Svoboda Diary Public Site

Alexander Svoboda's Diary

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.

image loading

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

Undergraduate Research Presentation 2010

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.

Google Earth of Alexander's Journey

Jeremy Caci has built a lovely virtualization of Alexander's Journey using the Google Earth API.

Habib K. Chiha's La Province de Bagdad - Cairo 1908

Chiha's monograph is a public domain resource that we've made available here.

Jirair (Jerry) Kouyoumdjian's The Kouyoumdjians - 1988

A History and Reminiscences compiled and written by J. Kouyoumdjian

Margaret Makiya's "The Svoboda Diaries" - Baghdad College of Art Journal, June 1969

An article about the Svoboda Diaries written by M. Makiya.

Alois Musil's The Middle Euphrates - New York 1927

Musil's Topographical Itinerary, Oriental Explorations and Studies No. 3, American Geographical Society

Alois Musil's Palmyrena - New York 1928

Musil's Topographical Itinerary, Oriental Explorations and Studies No. 4, American Geographical Society

Thomas Thornton, Esq.'s The Present State of Turkey - London 1809

An electronic version from the Electronic Text Archive

Alexandre Csoma de Körös in His Voyage through Asia

An electronic version from the Central and East European Online Library

Campbell's My Life and Some Letters - New York 1922

Tannner Svoboda

Sykes' Through Five Turkish Provinces - London 1900

Mark Sykes

Le Calloch's Anton Swoboda: Le Slovaque Généreux - City Date

Bernard le Calloch

Send email to:


Non-commerical use of files on this site is allowed with attribution, all other uses are prohibited.
Accepting these restrictions is a condition of entering the website.