two Orthodox churches and one Catholic. You can find there the shops of some Ragusan merchants. On the other hand, Slankamen, despite its castle, seems to be a place of less importance, badly built and half-ruined. The ruins of a large church are still visible. (p.46)

Further on, the localities of Surduk, Belegiš, and Stari Banovci are the only ones mentioned while Zemun, the last stage before Beograd, is a ruined castle and market town, alongside which and settlement is built with wooden houses, possessing a mosque and an Orthodox church, as well as a waterfront caravanserai. (p.46)

Belgrade 1684. Credits: Wikipedia

Beograd is a military and commercial centre of primary importance. The city consists of three parts: the citadel, in which the Nebojsa tower stands out; the fortified town on the banks of the Sava, inhabited by Turks and Jews, where the governor’s residence is located and a caravanserai built shortly before the passage of Dernschwam in 1555; and finally the much more numerously populated suburbs. There is the large complex built by Sokollu Mehmed Paşa before 1572, composed of three parts: a bezesten[8], a caravanserai and stables. There are two or three more caravanserais built-in and covered with lead. (p.46)

The population would be around 6,000 fireplaces (households) at the passage of Wyts in 1572, mainly composed of Turks, Serbs and Jews, but the Ragusans who have about fifty houses hold all the commercial activity. Gerlach counted 11 churches, one of which is dedicated to St. Michael. (p.46)

Travellers arriving by the Danube at Beograd disembark there to continue overland to Constantinople. But on the way back, the route from Beograd is obviously overland.

Return from Belgrad[9]

 In its first phase, the military route separates from that of other travellers. It follows the right bank of the Sava via Obrenovac, Grabovac, Debrc and Korman to Sabac, the Turkish fortress of Böğürdelen, where it crosses the Sava to reaches the town of Sremska Mitrovica via Jarak. (p.46)

The other travellers cross the Sava at Beograd and go to Zemun. From there, several variants are possible. The path closest to the current route passes Ugrinovci, Simanovci, Prhovo and Gaičeva at arrives at Sremska Mitroviča. Another passes further south by Karlovčic, Brestac and Jarak before arriving at the same city. Others, intermediaries, link Ugrinovci to Brestac or Prhovo to Jarak. (p.46)

After Mitrovica, a large market where Gerlach has seen no less than 17 mosques, the military road shows a predilection for the direction of Morović, from where it joins Vukovar by Ilača, while the embassies pass a little further north by Lačarak, Gibarac and Tovarnik, where there is a caravanserai, then reaching Lovas and Vukovar. There, all the paths meet to cross the bridge over the Vuka and arrive in Osijek, on the banks of the Drava. Osijek is a village built of wood and straw, surrounded by a low wall without towers, and inhabited by Turks, while the suburbs contain basic shelters where Hungarians and Serbs live. There is a caravanserai. (p.46-47)

Beyond the Drava, there are still two variants. One which follows the current road and crosses Darda, a large open village, with houses covered with straw, and inhabited by Hungarians. The second, located further east, passes through the villages of Kopacevo, Darocz, Lug and Karanac to join the first in Beli Manastir. Then we find Branjin Vrh, village and palanka (wooden fortress), Popovac and Udwar on the current Hungarian border. (p.47)

The first Hungarian stage is Mohacs, castle and village, site of the battle which ended the Hungarian kingdom in 1526. The path follows the current road to Dunaszecksö, Bata, market town flanked by a ruined monastery. Bataszek, the small summer hamlet and Szekszard seat of a sancakbey[10]. In this town where there is a good caravanserai, the old abbey is transformed into a fortress. (P.47)

Tolna, the next stage, is stopping place both for ships going down the Danube and convoys going north by land. Tolna is a major city with 4,000 households, “larger than Augsburg,” notes Daniel Meurl. Sokollu Mehmed Paşa has built a complex there, with baths and caravanserai. Almost all of the inhabitants are Hungarian Lutherans and Wyts (1572) sees in this city the first bell and the first public clock on this route. (p.47)

After the Tengelic-Szölöhengy market, located a little away from the current road, and the village of Dunaszentgyörgy the path reaches Paks, a large village on the Danube. These open villages, as well as Dunakömlöd and Bölcske, located further north, are inhabited by Hungarians. On the other hand, Dunaföldvar has a fortress and a caravanserai while the village still shelters a Hungarian population. Similarly, Dunaujvaros (Pentele) is an open Hungarian village while Andony is flanked by the Turkish fortress of Cankurtaran and also has a caravanserai, the first one encountered in Ottoman territory when coming from Vienna. (p.47)

After Adony, the route continues along the right bank of the Danube via Erd and Törökbàlint or crosses at Lòrév to the island of Sziget and goes up via Szazhalombatta to Budapest. Beyond this city, the return routes leave the banks of the Danube to go either to Esztergom by Solymàr, or to Komarom by Zsàmbék, Làbatlan and the right bank of the Danube or directly by Tata, an imperial fortress. There is also a route connecting Esztergom to Komarom by the left bank of the Danube through Šturovo, Mužla, Vojnice and Marcelova. (p.47)

Return route of the ottoman army[11]

What remains to be covered is the return-route of the ottoman armies, which did not use the Danube, even if flotillas circulated there. Returning from the 1562 campaign, the army came to Szeged on the banks of the Tisza and from there went along the right bank of this river via Bečej and Titel to Slankamen. On returning from the 1529 campaign, it seems to have skirted the right bank of the Danube, while, during the campaign of 1532, having advanced to Graz in Austria, it passes through present-day Yugoslav territory in Maribor, crosses the Drava in Ptuj and follows the territory between the Drava en the Sava, through Varaždin and Slavonska Požega until crossing the Bosut from where it reaches Lačarak. Finally, on returning from the 1543 campaign, it follows the left bank of the Danube from Budapest, but the only stage identified up to Sombor in Yugoslavia is that of Akasztó from Sombor it reaches Petrovaradin via Bač and Futog. (p.47)

Continue from Belgrad[12]

In Beograd, travellers leave ships for horses or wagons, because the roads connecting this city to Constantinople is one of the few roads in the Empire where you can drive. The path first goes up to the fortress of Avala and then joins Grocka, also called Old or Little Palanka as opposed to Smederevska Palanka. The village is located on the banks of the Danube, on either side of a small river that flows there. On the east bank of it is a caravanserai which already existed at the first known passage of an embassy in 1553. With a capacity of 200 horses, it had 24 fireplaces, that is to say, 24 rooms and a fountain. Surrounded by Serb huts covered with straw and reeds. On the other shore, the Turkish village surrounded by wooden walls provided with towers of the same material. (p.47-48)

The oldest route continues along the Danube to Smederevo, a city fortified by an “ancient” wall flanked by towers and filled with houses in very poor condition. Outside is an open suburb inhabited by Serbs, Turks and some Ragusans. Wyts (1572) estimates its population at 500 houses. Then the road goes south and through the village of Vinitza, located near the current Golobok, and Livaditza and joins the other route near Velika-Plana. (p.48)

Another route from Groćka reaches Kolari, a village inhabited by Serbs and Turks, and Smedereva Palanka, this place also called Grande Palanka, Hasan Paşa Palanka, Poturekja, Clenovac or Bela Crkva seems to acquire importance throughout the 16th century as the main stage of this route. A first caravanserai, which does not seem to have existed during Gerlach’s first passage in 1573, is cited for the first time by Schweigger in 1557 and by Gerlach on his return the following year. Levyn Rym mentions two caravanserais in 1583 (p.48)

The next stage usually is Svetozarevo, but the embassy of David Ungnard stops in 1572 in Lapovo, composed of “a few small houses”, while others stop in Batočina, a village of 20 or 30 straw huts inhabited by Serbs where Betzek cites a caravanserai from 1564. Svetozarevo, the old Jagodina, is an important locality. The embassy of Wrancic lodged in 1553 in the house inhabited by Derviş Bey and built by his father Kücük Bali Bey, sancakbey of Serbia from the Malkoҫoğlu family. On the return of Dernschwam in 1555, this same Derviş Bey, at the time sancakbey of Pecs in Hungary was building a mosque to which will be added a second one since Gerlach mentions two in 1573. Likewise, Daniel Meurl cites two caravanserais in 1564, and Gerlach four in 1573. The locality which counts 200 fireplaces and natural baths, has two beautiful marble fountains in its market. (p.48)

The next day, after spending the night in Svetozarevo, the travellers crossed the Morava by boat and went to Paracin, a large village with two caravanserais, one of which was built of stone and covered with lead. The following stages are relatively dispersed. The nearest stage is Ranzanj, followed by Bovan, located much further east than the current road, with two castles, one of which is in ruins. Next comes Aleksinac, called by the Turks Sipahiköy. There, Hasan Paša, governor of Timişoara built a caravanserai, mentioned for the first time by Pigafetta (1567). Gerlach specifies that it is made of stone, covered with lead and accompanied by a mosque, while Luneau (1587) also adds a bath to it. The three stages before Niš are Katun, a small village in ruins, Draževac and Toponiča. (p.48)

Niš is an important road junction where also a route from Dubrovnik ends. The city, conquered only five years earlier, was destroyed during the passage of Bertrandon de la Brocquière in 1443. A century later, it did not seem to be restored since both Jacques Gassot and Jean Chesneau spoke of it as a town. Hans Dernschwam mentions three mosques, a Serbian church and a wooden caravanserai. Busbeck (1555) describes it as a small but very commercial town, while Wyts (1572) cites the large figure of 6,000 houses and insists like many others on the importance of the Ragusan trade. There is also an imaret[13] and a mosque named after a certain Hasan Bey who is buried there. (p.49)

The route from Beograd described above does not seem to be suitable for the Ottoman army, probably because of the crossing of the Morava. So there are two alternative routes, one for the outward journey and one for the return. Both in the 1521 campaign and in 1526, 1529 and 1543 campaigns, the Ottoman army travelled from Niš to Kruševac, probably crossing the Morava as close as possible to Niš near Trupale. Beyond Kruševac, it goes up Zapadna Morava[14] via Trstenik and Kraljevo to Cačak. It is there that it crosses this river to orient itself towards the north through a route difficult to determine but on which one could identify the villages of Lubič, Velereč, Šatornja, Ramilovič and Ralja. (p.49)

The return is made by the right bank of Morava via Lucica, Aleksandrovac, Svilajnac and Subotica from where it joins the main route at Paracin. (p.49)

