On the 13th of April, 1897, a 19 year-old European resident of Baghdad, named Alexander Richard Svoboda, set out on a long journey to Europe by caravan, boat and train. From a large and influential family of merchants, artists, and explorers settled in Ottoman Iraq since the end of the 18th century, Alexander traveled in the company of his parents and a departing British diplomat accompanied by his retinue. They followed a circuitous route through the Middle East to Cairo and thence to Europe on a three and a half month journey which Alexander described day-by-day in a journal written in the Iraqi Arabic of his time. The Ottoman Texts Archive Project (OTAP) at the University of Washington is assisting Iraqi researcher, Ms. Nowf Allawi, in preparing this text, with an Arabic transcription and English translation in digital format, for eventual print-on-demand and electronic publication. As part of the project, OTAP researchers are exploring web-based technologies that will support and enhance the publication of the diary.
Sample pages from the electronic version of Alexander Svoboda's Journal of a Journey ... [April 1897] are viewable here.
The "Svobodapedia" is our internal wiki. Here we are collecting stories and references pertaining to Alexander and his family. The "Svobodapedia" is a work-in-progress and the present articles are rough and unedited. For the time being, the "Svobodapeida" is not editable by non-project members. Please forward suggested contributions, information, or other digital material to
The undergraduate research and text-tagging team brought down the house at the 2010 Undergraduate Research Symposium. Here you can view the presentation and conference posters.
Jeremy Caci has built a lovely virtualization of Alexander's Journey using the Google Earth API.
Chiha's monograph is a public domain resource that we've made available here.
A History and Reminiscences compiled and written by J. Kouyoumdjian
An article about the Svoboda Diaries written by M. Makiya.
Musil's Topographical Itinerary, Oriental Explorations and Studies No. 3, American Geographical Society
Musil's Topographical Itinerary, Oriental Explorations and Studies No. 4, American Geographical Society
An electronic version from the Electronic Text Archive
An electronic version from the Central and East European Online Library
Bernard le Calloch
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