Egeria’s pilgrimage is known from a manuscript discovered by Gian Francesco Gamurrini in 1884 in Arezzo, Italy.  Parts of the account are missing, including the name of the author and date; nonetheless, scholars generally agree that the pilgrim was named Egeria, was from the region of Gaul, and took her pilgrimage in the 380s.  Based on her account, it is clear she was an educated and relatively wealthy women.  Her account is one of the earliest Christian pilgrimage accounts and gives insight into the development of the liturgical calendar and worship, as well as the development of Vulgar Latin.

Egeria: Diary of a Pilgrimage

The Pilgrimage of S. Silvia of Aquitania to the Holy Places

The Pilgrimage of Etheria

Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press

Egeria and The Fourth Century Liturgy of Jerusalem

Sacred Space in Egeria's Fourth-Century Pilgrimage Account


Arculf, possibly a bishop, but more likely a monk, was from Germany and visited the Holy Land about 680.  On his return home, a storm forced Arculf to the island of Iona, Scotland, where he recounted his experience to Abbot Adamnan who recorded it.  The account includes detailed drawings and how one moves through the sacred buildings and spaces in the Holy Land.  It is also one of the first pilgrimage accounts after Muslims gained control of Jerusalem.



The Problem of “Arculf” and the Earliest Mosque in Jerusalem

Adomnán's plan of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Adomnán's plan of the Church of Mount Zion

Nasir-i Khusraw

Nasir-i Khusraw (b. 1004) wrote an account of his seven years of travel in Palestine, Arabia, and Egypt called the Safarnama, from 1046-1052.  Khusraw was Persian, born in the Marw region into a family who were most likely bureaucrats.  He converted to the Ismaili sect of Islam during a period of conflict between Sunni and Shi’ite sects, with Sunni rulers persecuting Ismailis, particularly in Khorasan where Khusraw was living.  Khusraw probably left his homeland to escaped Sunni Abbasid rule in favor of Shi’ite Fatimid Egypt.


Book of Travels - Safarnama

The Writings and Travels of Nasir-I Khusraw Through the Holy Land

John of Wurzburg

Little is known about John of Wurzburg; he was most likely a priest at Wurzburg, Germany.  He made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land between 1160-1170 and wrote a manuscript about his travels.  The Crusaders were still in control of Jerusalem during the time of his pilgrimage.  John’s manuscript gives detailed descriptions of the buildings he visited, such as the Holy Sepulcher, which give readers a glimpse as to what these sites looked like during the time of John’s visit.


The library of the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society

Descriptiones Terrae Sanctae ex saeculo VIII. IX. XII. et XV. S. Willibaldus

Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis (CCCM 139)


Theoderich, also from Wurzburg, visited the Holy Land a little later than John, about 1171-1173, based on clues gleaned by historians from Theoderich’s descriptions.  His pilgrimage was just before the Crusaders lost Jerusalem to Saladin, and when read alongside John’s account, reveals the changes taken place within the Holy Land in this period of time. For instance, the descriptions of the Sepulcher reveal John visited before the church’s restoration and Theoderich visited during the restoration.


The library of the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society

Descriptiones Terrae Sanctae ex saeculo VIII. IX. XII. et XV. S. Willibaldus

Theoderici libellus de locis sanctis, ed. circa 1772, cui accedunt breviores aliquot ...

Daniel of Kiev

Daniel of Kiev was the first known Russian to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and recount his experience, although Russian pilgrims had probably been traveling to the Holy Land before that.   Little is known about Daniel, but based on information in his account, he was the leader of a monastery in Kiev and made his pilgrimage c. 1106-1107.  Unlike the accounts of Latin pilgrims, Daniel tells his audience when his description of the Holy Land is not from his own experience but copied from others.  Daniel is also of interest because his account is from a Christian Orthodox perspective, emphasizing the Orthodox presence in the Holy Land, and makes geographical parallels between the Holy Land and Russia.  He also gives a glimpse into the early Crusader kingdom.  His experiences as a pilgrim began part of a Russian pilgrimage literature that would be revived with new fever in the nineteenth century.


The Oldest Monument of Russian Travel

Travels of Russians to the Holy Land in the 19th Century


Little is known about him except for his pilgrimage account from his 1102 pilgrimage, of which there is only one known copy.  His account is significant because it is extremely detailed and gives historians a glimpse into a Christian pilgrim’s experience of the Holy Land just after the establishment of the Crusader kingdom in Jerusalem.  It also provides details of the state of the Holy Land after the Crusade, such as the destruction of various locations.