This same right bank of the Morava will also be followed by the only imperial embassy which, to our knowledge, has not taken the ordinary route mentioned above. It is the mission of Kaspar van Minkwitz in 1569, described by Stephan Praun and Thobias Trötscher, who after going to the left bank of the Danube in Komarom continues his journey by this bank via Šturovo and Nagymaros until Pest. From there, heading south-east, the embassy crosses the Hungarian plain through Ocsa, Pusztavacs, Kecskemét, and Tömörkény. The Tisza is crossed between this village and the market town of Hodmezövasarhely. Likewise, after Mako, he crosses the Maros at the current Romanian border and travels to Cenad. The same southeast direction is kept across Csatad to Timişoara. Then he heads south and reaches the Danube at Ram Castle, located on the current border between Romania and Yugoslavia, via Şemlacul Mare and Parta. The descent to the south continues on the right bank of the Morava but at a certain distance from it since the village Veliko Selo mentioned in the story is located on the banks of the Mlava, a river parallel to the Morava to the east. Finally, he joins the main route to Paracin. (p.49)

Past Niš, the different routes meet and closely follow the current route to Sofija. The first stage is Niška Banja, then the path takes a shortcut through Kunovica and joins the current road to Novo Selo. After Bela Palanka, a Bulgarian village next to a Turkish fortress, located near the Orthodox monastery of St. Demeter, the path takes a second shortcut and reaches Pirot via Cerovik and Rasnica. Pirot, a Turkish fortress flanked by a Bulgarian suburb, has the first caravanserai from Niš as well as a mosque. (p.49)

After Pirot, the route stays a little south compared to the current road, near Sukovo, but joins this it in Dimitrovgrad (Caribrod). Another detour follows, this time to the north, through Kalotina and Eževica, they come together in Dragoman, a Bulgarian village with a stone church covered with wood and dedicated to St.Georges. The next stage is usually Sofija, but several intermediate villages on either side of the current route are often cited in the accounts. (p.49)

In Sofija, Bertrandon de la Brocquière was the last one to see the ruined walls and the city fortress in 1433. It developed into a commercial centre and a staging post. The embassy narrator of David Ungnad in 1572 estimated its population at 7,000, while the embassy writer of Contarini in 1580 increased it to 15,000. Apart from the Turks and Bulgarians, there are Hungarians, Spanish Jews, Greeks and Armenians as well as 150 households of Ragusans who maintain a Catholic church. There are about fifteen mosques, including the old church of Ste. Sophie and the one built by Mehmet Paşa, accompanied by a vaulted caravanserai built in stone. Gerlach lists 9 Orthodox churches and Besolt mentions a synagogue. In the accounts of Zen (1550) and Contarini (1580) it appears to be the second in importance on the Balkans, after Edirne. Leatherworks, ironwork, harnesses for horses and saddlery, fabrics and felts have their market or rather their street in the city. Which, with its low wooden and earthen houses, looks like  a typically Turkish city in the eyes of travellers. (p.49-50)

Often, to avoid an epidemic or the inconvenience of an uncomfortable caravanserai, travellers avoid Sofija and lodge in the vicinity; in Malaševci, north of the city or, as is the case for Busbeck and Dernschwam on their return in 1555, in Slatina in the west, where Curipeschitz also stops in 1530. This dispersion leads to spreading of the routes in the plain of Sofija. The Iskar is crossed at least in three places: north of Busmanci from where the route goes to Verila, Novi Han, the now-extinct village of Tirnova, “village of Bulgarian Greeks” and to Vakarel; in the middle at Kažicane, a Bulgarian village from there to Novi Han; in the south at Gorubljane from where Lozen and Ithiman are reached directly. (p.50)

Vakarel is a small Bulgarian village with a church. In contrast, Ithiman has a mixed population of Turks and Bulgarians of 450 fireplaces with a church and a mosque. There is a caravanserai and at least one imaret in the same building. (p.50)

From Ithiman, the route divides again into two variants. The southern one passes Momina Klisura, crosses the Marica and follows its right bank, joining the road from Skopje, via Belovo, Septemvri and Pastuša to Plovdiv or Konuš. The northern one ascents to the pass of Trajanova Vrata after passing the now disappeared village of Tekija. The descent leads to Vetren, an important village of 500 households, inhabited exclusively by  Bulgarians who have five churches. Nearby are the ruins of a castle. From there, one comes to Karabunar and traverses the Topolnica on to Pazardžik, via Melikadĭnovo and Kalugerovole, the first being a Bulgarian village and then Turkish, before crossing the river to reach Vetren[15]. (p.50)

Pazardžik (Tatar Bazarcik) is a market town of around 500 fireplaces, of which only around 30 are Christians. As early as 1553, there were two caravanserais, as well as two mosques, while du Fresne Canaye mentions in 1573 a “sumptuous and magnificent” bath built by Sokollu Mehmed Paşa. (p.50)

From Pazardžik, the military road begins to differentiate, staying on the left bank of Marica and keeping its distance to the river. Thus, it crosses the Luda Jana at Doganovo, goes to Malo Konare and Calapica, bypasses Plovdiv to the north and follows this same bank to Svilengrad if not to Edirne. On the other hand, the passenger route remains much closer to the Marica and, after a stop at Govedare, crosses the wooden bridge with more than 30 arches to reach Plovdiv on the south bank of the river. (p.50)

Plovdiv, which covers three hills on the right bank of the river, also has a suburb on the left bank where there are a wooden caravanserai and a tekke[16] of dervishes in a garden at the foot of the bridge. Opposite, on the other bank, there is another lead-covered stone caravanserai, while at the passage of Contarine in 1530, the mother of Murad III was in the process of building a third. The town has an old nucleus corresponding to the ancient fortified city, inhabited by Bulgarians and Jews, while the rest, with its wooden houses and shops, had the typical appearance of an Ottoman Balkan town. The population is estimated to be around 5,000 households, including around 300 Spanish and Hungarian Jews. Orthodox Christians, Bulgarian or Greek, must have been numerous too since Gerlach cites eight churches and monasteries as well as the residence of the metropolitan bishop[17]. Both Zen (1550) and Carlo Ranzo (1575) speak of an important colony of Ragusans but during the passage of Contarini in 1580, there remained none. (p.50-51)

After Plovdiv, the itineraries of travellers, continue on the right bank of the Maric, clearly different from the military road which remains on the left bank. There are at least two variants: one that remains south of the current route, through Katunice, Konuš, where travellers notice the mosque of Minnetoğlu Mehmed Bey and the disappeared village of Kara Pazarlı, the other which sticks more or less to the current route and crosses the villages of Popovica, Kalugerica, which no longer exists today, Filevo, inhabited by Bulgarians and Turks, Gorski Izvor, Klokotnica, Bulgarian village with a wooden church. Uzundžovo where the first caravanserai will be found since Plovdiv, the Christian village of Virovo and that of Yenice Müslüman, since abandoned. From this last locality, along the Harmanli river which is crossed by a stone bridge in the village of Harmanli, which has three caravanserais. The oldest, with 24 chimneys, would have been built by Mustafa Paşa, no doubt also the builder of the Svilengrad bridge. The second by a certain Hasan Bey who is adorned with a fountain; the third by Siyavuş Paşa. (p.51)

Some travellers cite Ivanovo and Ljubimec, after Harmanli, but the next stage is more usually Svilengrad, the bridge of Mustafa Paşa, where the ordinary route passes on the left bank of the Marica while the military road often crosses the river in the other direction to join Edirne by Ormenion on the current Greek territory. Another variant crosses the Marica at Harmanli and crosses it again in Svilengrad. In Ormenion is a caravanserai and a mosque. (p.51)

The Mustafa Paşa bridge had been under construction for three years when the second embassy of Toma Contarini passed in 1528. It will become a central element around which several other buildings will be grafted. Corneille de Schepper, on his return from his first mission in 1533, was lodged on the right bank of the river “in a house which had been built there for the retreat of those who had passed the said bridge”. Catharin Zen (1550) writes that the houses of the Christians were grouped on one bank and those of the Turks on the other. The Turks lived on the left bank where Mustafa Paşa had built a mosque, accompanied by a bath and a caravanserai. During the passage of Daniel Meurl and Jacob von Betzek in 1564, there is a second stone caravanserai as well as a hospital. Fresne Canaye attributes them to Hurrem Sultan the wife of Süleyman Ith. (p.51)

It is in Svilengrad that we can place the starting point of a royal road which leads via Edirne, to Constantinople, where all the great of the regime compete in magnificence to equip it with buildings which are not only meant for convenience but also symbols of power. Edirne obviously concentrates the largest number of them, including the most accomplished of the Ottoman imperial mosques, that of Selim II, but this city, much more than a stage, is the second capital of the empire, the largest and most active centre of the Balkans after Constantinople. In this context, it is one of the cities whose description cannot be undertaken here since the importance and the complexity of the available material for ordering and comparison with the other sources composes a  “field of study”, which exceeds the objective of this one. Let’s just say that, in the story of Anthoni Charcon (1468), Edirne with 35,000 inhabitants is considered more populated than Constantinople, which at that date would only have 25,000 souls. This situation will undoubtedly be reversed at the beginning of the XVIth century, but Edirne remains throughout this century the primary centre of production of a certain number of manufactured products, in particular those related to the military equipment. (p.51-52)

Edirne, the ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire 1878. Credits: alamy.com

From Edirne to Constantinople, the ordinary route strictly follows the current route. The mention of the Turkish village of Sögütlüdere on the river by the same name by Ramberti (1534), Gassot (1547) and Lescalopier (1574), makes one think of a possible variant leaving Edirne by the military route, which will be described below and joining after this stage of the ordinary road at Babaeski or Lüleburgaz. (p.52)

The first stop on the main route is Havsa. There is mention of a large caravanserai from 1530 by Curipeschitz. But a much more important one will be built by Sokollu Mehmed Paşa undoubtedly at the beginning of the 70s, since it is mentioned for the first time by Hans van den Branden on his return in 1574 and will thereafter be cited by all those who pass through Havsa. The author of the story of the Soranzo embassy gave the first description of the complex in 1575, which was still under construction. Next to the main caravanserai were apartments for the accommodation of important figures, as well as a row of shops. Construction of a mosque was underway. It seems to have been finished in 1578 and Contarini also mentions a bath in 1580. According to Angiolello (1470) the village would have been populated by people originating from Karaman under Mehmed II, probably in 1466. As Zen finds there in 1550 a majority of Christians, it must be assumed that it was Christians from Karaman who were brought there. (p.52)

The locality of Kuleli, cited only by Angiolello (1470) and the Turkish village of Piripaşa are not strictly speaking stages. So the next stop is Babaeski. The town takes its name from a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas, a saint assimilated to San Salik, a character venerated by the Turks. To the church which was transformed into a mosque was a tekke of dervishes added. Dernschwam (1553) cites a second mosque, but the first caravanserai built by Ali Paşa, the commander of the Ottoman fleet who died in Lepanto, was still under construction when Lambert Wyts passed by in 1572. It was accompanied by a mosque and a hospital. Lubenau (1587) also mentions the caravanserai of a Mustafa Paşa. (p.52)

