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BAEDEKER, Karl. Greece, Handbook for Travellers by Karl Baedeker,… second revised edition, Leipzig, Karl Baedeker, 1894.

The first guidebooks for tourists circulated in the nineteenth century, principally in Britain (the Reichard guides in 1784 and the Murray guides from the early 19th century) and Germany. The German bookseller and author Karl Baedeker (1801-1859) is best known as inspirer and publisher of travel guides as we know them today. Initially he translated the British travel guides published by John Murray (a house that produced numerous guidebooks between 1836 and 1901). The collaboration between the two led to the modernization of these editions, around 1870.

Until then, the guidebooks available to travellers resembled encyclopedias, with lavish illustrations, and were therefore addressed to a limited public. Baedeker invented the new groundbreaking pocket-size books weighing less than 500 grams. The rich glossy illustrations were replaced by maps of cities and places to visit, so that the guides became far more practical and sold better. The Baedeker Guides became a handsome collection of small leather-bound volumes with gold lettering on the spine and cover. They were fully up-to-date, even with practical information, recorded the services offered by the railways and were translated into many languages. Baedeker carefully coordinated the team responsible for each Guide, wrote most of the texts himself and supervised each edition in all its details. The "Guides" met with immediate success, and today are much sought-after by collectors.

This tourist guide to Greece, in the format of the Baedeker publishing house, is the English translation of the third German edition. It was compiled by Dr Lolling, then curator of the Epigraphical Museum of Athens, and the renowned archaeologist Dr Dörpfeld, then Director of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens, wrote the chapter on Olympia. The introductory text on Greek art was written by Professor R. Kekulé, who also authored the corresponding chapter of the Guide to Italy. Well-known travel writers of the time, such as Miss Agnes Smith, Professor Mahaffy and others, worked together for the English translation. The maps and plans are completely up-to-date. An excellent panorama of Athens is included in the edition. Particularly interesting in this guidebook is the special chapter on the history of topography, primarily of Athens, based on the information in various authors, starting from Strabo and Pausanias. Mention is made of all important contributions by preceding travel writers, such as Cyriacus of Ancona, M. Crusius, J. Giraud, A. Guillet, J.G. Transfeldt, J. Carrey, J. Spon, G, Wheler, F. Fanelli, A.L. Laborde, J. Stuart, R. Chandler, Ed. Dodwell, W. Gell, W.M. Leake, K.S. Pittakis, L. Ross, E. Beulé, E. Curtius, C. Wordworth and others. The "Guide" suggests itineraries, excursions and visits to important locations in Athens, Attica, Central Greece, Thessaly, the Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands and the islands of Aegina, Syros, Myconos and Delos.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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