Sunday, August 18, 2013

Historic Figures: Nikolay Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky - St. Petersburg, Russia

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Nikolay Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky Monument
St. Petersburg, Russia
Topic: Historic Figures

GPS: N59° 56.163; E030° 18.453

Quick Description: 

A statue of explorer, geographer, and naturalist Nikolay Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky is located in the Alexander Garden in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Long Description:

Nikolay Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky was born on April 12, 1839 in Smolensk, Russia. He studied at the St. Petersburg Military Academy. In 1864, He taught geography at the military school in Warsaw.

His first expedition was in 1867 to Irkutsk in Siberia to explore the Ussuri River basin. He subsequently published a diary of the expedition entitled Travels in the Ussuri Region, 1867-69. He made four additional journeys to Central Asia. From 1870 to 1873 he crossed the Gobi Desert to Peking (Beijing), explored the upper Yangtze River, entered Tibet. Along the way collected and brought back 5,000 plants, 1,000 birds, 3,000 insects, 70 reptiles, and the skins of 130 mammals. From 1876 to 1877 he traveling through Eastern Turkestan to Lake Lop Nor. From 1879 to 1880 he travelled to Tibet and to within 160 miles of his goal Llasa, whereupon he was turned back by Tibetian officials. From 1883 to 1885 he explored from Gobi Desert to and the eastern Tian Shan mountains, reaching the Yangzi River.

He died of typhus on November 1, 1888.

The monument to Nikolay Mikhaylovich Przhevalsky in the Alexander Gardens was sculpted by Ivan Shreder and installed in 1892. At the top of a granite base, representing a cliff face, is a larger than life bust depicting a moustached Przhevalsky from the mid-chest up. He is looking straight ahead. His hair is worn straight back and he is wearing a double breasted uniform with a medal on the right side and high collar. Braids are wrapped over his right shoulder. An inscription on the granite base is written in Cyrillic and identifies the subject buy last name.

At the base of the pedestal is a life-size bronze sculpture of a Bactrian camel, his mode of transportation on his expeditions. The double-humped camel is sitting on all four legs while wearing a camel blanket and a large packed bag.

Przhevalsky's uncanny resemblance to Josef Stalin has generated the urban legend that his is the father of Stalin. However, there is no record that Nikolay Przhevalsky ever traveled to Georgia, Stalin's birthplace.

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