Lüleburgaz was already inhabited by Turks when Bertrandon de la Brocquière passed by in 1433. There is a fair held in the spring which brings together nearly 300 carts from all over the region. Sokollu Mehmed Paşa built the most imposing of his complexes there, consisting of a mosque, a caravanserai, a hospital and shops. Construction was underway when Pigafetta returned in January 1568; according to Wyts, it was started in 1566 and finished in 1570. The town contains 300 houses and Gerlach (1573) notices the traces of an old castle and walls. (p.52)

In Büyük Katiştıran, it was Rüstem Paşa who had built a caravanserai and a mosque before 1550. The village of Karasinit being mentioned only by Contarini (1580), the next important locality is that of Ҫorlu where there are three generations of caravanserais. The first was built by Ahmed Paşa, the rebel governor of Egypt, who died in 1524, and was cited for the first time by Schepper in 1534. It is accompanied by a mosque and baths. The second built by Mihrimah Sultan, wife of Rüstem Paşa, is mentioned by Pierre Lescalopier in 1574. The third, also accompanied by a mosque, would be due to Ferhad Paşa. The town is said to be inhabited by 3,000 Turks and 300 Christians who have a church dedicated to St. George. (p.52)

The next village, Azapli, is inhabited by Greeks and there is a church dedicated to the Virgin. They are a little away from the current route. Further on, just before Silivri, the road to Salonika, the “left road” joins the “middle road”. Siliviri is an important town with a port from which one can embark for Constantinople or the Asian side of Marmara. It is a city surrounded by walls with a castle, all more or less in ruins, and by exception inhabited by Greeks while the Turks reside outside. Dernschwam mentions three mosques, one of which accompanies a caravanserai, while Gerlach (1573) describes three churches and Pigafetta (1567) cites two Orthodox monasteries in the old town. (p.53)

Selimpasa, the Greek village of Epivates called Bogados by the Turks, located by the sea, has a ruined castle. This description is also valid for the following locality of Kumburgas. Following a royal pleasure garden and one reaches Bayük Çekmece where Soleyman Ie built the stone bridge mentioned for the first time by Zen in 1550. Previously, Pierre Belon quotes in 1547 a wooden bridge. The same sovereign had also built a caravanserai, an imaret and a mosque there, and a second mosque was built by Sokollu Mehmed Paşa. The town has 200 houses, some of which are undoubtedly Christian since Gerlach cites a church dedicated to the Virgin. In Kiçük Çekmece, Angiolello (1470) mentions a stone bridge which later disappeared since Betzek and Meurl (1564) speak of a wooden bridge. There is an important imaret built by Abdüsselam, defterdar of Selim Ie, accompanied by a mosque, but from 1575, Sokollu Mehmed Paşa built a second important mosque and caravanserai complex. (p.53)

From this place the travellers go either towards the gate of Yedikule, and in that case, they follow the coast and they sometimes stop at the green village of Yeşilköy (Aghios Stephanos), or towards the gate of Edirne, or bypass the Golden Horn and go directly to Galata. (p.53)

This royal road was not, however, used by the army, which preferred a route further north, avoiding the crossing of the two sea-arms of Büyük and Küçük Çekmece and the humid plain of the Ergene river. Thus the military road from Edirne follows a route almost parallel to the previous road through the villages of Hasköy, Değirmencik, Hamzaköy, Ahmet Bey, Uzun Hacı, Karlıköy and Kabakça to Catalca. Then, it bypasses the two lakes of Çekmece to the north and arrives at Constantinople where it enters by the gate of Edirne. (p.53)

The “middle road” is undoubtedly the one which was the best organization in the Ottoman Empire but its equipment is not homogeneous. On the one hand, there are a certain number of gaps, for example between Niš and Sofija, and on the other, comfort improves as one approaches Constantinople. It is from Harmanlı, that is to say in the last 300 kilometres that an uninterrupted series of caravanserais can be found. (p.53)

Sources

The itineraries of the “middle way” are based on the travel logs of: Lambert Wyts (1572), Reinhold Lubenau (1572), Marcantonio Pigafetta (1567), Stefan Gerlach (1573), Hans Dernschwam (1553), Melchio Besolt (1584) Jacob Fürer von Haimendorf (1587), Wolf Andreas van Steinach (1583), Jacob van Betzek (1564), Salomon Schweigger (1577), Anton Wrancic (1553), Hans van Branden (1570), Daniel Meurl (1564), Wratislaw von Mitrowitz (1591), Paolo Contarini (1580), Pietro Cedulini (1572), Catharin Zen (1550), Pierre Lescalopier (1574), Corneille Schepper (1533), Gaspare Erizzo (1558), Carlo Ranzo (1576), Giovan Andrea Gromo (1564), Francesco della Valle (1531), Antonio Possevino (1583), Jaques Bongars (1585), David Ungnad (1572), Busbeck (1554). For bibliography, see below.

Conclusion (p.88-92

This long description of routes, while making it possible to trace a few lines on a map with more or less precision, is not in itself sufficient to transform these lines into a network of a certain consistency, assuming that this consistency exists. The existence of a large number of stories on a route makes it possible to draw a kind of deeper groove on the ground and thus to mark a route with more precision. On the other hand, it is impossible to determine through a single story whether the route concerned constitutes an individual variant or a path of certain importance that is just little described. However, the reality must lie between the two extremes; that is to say, if these routes should not be conceived as compulsory trajectories, which one may not or cannot leave, one should not either apprehend the territory as a completely open space which one can cross at will. A whole cluster of elements allows us to observe these trajectories by a certain number of axes and the progressive modification of these elements allows for new combinations, slow or abrupt, over time. (p.88)

An evaluation of these elements leads to the following categories:

-Accessibility: This is the set of characteristics linked to the relief, the hydrography and the climate of the regions crossed. The mountainous countries produce a certain number of passages which in turn determine the routes. This is the case when crossing the Anatolian high plateau, when entering Transylvania or crossing Mount Lebanon. The large rivers constituting many obstacles as well, crossed by bridges, ford or in a boat, also used a wet or marshy valley. Finally, the climate, influencing the environment, determines the times and the duration of the passage. The monsoons govern the time of the passage between Ormuz or Suez and Goa, while winter is not very favourable for Mediterranean trips. When travelling by land it is better to avoid the summers of the Lar region in Iran and the winters of the Anatolian highlands. Likewise, crossing the desert requires a certain number of precautions and the routes scrupulously follow the water points. (p.88)

-Security: Astonishingly, the great revolts which shook Anatolia during the last quarter of the XVIth century are not echoed in travel accounts. With some effort, one finds the single mentioning of name Karayazıcı “the writer”, quoted by Cartwright in 1600. However, the accounts of the passing’s of Anatolia are sufficiently rare so that this state of the things can have a detectable cause. Thus, it is in particular endemic insecurity that will be considered. This manifests itself particularly on the roads which border the Arab desert and to a lesser extent in the mountainous passages of Bosnia and Macedonia. It leads to a tightening of the routes and the passage through a certain number of compulsory points which constitutes the protected roads in the Balkans and the fortified stages in Syria and Palestine. (p.88)

There is also another aspect of security, this institutional one, known as “avanie” among Western writers. These concern the abuses imposed by local officials on foreign journeys and especially those who transport goods. We have seen how an act of this type by the governor of Tripoli which brought about a decisive reaction on the part of the Venetians, followed by the other Westerners, tipped the scale from Tripoli to Alexandretta. (p.88)

However, these two aspects appear only sporadically in the literature and do not resemble the large waves of insecurity of the seventeenth century which lead to the upheaval in the structure of voyages and routes. The 16th century is par excellence that of pax Ottomanica[18], even when the exemplary and almost incredible discipline during the campaign of 1548,  described by Chevalier d’Aramon, seems to have disappeared half a century later. (p.89)

– Equipment: This is the reverse of the previous characteristics, insofar as it involves work undertaken by the authorities to overcome the drawbacks caused by the above headings: Bridges to cross rivers, caravanserais to protect against bad weather and highways bandits,  fortresses to protect the road. The use of the wheel seems to have practically disappeared from the roads of the Empire, with the exception of one leading from Belgrade to Istanbul, there is no mention of road construction, except the crossing of some marshy passages, but certain measures have been taken to ensure the recognition of routes in the event of a snowstorm in the Balkans or of sand in Syria and Egypt, by planting poles along the traffic axes. The necessary maintenance will be resolved differently in the Balkans and in the Asian possessions of the Empire. In European territory, it is the inhabitants of the villages located on the road who are responsible, in return for the exemption from a certain taxes and obligations, to watch over the maintenance and the safety of the road. In the Arab territories, more direct measures are taken by the construction of fortresses and the installation of garrisons of Janissaries. As for artworks (bridges, tunnels, caravanserais etc.), with the exception of the aforementioned fortresses, through the contradictory characteristics of the Ottoman Empire, a state that is so centralized and omnipresent, they are built privately, even if the builders are almost always public figures, including the sovereign himself and his wives. They are maintained by waqf [19] created for this occasion. (p.89)

The existence of these facilities, which focuses on the most common routes, leads by their presence to an increase in frequentation and permanence of these routes. (p.89)

To the questions of equipment as discussed above, we must add in this section those of the supply of foodstuffs for men and animals. The Ottoman army, which displaces several tens of thousands of men, if not more, carefully regulates its supply on the way by ordering, through its local officials, the various categories of producers or beneficiaries of taxes in kind to procure the quantities necessary nearby, which in turn influences the route. Similarly, individuals often complain during the crossing of depopulated or deserted regions of the difficulty to find food and fodder. (p.89)

– Speed: This is a quality which is not always required, by all categories of travellers at least. But the apparent slowness of travel that one might be tempted to infer from reading certain stories contrasts with the shortcuts taken by the routes, even compared to current routes. Apart from the large curve by the south, carried out by the military road which crosses Anatolia, the straight lines drawn by the routes on the maps are often impressive. The roads of yesteryear seem to face the terrain with more courage than the current roads where speed can compensate for detours. (p.89)

– Discretion: This only interests certain categories of travellers, Western agents on their way to Persia, traders seeking to avoid customs controls, missionaries frowned upon by the authorities, runaway slaves. This sought-after quality contradicts all the others since it presupposes a distance from the routes used. (p.89)

– Interest: Each route is directed towards a goal which constitutes its main interest. This does not, however, prevent the existence of secondary and intermediate points of interest. Pilgrims from Jerusalem visit the holy places of Egypt and Syria en route, a trader on the way to a final destination may do business on the way. These stages of interest than in turn divert the route. Bending it towards this or that direction. The southward shift of the northern path from Anatolia to Constantinople is caused by the wool production centre that is Ankara and the city of silk that is Bursa. However, it was not until the 17th century that ancient monuments were added to this list of interests. We can now combine these elements with the categories of travellers as they were developed in the previous chapter. This will give us a number of “profiles” of routes. (p.89-90)

– The ambassadors, often elderly figures, accompanied by a large suite and carrying gifts, are primary concerned with a certain comfort linked to the equipment of the route and then by security, supposed to be ensured by government agents, who often accompany them. (p.90)

