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About Evliya Çelebi (1611-c.1685)
The Evliya Çelebi Way retraces the initial stages of the journey of the singular Ottoman gentleman Evliya Çelebi as he travelled to perform the pilgrimage to the Islamic Holy Places in the Hejaz in 1671.
Son of the imperial goldsmith and a slave-girl of Abkhazian origin, Evliya Çelebi received early training in the essentials of the Muslim faith, and was then educated at the Palace School of Sultan Murad IV from where he graduated as a cavalryman. This environment clearly nurtured his talents as an entertainer, most notably in music and story-telling, and fostered the restless curiosity that prompted his desire to travel throughout the empire and beyond—and to compile an account of the knowledge he gained. Evliya Çelebi states that he had a wide circle of friends. His capacity for camaraderie shines through his Seyahatname, or Book of Travels, and he was able to undertake his journeys thanks to the wide circle of well-placed individuals—many of them his kinsmen—with whom he often travelled as they progressed across the sultan’s realms. He was present at a number of military engagements, and although not a state official, he fulfilled a variety of semi-official functions including membership of an Ottoman embassy to Vienna in 1665, and negotiator with the Safavid governor of Tabriz in 1647 and 1655.