Saewulf’s Lost Arabic Map

Early Travels in Palestine

Medieval Pilgrimage as Heterotopia: The Pilgrim as Maritime Adventurer and Aspiring Crusader in Saewulf’s Relatio de situ Jerusalem

Benjamin of Tudela

Benjamin of Tudela was a Jew who left Tudela, Spain sometime between 1159-1163 and extensively traveled, including in the Holy Land, until his return to Spain in 1172.  In his years of traveling, he kept a detailed account of what he saw and the cultures and cities he encountered, making him a significant source into the history of the 12th c.  His work is significant also for its detailed report on the Jewish communities he met on his travels, such as their religious practices, professions, the names of their leaders, and standing within their society.


Benjamin of Tudela

Benjamin of Tudela

The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela

Pilgrimage and Travel Accounts

Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta (1304-1368/69 or 1377) was a Muslim from Morocco famous for his extensive travels throughout his life.  He began in 1325 with the goal of going on a Hajj but after he continued his travels.  He was trained as a qadis, a Muslim judge, which allowed him to get patronage from sultans who financed his travels, and eventually his fame assisted in gaining him financial support.  Towards the end of his life, the Sultan of Morocco convinced Ibn Battuta to dictate the events of his travels.  The result is a detailed account of his experiences which gives historians insight into the Islamic World during this period, politically, culturally, and geographically.


Ibn Battuta: Muslim Explorer and Writer

The Travels of Ibn Battuta

Medieval Sourcebook: Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354

Burchard of Mt. Sion

Burchard of Mt. Sion’ manuscript called Descriptio terrae sanctae (Description of the Holy Land) is an account of his time in the Holy Land, most likely written between 1283-1284.  There are multiple copies of the manuscript, with a ‘short’ version and a ‘long’ version, dated from the Middle Ages till the 19th c, with German and French translations in addition to the original Latin.  Because of the multiple copies with various versions, it is difficult to determine which is the original written by Burchard, but he was most likely a Dominican friar from Magdeburg who spent many years in the Holy Land.  Burchard wrote his manuscript to guide those who could not make the pilgrimage on an imagined pilgrimage, carefully describing details such as plants and animals to create a more vivid experience.


Burchard of Mount Sion


Burchard of Mount Sion and the Holy Land


Burchard of Mount Sion

Building imagined pilgrimage experiences and pilgrim libraries in the medieval world


Niccolo da Poggibonsi

Niccolo da Poggibonsi was a Franciscan friar from Florence who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land 1346-1350.  He wrote a manuscript with corresponding illustrations about his travels that was copied and eventually printed and circulated.  Poggibonsi created his manuscript as a guide to help people make a spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land, including detailed descriptions of places and illustrations to further this imaginative experience.


Milano, Biblioteca nazionale Braidense, Castiglioni, Castiglioni 5

German translation of Niccolò da Poggibonsi’s Libro d’Oltramare; itinerary of a trip from Europe to the Holy Land and back; instructions for pilgrims to Jerusalem.

Hierusalem [cartographic material]


Libro d'oltramare di fra Niccolò da Poggibonsi

Bodleian Libraries

Braidense Ms. Castiglioni 5: An additional early illustrated copy of Niccolò da P Niccolò da Poggibonsi’ oggibonsi’s Libro d’oltramare



Ludolph von Sudheim

Ludolph von Studheim made a pilgrimage between 1336-1341 and wrote a detailed account of his experiences and the cultures he encountered.


Ludolf von Sudheim active 14th century

Ogier d’Anglure

Ogier d’Anglure was a French priest and cartographer wrote a book in Latin with a corresponding map of Jerusalem in 1687.


Nouvelle carte de la Terre Sainte Pour servir a l'intelligence de l'Ancien & du Nouveau Testament [cartographic material] / M.Ogier fecit

Anselm Adorno

Anselm Adorno was from an influential family in Bruges who had a tradition of pilgrimage, starting with the family’s legendary founder, Opicius I Adornes. In 1470, Anselm Adorno left for his own pilgrimage with his son and others.  They arrived via a roundabout route to the Holy Land where they were taken into the hospitality of the Franciscans who caretakers of the holy sites were and led the pilgrimage experience.  Both Anselm and his son, as well as some of their companions, kept records of their pilgrimage.  Because of their status, they were guests of ** such as King Ferdinand and the Mamluk sultan in Egypt.  On his return from the Holy Land, Anselm renovated the family chapel Jeruzalemkapel to more closely resemble the Holy Sepulcher and the pilgrim experience of moving through the space of the Holy Land.


