Parrot on the Ararat

On the 30th of March 1829 the expedition to the Ararat started from Dorpat. (Ger., Eng.). Under the direction of Johann Jacob Friedrich Wilhelm PARROT (Ger., Eng.)  the party consisted of M. BEHAGHEL von ADLERSKRON (mineralogist, co-worker on barometrical nivellements), J. HEHN and C. SCHIEMANN (both physicians; first collected for botanics, second for zoology) and W. FEDOROW (astronomer). PARROT originally had intented to go with ADLERSKRON alone and on own costs: The historical situation seemed auspicious for such a voyage, the political situation in the area stable enough, but nobody would know for how long.  Actually the area belonged to the Tsar.  After the capture of Eriwan (Ger., Eng.) by General PASKEWITSCH (Ger., Eng.) and the fast advance of the Russian troops Persia was forced to make peace and the treaty from 10th of February (22nd) 1828 (Ger., Eng.) was signed by Iwan Feodorowitsch PASKEWITSCH  (1782-1856), freshly made count of Erewan, and Abbas MIRZA (Ger., Eng.) in Turkmentschai, a dusty village near Täbris (Ger., Eng., strange film here). The interestes of three large empires were colliding in this region – Russia, Ottoman Empire, Perisa – and later in the 19th century the exploration of oil and gas would ad to the confusion.
The participation of the additional travellers had the very nice sideeffect that PARROT could receive first class scientific instruments, among others two top notch chronometers could be used: One was bought from the Imperial Admirality, the other was lent out by the Imperial Academy of St.Petersburg. A young soldier called SCHÜTZ was finally detached as his personal aide de camp. The additional preparations cost precious time and PARROT saw it with concern – it would be very hot in the Kaukasus (Ger., Eng.).

Friedrich PARROT (1792-1841) was the son of Georg Friedrich PARROT (Ger., Eng.) (1767-1852) of scottish-french origins. Georg Friedrich studied in the 1780s in Stuttgart and went as teacher to Livland (Ger., Eng.). He gave a speech when Tsar Alexander I. (Ger., Eng.) visited Dorpat 1802, made a lasting impression and the Emperor’s sun shined over him. He already was founding rector of the University of Dorpat (Ger., Eng.) and followed the ideals of the enlightenment – much to the displeasement of the baltic barons who had their share in the university’s re-founding. The university was a unique institution in Imperial Russia: Protestant and of German language, openly devoted to modern humanistic ideas, very aware of it’s independence. The foundation for this was layed by PARROT senior. He retired 1826 and went to St.Petersburg, where he became a full member of the academy. He died on a trip to Helsingfors.
His son Friedrich became a professor of physics in Dorpat 1826, served 1830/31 as prorector and finally from 1831 until 1834 as rector. Friedrich is a traveller and mountaineer, and in the course of the expedition of 1829 he will reach the summit of the Ararat.

They travelled via Pskow (Ger., Eng.), Witebsk (Ger., Eng.), Smolensk (Ger., Eng.), Wjasma (Ger., Eng.), Kaluga (Ger., Eng.), Orjol (Ger., Eng.), Kursk (Ger., Eng.), Charkow (Ger., Eng.), Bachmut (Artjomowsk) (Ger., Eng.) (home of Krimsekt!) to Nowotscherkassk (Ger., Eng.), 2057 km in 41 days, only 50 km a day due to wheather conditions. The Imperial Russian post was an effektive organized system that allowed to travel 100 or 125 werst a day, of course on condition that the necessary passports and fresh horses were available. One werst (Ger., Eng.) equals 1066 meters.
They were busy measuring and collecting – all in all the journey would become a success – crowned of course by the climbing of the Ararat (Ger., Eng.), together with Chatschatur ABOWJAN (1809-1848 (?)) (Ger., Eng.), the “father of Armenian literature”, who mysteriously vanished on the morning of the 14th of April 1848.

I do not believe that they searched or even looked for remains of The Arch. Only in the middle of the 20th century a frenchman called F. NAVARRA claims (story in DER SPIEGEL 1957, Ger. only) to have found wood of the ship that allowed mankind to survive. He says, that he had touched it and that he  had brought three pieces with him to Europe – I wonder where they ended up. Maybe it was a cold winter ’58 …

13 thoughts on “Parrot on the Ararat

  1. Wow! An exciting trip! Covering 50 km a day back then was making pretty good time. And here I thought you’d be talking to us of a large bird… 😉

    (Agreed – strange film.)

  2. Thank you for joining the trip, Eryl. It is a Hungarian production …

    Yeah – no Norwegian Blue on the Ararat, Tempest!

    Yes – and I would like to follow their steps, Ponita, I am sure it would be an exiting adventure … in a robust car. As I saied to Eryl, the video is a Hungarian production.

    I wish these people would take more care about where they place their arks, XL! Fewer would get lost. I mean, it’s not That difficult!

    Glad that you enjoyed the little voyage, Boxer.

  3. F. NAVARRA claims (story in DER SPIEGEL 1957, Ger. only) to have found wood of the ship that allowed mankind to survive. He says, that he had touched it

    I’ve touched wood too.

  4. People who run around half way across the world, looking for things that for sure cannot be found, remind me of the old saying “it’s the journey that matters”.

  5. You are right, dear Princess, we should have an expedition into Les Caves du Vatican

    “Der Weg ist das Ziel” Amanda. As I sayed to Ponita, I would much like to follow their steps … in a very robust car, with all-wheel-drive and a big diesel engine. Maybe a Dacia would do.

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