Tinco under Turkish guards at Kermanshah

Since he arrived at Kermanshah – on June 12, 1867 – Tinco Lycklama has been under permanent guards by Turkish soldiers. In fact, when he was approaching Kermanshah, he was met by a military detachment of twenty-five heavily armed men who escorted him into the city. These things happen – except that Kermanshah is not Turkish – it’s in Persia.

Kermanshah by Pascal Coste - 1840
View of Kermanshah (drawing by Pascal Coste, 1840)

In fact, it was Tinco Lycklama’s new powerful friend Namik Pasha – the Ottoman viceroy of Baghdad – who had made these arrangements. Remember that Tinco enjoyed significant priviliges when he stayed in Baghdad the previous winter, such as access to the military arsenal of the city and special escorts during his excursions to Babylon and Najaf.

Mehmed Emin Namık Pasha (1804-1892)
Mehmed Namik Pasha (1804-1892), Viceroy of Baghdad

The Ottoman Empire and Persia were not necessarily on friendly terms, but they maintained diplomatic relations. In fact, both empires were coping with external (European) influence and interference, especially from the British and the Russians.

The Turks seemed keen to please Tinco. Namik Pasha had instructed his consul in Kermanshah, Seyid Djouab, to treat him with the utmost deference.

Tinco had the choice of two houses offered by the Turks, where he could stay for the duration of his visit to Kermanshah. He chose the little townhouse, which came with a nice courtyard and a big garden. What’s interesting is that, after spending months traveling the deserts and often sleeping in tents, Tinco had started to adopt the customs of the region. Hence, he decided to pull up his tents in the gardens and, during his two-week stay, it’s in these tents that he worked and received his visitors – like a real sheikh of the desert.

It’s also with Consul Seyid Djouab that Tinco explored some very interesting sites in and around Kermanshah, such as the Taq Bostan rock reliefs. These are monumental sculptures dating from the Sassanid dynasty that ruled the Persian Empire from 226 to 650 CE. Kermanshah was a capital city of the Sassanids in the 4th century. In October 1866, Tinco Lycklama had seen similar rock sculptures from the earlier Sassanid rulers, near Persepolis.

Tagh Bostan
Taq Bostan

Regardless of all the good efforts by the Turks to please Tinco during his stay at Kermanshah, he is also getting back into “Persian mode”. Over the next few days, he will meet up with the Qajar rulers of the city.

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