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Schamachi/Şamaxı in 1683/1684 – Engelbert Kaempfer’s Intercultural Contacts

Author(s): Lothar Weiss

Journal: Khazar Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 2223-2613

Volume: 14;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 15;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: The traveller Engelbert Kaempfer | A Christian German | Schamachi/Şamaxı | Intercultural contacts

The traveller Engelbert Kaempfer, a Christian German in Swedish diplomatic service, here in Schamachi, comes into real contact with a Muslim culture for the first time. As an academically educated physician he makes profitable use of his profession, as with Nawi Jusbascy, probably a born Azerbaijani, Mohammed Hossein and probably Martiros, perhaps Hafi Saburjan, too. As a Christian living in Schamachi within the Armenian quarter he meets other Christians, the Priest Arakhel, the already mentioned Martiros and maybe Hafi Saburjan. Besides the Armenian priest Arakhel he meets a cleric of another religion, Maheb Aali, the Muslim Molla, probably a born Azerbaijani and having lived there in Schamachi. As a diplomat he makes good contacts with diplomats of other nations, like Mohammed Hossein, a Persian and envoy to Poland, and esspecially with his friend Christophorov, the Greek in Russian service. And there are contacts with a military background, too, with the already-mentioned captain Nawi, and with . if correctly identified . the ghulam Ali Kuli Chan, possibly a born Georgian and all his life in Persian service, as commander-in-chief under two Shahs, one of the most powerful men in Persia and now, 1684, governor of the province of Shirvan.On the one hand all these Schamachi contacts were surely a good start for Kaempfer.s later cultural experiences and his attempts to understand foreign cultures, such as India, Siam and Japan. On the other hand this shows above else that, during those days, Schamachi was a meeting point between great empires and an important place of intercultural contacts at the European-Asian border.
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