"Die Reise um die Welt ohne Geld"


Zu Fuss: Kreuz und Quer Durchs das Ganze Russische Reich

[On Foot: Crisscrossing the Whole Russian Empire]

Publication: [Germany and Russia, ca. 1897-1903].

POHLIG, Emil, Zu Fuss: Kreuz und Quer Durchs das Ganze Russische Reich

Unusual extensive manuscript travel account of a German going through Russia and recording his many observations – richly illustrated with a variety of added material. Only partly published in contemporary newspapers.

Read More


In stock

Our Notes & References

Fascinating manuscript account of a long wander through the Russian Empire, “with no money” at the turn of the century. Richly illustrated with postcards, photographs and other traveller’s paraphernalia – and apparently unpublished as a whole.

The tourist-enthusiast Emil Pohlig set off on a long trip through the Russian Empire with the minimum funds in around 1897-1901. The route went through Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine, West-Central Russia and the North Caucasus. Halfway through his journey, he published four diary entries about his experience in March-April 1900 in a German newspaper whose cut-outs with his remarks are included in this hefty volume.

The diary itself generously gathers 81 pasted-on postcards, including 10 coloured ones, each with an assigned number and most with a date or a comment in the author’s hand, several original photographs (one of Pohlig himself, as a soldier, on the front pastedown, and several portraits in memory of his new friends), three calling cards from both German and Russian acquaintances, a traced and hand-drawn map of his route, and several sketches, including a half-page hand-drawn portrait.

Written in a rapid, assured hand, the text is copious: it discusses thoroughly the Russian history, captures life in different locations, and documents in detail Pohlig’s own activities and impressions. The author seems to be particularly interested in local peasants as he often writes his reflections over their appearance, hard life, and lack of literacy, based on his encounters with them in remote villages during his stops between larger cities. Pohlig pasted almost two dozen postcards featuring different city and village types; one of his published diary entries is devoted to Leo Tolstoy’s contemporary attempts to improve the peasants’ life (Pohlig’s chapter on this is illustrated with portraits of the author).

Often Pohlig recounts some expected misfortunes of a foreign tourist in rural Russia: once on a journey with a drunk carriage driver, his carriage fell into a gully several times and arrived in a wrong town where he got robbed. Nevertheless, he continuously expresses his gratitude to his hosts in numerous destinations (with a few exceptions). The postcards with city views include different locations in Poland, Mitau (Jelgava, modern-day Latvia), Riga, Dorpat (Tartu, modern-day Estonia), Narva, St Petersburg, Kursk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Moscow, Saratov, the Caucasus (Piatigorsk, Zheleznovodsk, Kislovodsk and their surroundings), Ekaterinodar (modern-day Krasnodar), and Kerch (Crimea).

A table of contents is neatly written (by a different hand?) on the upper fly-leaf and mentions three ‘volumes’, while the last page mentions ‘end of the first volume’: there may be therefore two other volumes, covering further adventures. However we are not aware of these further volumes, it is not clear whether Pohlig actually went to those other places or wrote more memoirs, neither could we find his travel accounts as a separate edition in print.

Item number



Physical Description

Thick small 4to. (22.3 x 16.5 x 5.8 cm). Manuscript in black ink, upper endpaper with t.o.c. and pasted map in black, blue and red ink, ca. 400 pp. manuscript on peach-coloured glazed leaves, numerated in ink with some pagination mistakes, with 81 postcards (including 10 coloured, some after N. Karazin), 6 photographs, 3 business cards and newspaper cut-outs pasted in.


Contemporary brown half-roan over black cloth, flat spine with blind stamped fillets forming five compartments, 7 (of 8) metal studs.


Spine creased and chipped at spine ends, closed tears to upper hinges, rubbed, cloth soiled and torn at extremities, without one metal stud; possibly without first leaf or two at the beginning but otherwise text apparently complete, a few leaves and some postcards loose but holding, traces of four removed illustrations, occasional staining or smudging, stronger marginal waterstaining at beginning.

Request More Information/Shipping Quote

    do you have a question about this item?

    If you would like more information on this item, or if you have a similar item you would like to know more about, please contact us via the short form here.