Moscow: Typ. of S. Selivanovsky, 1829. Item #204
, 190 pp. 12mo. With a copper engraved frontispiece. Later 19th century quarter leather with brown cloth boards. Text with mild water stains and foxing, occasional pencil markings and notes in Georgian, binding rubbed, otherwise a very good copy.
First edition. Very rare.
Captivating description of a travel to the Caucasian Mountains and Georgia by Russian state official and ethnographer Nikolai Nefedyev (1800-1860) with eye-witness account about the events of the Caucasian War (1817-1864) and the Russo-Persian War (1826-1828). Nefedyev travelled together with the rich St. Petersburg drama-lover and amateur singer Nikita Vsevolodovich Vsevolozhsky (1799-1862) and his wife Varvara Petrovna Vsevolozhskaya, nee Khovanskaya (1805-1834). Vsevolozhsky was the founder of the Zelenaya Lampa (The Green Lamp) literary and noble society, and was well-acquainted with many important Russian poets, writers and society figures of the time, including Alexander Pushkin, Anton Delvig, and the Decembrists Sergey Trubetskoy, Fyodor Glinka, Yakov Tolstoy and others. The book was dedicated to his travel companion Varvara Vsevolozhskaya.
The party went from Astrakhan to Vsevolozhsky’s estate near the Cherny Rynok village (now Kochubey, Dagestan, on the shore of the Caspian Sea), and from there to Tiflis via Georgiyevsk (Stavropol Kray, North Caucasus), Pyatigorsk, Kislovodsk, Yekaterinograd, Vladikavkaz, Balta, Darial Gorge, Pasanauri, and Dusheti.
Nefedyev vividly describes sites and people he has seen, including fishing in the mouth of the Terek River, the society of the mineral water resort towns, cost of renting an apartment there, a trip on top of the Mashuk mountain, the procedure of taking mineral water, the latest events of the Caucasian war and raids of the Gortsy (mountain dwellers), Russian forts on the Georgian Military Road, Tiflis architecture and inhabitants et al. He mentions that the resort guests in the Caucasus like to discuss poetry and Pushkin at the water fountains; regrets that he hasn’t met General Yermolov who had earlier passed the village where they stayed on his return way from the Caucasian service (Yermolov was the commander-in-chief of the Russian troops in the Caucasus in 1816-1827). In the Urukh fortress he met Semyon Mazarovich (ca. 1784-1852) – the head of the Russian mission in Teheran in 1818-26 - on his way back to Russia. An entry from June 1827 describes his travel along the Georgian Military Road together with the Russian troops which were headed to the Russian-Persian War (1826-28) and mentions a young officer hasting to get to the front before the capture of Erivan (it would happen only in October).
Overall a very interesting valuable account of an early Russian travel to the Caucasus. The book is concluded with a table of distances from Astrakhan to Tiflis. The frontispiece shows the Lars fort in the Caucasian mountains on the way to Georgia.
Only two paper copies found in Worldcat (NYPL, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Libraries).