Travel Literature in the Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collection

A particularly precious part of the Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collection at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul is the section of travel literature on Central Asia and adjacent regions in Asia. This part of the world was once the center of world trade and cultural encounters but fell into oblivion, as the classical Silk Road lost its attraction and other routes were found for human mobility and imperialistic conquests. However, the situation changed once again due to emerging great-power games and Inner Asian territories becoming trophies of England, Russia and China. The number of Western travelers to the regions increased. Their missions differed – some of the travelers being agents sent out by their governments, others independent adventurers. Many of them were accomplished drawers and cartographers, like the Scandinavian explorers Sven Hedin from Sweden and Gustaf Mannerheim from Finland.

All of the most renowned accounts of expeditions through Asia from the late 19th and early 20th centuries can be found in the Gunnar Jarring Collection at SRII, along with a great number of less known accounts, some of which are very rare and perhaps accessible at no or just a few other libraries in the world. Together these publications provide us with an exceptionally rich material for studies of the accumulation and formation of knowledge about Central Eurasia in the colonial era up to the cold-war era.

Selected works from the Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collection are being scanned and edited for online access on this website. In the following menu, you can find all travel literature digitally available on this website. For a complete bibliography of the travel literature in the Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collection and links to other digital archives, see Complete list of Travel Literature in the Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collection.