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By Derek Wilson

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The place had been lit up: The Russians had lit up the ships, the Ghazian shoreline, too, was lit up, and even some red lights were observed. There was also fireworks. The festive occasion however came to an abrupt end when the fog rolled in, “but it gave the lights a very pleasant hue,” the shah noted. ” After 12 miles along the Talesh coastal strip, he was forced to return to Anzali on account of the fog and cold. Next day, he took back to the water; after lunch, he boarded a small boat and steamed toward Qoli Bekin’s steamship, to which were tied a large boat and a few lotka, meaning a small boat in Russian.

A small steamship awaited to transport him and his associates to Anzali. The ship, on its regular winter runs between Baku and Great Ashuradeh, had been to Ashuradeh and was ordered to Mashadsar by Captain Rudakov in order to collect Melgunov and transport him to Anzali. On November 17, Melgunov reached Anzali, where he boarded a taradeh and went to Piri Bazar and then to Rasht in the evening. After a month of exploration in and around Gilan, on December 18, he returned to Anzali, where he spent a few hours sightseeing around the lagoon and inspecting the towers before boarding the same steamship that had brought him from Mashadsar earlier and which was now on the return leg of another Baku-Ashuradeh run.

From Astara to Anzali proper was a day’s sail. The Melgunov party aboard the Lankoran arrived off Anzali at half past the hour of eleven in the morning on October 7, 1860. The “famed tower” of Anzali was in plain view. The breeze did not permit the ship to draw any closer and so the ship dropped anchor at some distance from the shore. The local karaji came out competing among themselves to reach the ship, hoping to sell their goods to the passengers and crew and provide transportation back to shore.

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