The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

He is known for far more important things, but...

...if you are looking for a way to remember Adam Olearius, just think of him as the man who wrote of "melons of extraordinary bigness."

Why would you do such a thing? 

Excellent question.

Olearius went ashore at Kazan for provisions in August 1636 and had this to say:

We could meet with nothing but Fruits, among others, particularly Melons, full as big as our Pompions, and Salt-fish, but such as stunk so that we were forc'd to stop our noses, to shun the infection.

The extraordinary bigness of the melons was deemed remarkable enough that it merited mention in the Table of Contents of the 1662 edition, wedged between a summary of Ivan IV's conquest of Kazan and notes on the course of the Volga below the once-great city.

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