– Couriers are is above all concerned with the speed that leads them in fourteen days from Vienna or Ragusa to Constantinople, security being only a corollary of this primordial quality.
-This is not the case for traders who must put safety at the top of their concerns and then seek the comfort that is offered by the equipment of itineraries and the caravanserais. (p.90)

– The army is mainly interested in accessibility issues for the transport of artillery and cavalry goods and supplies. (p.90)

– Pilgrims are undoubtedly attracted equally by the religious interest of their itinerary as well as by safety, the equipment of the road intervening only secondarily. (p.90)

– Agents and other characters wishing to go unnoticed are obviously concerned with discretion but also with speed, which is inevitably contradictory. (p.90)

These different combinations are materialized by three types of routes: military roads, caravan chimneys and mail routes. Even if, on the ground, these overlap and separate according to their respective requirements, they have different characteristics. (p.90)

– The military route manifests itself above all by its demands on relief. It avoids steep slopes and wet bottoms, it appreciates the hillsides and plateaus where the soil is dry and the villages more abundant. It often bypasses cities to have space for camps and is not interested in caravanserais. (p.90)

It does not fear detours from the large machinery of the Ottoman army plays less the effect of surprise than that of the steamroller, unless it is a matter of raids, but then the route is no longer the same. On the other hand, it dreads crossing rivers where bridges constitute bottlenecks and concentrations on the banks, an easy target for a surprise attack by the enemy. (p.90)

-The caravan route is the one that is strewn with caravanserai at each stage and along its route spins a string of trading towns located in the centre of a region producing marketable food and raw materials that can be transformed into products exported by urban artisans. Likewise, it tries to avoid the crossing of insecure regions or to overcome this inconvenience by building strongholds or fortified caravanserais in critical places. For their part, the merchants are grouped in caravans of several or even thousands of animals capable of defying the bands of thieves. (p.90)

-The courier path is quite simply a shortcut on which you can find horses. There, endurance defies all equipment and speed takes insecurity by surprise. (p.90)

It is the Anatolian Peninsula that provides us the best example of the separation of these three types routes with the shortest northern path through Bolu, Osmancık, Niksar, Erzincan and Erzurum, the intermediate caravan path through Bursa, Ankara and Tokat and the great military road from the south by Kütahya, Konya, Kayseri and Sivas. But here too, the separation is neither clear nor final. The northern path, taken as a shortcut by the team of the Ambassador of Aramon to join the Ottoman army in Erzurum, will be followed by the caravan of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier in the 17th century and the southern military route is up to Konyaereğlisi also in general that of the pilgrims to Mecca and Syria. On other routes, between Aleppo and Palestine, or from Belgrade to Constantinople, the three types overlap, on the other hand, courier routes crossing the Balkans between the Adriatic and Constantinople and, when the army leaves for Moldova or the Albanian coasts, follow its own itinerary. Like any classification, this too cannot go beyond a reduction, to the abusive limit, of reality. (p.90)

This attempt at classification leaves open another question, which is that of the evolution of these routes over time. The period taken into account covers most of the territory only for the 16th century and does not allow the question to be answered. At most, we can highlight a few parameters likely to shed light on this evolution. (p.91)

The period on which we worked is that of the extension of the Ottoman Empire to its extreme limits, with the exception of Crete, Podolia and some territories of present-day Czechoslovakia which will only be conquered in the 17th century. This extension signifies the unification of an extremely vast space thus making it a priori suitable for easier circulation. We can then affirm that the Ottoman domination conceals the optimal possibilities for the development of the routes on the Ottoman territory. And we can also recall in response to objections of a political nature that it is today, at the end of the twentieth century, much more difficult, if not impossible, to travel in the former Ottoman territories than there were four centuries ago. But also, why circulate? To answer this question, we must remember the major objectives of travellers in this region. The visit of Constantinople, the Byzantine and then the Ottoman capital, the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the great oriental trade. The last two objectives had their own evolution in which the Ottoman Empire intervened only marginally. The Ottoman conquest of Palestine in 1517 did not prevent a significant flow of pilgrims that same year. They will even find it superfluous to insist in their accounts on this change of master of the holy city. In the years that followed, this flow would even increase, but the reasons were completely external and linked to the crisis which culminated in the Lutheran movement in Europe. If, in the short term, the Turkish-Venetian wars portend temporary blows to the pilgrimage to the Holy Land and have also changed its conditions and routes, in the long term it is not Ottoman behaviour but the evolution of piety in Europe which will determine the future of pilgrimages. (p.91)

The question of Eastern trade is much more complex and the players are more numerous. The discovery of the Cape route harmed Mediterranean powers such as Venice and Genoa as well as the Ottoman Empire, which saw its customs duties on goods in transit reduced. The struggle between Venice and the Ottomans in the Mediterranean is that of sharing the remnants of this trade, while the struggle of the Ottomans with the Portuguese in the often forgotten Indian Ocean is that of controlling the starting point of this same trade. At the same time, Venetians and English ousted by the Portuguese and the Spaniards from the oceans attempted to revive the Middle Eastern trade routes towards the end of the 16th century. The reproach that could be made to the Ottomans on this subject would be not to accept a more open collaboration, but the interests, not to mention the conceptions, were too divergent for this collaboration to be effective and fruitful. With the sliding of the English and the Dutch towards the Ocean and the retreat of the Venetians on the terra ferma, Eastern trade through the Ottoman territory quickly collapsed as well as the routes which convey it. Chah Abbas’ attempt to bring Persia into the international circuit at the start of the 17th century will revive the Ottoman roads as result, but the Safavid empire will collapse at the beginning of the 18th century. (p.91)

In general, one could say that the Ottomans will not know how to arouse new interests for their territory, apart from that aroused by their own power which attracts ambassadors, observers and curious towards Constantinople. Thus, it is the West which will end up inventing new interests in Ottoman land, archaeological and scholarly about the ancient civilizations which rest there, more current for the Christian peoples who live there, before arriving at the great 19th century imperialist penetration. (p.91)

These changes, together with the growing insecurity with the decline of the Empire, gradually modify the constituent elements of the routes, as seen above. The last constant will be the relief, itself altered by the work of men and by the border barriers which will break up the territory in the 20th century. (p.91)

The questions addressed so far concern the structure of the routes which have been mainly dealt with in this chapter. There remains the descriptions of the places which were only partially used to give some consistency to the routes and their stages. The passage from the enumeration of places to their description, or from the structure of the event to its content, is at the same time an incursion into the subjectivity of the author of the story. We could thus come back to the question of gaze discussed in the introduction. We will then limit ourselves to a quick classification of the elements of the description of the places. (p.91-92)

As it already appears through the quotations used in this chapter, a major element developed obsessively is the description of the walls and fortifications of the localities. This could have a general meaning; the city is defined by its limits which are the walls that enclose it and distinguish it from the countryside, and the perpetual astonishment of travellers at the absence or lack of maintenance of the walls of Ottoman cities, which in their eyes destitutes these of the rank of city and reduces them to the level of bourgade or village, are transformed into accusation of decadence and barbarism. But we also saw, at the end of the previous chapter, the strategic function thereof as an element and evidence of penetration and conquest by the Empire. The meticulous description of the fortifications thus acquires, beyond its symbolic aspect, an operational function, moreover, explicitly formulated by the travellers themselves, who estimate the chances of an attack and provide their advice. (p.92)

It is also as a corollary of this first element that we could address the second major concern of travellers: the description of Christian populations, their number, their churches. If the affinity of Western travellers with Eastern Christians may seem natural, although the chasm of the Eastern schism appears much deeper in the 16th century than in the 20th century, we must not forget that these Christians are also seen as allies of the West, the fifth column of a future operation, as the justification for this operation. (p.92)

This element of justification can serve as bridge to a third category of descriptions, that of antiquities, notably Christian or Greek, which more directly establish a filiation, and consequently the claims of the West on these territories. We should not therefore dwell on the weight given to this information and the relative weakness of information on Muslim populations, their monuments and their activities. However, this distortion is correctable as long as it is detected and does not seem to lead to too many deliberate exaggerations. (p.92)

Beyond these explanations, which constitute a first evaluation of the sources presented here, another field of investigation is emerging. That of the urban network and the Ottoman city. Our research stops precisely at the threshold of this area. if not we would have gone beyond the framework for this study which we set at the beginning, that of presenting travelogues as a source for the study of inhabited space in the Ottoman Empire. If we wanted to contribute to the status of travel reports as a source of history, just like other sources, we would be doing this great disservice by trying to use them as a unique source, while any research on the urban network and the Ottoman city has to integrate the corpus of these accounts with other sources. For this reason, we have avoided in this chapter the description of the great cities of the Empire only by the elements provided by the travelogues as we have not sought to confirm or deny that information by other sources since this would have gone beyond the limits of our current work and spilt over into another, which we wish we could one day. (p.92)

This long description of routes, while making it possible to trace a few lines on a map with more or less precision, is not in itself sufficient to transform these lines into a network of a certain consistency, assuming that this consistency exists. The existence of a large number of stories on a route makes it possible to draw a kind of deeper groove on the ground and thus to mark a route with more precision. On the other hand, it is impossible to determine through a single story whether the route concerned constitutes an individual variant or a path of certain importance that is just little described. However, the reality must lie between the two extremes; that is to say, if these routes should not be conceived as compulsory trajectories, which one may not or cannot leave, one should not either apprehend the territory as a completely open space which one can cross at will. A whole cluster of elements allows us to observe these trajectories by a certain number of axes and the progressive modification of these elements allows for new combinations, slow or abrupt, over time. (p.88)

An evaluation of these elements leads to the following categories:

-Accessibility: This is the set of characteristics linked to the relief, the hydrography and the climate of the regions crossed. The mountainous countries produce a certain number of passages which in turn determine the routes. This is the case when crossing the Anatolian high plateau, when entering Transylvania or crossing Mount Lebanon. The large rivers constituting many obstacles as well, crossed by bridges, ford or in a boat, also used a wet or marshy valley. Finally, the climate, influencing the environment, determines the times and the duration of the passage. The monsoons govern the time of the passage between Ormuz or Suez and Goa, while winter is not very favourable for Mediterranean trips. When travelling by land it is better to avoid the summers of the Lar region in Iran and the winters of the Anatolian highlands. Likewise, crossing the desert requires a certain number of precautions and the routes scrupulously follow the water points. (p.88)

-Security: Astonishingly, the great revolts which shook Anatolia during the last quarter of the XVIth century are not echoed in travel accounts. With some effort, one finds the single mentioning of name Karayazıcı “the writer”, quoted by Cartwright in 1600. However, the accounts of the passing’s of Anatolia are sufficiently rare so that this state of the things can have a detectable cause. Thus, it is in particular endemic insecurity that will be considered. This manifests itself particularly on the roads which border the Arab desert and to a lesser extent in the mountainous passages of Bosnia and Macedonia. It leads to a tightening of the routes and the passage through a certain number of compulsory points which constitutes the protected roads in the Balkans and the fortified stages in Syria and Palestine. (p.88)

