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BRUYN, Cornelis de. Voyage au Levant, c’est-à-dire, dans les principaux endroits de l’Asie Mineure, dans les isles de Chio, Rhodes, et Chypre et.c. …, Paris, Guillaume Cavelier, 1714.

Starting out from Hague, Flemish traveller and artist Cornelis de Bruyn (1652-1727) journeyed through the East from 1674 to 1693. In his second long journey (which lasted from 1701 till 1708) he travelled to Persia and Moscow and finally reached East India. Hundreds of drawings illustrate De Bruyn's chronicles, which have thus rightly earned the reputation of two of the most beautiful travel accounts of all time. Drawings were made by De Bruyn himself – “that was the chief aim of my travels”, he wrote, who also supervised the etching of the various views. His chronicle was first published in Flemish and the first French edition of this marvellous work came out in Delft in 1700. According to De Bruyn's own testimony, in his journey throughout the East he carried with him the chronicles of P. Della Valle, J. Thevenot, Ol. Dapper, J.J. Grelot and T. Smith.

The author arrived to Smyrna from Sicily, visited Ephesus and continued on to Magnesia and finally Istanbul. He stayed in this city for a year and a half; in his chronicle he provides a description of the splendid capital and of the coasts of Bosporus as well. On 1st July 1680 he crossed the Dardanelles by boat. He described the Troy region and in February 1681 departed again from Smyrna to Chios, where he stayed for some time. He called this last island “paradise”. De Bruyn then travelled in the east Mediterranean, first to Cos and Rodos, of which he gave a description, then to Egypt and from there to the Holy Land and Syria. On his return trip, he visited Cyprus. The rich illustrations of his work made it extremely popular. He is the first traveller to have depicted the interior of the Pyramids in Egypt, Palmyra in Syria and Persepolis in Iran, as well as everyday snapshots of his journey.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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