We’re August 18, 1867 – and Tinco Lycklama is leaving Tehran (and will never return). He is traveling back to the Ottoman border and will then start his exploration of the northern regions of modern Iraq and Syria – the heartland of Kurdistan and ancient Assyria.
Tinco Lycklama had spent most of the year 1866 in Persia. After his a stay in Baghdad, in the first half of 1867, he returned to Persia in the summer of 1867. It was his second in Tehran – and also the last one. He used his three weeks in the Persian capital to respond to letters from Europe and Russia. Books had been sent from Europe, so that he could study the latest literature and prepare the next stages of his trip – through Kurdistan and Assyria to places such as Kirkuk and Mosul, and to the ancient sites of Khorsabad and Niniveh. Tinco also spent time in Tehran’s bazar, where he bought many more antiques and rugs that would stand pretty in his future museum.
In the fourth volume of his travel account, published in 1975, Tinco concludes his descriptions of Persia in a philosophical manner. In the meantime, the shah of Persia, Naser al-Din, had travelled Europe for the first time (1873). At that occasion, Tinco had met him several times, as well as his friends Emam Qoli Mirza (an uncle of the Shah), and Abd-al-Samad Mirza (the shah’s nephew).
“I saw them charmed by the welcome they enjoyed everywhere in Europe, and full of admiration for the wonders of western civilisation. However, it would be an error to think that, once upon his return to Tehran, Naser al-Din would europeanise Persia… To every people its own genius, its destiny, and its role in the world… I believe that Persia will always remain Persia, the way it was shaped by its history, its religion, and the nature of its people.”
Tinco is now traveling back to Hamadan, to meet again with his friend Abd-al-Samad Mirza, the “Ezz-al-Dawla“, and then to continue towards Kurdistan and Assyria – in the northern part of modern Iraq.