World’s first travel guide goes on display at British Museum

Rare first edition of 15th century book with illustrations of European and Middle Eastern cities is part of the Inspired by the East exhibition

Visitors to the British Museum will get the chance to see the world’s earliest example of a travel guide when it goes on display later this week as part of a new exhibition. The 500-year-old book was written by Bernhard von Breydenbach in 1486, following his pilgrimage to the Holy Land from 1483-1484, and features illustrations of Venice and Jerusalem made by the Dutch artist Erhard Reuwich, who travelled with the writer.

Peregrinatio in Terram Sanctam (A pilgrimage to the Holy Land) will be part of the exhibition Inspired by the east: how the Islamic world influenced western art (adults £14, under 16s free), which opens on 10 October and runs until 26 January 2020. The book, written in Latin, caused a stir on publication – as it represented the first time many in western Europe had seen realistic depictions of these notable destinations.

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