Travelling and Destinations

Travelling Memories

In 1890, just after graduating in London, Calouste Gulbenkian made a journey along the Caucasus region. Encouraged by his father, this journey served the dual purpose of rewarding the brilliant conclusion of Calouste Gulbenkianís studies and getting him acquainted with the familyís oil business activities. The greatest outcome of this expedition was the publishing in Paris, in 1891, of La Transcaucasie et la Péninsule d’Apchéron: souvenirs de voyage (1890). This journey was the first among the many that the Collector managed to make throughout his life. Fortunately, due to a specific collection of works assembled in Calouste Gulbenkianís personal library, it is possible to track all his travelling habits.

A part of this collection comprises several personsí travelling memories which were recorded at a time when it was fashionable and increasingly frequent for privileged upper class people to travel abroad. In fact, because only the Western elite could afford such journeys and expeditions, starting from mid-18th century, travelling became a symbol of status and class distinction, especially when Italy, Greece, Asia Minor and North Africa were the chosen destinations. The other part of this collection comprises all sorts of travel guides regarding the places and trips that Calouste Gulbenkian went and took, many of which have signs of having been handled extensively. In addition, monographs that deal with a variety of features of several geographical regions, cities and countries are also included. As far as travel guides are concerned, Calouste Gulbenkian collected guides of several countries: of Spain, where he was truly impressed with the architecture of the Palaces and Mosques of the late Kingdom of Granada; of Italy, where he admired the ruins of the once grand Roman Empire and the Vaticanís treasures; of Germany, where in 1933, he visited the main museums; and of Portugal - Manuel du voyageur au Portugal, 3rd edition, 1911 - where he chose to settle from 1942 onwards. Moreover, Calouste Gulbenkian even collected guides of countries and regions he probably never visited, such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and South America.

Belonging to this section are also brochures, pamphlets, maps of cities, as well as other separate documents, like handwritten notes on the heading papers of the luxurious hotels that Calouste Gulbenkian frequently stayed.

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