By Robert Dankoff
Evliya Celebi used to be the seventeenth century's so much diligent, adventurous, and sincere recorder, whose puckish wit and humor are laced all through his ten-volume masterpiece. This fresh translation brings Evliya sparklingly again to lifestyles. ""Well worthy a read.""-Irish Echo 7/2011
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Extra resources for An Ottoman Traveller: Selections from the Book of Travels of Evliya Celebi
Or: I have quaffed his ruby wine: Drunk I am, drunk I am! Captivated by his locks, Mad I am, mad I am! Or: My foot takes no step but to the tavern, My hand holds nothing but the cup of wine. Stop the rant, preacher! My ear hears nothing But the bottle’s glugging and the drunken cry. 19 AN OTTOMAN TRAVELLER Some denizens of the tavern recite this couplet: Ascetic, to the tavern Politely go. What this convent is Do you think you know? This humble one swears by God the Knower of Secrets that I have never partaken of a single drop of these intoxicants.
The antiquity of smoking A curiosity. This ancient mausoleum (tomb of Sultan Mustafa), was built by King (—) at the time of the construction of Aya Sofya, (—) years before the Prophet. So it is a thousand and (—) years old. While (recently) the master builder and miners, with chisels like that of Farhad, were carving a hole in the south wall to put in a window, an iron tobacco pipe appeared between two bricks. All of them saw it, and they could still detect the scent of tobacco smoke. This is evident proof that smoking tobacco is an ancient practice.
To the right and left of the prayer-niche there are columns with spiral braids that are white magic. Also there are candlesticks tall as a man, gilded with pure brass and gold, which hold candles of camphor wax, each one twenty quintals in weight. The candles are reached by wooden staircases of fifteen steps and are lit every night to illuminate the mosque interior. In the left corner of this mosque, there is a lofty gallery raised on (—) columns, with a separate prayer-niche, for the sovereign’s private use.
An Ottoman Traveller: Selections from the Book of Travels of Evliya Celebi by Robert Dankoff