Turkmenistan

Philippe Valéry's "On The Silk Road"
Afghanistan

Philippe Valéry

Is this just a rather particular writing style, or is it another author distancing himself from his story?

Philippe Valéry is in his thirties when he decides to walk from Marseille in France to Kashgar in China. He gets a few sponsorships and starts on his trek, walking through…

Jehan de Mandeville's "The Travels"
Afghanistan

Jean de Mandeville

Why is it so much fun to read Medieval travel stories that we know are at least partly untrue?

in the 14th century, English knight Jean de Mandeville claims to have traveled around much of the known (and unknown) world, much like Marco Polo before him or Johann Schiltberger shortly after, or Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuda at the same time…

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta's "The Travels"
Afghanistan

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta

Did conservative ethics turn this great adventure story into such a slow read?

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta is only a very young man when he embarks on his hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. But he doesn’t stop there. Instead he goes on and on and on, and several travels during the next three decades will take him almost everywhere in…

Johann Schiltberger's "The Bondage and Travels of Johann Schiltberger"
Afghanistan

Johann Schiltberger

Is this guy our average Joe from the Middle Ages?

Johann Schiltberger is still a teenager when he embarks on what historians have later dubbed the “Last Crusade”. Eventually, he gets captured in the Battle of Nicopolis and serves as a slave to the Ottomans for six years. When the Ottomans themselves get defeated by the infamous Tamerlane, Schiltberger becomes a slave to the Timurid Empire for fifteen years…