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Contact Admin. Cornelis de Bruijn c. He is best known for his drawings of the ruins of Persepolis , the first reliable pictures of these palaces to be accessible for western scholars. Persia was no longer what it once had been when Cornelis de Bruijn arrived in Derbent on 21 July For a century, it had been a superpower and had expanded its frontiers beyond the Caucasus, to the Aral Sea, and into Afghanistan. Its kings had favored the Shi'a Islam, but had been generally tolerant, and had done much to promote trade and develop agriculture.
European merchants were well-known in the Iranian capital Isfahan. However, in , shah Sultan Hussein had come to power, a deeply religious man who once allowed his palace to burn down as the fire was obviously the will of God.
Even De Bruijn, who usually refrains from harsh criticism, mentions how the Persians complained about their king's unpractical attitude. Sultan Hussein persecuted religious minorities - De Bruijn mentions how three Dutchmen converted to Islam - and was eventually forced to abdicate by an army of rebellious Afghanis So, during De Bruijn's visit, Persia was becoming unstable.
For the first time in a century, the roads were no longer safe, and De Bruijn sometimes complains about it. In Shemakha, for example, he was forced to stay inside. On another occasion, he mentions how four Armenian travelers were killed in their sleep. Still, even though he experienced a terrible dust storm, he could continue to Ardabil, crossed the Elburz Mountains , and reached Zanjan.
After visits to the holy city of Qom where he visited the mausoleum of Fatima and the tomb of shah Abbas the Great and the ancient town of Kashan where he saw the famous Fin gardens De Bruijn finally reached Isfahan on 15 November. He was to stay for almost a year in Iran's beautiful capital, taking his residence in the house of an important official of the VOC , note [ Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie , the United East-Indian Company that was founded in It was the world's first incorporated company and multinational.