The Well Travelled East

A nobleman from Bruges went on an adventure to the Orient. Read more about this beautifully illustrated book.

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As a young man of 25, just starting a career as a civil servant in Bruges, Vincent Stochove joined the entourage of the French ambassador on his way to Constantinople, now Istanbul. During this journey of two and a half years he travelled through France and Italy to many countries in the Levant including Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. In his book, Het bereysde Oosten (The Well East Travelled), he reported in great detail his impressions of all the different cultures and holy places they visited.

It took ten years for his travel account to get published in Brussels, first in French with the title Voyage du Levant. At long last, 15 years later, it was published in Dutch, this time in his home town of Bruges, where he had become mayor in the meantime. The Dutch translation was the work of Prosper de Vynck, canon of the Eeckhout Abbey.

Besides a reprint of Stochove's travel report, this edition contains another small volume in his own hand. In this second text he describes the life of the various emperors of the Ottoman Empire. The short biographies are accompanied by portraits which further emphasize the exoticism. The illustration on the right bears the seal of the Turkish sultan, in Arab calligraphy.

In this beautifully illustrated book, Gezelle underlined many words.

Het bereysde Oosten... (The Well Travelled East…), Vincent Stochove, Brugge: Joos van der Meulen, 1681.

The Well Travelled East

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