Dr. Janos Kubassek, Director of the Hungarian Geographical Museum, vividly recreated the journey of Hungarian travellers in the Islamic world in a lecture at the Yarmouk Cultural Centre on 4 January. The lecture, part of the Dar Al Athar AI Islamiyyah's 20th cultural season, outlined to an enthusiastic audience the adventures undertaken by Hungarian geographers, many who were considered representatives of Islamic studies. He mentioned how their observations and notes were important for their revealing insights into an era gone by. A visual exhibition highlighted the striking facts of the lecture, which was browsed by many visitors.
Dr. Kubassek narrated intriguing stories of Hungarians whose interesting accounts on the various impressive sights of the Islamic world helped create an understanding of the civilization. Gyorgy Raszinyai Huszti is considered to be the first Hungarian who described aspects of the Islamic world, from his experiences as a slave, a military musician and then, as a as a soldier of the Turkish army. Another notable mention was Gabor Pecsvaradi, a Franciscan monk who embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1514 and detailed important information within letters and travel accounts that revealed the links between Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.
On a similar vein, Dr. Kubassek discussed at length the various trials of explorers whose meticulous writings derived from their involvement in historical events painted a tapestry of the Islamic world and the connection to Hungary.
“I am sure that the intellectual contribution of Hungarian scholars to the understanding of Islam will have its renaissance in the near future and that the growing interest in Islamic studies will be reflected in university education as well,” he said.