Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah
The British explorer Sir Richard F. Burton (1821-90) was a colourful and often controversial character. A talented linguist and keen ethnologist, he worked in India during the 1840s as an interpreter and intelligence officer for General Sir Charles Napier, and published several books about his experiences in 1851-2. He first gained celebrity, however, for his adventurous 1853 trip to Mecca, under the disguise of a pilgrim, which is described in this lively three-volume publication (1855-6). Few Europeans had ever visited the Muslim holy places; one of them was John Lewis Burckhardt, whose 1829 account is also reissued in this series. Volume 2 of Burton's book vividly describes the heat and dangers of the journey to Medina, the behaviour and conversation of the pilgrims from many different tribes and nations, and the mosques, tombs and other sights of the bustling city, complete with traders and beggars.