On the al-Harawî’s Travel from Istanbul to Konya
Sinop Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Tarih Bölümü, Sinop/Türkiye
Keywords: al-Harawî, Anatolia, historical geography, travel, city
Al-Harawî, who traveled to many countries such as Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, India, Iran and Anatolia, recorded important information about these cities. Especially the information he gives about the cities in Anatolia is valuable for us. He gives information about Iznik, Eskişehir, Amorion (Ammûriyye) and Ilgın during his trip from Istanbul to Konya just before the Myriokephalon War. He made some mistakes while giving information about these cities. The most important of these was the swapping information about Eskişehir and Ilgın. In other words, he recorded information about Ilgın under the title of Eskişehir. This confusion has been clarified in this study. Although al-Harawî gives information about the cities between Istanbul and Konya, he does not give any route information. This deficient information provided by al-Harawî was evaluated with the historical data of the period and the route he could follow from Istanbul to Konya was tried to be determined. It is known that the Byzantine Empire and the Crusaders used various routes from Istanbul to Konya in their expeditions to Konya, the capital of the Seljuk State. The routes of Byzantium and Crusaders were compared with the information given by al-Harawî. Al-Harawî gives the information that he reached Konya from Istanbul via Iznik, Eskişehir, Amorion (Ammûriyye) and Ilgın. The sources recording the Byzantine and Crusader campaigns on the same route also give details that alHarawî did not. In accordance with the route of al-Harawî, Byzantine and Crusader sources, starting from Istanbul give the route reaching Konya via Izmit, Kibotos, Valideköprü, Boyalıca, Iznik, Osmaneli, Eskişehir, Seyitgazi, Bardakçı, Bolvadin, Akşehir, el-Sirma (Ilgın) and Kadınhanı. When all these data are brought together, the route of al-Harawî from Istanbul to Konya has been clarified. Maps have been added to our study for a better understanding of these routes. Al-Harawî’s route from Istanbul to Konya is shown on the maps we prepared.
Al-Harawî was in Istanbul as the guest of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnenos. After leaving Istanbul, he recorded remarkable information about the cities on his route. He emphasized that the city of Iznik was the center of the bishopric. He noted that from here on, the tomb of Abu Muhammad al-Battal was located on the border of the country and on a hill. After this information, he gave information about Amorion (Ammûriyye) and Sultan Veki. With the information he gave here, it was understood that Sultan Veki was Eskişehir, but the information given here belonged to Ilgın. This issue constitutes one of the focal points of our study. With this information, it is understood that al-Harawî reached Konya via Eskişehir and Ilgın. The information given by ed-Dımeşkî (1256-1327), one of the Arab geographers, is also noteworthy in understanding the accuracy of the information about these two places. He gave the correct geographical order by mentioning Sirma, that is Avgerm, after Amorion (Ammûriyye) without mentioning Sultan Veki.