Skopje, 17 April 2012 (MIA) - About 80 participants from Macedonia, Turkey and other Balkan countries take part April 17-20 at the international congress dedicated to the 400. anniversary from the birth of Ottoman traveler Evliya Celebi. The congress is titled "Balkans of Evliya Celebi", hosted by the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MANU).
President Gjorge Ivanov addressed Tuesday the opening of the congress, which is held under his auspices, referring to the life and work of Evliya Celebi.
"His views, which are at times burdened by prejudice, still shed light on the Ottoman view of the Balkans in the 17. century. During his journeys, Celebi met with non-Muslim and non-Ottoman values and concepts, ideas and customs, which he partially presented in his notes. Thus, the traveller has contributed to the building of understanding among nations, cultures and civilizations", stressed Ivanov.
According to him, Celebi's records are significant sources not only for history and geography, but also for ethnography and anthropology, economy and architecture on the Balkans, in Macedonia, in Skopje.
"What would Evliya Celebi say about the present Balkans? The Balkans, which following the turbulent 1990s, is still divided and closed, a Balkans where fear and prejudice created by the enclosed space still exist", stressed President Ivanov.
He said if Celebi wrote about the Balkans of today, there would be no mention of the beauties of cities and nature, but the frustrations from the long lines at border crossings, numerous forms and conditions that need to be met.
"Instead of the kindness and hospitality of people, he would talk about the efforts of young generations to leave their hearths for the synonym of open space - Europe", added Ivanov.
He underlined that the new times required a new Evliya Celebi, who could successfully fulfill his role only in conditions of open space.
The congress is organized by MANU and the Civilization Studies Center - MEDAM within University Bahcesehir from Turkey, which has developed comprehensive project "Traveller of Civilization, Evliya Celebi", including international exhibitions, debates, thematic film, children's movie, atlas of Evliya Celebi, books and brochures in different languages for promotion of cities, countries and historic places visited by Evliya Celebi.
Moreover, exhibition "An Ottoman Traveller" will open in MANU today.