Part of the Cambridge Library Collection - Travel, Middle East and Asia Minor Series
John Lewis Burckhardt (1784-1817) was a Swiss explorer who is best remembered for his rediscovery of the ancient city of Petra in modern Jordan. In 1809 he was commissioned by the African Association to discover the source of the River Niger. In preparation for this journey, for which he needed to pass as a Muslim, Burckhardt spent two years exploring and studying Arabic and Islamic law in Aleppo, before travelling widely in Arabia and Egypt. First published in 1822, this book provides 'a view of Arabian life and manners in every degree, from the Bedouin camp to the populous city', but the most striking passages describe the ruins of Petra, and especially its sumptuously carved Nabataean tombs. Burckhardt also records his frustration at not being able to explore freely and make notes, but these activities would have laid him open to suspicion of being a spy or an infidel, and almost certain death.