There is also another aspect of security, this institutional one, known as “avanie” among Western writers. These concern the abuses imposed by local officials on foreign journeys and especially those who transport goods. We have seen how an act of this type by the governor of Tripoli which brought about a decisive reaction on the part of the Venetians, followed by the other Westerners, tipped the scale from Tripoli to Alexandretta. (p.88)

However, these two aspects appear only sporadically in the literature and do not resemble the large waves of insecurity of the seventeenth century which lead to the upheaval in the structure of voyages and routes. The 16th century is par excellence that of pax Ottomanica[18], even when the exemplary and almost incredible discipline during the campaign of 1548,  described by Chevalier d’Aramon, seems to have disappeared half a century later. (p.89)

– Equipment: This is the reverse of the previous characteristics, insofar as it involves work undertaken by the authorities to overcome the drawbacks caused by the above headings: Bridges to cross rivers, caravanserais to protect against bad weather and highways bandits,  fortresses to protect the road. The use of the wheel seems to have practically disappeared from the roads of the Empire, with the exception of one leading from Belgrade to Istanbul, there is no mention of road construction, except the crossing of some marshy passages, but certain measures have been taken to ensure the recognition of routes in the event of a snowstorm in the Balkans or of sand in Syria and Egypt, by planting poles along the traffic axes. The necessary maintenance will be resolved differently in the Balkans and in the Asian possessions of the Empire. In European territory, it is the inhabitants of the villages located on the road who are responsible, in return for the exemption from a certain taxes and obligations, to watch over the maintenance and the safety of the road. In the Arab territories, more direct measures are taken by the construction of fortresses and the installation of garrisons of Janissaries. As for artworks (bridges, tunnels, caravanserais etc.), with the exception of the aforementioned fortresses, through the contradictory characteristics of the Ottoman Empire, a state that is so centralized and omnipresent, they are built privately, even if the builders are almost always public figures, including the sovereign himself and his wives. They are maintained by waqf [19] created for this occasion. (p.89)

The existence of these facilities, which focuses on the most common routes, leads by their presence to an increase in frequentation and permanence of these routes. (p.89)

To the questions of equipment as discussed above, we must add in this section those of the supply of foodstuffs for men and animals. The Ottoman army, which displaces several tens of thousands of men, if not more, carefully regulates its supply on the way by ordering, through its local officials, the various categories of producers or beneficiaries of taxes in kind to procure the quantities necessary nearby, which in turn influences the route. Similarly, individuals often complain during the crossing of depopulated or deserted regions of the difficulty to find food and fodder. (p.89)

– Speed: This is a quality which is not always required, by all categories of travellers at least. But the apparent slowness of travel that one might be tempted to infer from reading certain stories contrasts with the shortcuts taken by the routes, even compared to current routes. Apart from the large curve by the south, carried out by the military road which crosses Anatolia, the straight lines drawn by the routes on the maps are often impressive. The roads of yesteryear seem to face the terrain with more courage than the current roads where speed can compensate for detours. (p.89)

– Discretion: This only interests certain categories of travellers, Western agents on their way to Persia, traders seeking to avoid customs controls, missionaries frowned upon by the authorities, runaway slaves. This sought-after quality contradicts all the others since it presupposes a distance from the routes used. (p.89)

– Interest: Each route is directed towards a goal which constitutes its main interest. This does not, however, prevent the existence of secondary and intermediate points of interest. Pilgrims from Jerusalem visit the holy places of Egypt and Syria en route, a trader on the way to a final destination may do business on the way. These stages of interest than in turn divert the route. Bending it towards this or that direction. The southward shift of the northern path from Anatolia to Constantinople is caused by the wool production centre that is Ankara and the city of silk that is Bursa. However, it was not until the 17th century that ancient monuments were added to this list of interests. We can now combine these elements with the categories of travellers as they were developed in the previous chapter. This will give us a number of “profiles” of routes. (p.89-90)

– The ambassadors, often elderly figures, accompanied by a large suite and carrying gifts, are primary concerned with a certain comfort linked to the equipment of the route and then by security, supposed to be ensured by government agents, who often accompany them. (p.90)

– Couriers are is above all concerned with the speed that leads them in fourteen days from Vienna or Ragusa to Constantinople, security being only a corollary of this primordial quality.
-This is not the case for traders who must put safety at the top of their concerns and then seek the comfort that is offered by the equipment of itineraries and the caravanserais. (p.90)

– The army is mainly interested in accessibility issues for the transport of artillery and cavalry goods and supplies. (p.90)

– Pilgrims are undoubtedly attracted equally by the religious interest of their itinerary as well as by safety, the equipment of the road intervening only secondarily. (p.90)

– Agents and other characters wishing to go unnoticed are obviously concerned with discretion but also with speed, which is inevitably contradictory. (p.90)

These different combinations are materialized by three types of routes: military roads, caravan chimneys and mail routes. Even if, on the ground, these overlap and separate according to their respective requirements, they have different characteristics. (p.90)

– The military route manifests itself above all by its demands on relief. It avoids steep slopes and wet bottoms, it appreciates the hillsides and plateaus where the soil is dry and the villages more abundant. It often bypasses cities to have space for camps and is not interested in caravanserais. (p.90)

It does not fear detours from the large machinery of the Ottoman army plays less the effect of surprise than that of the steamroller, unless it is a matter of raids, but then the route is no longer the same. On the other hand, it dreads crossing rivers where bridges constitute bottlenecks and concentrations on the banks, an easy target for a surprise attack by the enemy. (p.90)

-The caravan route is the one that is strewn with caravanserai at each stage and along its route spins a string of trading towns located in the centre of a region producing marketable food and raw materials that can be transformed into products exported by urban artisans. Likewise, it tries to avoid the crossing of insecure regions or to overcome this inconvenience by building strongholds or fortified caravanserais in critical places. For their part, the merchants are grouped in caravans of several or even thousands of animals capable of defying the bands of thieves. (p.90)

-The courier path is quite simply a shortcut on which you can find horses. There, endurance defies all equipment and speed takes insecurity by surprise. (p.90)

It is the Anatolian Peninsula that provides us the best example of the separation of these three types routes with the shortest northern path through Bolu, Osmancık, Niksar, Erzincan and Erzurum, the intermediate caravan path through Bursa, Ankara and Tokat and the great military road from the south by Kütahya, Konya, Kayseri and Sivas. But here too, the separation is neither clear nor final. The northern path, taken as a shortcut by the team of the Ambassador of Aramon to join the Ottoman army in Erzurum, will be followed by the caravan of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier in the 17th century and the southern military route is up to Konyaereğlisi also in general that of the pilgrims to Mecca and Syria. On other routes, between Aleppo and Palestine, or from Belgrade to Constantinople, the three types overlap, on the other hand, courier routes crossing the Balkans between the Adriatic and Constantinople and, when the army leaves for Moldova or the Albanian coasts, follow its own itinerary. Like any classification, this too cannot go beyond a reduction, to the abusive limit, of reality. (p.90)

This attempt at classification leaves open another question, which is that of the evolution of these routes over time. The period taken into account covers most of the territory only for the 16th century and does not allow the question to be answered. At most, we can highlight a few parameters likely to shed light on this evolution. (p.91)

The period on which we worked is that of the extension of the Ottoman Empire to its extreme limits, with the exception of Crete, Podolia and some territories of present-day Czechoslovakia which will only be conquered in the 17th century. This extension signifies the unification of an extremely vast space thus making it a priori suitable for easier circulation. We can then affirm that the Ottoman domination conceals the optimal possibilities for the development of the routes on the Ottoman territory. And we can also recall in response to objections of a political nature that it is today, at the end of the twentieth century, much more difficult, if not impossible, to travel in the former Ottoman territories than there were four centuries ago. But also, why circulate? To answer this question, we must remember the major objectives of travellers in this region. The visit of Constantinople, the Byzantine and then the Ottoman capital, the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the great oriental trade. The last two objectives had their own evolution in which the Ottoman Empire intervened only marginally. The Ottoman conquest of Palestine in 1517 did not prevent a significant flow of pilgrims that same year. They will even find it superfluous to insist in their accounts on this change of master of the holy city. In the years that followed, this flow would even increase, but the reasons were completely external and linked to the crisis which culminated in the Lutheran movement in Europe. If, in the short term, the Turkish-Venetian wars portend temporary blows to the pilgrimage to the Holy Land and have also changed its conditions and routes, in the long term it is not Ottoman behaviour but the evolution of piety in Europe which will determine the future of pilgrimages. (p.91)

The question of Eastern trade is much more complex and the players are more numerous. The discovery of the Cape route harmed Mediterranean powers such as Venice and Genoa as well as the Ottoman Empire, which saw its customs duties on goods in transit reduced. The struggle between Venice and the Ottomans in the Mediterranean is that of sharing the remnants of this trade, while the struggle of the Ottomans with the Portuguese in the often forgotten Indian Ocean is that of controlling the starting point of this same trade. At the same time, Venetians and English ousted by the Portuguese and the Spaniards from the oceans attempted to revive the Middle Eastern trade routes towards the end of the 16th century. The reproach that could be made to the Ottomans on this subject would be not to accept a more open collaboration, but the interests, not to mention the conceptions, were too divergent for this collaboration to be effective and fruitful. With the sliding of the English and the Dutch towards the Ocean and the retreat of the Venetians on the terra ferma, Eastern trade through the Ottoman territory quickly collapsed as well as the routes which convey it. Chah Abbas’ attempt to bring Persia into the international circuit at the start of the 17th century will revive the Ottoman roads as result, but the Safavid empire will collapse at the beginning of the 18th century. (p.91)

In general, one could say that the Ottomans will not know how to arouse new interests for their territory, apart from that aroused by their own power which attracts ambassadors, observers and curious towards Constantinople. Thus, it is the West which will end up inventing new interests in Ottoman land, archaeological and scholarly about the ancient civilizations which rest there, more current for the Christian peoples who live there, before arriving at the great 19th century imperialist penetration. (p.91)

These changes, together with the growing insecurity with the decline of the Empire, gradually modify the constituent elements of the routes, as seen above. The last constant will be the relief, itself altered by the work of men and by the border barriers which will break up the territory in the 20th century. (p.91)

The questions addressed so far concern the structure of the routes which have been mainly dealt with in this chapter. There remains the descriptions of the places which were only partially used to give some consistency to the routes and their stages. The passage from the enumeration of places to their description, or from the structure of the event to its content, is at the same time an incursion into the subjectivity of the author of the story. We could thus come back to the question of gaze discussed in the introduction. We will then limit ourselves to a quick classification of the elements of the description of the places. (p.91-92)

