Candidate of Historical Sciences
Ceylon... With this word, a Russian person associates green hills overgrown with a tea bush, tea pickers with baskets over their shoulders and a smile on the entire TV screen of the owner of the Ahmad tea brand...
Meanwhile, earlier Ceylon, or modern Sri Lanka, interested our compatriots not only as a tea producer; rather, the first Russians visited the island long before the tea bush was grown there. And the island itself interested Russia for a number of reasons.
The first Russian to set foot in Ceylon was Lieutenant Yuri Fyodorovich Lisyansky. He was sent to serve in the British Royal Navy and visited India and Ceylon in January 1799. During his voyages, he kept a diary, or journal, as he called it, where he wrote down everything that seemed interesting.
Prince Alexey Dmitrievich Saltykov became the first Russian traveler, whose testimonies about his stay on the island were published first in French,and then in Russian. After retiring at the age of 34, he took up painting and arranged his life in such a way that his relatives began to call him "Indian". His heart's desire was to travel to India, where he went in early 1841. In March, he landed at Bombay, and then proceeded to Madras by sea, so that in early April 1841 he was able to reach the city of Madras. He was in Colombo for the first time.
During both the first and second trips, which took place four years later, Alexey Dmitrievich constantly painted landscapes, Hindu and Buddhist temples, pilgrims, merchants, beggars. He was the first to show Europe the Rhodian untouchables of Ceylon.
A.D. Saltykov went to social events in Colombo, and in the huts of the Rodievs, but he was more attracted to the "native Indian". He, like many other travelers of the time, often referred to Ceylon as "India".
In 1858, the island was visited by Fyodor Romanovich Osten-Saken, a geographer, naturalist, ethnographer, who repeatedly served as secretary, chairman of branches and as ... Read more