Naser-e Khosraw's Book of Travels

Edited by Wheeler M. Thackston Jr.

Paperback : 9780887060663, 135 pages, October 1985
Hardcover : 9780887060670, 135 pages, October 1985

Table of contents

Preface by Ehsan Yarshater
Text of Translation

Azerbaijan and Beyond
The Region of Diyar Bakr
Into Syria
Description of Tripoli
Beirut, Sidon, and Tyre
From Acre to Jerusalem
A General Description of Jerusalem
The Sanctuary of Jerusalem
A Description of the Dome of the Rock
A Description of the Gangways Leading to the Platform
A Description of the Shrine of Abraham at Hebron
Journey to Egypt
A Description of Cairo and the Provinces
A Description of the City of Cairo
A Description of the City of New Cairo
A Description of the "Opening of the Canal"
A Description of the City of Old Cairo
A Description of the Sultan's Banquet
The Conduct of the Sultan
The Voyage to Mecca
A Description of the City of Jidda
A Description of the City of Mecca
A Description of Arabia and the Yemen
A Description of the Haram Mosque and the Ka'ba
The Shape of the Stone
A Description of the Ka'ba Door
A Description of the Interior of the Ka'ba
A Description of the Opening of the Ka'ba Door
The Minor Pilgrimage from Je'rana
A Description of Ta'ef
A Description of Lahsa'
A Description of the City of Basra
A Description of the Ebb and Flow of the Tide at Basra

Glossary of Persons
Glossary of Places
Glossary of Terms
Appendix A: Calendrical Systems
Appendix B: Weights and Measures
Appendix C: Naser's Itinerary
Bibliography of Works Cited
A Bibliography of Naser-e Khosraw


NasKhosraw, well know for his philosophical works and ranked as one of the great poets of Persian, made a seven-year-long journey that began in his native Marv in the spring of 1046 and ended at Balkh in the fall of 1052. The impetus for leaving behind the life a revenue administrator and poet was a dream-vision that awakened him from a "forty-year sleep of heedlessness" and sent him on a "quest for truth. " Nashad originally announced his intention to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, but instead of joining a caravan for the Hejaz at Hsihapur, he took a northern route across the Caspian coast of Iran, into eastern Anatolia and down into Syria and Palestine. Alhtough he did make a pilgrimage for Jerusalem, he returned to Paltestine and thence made his way to Egypt and Cairo, the seat of the Fatimid caliphate, where he remained for three years, during which he made two pilgrimages to Mecca. Leaving Egypt the third and final time, he made his way down the Nile and across the Red Sea to the Hejaz, crossed the Arabian peninsula to Basra and finally returned to Balkh through southern Iran. The record of his adventures, observations, and experiences is contained in his travelogue, the Safarnama.

This book gives us a vivid picture of the 11th-century Islamic world from Transoxania to Egypt, and the author provides minute descriptions of the two major shrines of Islam, the Dome of the Rock complex in Jerusalem, and the Haram at Mecca. In addition, NasKhosraw records interesting architectural features he found in the towns and cities he visited, relates encounters with out-of-the-way people, sets down folklore from various regions, and gives a detailed description of some of the more colorful public.