Tinco Lycklama’s opus – his Voyage en Russie, en Perse, etc… – was published in 4 volumes. He started writing and publishing them once he settled in Cannes – one volume every year, between 1872-75. The books offer a chronology of his voyage and can thus be read as a travelogue. Tinco also presents each volume as a thematic book. The first two volumes were dedicated to Russia and Persia. We have now arrived at the start of his third volume – containing two thematic ‘books’: “La Babylonie“, and “L’Assyrie“.
Tinco’s third volume coincides with his departure from Persia. In the book about Assyria,he takes us back to Tehran, and then travels through the north of Iraq, via places like Erbil and Mosul. But most of the third volume is dedicated to Babylonia, the region between and around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. He spends the winter in Bagdad, and takes us on some very interesting excursions such as a visit to the ancient Babylon, where he also proceeds with excavations (the first Dutchman – and one of the first Europeans – to do so).
For now, Tinco is still in Persia. He left Shiraz on November 7, and is progressing towards the port city of Bender Bushir (from where he will cross the Persian Gulf). Though he is eager to discover new lands and to enter the Ottoman empire (to which current Iraw belonged), his journey is not a straight line, as there are some interesting things to see along the way.
After stopovers at Khane Zenian and Mian Kotel, he arrived last night at Kazerun. This is an old city that predates the islamic era. Like other travellers, such as Arthur de Gobineau, Tinco appreciates the original beauty of the city but observes as well that it is in total ruins. Whereas Shiraz was a city of cypresses, Kazerun was a city of palms, but its pre-medieval buildings had lost their lustre. Tinco Lycklama offers us an interesting historical background about Kazerun, which is something that previous travellers had not done in their own travel accounts.
Instead of travelling straight south to Bandar Bushir, Tinco deviates to the north, towards the village of Shahpur. Tomorrow, Tinco wants to visit the old Bishapur, one of the capitals of the Sassanid dynsasty, which came to a fall with the start of Persia’s islamic era in 651 CE. Actually, the roads that Tinco was travelling were the old roads that linked the city of Estakhr (also a Sassanid capital, on the edge of Persepolis) with Shahpur.
At Shahpur, Tinco is received by Mirza Ghulam Hoceim, the local mayor. It is one of his friendliest encounters in Persia, as the Mirza does everything to please Tinco and generously invites him to spend the night at his house. We haven’t been able to locate it (if it subsists at all), but it consisted of two towers that remained from an old ruined castle.
Tomorrow, Tinco will visit the ruins of the old Sassanid capital, and the caves with the impressive statue of Shapur I. As a good host, Mirza Ghulam Hoceim will accompany Tinco and, for safety, they take an escort of ten soldiers along. You can’t be too prudent.