TRAVEL ACCOUNTS OF SIMEON OF POLAND
Annotated Translation and Introduction by George A. Bournoutian
Simeon's Travel Accounts is an important source on the history and geography of the Ottoman Empire in the early 17th century. European travelers have left numerous accounts on the various provinces of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century. Simeon's Travel Accounts differs from all of these. His travels not only span an uninterrupted period of twelve years, but his accounts are also the most detailed on both the places he visited and the people he met. The book reads like a travel guide to the Armenian, Coptic, Syrian, Jewish, and Muslim communities in the European, Anatolian, and Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, his information on the Armenians of Poland is extremely valuable, while his background and religion provide him with a very different perspective on his long stay in Rome and Venice. His information on the devastation caused by the Celalis throughout the Armenian communities in Anatolia is a major source for scholars. Simeon has left a meticulous description of the cities he visited, including Constantinople, Alexandria, Cairo, Jerusalem, Mush, Diarbekir, Kharpert, Tokat, Kayseri, Malatya, Sebastia, Izmir, Angora, Damascus, Aleppo, and Lvov. He provides practical information such as distances between towns, types of terrain, tolls, and detailed descriptions of Armenian and non-Armenian holy sites. He describes the people, places, and buildings, as well as local customs and traditions.