A Dankoff - Tezcan Book on Evliya Çelebi's Map

Professor Emeritus Robert Dankoff of the University of Chicago and Dr. Nuran Tezcan of Bilkent's Department of Turkish Literature have coauthored the first book ever on the Nile River map of Evliya Çelebi, the eminent 17th-century Ottoman-Turkish travel writer. Entitled “Evliya Çelebi'nin Nil Haritası: Dürr-i bî-misîl în ahbâr-ı Nîl” (Evliya Çelebi's Nile Map: Incomparable Pearl of Knowledge on the River Nile), the volume is a publication of Yapı Kredi Yayınları, and consists of 140 pages plus 15 plates and a full-color map.

In their book, Prof. Dankoff and Dr. Tezcan explain that the map was produced under Evliya Çelebi's supervision, based on the year-long Nile journey he relates in volume 10 of his celebrated “Seyahatname” (Book of Travels).

The original map, which is 5.43 meters long with a maximum width of 88 centimeters, is in the collection of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Produced in Cairo in the 17th century, this Ottoman map is one of the world's earliest maps of the Nile. It depicts an area stretching from the Mediterranean coast to the river's legendary source and the southern edge of the Red Sea, and also contains information relating to tributaries of the Nile and about 500 settlements in the vicinity, including drawings of several fortresses.

Both authors are specialists on the writings of the famous Ottoman traveler. In 2009, Prof. Dankoff taught a special course on Evliya Çelebi for students in Bilkent's Departments of History and Turkish Literature. Dr. Tezcan conducts an Evliya Çelebi seminar each academic year for PhD candidates in the Department of Turkish Literature.