As it already appears through the quotations used in this chapter, a major element developed obsessively is the description of the walls and fortifications of the localities. This could have a general meaning; the city is defined by its limits which are the walls that enclose it and distinguish it from the countryside, and the perpetual astonishment of travellers at the absence or lack of maintenance of the walls of Ottoman cities, which in their eyes destitutes these of the rank of city and reduces them to the level of bourgade or village, are transformed into accusation of decadence and barbarism. But we also saw, at the end of the previous chapter, the strategic function thereof as an element and evidence of penetration and conquest by the Empire. The meticulous description of the fortifications thus acquires, beyond its symbolic aspect, an operational function, moreover, explicitly formulated by the travellers themselves, who estimate the chances of an attack and provide their advice. (p.92)

It is also as a corollary of this first element that we could address the second major concern of travellers: the description of Christian populations, their number, their churches. If the affinity of Western travellers with Eastern Christians may seem natural, although the chasm of the Eastern schism appears much deeper in the 16th century than in the 20th century, we must not forget that these Christians are also seen as allies of the West, the fifth column of a future operation, as the justification for this operation. (p.92)

This element of justification can serve as bridge to a third category of descriptions, that of antiquities, notably Christian or Greek, which more directly establish a filiation, and consequently the claims of the West on these territories. We should not therefore dwell on the weight given to this information and the relative weakness of information on Muslim populations, their monuments and their activities. However, this distortion is correctable as long as it is detected and does not seem to lead to too many deliberate exaggerations. (p.92)

Beyond these explanations, which constitute a first evaluation of the sources presented here, another field of investigation is emerging. That of the urban network and the Ottoman city. Our research stops precisely at the threshold of this area. if not we would have gone beyond the framework for this study which we set at the beginning, that of presenting travelogues as a source for the study of inhabited space in the Ottoman Empire. If we wanted to contribute to the status of travel reports as a source of history, just like other sources, we would be doing this great disservice by trying to use them as a unique source, while any research on the urban network and the Ottoman city has to integrate the corpus of these accounts with other sources. For this reason, we have avoided in this chapter the description of the great cities of the Empire only by the elements provided by the travelogues as we have not sought to confirm or deny that information by other sources since this would have gone beyond the limits of our current work and spilt over into another, which we wish we could one day. (p.92)


Bibliography

Anton Wrancic (1553-2557) (1567-1568)
– * (1) “Iter Buda Hadrianopolim anno MDLIIl exaratum ab Antonio Verantio tunc Quinquecclesiensi, mox Agriensi Episcopo, ac Demum Archiepiscopo Strigoniensi, Regio in Hungaria locumtenenti, atque S.R.E. Cardinali Electo; Nunc primum e Verantiano Carthophylacio il Lucem editum”in  Alberto Fortis, Viaggio in Dalmazia, Venezia, 1774, p. I-XLVI.
(1) Iter Buda Hadrianopolim, München, 1974.
(2) “Verancsics ès Teuffenpach utazàsuk Pozsonytól Konstantinàpolyig” in  Monumenta Hunguriae Historica, Seria Scripttores, Vol. VI, Pest 1860, p. 78-82.
Born in Sebenico on May 29, 1504, he studied at Trau and at the University of Padua. As Imperial secretary, he was in charge of diplomatic missions to Venice, to popes Clement VII and Paul III, to the King of Poland in 1534, to François I in 1535, to Henry VIII in 1542. He was sent to Constantinople  for the first time with Franciscus Zay in 1553. On his return in 1557 he was named bishop of Eger. In 1567 he accompanied Christoph Teuffenbach to Constantinople and on his return was appointed archbishop of Esztergom and viceroy of Hungary, in 1569. He died July 15, 1573.(Yerasimos, p.236-237)

Antonio Possevino (1583)
– Andreas Verres : Epistolae et Acta Jesuitarum Transylvaniae Temporibus Principum Bathory (1571-1613), Tome Ier, Budapest, 1911.
-”Relatio diffusa de itinere et missione Patris Antonii Possevini Soc. Jesu in Hungariam et Transylvaniam ineute anno 1583 peracte”, in  Andreas  Veress Annua Litterae Sicietatis Jesu.  De rebus transylvanicis temporibus principum Bathory (1579-1613), Budapest, 1921, Appendex II, p. 202-214.
– Andreas Veres Atonio Possevino della Compagnia di Giesù:  Transilvania (1584), Budapest, 1913, 297p
(Yerasimos,, p.352)

Augier Gislain de Busbeck (1554-1555, 1555-1562)
Itinera Constantinopolitanum et Amasianum ab Augerio Gislenio Busbequii etc. D. ad Solimanum Turcarum Impreatorem C.M. oratore confecta. Eiusdem Busbequii De Acie Contra Turcam Istruenda Concilium,  Antverpiae, 1582.
Augerii Gislenii Busbequii D. Legationis Turcicae Epistolae quatuor. Quarum Priores Duae ante aliquot annos in lucem prodierunt sub nomine Itinerum Constaninopolitani  et Amasiani. Adieactae sunt duae alterae. Eiusdem de militari contre Turcam instituenda consilium, Paris, 1589. – Idem, Paris, 1590, – Idem, Paris, 1592. – Idem, Paris, 1595. – Idem, Francfurt, 1595. (p.239)
German translation :
Reysen und bottschafften welche auff gnedigsten Befelch, beyder Unuberwindlichsten Allermachtigsten Kayser Ferdinandi und Maximiliani II. Der gantzen Christenheit zu hochsten nutzen glucklich vollendet hat Der Edel Ehrnvest und hochgelert Augerius Gislenius Busbeck, jhrer Maiest, Rath. und bestellter Orator, an Soleiman der Turckischen Kayser…, Leipzig, 1596.(p.240)
English translation:
The four epistles of A.G.Busbequius concerning his Embassy into Turkey.. To which is added his Advice how to manage war against the Turks, London, 1694. (p.240)
Dutch translation
Den Kaizerlijkken Gezant Aug.Gisleen Busbecq, Aan den Grooten Soliman, Dordrecht, 1660. (p.241)
French translation:
– *Ambassades et voyages en Turquie et Amasie de Mr. Busbequius nouvellement traduites en François par S.G. et divisées en quatre livers, Paris, 1646 (p.241)
Polish  translation
– Wilno, 1597.
Czech translation::
– Prague, 1594.
Turkish translation
Türk mektuplari, Istanbul, 1939.
A Flemish gentleman, born in 1522. He was educated in Louvain and Paris. Ambassador of Ferdinand Ie to London for the marriage of Queen Mary in 1554. As soon as he returned, he was sent to Constantinople. He was responsible for signing a treaty between the German Empire and the Porte, in 1562. He returned at the end of that year and was put in charge of other diplomatic missions. He died on October 28, 1592. (Yerasimos, p.239-242)

Carlo Ranzo (1576)
Relatione di Carlo Ranzo gentil ‘huomo di Vercelli d’un viaggio fatto da Venetia à Constantinopoli. Ritornato, che fù della Battaglia Navale assai curioso per i molti accidenti occorsi, ove si possono imparare strategemme di Guerra, humori d’Huomini, e diversità di genti e di Paesi, Torino, 1616, 89p. (1-56, 75-83, 86-89). (Yerasimos, p.313)

Catharin Zen (1550)
” Descrizione del viazo del Constantinopoli de ser Catherin Zen ambassador straodinario a Sultan Soliman e suo ritorno” in Starine, Tome X, Zagreb, 1878; p.203-256. (Yerasimos, p.221-223)

Corneille Duplicus de Schepper (1533, 1534), “Missions diplomatiques de Corneille Duplicius de Schepper, dit Scepperus, ambassadeur de Christiern II, de Charles V, de Ferdinand Ier et de Marie, Reine de Hongrie, Gouvernante des Pays Bas, de 1523 à 1555, par M. le Baron de Saint-Genois, professeur bibliothécaire de l’Université de Gand, et G.-A. Yssel de Schepper, membre des états de la province d’Overyssel (Pays Bas), présenté à la séance du 6 octobre 1856 “, dans Mémoires de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Tome XXX , Bruxelles, 1857, 231 p.
– “Legatio Cornelii Duplicii Scepperi ad Solymanum Cesarem Thurcarum. Obite Anna Domini MDXXXIII. Abiit Praga XIIII Februarii. Rediit Pragam XXVIII Julli”, in Anton Gevay, Urkunden und Aktensutücke zur Geschichte der Verhältnisse zwischen Österreich, Ungarm und der Pforte im XVI und XVII Jahrhunderts. Aus Archiven und Bibliotheken, Vol. 6: Gesandschaft König  Ferdinands I am Sultan Suleiman I, 1534, Vienne, 1839. p. 29-65.
Flemish diplomat in the service of Queen Mary, of Hungary and Governor of the Netherlands, he carried out two missions to Constantinople on behalf of Charles V and Ferdinand Ier. (Yerasimos, p.179-181)

Daniel Meurl (1564-1565, 1567, 1568, 1570)
– ”Raiss von Comorn biss gehn Constantinopel wie sie Daniel Meurl, mit Herrn Schernowitz”, Ms.Nürnberg, Stadtarchiv, Archiv von Praun, No.149, 21f.(Yerasimos, p.262-263)

David Ungnad (1572)
“Beschreibung einer legation ..”: (1572) – * Beschreibung einer legation und Rrise von Wien aus Österreich auff Constantinopel, durch den wohlgeborenen Herrm, Herre David Ungnadem, Freiherm zu Sonneck und Pfandsherrn auff Bleyburgk, auss Römischer Kayserlichen Majestät befehlig und Abforderungen an den türckischen Kayser, anno 72 verrichtet. Darinn die Geschenk so S.G.den Türcken, seinen Rätten und Befehlichhabern selbst Uberantwortet, und sonstern viel schôner Historien, Antiquitaten und Geschichte, gar lustig zu lesen, beschrieben und verfasset seyn, vormals nie ausgangen. Itz und aber in Druck verfertiget durch M. Franciscum Omichium, Güstrow, 1582 (16f.)
Traduction serbocroate:
-P.Matkovic, “Putovanje car.poslavnika Davida Ungnada od Beča v Carigrad god. 1572” in Rad Jugoslavenske Akademije, Vol.CXII (1892 ), p.199-243. (Yerasimos, p.292-294)

Francesco della Valle (1531)
“Narrazione di Francesco della Valle Padovano della grandezza, virtù, valore, ed infelice morte dell’illustrissimo Signor Aloise Gritti, dal Serenissimo Signor Andrea Gritti Principe di Venezia, Conte del gran Contado di Marma rus à Ongaria e Generale Governatore di esso Regno, e général Capitano del esercito Regno appresso Solimano Imperatore de Turchi, e alla Maestà de Re Giovanni d’Ongaria”. in  Nagy Ivàntól, “Gritti Alajóst illető eredeti emlékiratok”, in Magyar Történelmi Tar, Année III, Pest, 1857, p.3-119 (texte p. 13-60) (Yerasimos, p.174-175)

