The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Desert journey

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On Sunday, the 27th of July, the ambassadors departed from this city of Neishabur, and slept near a deserted village. On Monday they slept at a large place, called Ferrior, and most of the inhabitants fled, from fear of the soldiers of the lord; for he had passed by, about twelve days before, and the troops which followed him, had done much damage. They gave robes to the ambassadors at this place, which is very flat, and very hot. On Tuesday they slept in a great city called Hasegur, and departed again in the night. On Wednesday, the 30th of July, they came to a great city called Ojajan, where they were received with much honour, and were given food, and all that they required. In this city an order arrived from Shah Rokh Meerza, a son of Timur Beg, to invite the ambassadors to visit him at a city called Herat, which was a good thirty leagues off the road, on the right hand side, in the direction of India. He said that they should be received with great honour, and be supplied with all that they required, They consulted with the officer who accompanied them, and answered that the great lord had ordered that they should follow him as fast as possible, and that they trusted that he would, therefore, excuse them. This Shah Rokh Meerza was lord and emperor of this land of Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) {In 1397 his father gave him the government of Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) , which he retained until his death in 1446. Shah Rokh was not more celebrated for his piety and liberality, than for his courage and military virtues. As regards this message to Clavijo, Shah Rokh seems to have been particularly fond of sending and receiving embassies. The curious account of the embassy he sent to a rajah of Southern India, written by the envoy himself, Abdul Rizak, has been already printed in one of the volumes of the Hakluyt Society-'India in the Fifteenth Century;' and translations of the letters which passed between Shah Rokh and the emperor of China, were published in the 'Asiatic Miscellany,' in 1785}. On the same day, the ambassadors reached the great city of Mashhad { Meshed}, where the grandson of the prophet Mohammed lies interred. He was the son of his daughter, and they say he is a saint {Ali Riza, the eighth Imaum, is the Mashhad saint. He was eighth in descent from Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet}. He lies buried in a great mosque, in a large tomb, which is covered with silver gilt. On account of this tomb, the city is crowded with pilgrims, who come here in great numbers every year. When the pilgrims arrive, they dismount, and kiss the ground, saying that they have reached a holy place. The ambassadors went to see the mosque; and, afterwards, when, in other lands, people heard them say that they had been to this tomb, they kissed their clothes, saying that they had been near the holy Horazan {Hosein ?}. This nephew of Mohammed was named Sultan Horazan, and thence, perhaps, the land derives its name of Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) {Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) means the province of the sun, or of the east}.