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CULTURE, LANGUAGES AND CUSTOMS IN THE BALKANS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF WESTERN TRAVELERS OF THE 15th CENTURY

Ivayla Popova
Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

Abstract: The present study focuses on texts of Western Travelers (Konrad Grünemberg, Pietro Casola, Arnold von Harff, Felix Fabri) and data pertaining to the culture, languages and customs of the Balkan people. Curious details about wedding and funeral customs in the Balkans we can found in the travel notes of Konrad Grünemberg. Arnold von Harff provides valuable data on Balkan languages ​​– Slavic, Greek, Albanian and Turkish, including short dictionaries of these languages. In the travel notes of Western pilgrims and travelers, the ethnic diversity of the Balkans is consistently reflected. The western texts state that the majority of the Balkan population was Christian Orthodox. At the same time, there is interesting information on the minorities of Gypsies and Jews in a suburb of Modon, and their characteristic cultural features are discussed at length.

Keywords: Western Travelers, Balkans, Minorities, Cultures