Gaspare Erizzo (1558)
– * “Viaggio deVenezia aConstantinopoli e relazione dell’Impero Ottomano attribuito a Gaspare Erizzo che accompagna il bailo Marino Cavalli”, Ms. Venise, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, It.VI.105, 55f.
– “Descrizione del viaggio per terra di Costantinopoli e dalle cose principali del Paese” in P. Matkovic “Dva Talijanska Putopisa..”. in Starine, Tome X, Zagreb, 1878, p. 247-256 (Uniquement le voyage jusqu’à Constantinople)
“Viaggio per terra.” (1558) –“Viaggio per terra da Dolcigno a Costantinopoli con le miglia italiane et altri avvertimenti e note” in Eugenio Alberi, Relazioni degli Ambasriatori Veneti al Senato raccolte, annoter la rédaction de Eugenio Alberi, Serie III, Vol. I, Firenze 1840, p. 297-298 (Annexé à la relation de Marino Cavalli). (Yerasimos, p.249-250)

Giovan Andrea Gromo (1564-1565)
-“Compendio di tutto il regno posseduto dal Re Giovanni transilvano ed di tutte le cose notabili d’esso regno”, in Archiv des vereins für Siebenbürgische Landeskunde, Vol. II (1855), p. 3-50.
-* Idem., in Apulum, Buletinul Muzeului regionul Alba Julia, Vol. II (1943-1945), p. 153-213.
Rumanian translation:
-Maria Holban, Čalatori Střaini despre Ťarile Romane, Vol. II, Bucureşti, 1970, p. 325-371.
Born in 1518 in Bergamo, a captain in 1538, Gromo stayed in Transylvania, in 1564-1565 in the court of Jean Sigismond. His text is not presented as an itinerary but rather as a geographical description of Transylvania. (Yerasimos, p.261-262)

Hans Dernschwam (1553)
– Frans Babinger, Hans Dernschwam’s Tagebuch einer Reise nach Konstantinopel und Kleinasien (1553-1555) nach der Uhrschrift in Fugger-Archiv, herausgegeben und erläutert von Franz Babinger, München-Leipzig, 1923, 314 p. – Reprint, 1984.
Turkish translation:
Istanbul se Anadola’ya seyahat günlüğü, Ankara, 1987.
Born on March 23, 1494 in Brüx in Bohemia, he obtained his baccalaureate in philosophy in Leipzig in 1510. From 1512 in 1515 he was in Hungary with the humanist Hieronymus Balbi and since 1525 he was the Fugger ‘s correspondent in Bude. In this capacity he reports on the salt mines of Transylvania in 1528. In 1553 he accompanies Anton Wrancic and Franciscus Zay, appointed imperial ambassadors to the Porte. He returned in 1555 and died in 1568. ( Yerasimos, p.230)

Hans van Branden (1570-1574)
-*“Descriptio itineris Ioannis Vandenh Branden et sociorum Bruxellis Constantinopolim cum descriptione Aulae Turcicae”, “Reyse van bruussele vut brabant  te Constantinopels in thracyen hoofstat vanden turcschen kaysere ” in S.de Vriendt, Reyse van Bruussele vut Brabant te  Constantinopels in Thracyen en Reyse van Wenen in Hoosterye te Costantinopels ln Thracyen. Twee Reisjournaals uit de Jaren 1570-1585, Gent, 1971, 260p.
Servo-Croatian  translation:
– in P.Matkovic, “Punovanja po Balkanskom poluotoku XVI vieka” in, Rad Jugoslavenske Akademije, Vol.CXII, p. 157-199. (Yerasimos, p.288-290)

Jacob Fürer von Haimendorf (1587)
“Jacob Fürers von Haimendorff Constantinopolitanische Reise. 1587.” in Christoph Fürer von Haimendorff Reiss Beschreibung à Epplen, Arabien, Palestinen, Syrien ete. mit beyfefügter landtafel und derselben Erklärung; sambt kurtzem anhang Jacob Fürr sen Haimmdorff seinn brüders Constantinopolitanischer Reise, Nürnberg, 1646, p. 361-384. Né le 11 août 1560, il voyage à partir de 1579 en Italie, France et Allemagne. Il accompagne à Constantinople l’am- bassadeur impérial Bartholomaeus Petzen. Mort dans cette ville le 13 décembre 1587. (Yerasimos, p.380)

Jacob von Betzek (1564-1565, 1572, 1573)
 -“Verzaichnüs etlicher meiner und der fürnembsten Raysen, so ich in beder Romisch Kayserlichen Mayestäten, Ferdinands und Maximilien des Andern, Diensten, ausser und inner des Römischen Reich, mit Schitsungen zum öftermaln in die Tirggey, zu Dennenmarckh und Schwedn auch sonst in Romischen Reich hin und wider, mit viel Gefährlichkeit meines leibs und lebens, hab Undertenigstes Meiss gebrauchen lassen. Anno 1564”, Ms. Vienne, Oster reichische Nationjalbibliothek, Codex Vindobonensis, 9026; 185f.
Gesandtschaftsreise nach Ungarn und in die Türkei in Jahre 1564-1565, München, Veröffentlichungen des Finnisch-Ugrischen Seminars an der Universität München, 1979, p. XI + 78. (Yerasimos, p.263-267)

Jaques Bongars (1585)
– “Tagebuch seiner Reise von Wien nach Konstantinopel im Jahr 1585”, in Hermann Hagen Jacobus Bongarsius. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der gelehrten Studien des 16-17 Jahrhunderts, Berne, 1874, p. 62-72 (texte en français). (Yerasimos, p.368-369)

Lambert Wyts (1572)
-“Iter factum e Belgio-Gallice. Voyages de Lambert Wyts en Turquie”, Ms. Vienne, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Vindobonensis Palatinus, 3325, 218f.
“De Malines je parti le premier jour de septembre l’an 1570 pour Espaingne dans la Cour de sa Majesté Catholique à Madrid. Et le 28e de mai 1571 je party dudit Madrit et arrivé à Vienne en Autriche en la Cour de Sa Majesté Imperiale le 4 septembre 1571 et le seizieme jour d’Avril 1572 suis party de Vienne et arrivé le 9 de Juing à Constantinople. Party de Constantinople le 15 d’Aout et arrivé le 23 septembre 1572 à Presburg. Et party de Vienne le seizieme d’Avril 1573 et arrivé le 9e (juin) en devant chez moy”(f.216v.). (Yerasimos, p.294-296)

Marcantonio Pigafetta (1567-1568)
Itinerario di Marc’Antonio Pigafetta gentil’huomo vicentino, Londra, 1585.
-*P.Matkovic, “Putopis Marka Antuna Pigafetta v Carigrad od god. 1567”, in Starine, Vol.XXII, Zagreb, 1890, p.70-194. (Yerasimos, p.)

Melchio Besolt (1584)
-“Dess Wolgebornen Herrn Heinrichs Herrn von Lichtenstein, von Nicolspurg, u. Röm. Keys. Maiest. Abgesandten, u.Reyss auff Constantinopol, im 1584 Jar, beschrieben durch Melchior Besolt.” in  Hans Lewenklau von Amelbeuren Neue Chronica Türekischer Nation von Türcken selbs beschrieben .., Franckfurt am Mayn, 1595, p. 515-531.
– in Jahrbuch des Historischen Vereins für das Fürstentum Liechtenstein, Vaduz, 1925, p. 46-75 (Yerasimos, p.362-363)

Paolo Contarini (1580-1583)
Diario del viagio da Venezia a Costantinopoli di M.Paolo Contarini che andava bailo per la Repubblica Venetia alla Porta Ottomana nel 1580 ana per la prima volta pubblicato, Venezia, 1856, 41p.
-“Relazione” in Eugenio Alberi Relazioni degli Ambasciatori Veneti al Senato .., Serie III, Vol.III, Firenze, 1856, p.209-250.
Born in 1529. He became proveditor[20] of the Greek island of Zante (Zakynthos)and took part in the battle of Lepante[21]. Elected baile on 12/11/1579 he remained in Constantinople until the end of the year 1582 and delivered his report to the Senate in 1583. The “Diario ..” was probably not written by himself but by someone from his suite. He died in 1585. (Yerasimos, p.334-335)


Pierre Lescalopier (1574)
– “Voyage fait par moy, Pierre Lescalopier l’an 1574 à Venise à Constantinople par mer jusques à Raguse et le reste par terre et le retour par Thrace, Bulgarie, Walach, Transylvanie ou Dace, Hongrie, Allemagne , Friul et Marche Trevisane jusques à Venise, Ms.Montpellier, Bibliothèque de la Faculté de Médecine, N° H 385.
– “Le voyage de Pierre Lescalopier, parisien” in Revue d’Histoire diplomatique, Vol.XXXV (1921), N° 1, p.21-55.
-Bistra Cvetkova: “Edni Frenski pîtepis ot XVI v. Za bîlgarskiti zeml (Pier Leskalopie-1574)”, in Bulletin de la société historique bulgare, Vol.XXVI, Sofiya, 1968, p. 251-260.
-Paul I. Cernovodeanu, “Câlatoria a lui Pierre Lescalopier in tara Rominească și Transilvania la 1574”, in Studii și materiale de historie medie, Vol.IV (1960), p. 433-463.
-Paul I. Cernovodeanu, “Le voyage de Pierre Lescalopier à travers l’Europe Centrale” in Revue Roumaine d’Histoire, Vol. VII (1968), N° 3, p.371-383. (Yerasimos, p.308-309)

Pietro Cedulini (1580-1581)
– “Visite delle chiese di Costantinopoli”, Ms. Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Fondo Pio N° 107.
-“Relatione di Monsignore Pietro Cedulini, Vescovo di Lesina del presente stato dell’Imperio Turchesco et de molti particolari degni di consideratione fatta al Santissimo et Beatissimo Padre et signor nostro Papa Clemente VIII alli XXVIII di Gennaio MDXCIIII per la difesa contra il Turco”, Ms..Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Fonds Italien, N° 1286, f.274-291.
Pietro Cedulini, was born in  Dalmatian and became bishop of Nona. He was sent as apostolic visitor to Constantinople, in 1580, to inspect the state of the Catholic Church in Turkey. His report is dated Lesina (Croatia), where he was appointed bishop on his return, on December 12, 1583. His second report written in 1594 on the occasion of the reopening of hostilities between Austria and the Ottoman Empire does not seem to be the result of a new journey. The visit from 1580-1581 consisted of a stay in Constantinople during which Cedulini visited the churches, auditioned the leaders of the Catholic community and gathered information on the rest of the Empire by sometimes sending out investigators to the spot. (see Arsengo, 1580 and Tommaso de Vesti, 1581). (Yerasimos, p.333-334)

