ADACH publishes “Travels in the Holy Land”
ABU DHABI - As part of the “Visitors of the Arab Orient” series, the National Library at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) has published an Arabic version of a new book entitled: “Travels in the Holy Land in the Late 14th Century”.
The book includes several old and rare pictures of the holy land at the time. The book, authored by Italian travellers Leonardo Frescobaldi and Simone Sigoli, is translated by Sherine Ibish, and edited and commented on by Dr Ahmad Ibish.
In the late middle centuries - specifically in 1384 - thirteen Tuscan nobles went on a pilgrimage to Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, in the early days of the Circassian Mamluk state which was headed at the time by Sultan Al-Zahir Barquq.
Three from those travellers, from the city of Florence, wrote accounts of their journey and described how great the cities of the East were during the flourishing of the Mamluks era. This was 97 years after the expulsion of the crusader invaders and sixteen years before the disaster of the Mongol invasion.
Those three are Leonardo Frescobaldi, Simone Sigoli, and Giorgio Gucci who wrote his sightings in a small separate book.
In this curious book, we find living events and an astonishing living description of the cities of the East which was visited by those Italian nobles. They numerated the places of pilgrimage and visit in Palestine. They described travel routes, cities, villages and natural scenery, and dedicated a sufficient section of their writings to trade, and they were stunned by the commercial richness and civil progress of the East.
One of the most important things noticed in this book is that it presents a rich picture full of movement, colours, and attractive minute details of the societies of our countries a few years before the disaster of the Mongol invasion which swept our Arab Orient (Mashreq) in 1400 and left some of its countries and cities destroyed after they were flourishing and full of civilization and life.
The National Library at ADACH launched in 2009 the 'Visitors of the Arab Orient' series, as there are tens of works related to the journeys of foreign travellers to the Arab region, particularly the Arabian Gulf region. These date back to different periods of time, which were either completely forgotten or not translated yet to the Arabic language.
The National Library sought to bridge this gap, given the importance of collecting this big material in one place, which provides deeper and greater knowledge, whether through the travels themselves or the characteristics of the region and its culture and heritage during periods when there was little history writing and writing of accounts.
For this reason, the series of the 'Visitors of the Arab Orient' was launched and tens of works have been published until now. The concern was not to publish these works only, but to check and edit them correctly in order to come out with the smallest possible amount of errors and fallacies.
This series continues until it achieves the previously mentioned goal of collecting all that was written and published by foreign travellers about Arabs and the Arabian Gulf over decades. This comes as part of ADACH’s strategy for safeguarding the Arab heritage.