Narrative of a Journey into Persia, in the Suite of the Imperial Russian Embassy, in the Year 1817
Moritz von Kotzebue (1789-1861), son of the German dramatist and an experienced seaman and soldier, who had faced Bonaparte's troops on the battlefield, travelled to the court of Fath Ali Shah Qajar (1772-1834), the king of Persia, with a Russian embassy in 1817. His account of the journey was published in German in 1819, and an English translation was published in the same year, claiming to offer a different perspective from the ordinary run of British writings on Persia. Covering the journey from St Petersburg through the Caucasus and down to Soltaniyeh, where the embassy meets the Shah, the work is a compilation of day-to-day observations on people and events. The author is astute and witty, and the book is not only an interesting read but also a useful source for the region's social history; a lengthy description of the Shah's court is particularly impressive.