"Capell nuncapato Jherusalem noviter Brugis": The Adornes Family of Bruges and Holy Land Devotion

Adornes Domain

Hans Tucher

Hans Tucher (c. 1429-91) was a German pilgrim from Nuremberg who left for his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1479.  He wrote an account of his travels and published them shortly after his return in 1482.  He is part of a tradition of published pilgrim writers who followed a format for pilgrimage writings that were widely circulated.


Whose words?

Hans Tucher and his Pilgrimage to the Holy Land 1479/80

Sebald Rieter

Sebald Rieter (1426-1488) was the traveling companion of Hans Tucher in their 1479 pilgrimage. Rieter also wrote an account of his experiences in the Holy Land which closely resembles that of Tucher, but Rieter’s work was not published until the 19th c.


Whose words?

1475 Map of Jerusalem by Sebald Rieter

Munich Jerusalem map -Sebald Rieter 1479


Bernhard von Breydenbach

Bernhard von Breydenbach (c. 1440-1497) was a canon from a noble family and had a degree of doctor of law.  He began his pilgrimage in 1482 and after his return he published a book on his travels, complete with illustrations by the artist he had hired to accompany him on his pilgrimage, Erhard Rewich van Utrecht.  Breydenbach’s book followed in the traditional presentation of pilgrimage accounts and was extremely popular and influential, especially after it was translated into other languages.  Other pilgrims in his travel party included Felix Fabri, Lord Philip von Bicken, Count Johann von Solms, and they were later joined by Paul Walter von Guglingen for the return journey.


Peregrinatio in Terram Sanctam

Bernhard von Breydenbach

Bernhard von Breidenbach1486

Map of the Holy Land [cartographic material]

Conrad Grunenberg

Conrad Grunenberg (1442-1494) was from Constance, Germany and made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1486.  He published an illustrated book on his travel experiences in c. 1487.


Conrad Grünenberg

Beschreibung der Reise von Konstanz nach Jerusalem - Cod. St. Peter pap. 32

Arnold von Harff

Arnold von Harff (1471-1505) was from Köln, Germany and made pilgrimages to many countries, taking a special interest in different language.


Arnold von Harff

Paul Walter von Guglingen

Paul Walter von Guglingen was a Franciscan friar from a convent in Heidelberg who set out for his pilgrimage in 1481 and returned about 1484.  After spending time as part of the Fransiscan custodia terrae sanctae, he eventually joined the party of Bernhard von Breydenbach on their return journey to deliver a document to Papal Rome from Paul of Caneto.  Throughout his travels, Guglingen kept a detailed account of his experiences, including things like dates and illustrations.  What makes his account different from other pilgrimage accounts like that of Breydenbach is that he does not look to other pilgrimage accounts for information or illustrations but relies on his own personal experiences and careful observations.  For example, his illustrations on the plants and animals he encounters function to inform his reader of what he saw and experienced through visual representation and written description, making his illustrations wholly original.  He is also significant because he does not portray the Holy Land and symbolically possessed by Christians or a reminiscent of a Christian past, but rather as the present as he experienced it, which was a land that was under Mamluk control.  He expressed great interest in Islamic architecture and culture as seen in his written and visual descriptions, including more illustrations of Islamic buildings than Christian.


Encounters with the Levant: the late medieval illustrated Jerusalem Travelogue by Paul Walter von Guglingen

Jean Zuallart

Jean Zuallart (1541-1634) was from Belgium and served as mar of Ath in Hainaut from 1584-1634.  In 1585 he toured Germany and Italy with Philippe de Mérode, Baron of Frentzen and in 1586 they made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  Zuallart learned to draw in the months leading up to his pilgrimage which allowed him to create illustrations of his travels.  In 1587 after his return, he published his account of his pilgrimage with his illustrations which was later translated into other languages and following editions were published.


Jean Zuallart

Hierusalem. C.D.


Le très devot voyage de Jerusalem

Christiaan von Adrichem

Nicolas van Aelst

Nicolas van Aelst (c. 1550s-1613) was a printmaker and publisher from Brussels but lived and worked in Rome.  He published a map of Jerusalem c. 1590s that depicts the geography of the Holy Land and two other depictions of the city itself at different angles, one of which portrays Jesus entering Jerusalem.


