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journeys over a territory or body of water for purposes of exploration, general education, sport, or the acquisition of knowledge. Until the 18th and 19th centuries, travels were a basic source of information about the natural features, population, history, and economy of various countries and also about the nature and outlines of the earth’s surface.
Travel descriptions by Herodotus and by the learned men who accompanied Alexander the Great on his campaigns survive from antiquity. The journeys of Marco Polo and A. Nikitin are classic examples of travels during the Middle Ages. The era of great geographic discoveries witnessed many voyages that fundamentally changed man’s concept of the earth. Later, the travels of D. Livingstone and H. Stanley and of N. M. Przhe-val’skii greatly expanded knowledge about the earth. However, Przheval’skii referred to his own travels as scientific reconnaissance, since they provided only a general acquaintance with the features of various territories. Thus, in the 18th and 19th centuries, as research became more thorough and scientific goals and tasks more concrete and specialized, travels came to be scientific expeditions. Beginning in the mid-20th century, the term “travels” has been applied chiefly to tourism.