Christians at Mecca


Christians at Mecca is a collection of narratives summarizing the journeys undertaken by 16 European travelers to the Muslim holy city, starting with Ludovico di Varthema, who visited in 1503, and ending with Jules Gervais-Courtellemont, who visited in 1894. The list also includes Vincent Le Blanc (1568), Johann Wild (1607), Joseph Pitts (1680), Domingo Badia y Leblich (also called Ali Bey, 1807), Ulrich Jasper Seetzen (1809‒10), Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (1814‒15), Giovanni Finati (1814), Léon Roches (1841‒42), Georg August Wallin (1845), Sir Richard Burton (1853), Heinrich, Freiherr von Maltzan (1860), Herman Bicknell (1862), John Fryer Keane (1877‒78), and Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1885). Accounts of the exploration of Arabia and Islam’s “forbidden cities” became a genre that aroused considerable interest in Europe, especially during the 19th century. Christians at Mecca is a particularly useful volume, in that it summarizes and compiles nearly all such accounts in one work. The author, Augustus Ralli, wrote in the brief preface that he intended to “give a narrative of each pilgrim’s adventures, and a summary of his observation of the people of Mecca and the condition of the city.” Little is known about Ralli. It is unclear if he was related to the London-based Ralli Brothers, a successful Victorian-era merchant family of Greek origins. A scholar by the same name was born in London in 1875 and died in Bath in southwest England in 1954 and is thought to have written a number of books including Guide to Carlyle and A History of Shakespearian Criticism.

Date Created

Publication Information

William Heinemann, London


Type of Item

Physical Description

283 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 21 centimeters


  1. “Augustus John (John) Ralli (1875–1954),” in Family Genealogy Pages, at:

Last updated: February 18, 2016