The Irishman Robert Walsh (1772-1852) studied at Trinity College in Dublin and was ordained a priest of the Church of Ireland. In 1815 he published in collaboration with other authors the two-volume "History of Dublin". Walsh was chaplain to the British Embassy in St Petersburg and held the same post in Constantinople for several years, when Lord Strangford was ambassador (1821-1824 and 1830-1835). In 1828 Walsh was embassy chaplain in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, from where he travelled throughout the hinterland. Fruit of this journey is the work "Notices of Brazil in 1828 and 1829", which speaks about the abolition of the slave trade, even though this did not happened until 1850 and the Proclamation of Emancipation was issued thirteen years later, in 1863. Walsh graduated in Medicine and practised as a doctor for some years. However, like many members of his family, he was interested also in archaeology.
This edition, a translation from the English original, narrates Walsh's return journey from Constantinople to England (1824-1825), after his first stay in the Ottoman capital. He touches on a large number of very interesting subjects, such as the minorities (Greeks and Jews), the conditions of travelling in Ottoman territories, Ali Pasha and his demise, the massacre of the Janissaries, antiquities and Christian churches in the towns of Eastern Thrace, nature and landscapes in Bulgaria, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Greeks in Vienna and Budapest. Especially noteworthy are his observations and sketches of aqueducts and cisterns in Constantinople, as well as of the water supply system from the wider region of Eastern Thrace to the capital of the two empires, the Byzantine and the Ottoman.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou