–1956: Photosketches of a slow journey –One year from Venice to India by the land route
In 1955 Dolf Schnebli was awarded a Harvard travel scholarship which enabled him to travel overland for one year from Venice to India and back. With him were his wife Clarissa and a VW beetle. The purpose of his journey was to study at close hand architectural history, especially the urban development of old cities, ruins and excavations. In the process he not only learned a great deal about the founding of cities and history, he also got to know many different people. In his short statements he therefore not only describes what kind of architecture he saw, but also whom he met: Peasants who in spite of their extreme poverty, warmly welcomed Schnebli and his wife and helped them on their journey with advice and concrete assistance. They ran into soldiers and customs officials again and again – some were friendly and some corrupt or capricious. And there were other cultural tourists with whom one could converse about the sights, archaeologists and students who were also travelling in the Near or Far East. More than fifty years after his trip, after gathering dust as contact prints in his sketch-
books, Schnebli’s black and white pictures are being published for the first time, attentively designed by the Zurich-based WBG AG for visual communication. Many of his observations which he recorded in the travel notes are still valid today. For instance, he was not permitted to travel to Israel, because he had too many visas from Arab countries in his passport, while in Syria at the border he was even instructed: “Israel doesn't exist."