Leonhard Rauwolf

The Town of Tripoli

June 21, 1535
Today is the birthday of the German physician, botanist, and traveler Leonhard Rauwolf.

For two years, between 1573 and 1575, he made a trip through the Near east to search for new herbal medicines. When he returned, he published a book with new botanical descriptions for his herbarium, and he later wrote a travel book about his adventures.
Here is an excerpt from Rauwolff's description of Tripoli in Lebanon:

“The town of Tripoli is pretty large, full of people, and of good account, because of the great deposition of merchandises that are brought thither daily both by sea and land. It is situated in a pleasant country, near the promontory of the high mountain Libanus, in a great plain toward the sea-shore, where you may see an abundance of vineyards, and very fine gardens, enclosed with hedges for the most part, the hedges consisting chiefly of Rhamnus, Paliurus, Oxyacantha, Phillyrea, Lycium, Balaustium, Rubus, and little Palm-trees, that are low, and so sprout and spread themselves. In these gardens, as we came in, we found all sorts of salads and kitchen-herbs, such as Endive, Lettuce, Ruckoli, Asparagus, Celery,... Tarragon..., Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Turnips, Horseradishes, Carrots, of the greater sort of Fennel, Onions, Garlic, etc. And also fruit, as Water-melons, Melons, Gourds, Citruls, Melongena, Sesamum (by the natives called samsaim, the seeds whereof are very much used to strew upon their bread) and many more; but especially the Colocasia, which is very common there, and sold all the year long.... In great plenty there are citrons, lemons and oranges.... At Tripoli they have no want of water, for several rivers flow down from the mountains, and run partly through the town, and partly through the gardens, so that they want no water neither in the gardens nor in their houses.”

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Leonhard Rauwolf
Leonhard Rauwolf

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