Balloting Starts As Iranians Head To Polls In Presidential Runoff



In 1874, a shuttle diary of Iran’s ruler Naser al-Din Shah used to be revealed in English for the primary time, providing an enchanting perception into the shah’s commute thru Russia, Western Europe, and the Caucasus that had taken position the former 12 months. It used to be the primary commute of its sort through an Iranian ruler.

Under, in large part within the shah’s personal phrases, are main points of the commute, which might play an element in reworking Iran. Images used on this tale had been taken within the puts the shah visited at roughly the time he noticed them.

Naser al-Din Shah
Naser al-Din Shah

“Thank you be to God, we have now escaped from the top sea and feature entered a big river named the Volga, which has an ideal appeal,” Naser wrote of his first glimpses of the Russian Empire after touring through send around the Caspian Sea from Iran in Might 1873. “This circulation could be very huge; such a lot in order that…an extraordinary musket ball would now not lift from financial institution to financial institution.”

A town on the Volga River in southern Russia
A the city at the Volga River in southern Russia

“In each and every village a church has been constructed, very nice and majestic. The career of the folks of those villages is that of fishing,” the shah famous in his first impressions of extraordinary Russians.

As they steamed as regards to one of the most villages, Naser stated “the population flocked to the riverbank and cried out, ‘Hurrah!'”

When the mayor of a Volga the city introduced out the normal items of bread and salt, the shah says the date of his arrival used to be inscribed into the serving tray.

Fishermen process fish in a town on the Volga River.
Fishermen procedure fish in a the city at the Volga River.

From southern Russia, the shah and his retinue had been transported through rail, which used to be it appears a singular enjoy for him.

A steam train on the Trans-Siberian Railway
A steam teach at the Trans-Siberian Railway

“The tempo of the teach used to be such that we overtook the flying crows,” Naser wrote in surprise.

The shah it appears realized the vocabulary of the railroad for the primary time in Russia.

“A ‘station’ is a spot the place the trains prevent to have their wheels greased and the place the passengers take espresso and refreshments,” he famous.

In every other passage, he described a tunnel they handed thru as a “hollow within the mountain.”

The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

Because the teach neared Moscow, the formal sides of the excursion started, through which the shah and his entourage placed on their get dressed uniforms and had been proven the Kremlin, then probably invited to the Bolshoi Theatre, the place he witnessed ballet for the primary time.

“The curtain rose and a peculiar global made its look. A lot of ladies set to dancing. This dancing and function is known as a ballet, i.e. a efficiency and dance with out talking.”

The specifics of the artwork shape, he wrote, had been “now not conceivable to explain.”

Tsar Aleksander II
Tsar Aleksander II

In St. Petersburg, the shah’s travelogue turns into frustratingly diplomatic as he meets with Tsar Aleksander II, a person “tall of stature and majestic, who speaks with nice gravity and walks with a stately gait.”

Conversations between the 2 sovereigns are obviously thought to be off-limits through the shah and referred to simply in passing as “lengthy and delightful.” Actually, a lot hung at the interplay between the 2 rulers, whose nations had best not too long ago reached a mild peace after centuries of struggle over keep watch over of the Caucasus.

St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg
St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg

In St. Petersburg, theater performances had been it appears reasonably bawdier than the ballet that had enchanted the shah in Moscow. One performer, described as a “fats lady clothed in tights, with bare bosom and legs,” rode a bicycle round flaming bottles of wine set at the flooring of the degree.

“In the long run, she fell over from the car to the ground and her skirts took hearth,” the shah famous.

The fountains at Peterhof, just outside St. Petersburg
The fountains at Peterhof, simply out of doors St. Petersburg

The Iranian ruler gave the impression particularly involved in Peterhof, a royal place of abode out of doors St. Petersburg.

“It used to be a spot like paradise,” the shah gushed amid an in depth description of the fountains and leafy pathways that extend to the Gulf of Finland.

On Might 29, the shah departed west and looped thru nowadays’s Germany, Nice Britain, France, Switzerland Italy, Greece, and Turkey earlier than heading towards Georgia on his as far back as Iran.


The shah’s arrival through send off Poti, in nowadays’s western Georgia, used to be marked through celestial drama when lightning struck the ocean only some meters from the royal boat, “with a roar equivalent to that of one thousand cannons.”

On shore in Georgia, the shah used to be greeted through “more than a few tribes and nationalities” that integrated Circassians, Lezgins, Armenians, Georgians, and Daghestani Muslims, in addition to Mingrelians, an ethnicity that fascinated the shah.

Mingrelian warriors
Mingrelian warriors

“This area is a part of the rustic of the Open-Heads,” Naser wrote of the Mingrelians. “The entire of the population of the Open-Head nation pass bare-headed. By no means do the ladies, males, or kids undertake the observe of dressed in hats or caps on their heads.”

In virtually the following breath, the shah perceived to contradict that bare-headed declare through describing Mingrelian warriors as dressed in “a pink fabric spherical their heads by the use of turban, a pistol, and a big knife of their sashes.”

Their uniform he stated, “thus resembled the ones of the Zouaves in France and of the tribes of Hindustan, however their muskets had been needle weapons made within the manufacturing unit of Tula.”

Freedom Square in Tbilisi
Freedom Sq. in Tbilisi

The shah arrived through teach to Tbilisi on August 29 and gave the impression to be pleasantly shocked through its look.

“Fifty years in the past, this the city used to be very wretched and filthy,” he claimed with out specifying how he knew its situation earlier than his personal beginning. “Now, through levels, non-public properties and public structures, colleges and schools, large streets paved with stone are being built.”

Tbilisi after flooding
Tbilisi after flooding

As in Poti, the shah used to be struck through Tbilisi’s ethnic mixture of “Persians, Georgians, Russians, Daghestanis, Circassians, Germans, Armenians.”

Then, as now, Georgian fruit stood out for its high quality. The shah singled out watermelons, grapes, and pears, in addition to the cucumbers of Tbilisi.

However surroundings off towards Baku, in nowadays’s Azerbaijan, the shah paints an image of sunbaked desolation at the highway east.

“As soon as out of Tbilisi, there used to be now not a unmarried hint of the works of guy on each side of our highway: So far as the attention may penetrate, all had been despair plains or brown mountains,” he wrote.


Within the territory of nowadays’s Azerbaijan, the shah it appears not felt the will for diplomatic tact, or used to be uninterested with being at the highway.

“Gardens encompass town of Ganja, however inside it the homes are deficient and depressing,” he complained.

The shah stayed in an condo he described as “an overly wretched tenement at the most sensible of a hill.”

The waterfront of Baku
The waterfront of Baku

On his closing landward leg house, the shah’s persistence gave the impression at an finish.

“The entire highway to Baku used to be dry and dangerous. Actually, a undeniable and mountains so dry and so wretched we had neither noticed nor heard of. Our adventure nowadays used to be over part of the rustic known as the Burying Floor — a are compatible title for any such area.”

The shah paused best in short in Baku earlier than boarding a boat for house.

The commute thru a number of empires reportedly left a vital influence at the shah and used to be extensively noticed as a diplomatic good fortune. Quickly after his go back to Iran, Naser started paintings on organising a small railway close to Tehran.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here