In the middle of may 1534 Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent set out on campaign against Iran and Iraq.Among those accompanying him was the swordsman,historian, mathematician, artist and calligrapher Matrakçı Nasuh, who made 107 paintings of the staging posts where the army camped during the long journey. These paintings are not only beautiful artistic achievements but a remarkable record of the architecture, geography, vegetation and animal life across the region.
This manuscript, which is in the Rare Books Section of Istanbul University Library, has now been made available to all in a facsimile edition by Masa Publications, a subsidiary of Mas Printing House. The facsimile is accompanied by a book designed by Joelle İmamoğlu, in which Nurhan Atasoy enables us to imagine the social milieu of the period through extracts from the Travels of Evliya Çelebi, and explanations of the pictorial language used by Matrakçı that give readers a profound understanding of his miniatures. With Nurhan Atasoy’s guidance we discover countless remarkable details in Matrakçı’s paintings, such as the only known depiction of the Alaeddin Köşk in Konya, the custom of hanging Ramazan drums on minarets, a polo field in Tabriz and most fascinating of all, how he pictured flowers and gardens during a military campaign.