Zak‘aria (1630-ca.1691) was a native of Agulis (present-day Akulis) in Nakhichevan and a merchant who traveled widely in the Ottoman and Persian empires. He also made one trip to Europe and traveled in Italy, Austria, Germany, and Holland. His diary is in dialectical Eastern Armenian, with many Persian and Turkish words. The first part covers geographical destinations and distances in miles and leagues. The second part, the main body, is a record of various business transactions, pilgrimages, renovation of churches, and the events at the Holy See of Eòjmiatsin. In addition, the actions of local Armenian religious and secular leaders, as well as the policy of the Muslim khans, is examined in detail. The Journal thus describes the general political and socioeconomic conditions in the khanates of Erevan and Nakhichevan in the reigns of Shah ‘Abbas II and Shah Soleiman and during the rule of five different khans in the region. The third part is a short genealogical tract of Zak‘aria’s family and other miscellaneous data.
The Journal is an important primary source on the history of Persia (Iran) and eastern Armenia in the second half of the seventeenthcentury. Although the work was published in Armenian and Russian, some seven decades ago, it lacked serious annotation and commentary and has been unavailable for some time. This is the first English translation of the work.