Nicolas van Aelst

[Holy Land] Nicolo van Aelst de Brusseles ded

Ierusalem Ritratta con parte del suo circuito secondo che hoggidi si uede dalla parte d'oriente / Nicolo van Aelst de Brusseles ded

Bernardino Amico

Bernardino Amico was a Franciscan monk who lived in Jerusalem in 1593-1597.  On his return to Venice, he published a book called Trattato delle piante e immagini de sacri edifizi di Terre Santa with maps of Jerusalem.  He based his map off of the work of Antonio d’Angelis, who published his map in 1578.


Bernardino Amico

La vera e reale cita di Gierusalem come si trova ogi [cartographic material]

Discretione vera de Lantica Cita di Gierusalem [cartographic material]

George Sandys

George Sandys (1578-1644) was a poet and politician from England who became a colonial treasurer for the Virginia Company.  Between 1610-1611 he traveled to the Holy Land and visited many other places along the way.  He published his account of his travels which became very popular and was reprinted in several additions and translations.  Sandys was well educated in classical literature and his account combines this background with his own original observations of his travels.   


SANDYS, George. Relation of a Journey begun An: Dom: 1610. Foure Bookes. Containing a Description of the Turkish Empire, of Aegypt, of the Holy Land…, London, W. Barrett, 1615

Mount Olivet [cartographic material]

Aquilante Roccheta

Richard Pococke

Richard Pococke was an English clergyman who traveled to the Holy Land 1737-1741.  He published his book Description of the East shortly after his return.


Travelogues of Palestine

Mathew Paris

Matthew Paris (c. 1200-1260) was a monk from the Abbey of St. Alban in England who wrote the Chronica Major (history of the world), Historia Anglorum (history of England), and itineraries for the Holy Land.  He was also quite the artist an included illustrations and maps in his work.  His map of Britain demonstrates an interest in trying to create a map that accurately represents the geography of Britain.  His itinerary showing the route to the Holy Land seems to take on a more spiritual or imaginary use, as he himself never traveled to the Holy Land.  The itinerary shows the different places one would travel on their way to the Holy Land, with a red line leading the reader to the next stage of the journey, how many days it would take to get there, and with illustrations of the locations.  Unlike his map of England which indicates locations in relation to other places around it within the island of England, the itinerary map is more like a visual list of the places, indicating it is not meant to be used to literally guide someone to the Holy Land.  Its function is instead of guiding one’s imagination to the Holy Land as a form of prayer.

Interactive map of Britain by Paris  https://historiacartarum.org/annotated-claudius-map/ 



Matthew Paris's itinerary maps from London to Palestine

The maps of Matthew Paris

Matthew Paris, Chronica maiora

Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 016II: Matthew Paris OSB, Chronica maiora II

Marco Polo

Marco Polo (c. 1254-1324) is most famous for his years of travel to the East and into China.  He supposedly recounted his story while imprisoned in Genoa in 1296 to a fellow prisoner who recorded the story.


The Travels of Marco Polo


John of Mandeville

John of Mandeville: The Book of John Mandeville claims to have been written by a knight named Sir John Mandeville from St. Albans, England who traveled for over thirty years and recorded his experiences in the book.  It was an extremely popular book and copied and translated into multiple languages.  The Book claims to be an accurate account of the East, however, scholars have found that the Book copies from multiple different sources, leaving them to question the authorship of the Book.  The Book is now viewed as an imaginative journey rather than an actual account and the authorship is still surrounded in mystery, as alterations in the story as it was copied multiple times have left scholars unsure of the original manuscript and author.  Whoever the author was, it is clear they had access to an extensive library, which is where they sourced the material for the book.  There is much debate as to when the Book was written, but it is generally believed to be written sometime in the mid-1300s         


The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

The Book of John Mandeville: Introduction

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

Felix Fabri

Felix Fabri (c. 1441-1502) was originally from Switzerland but lived in Ulm, Germany where he was a Dominican monk.  He made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land twice, once in 1480 and again in 1483-1484 in the company of Bernhard von Breydenbach.  Fabri kept a detailed account of his experiences as a pilgrim which led to several publications, Gereimtes Pilgerbüchlein, Pilgerbuch, Evagatorium, and finally Sionpilger.  All his books were of his pilgrimage experience but aimed at different audiences.  His last book, Sionpilger, was written in 1491 at the request of the sisters of the Observant so they could ‘experience’ a pilgrimage to the Holy Land without having to physically go.  The book functions as a detailed account of an actual pilgrim and as a spiritual exercise through imagining the pilgrimage experience with the narrator.