Przhevalsky Museum, Karakol 722200, Kyrgyzstan
Nikolay Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky[nb 1] (April 12 [O.S. March 31] 1839 – November 1 [O.S. October 20] 1888) was a Russian geographer of Polish-Russian origin and a renowned explorer of Central and East Asia. Although he never reached his ultimate goal, the holy city of Lhasa in Tibet, he traveled through regions then unknown to the West, such as northern Tibet (modern Tibet Autonomous Region), Amdo (now Qinghai) and Dzungaria (now northern Xinjiang). He contributed significantly to European knowledge of Central Asian geography. He also described several species previously unknown to European science: Przewalski's horse, Przewalski's gazelle, and the Wild Bactrian camel, all of which are now endangered.
Przhevalsky is known to have had a personal relationship with Tasya Nuromskaya, whom he met in Smolensk. According to one legend, during their last meeting Nuromskaya cut off her braid and gave it to him, saying that the braid would travel with him until their marriage. She died of a sunstroke while Przhevalsky was on an expedition.
Another woman in Przhevalsky's life was a mysterious young lady whose portrait, along with a fragment of poetry, was found in Przhevalsky's album. In the poem, she asks him to stay with her and not to go to Tibet, to which he responded in his diary: "I will never betray the ideal, to which is dedicated all of my life. As soon as I write everything necessary, I will return to the desert...where I will be much happier than in the gilded salons that can be acquired by marriage".
Przhevalsky died of typhus not long before the beginning of his fifth journey, at Karakol on the shore of Issyk Kul in present-day Kyrgyzstan. He contracted typhoid from the Chu River, which was acknowledged as being infected with the disease. The Tsar immediately changed the name of the town to Przhevalsk. There are monuments to him, and a museum about his life and work, there and another monument in St. Petersburg.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE