Iranian Feminine Prisoners Name Activist’s ‘Disgraceful’ Demise Sentence An Ominous Signal



In 1874, a shuttle diary of Iran’s ruler Naser al-Din Shah was once revealed in English for the primary time, providing an interesting perception into the shah’s travel via Russia, Western Europe, and the Caucasus that had taken position the former yr. It was once the primary travel of its type through an Iranian ruler.

Beneath, in large part within the shah’s personal phrases, are main points of the travel, which might play an element in remodeling Iran. Pictures 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 now have escaped from the prime sea and feature entered a big river named the Volga, which has an excellent allure,” Naser wrote of his first glimpses of the Russian Empire after touring through send around the Caspian Sea from Iran in Might 1873. “This move could be very broad; such a lot in order that…an atypical musket ball would now not lift from financial institution to financial institution.”

A town on the Volga River in southern Russia
A the town 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 atypical Russians.

As they steamed just about one of the vital villages, Naser mentioned “the population flocked to the riverbank and cried out, ‘Hurrah!'”

When the mayor of a Volga the town introduced out the standard presents of bread and salt, the shah says the date of his arrival was once inscribed into the serving tray.

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

From southern Russia, the shah and his retinue had been transported through rail, which was once it seems that a unique enjoy for him.

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

“The tempo of the teach was once such that we overtook the flying crows,” Naser wrote in marvel.

The shah it seems that discovered the vocabulary of the railroad for the primary time in Russia.

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

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

The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

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

“The curtain rose and a extraordinary global made its look. A lot of girls 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 imaginable 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 regarded as off-limits through the shah and referred to just in passing as “lengthy and delightful.” Actually, a lot hung at the interplay between the 2 rulers, whose international locations had best just lately reached a gentle peace after centuries of war 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 seems that quite bawdier than the ballet that had enchanted the shah in Moscow. One performer, described as a “fats girl 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 end, she fell over from the automobile to the ground and her skirts took hearth,” the shah famous.

The fountains at Peterhof, just outside St. Petersburg
The fountains at Peterhof, simply outdoor St. Petersburg

The Iranian ruler appeared particularly keen on Peterhof, a royal place of abode outdoor St. Petersburg.

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

On Might 29, the shah departed west and looped via lately’s Germany, Nice Britain, France, Switzerland Italy, Greece, and Turkey prior to heading towards Georgia on his as far back as Iran.


The shah’s arrival through send off Poti, in lately’s western Georgia, was once marked through celestial drama when lightning struck the ocean only some meters from the royal boat, “with a roar equivalent to that of 1000 cannons.”

On shore in Georgia, the shah was once greeted through “quite a lot of tribes and nationalities” that incorporated 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 cross 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 gave the impression to contradict that bare-headed declare through describing Mingrelian warriors as dressed in “a crimson material spherical their heads by means of turban, a pistol, and a big knife of their sashes.”

Their uniform he mentioned, “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 stunned through its look.

“Fifty years in the past, this the town was once very wretched and filthy,” he claimed with out specifying how he knew its situation prior to his personal start. “Now, through levels, non-public properties and public constructions, faculties and schools, large streets paved with stone are being built.”

Tbilisi after flooding
Tbilisi after flooding

As in Poti, the shah was once 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 lately’s Azerbaijan, the shah paints an image of sunbaked desolation at the highway east.

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


Within the territory of lately’s Azerbaijan, the shah it seems that not felt the will for diplomatic tact, or was once bored stiff 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 condominium he described as “an excessively wretched tenement at the most sensible of a hill.”

The waterfront of Baku
The waterfront of Baku

On his final landward leg house, the shah’s persistence appeared at an finish.

“The entire highway to Baku was once dry and unhealthy. Actually, a simple and mountains so dry and so wretched we had neither observed nor heard of. Our adventure lately was once over part of the rustic known as the Burying Flooring — a have compatibility identify for any such area.”

The shah paused best in short in Baku prior to boarding a boat for house.

The travel via a number of empires reportedly left an important affect at the shah and was once extensively observed as a diplomatic luck. Quickly after his go back to Iran, Naser started paintings on organising a small railway close to Tehran.



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