Reinhold Lubenau (1587-1588)
Beschreibung der Reisen des Reishold Lubenau, Vol. 1, Königsberg 1912, p. 1-152. Vol. 2, 1914, p. 153-321. Vol. 3, 1915, p. 1-160. Vol. 4, 1920, p. 161-229. Vol. 5, 1930, p. 230-349.
(Titre du manuscrit) “Beschreibung der Reisen des ehrenvesten, namhaften und volweisen Herren Reinholtt Lubenauen des Eltter Rahtsverwandten der loblichen Altenstadt Konigsbergk in Preussen so ehr in Jahr 1573 5 Augusti angefangen und anno 1589 den 17 octobre glucklichen volendet in in sechs Bucher getheiet, darinnen alle sein leben und Wandel, sowol wie es im auf dieser Reise wunderlich ergangen, beschrieben zu Lob, Preus, Ehre und Danck dem ewigen, almechtigen, barmhertzigen Gott, dehr in wunderberlicher Weise auf dieser seineur Reise erhalten, beschutzet und beschirmet und widerumb frisch und gesundt in sein liebes Vaterlandt bracht hatt. Anno 1628 die 24 Februaris.”
Born in 1556 in Königsberg, he left this city in 1573 and travelled into Europe. He was in Presburg in 1580, in Augsburg in 1582 in Frankfurt in 1585 and in Riga in 1586. On arrival in Vienna on January 21, 1587 he accompanied the imperial ambassador Bartholomaeus Petzen to Constantinople, as apothecary. Returning to Königsberg in 1589 he died in 1631. (Yerasimos, p.385-387)

Salomon Schweigger (1577-1584)
-(1) D. Salomeni Schwreigkero Sultzensi, qui Constantinopoli in aula legati imp. rom. aliquot annos ecclesiasta fuit et à Aegypto, Palaestina, Syria peregrinatus est, Gratulatio scripta a Martino Crusio cum descriptione illius peregrinationi et graecorum patriarchorum aliorumque qui nunc illis locis vivunt christianorum commendationibus,  scriptisque aliis lectu dignissmis, Argentorari 1582
-(1 ) Hodoepericon sive Itinerarium D.Solomanis Sweickeri Sultzensis, qui Constantinopoli in aula legati Imperatoris Romani aliquot annos ecclesiasta fuit, et e Thracia in Aegypto Palaestina, Arabia atque Syria peregrinatus est, conscriptum a Martino Crusio, Professore utriusq. eloguentiae, celebri in Academia Tubingensi, s.1. (1586) 25ff.
-(2) Reysbeschreibung aus Teutschland nach Constantinopel u. Jerusalem .., Nürnberg, 1608, 341p.
-*(2) Idem, in Reyssbuch dess Heyligen Lands., Franckfurt, 1609 Vol.II, p.1-137.
-(2) Reysbeschreibung., Nürnberg, 163, 340p.
-(2) Idem, Nürnberg, 1614.
-(2) Idem, Nürnberg, 1619.
-(2) Idem, Nürnberg, 1638.
-(2) Idem, Nürnberg, 1664.
-(2) Idem, (Reprint) Graz, 1966.  (Yerasimos, p317.)

Stefan Gerlach (1573-1578)
Sephan Gerlachs dess Aeltern Tage-buch der von zweem gharwürdigsten Römischen Käysern Maximiliano und Rudolpho Beyderseits den Andern dieses Nahmens, Höchstseeligster Gedächtnuss, an die Ottomanische Pforte zu Constantinopel Abgefertigten, und durch den Wohlgebohrnen Herrn Hn. David Ungnad, Freyherrn zu Sonnegk et Preyburg v. Römisch Kayserl. Raht Mit Würcklicher Erhalt und Verlangerung dess Friedens zwischen den Ottomannischen und Römischen Kayserthum und demselbem angehörigen landen und Königreichen u. Glücklichst vollbrachter Gesandtschaft auf denen Gerlachischen zeit Seiner hierbey bedienten Hoff-Prediger-Ampts-Stelle, eygenhandig auffgestzten und nachgelassen Schriften, herfür gegeben durch Seinen Enckel M. Samuelem Gerlachium Special-Superintendenten zu Gröningen in dem hertzogthum Würtenberg. Mit eine vorrede herrn Tobiae Wagneri der H. Schrifft D. und Prof. auch Cantzlers bey der Hohen-Schul, und Propstes der Kirchen zu Tübingen. Franckfurth am Mayn, 1674, 552p. + Tables. (Yerasimos, p.302-305)

Wolf Andreas van Steinach (1583)
“Beschreibung oder Verzaichnusz des Wegs, der Stätt, Orth und Fleckhen von Stainach aus dem Enstall im lande Styer auf Constantinopel zue, wie ichs, Wolf Andre von Stainach, Anno 1583 geraist mit dem wolgeboren Herrn Herrn Pauln Freiherrn von Eytzing auf Schrättenthall, Erbcamerern in Under Österreich, Röm. Kays. Mjt. Nuncio und Legato an die Ottomanische Porten zu Constantinopl, auch gewesten Oratorn daselbst, und der Frst. Drchl. Ertzhertzogen Maximiliani zu Österreich Camerer”. in “Wolf Andreas von Steinach Edelknabenfahrt nach Cons tantinopel (1583)”, in Steiermärkische Geschichtsblätter, Année II, n° 4, Octobre-Décembre 1881, p. 193-234. (Yerasimos, p.354-355)

Wratislaw von Mitrowitz (1591-1596)
(Edition Latine) Linz, 1597?
German translation:
Des freyherm von Wratislaw merkwürdige Gesandschaftreise von Wien nach Konstantinopel, Leipzig, 1786.
English translation:
Aventures of baron Wenceslas de Mitrowicz, what he saw in the Turkisch metropolis, experimented in his captivity, and after his happy return to his country committed to writing in the year of our lord1599, Londres, 1862.
Greek translation:
Taxidhi apo ti Vienni stin Konstantinoupoli, Athènes, 1920.
Czech translation:
Prihody Waclaw Wratislawa swabodného Pána z Mitrowiz, kterèz ‘w Tureckél hlawnja městě Konstantynopoli widěl ‘w zagetj swém, zkusyl, a po uskastrem do wlasti owé se nawràcenj sem léte Pàně 1599 sepsal, Praha, 1777.
Idem., Praha, 1807.
Prihody Vacla Vratislava z Mitrovic, Praha, 1950.
-Idem., Praha , 1976.
Turkish translation:
*Anılar. 16. Yüzyıl İmparatorluğundan çizgiler, Istanbul, 1981. (Yerasimos, p.413-414)


[1]     Stéphane Yerasimos, born (1942) into a Greek minority family in Istanbul. After studying architecture in his native city, he went to Paris to complete his training in town planning studies. However, history even more than architecture became his favourite field.
He has also been a member of the editorial board of several well-known journals, including the Hérodote review. He was also the director (1994-99) of the French Institute of Anatolian Studies (IFEA) in Istanbul.

[2]   We thank Caroline Finkel for bringing this work to our attention.

[3]   A caravanserai (or caravansary) was a roadside inn where travellers (caravaners) could rest and recover from the day’s journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe, most notably the Silk Road. Although many were located along rural roads in the countryside, urban versions of caravanserais were also historically common in cities throughout the Islamic world, though they were often called by other names such as khan, wikala, or funduq. Wikipedia

[4]   In Zsitvató a peace treaty was signed in 1606 ending the Long Turkish-Austrian war 1593-1606, p.44

[5]  Defterdar refers to the office of treasurer within the Ottoman Empire. The term “Defterdar” is Turkish for “bookkeeper” and originates from the term “defters”, which were Ottoman tax registers that the Defterdars were in charge of. Wikipedia

[6]  People from the Republic of Ragusa (Croatian: Dubrovačka Republika) was an aristocratic maritime republic centred on the city of Dubrovnik (Ragusa in Italian, German and Latin) in Dalmatia (today in southernmost Croatia) that carried that name from 1358 until 1808. It reached its commercial peak in the 15th and the 16th centuries, before being conquered by Napoleon’s French Empire and formally annexed by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy in 1808. It had a population of about 30,000 people, of whom 5,000 lived within the city walls. Its Latin motto was “Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro”, which means “Liberty is not sold for all the gold in the world”.Wikipedia

[7]  this should read ‘right bank’.

[8]  A bedesten (variants: bezistan, bezisten, bedestan) is a type of covered market or market hall which was historically found in the cities of the Ottoman Empire. It was typically the central building of the commercial district of an Ottoman town or city, where the most important and precious goods (like gold and jewellery) were kept and sold. Wikipedia

[9]  Heading inserted by translater.

[10]  Sanjak-bey, sanjaq-bey or -beg, meaning “Lord of the Standard” was the title given in the Ottoman Empire to a Bey (a high-ranking officer, but usually not a Pasha) appointed to the military and administrative command of a district (sanjak,) answerable to a superior wāli or another provincial governor. In a few cases, the sanjak-bey was himself directly answerable to Istanbul. Wikipedia

[11]  Heading added

[12]  Heading added

[13] Imaret is one of the names for the public soup kitchens built throughout the Ottoman Empire from the 14th to the 19th centuries. These public kitchens were often part of a larger complex known as a külliye, which could include hospices, mosques, caravanserais and colleges. Wikipedia

[14] Zapadna Morava or West Morava is a river in Central Serbia, a 184 km-long headstream of the Great Morava (Serb: Veliki Morava), which it forms with the South Morava. It was known as Brongos in antiquity. Wikipedia

[15] Plovdiv is more likely.

[16] Tekke. A Sufi residence, hospice, or lodge. Typically a building where Sufi activities, such as teaching, rituals, and worship, occur. The head of the order may live there. Oxford Islamic  Studies Online

[17]  Metropolite. In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan (alternative obsolete form: metropolite), pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis.
Originally, the term referred to the bishop of the chief city of a historical Roman province, whose authority in relation to the other bishops of the province was recognized by the First Council of Nicaea (AD 325). The bishop of the provincial capital, the metropolitan, enjoyed certain rights over other bishops in the province, later called “suffragan bishops”. Wikipedia

[18]  In historiography, the Pax Ottomana or Pax Ottomanica is the economic and social stability attained in the conquered provinces of the Ottoman Empire, which, at the height of the Empire’s power during the 16th and 17th centuries, applied to lands in the Balkans, Anatolia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus. Wikipedia

[19]  A waqf, also known as hubous or mortmain property, is an inalienable charitable endowment under Islamic law. It typically involves donating a building, plot of land or other assets for Muslim religious or charitable purposes with no intention of reclaiming the assets. A charitable trust may hold the donated assets. Wikipedia

[20]  Provéditeur: high official of the Republic of Venice (Provveditore), in charge of a province or a sector of the administration. Larousse

[21]  The Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement that took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of European Catholic states arranged by Pope Pius V, inflicted a major defeat on the fleet of the Ottoman Empire in the Gulf of Patras.  Wikipedia

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