One hundred years after his death, Russian Poet Nikolai Gumilev resumes his travels

Marat Gatin and Yuri Shchegolkov in the Russian House, Cairo

Marat Gatin and Yuri Shchegolkov in the Russian House, Cairo

By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid (Ashraf Dali)
Asia Journalist Association President

CAIRO: Nikolai Gumilev (April 15, 1886 – August 26, 1921) was an influential Russian poet, literary critic, traveler, and military officer. He was a cofounder of the Acheist Movement in Russian poetry. He was the husband of the well-known Russian poetess and the father of researcher, historian and critic Lev.

Nikolai Gumilev was arrested and executed by the Cheka, the secret Soviet police force, in 1921.

Some photos of Gumilev’s travels

From Gumilev’s travels

A hundred years after his disapperance, and in the midst of the Eurasian Literary Festival in Istanbul, I had a real opportunity to get close to a distinguished poetess and an active cultural figure, Olga Medved whose concern goes beyond writing to serve the literary community and humanity as a whole.

Some photos of Gumilev’s travels

A photo of Gumilev’s travels

She is the head of a literary society to keep the memory of Nikolai Gumilev.

One century after the absence of this iconic poet, Olga, with her colleagues in the society, are able to do the mission in a perfect way.




The most literary event conducted for the same was an exhibition, inaugurated in Cairo and Alexandria by the Russian House. Olga wrote commenting on the second session held in Egypt: “Today is the opening of the exhibition ” Nikolai Gumilev – poet, warrior, traveler” in Alexandria in the Russian House. Yuri Shchegolkov (Юрий Щегольков) and I had to personally attend the closing of the artists’ exhibition in Cairo and the opening in Alexandria. But due to recent events, all flights were cancelled, and we participated in Zoom online. We were also joined by the famous Egyptian writer Ashraf Dali, who has repeatedly covered Gumilev projects. We thank everyone involved in this event. No matter what, GUMILEV IS WALKING ON THE PLANET!

Olga Medved meets Ashraf Aboul-Yazid in Istanbul.

Olga Medved meets Ashraf Aboul-Yazid in Istanbul

We believe that beauty, kindness and culture will save the WORLD!”

I was keen to attend the Zoom meeting with Olga and Yuri, while I followed Olga’s lecture, in Russian, I could understand her themes giving photo coverage of Gumilev’s travels in Africa, especially Egypt and Ethiopia.

Zoom meeting of the Russian House in Alexandria.

Zoom meeting of the Russian House in Alexandria

I previously watched Yuri’s lecture in Cairo, when Mr. Marat Gatin, Director, Russian House in Cairo, introduced him on opening the exhibition earlier this month.

Olga said: “We do believe that beauty and culture connect people and will save the world and peace. I promised her that the Silk Road Literature Series will have an anthology of the most famous poem written by Nikolai Gumilev; Giraffe, published in dozens of languages, included my own Arabic  version:


The Giraffe

Today I see that your look is particularly sad,

And your hands are particularly fragile, clasped over your knees.

Just listen: far, far away, on Lake Chad

Roams a proud giraffe.

He has been blessed with gracefulness and bliss,

His hide is decorated with a magical pattern,

That only the moon would dare to compete with,

Glistenting and bouncing on the wetness of the wide lake.

From a distance he looks like the coloured sail of a ship,

And when running he glides, like the flight of a gleeful bird.

I know that there are a lot of miraculous things to see in

the world,

When at sunset he hides himself in a marble grotto.1

I know the merry fairy tales of mysterious lands

About a dark maiden, about the fear of a youthful chief,

But you have breathed in the heavy fog for too long,

You don’t want to believe in anything but the rain.

And when I tell you about a tropical garden,

About straight-standing palms, about the unbelievable

scent of the grasses…

You’re crying? Just listen… far away, on Lake Chad

Roams a proud giraffe.

I do not know if Gumilev would like my translation, or if he used the Russian word grot to mean grotto, or its other meaning, mainsail. This interpretation would continue the comparison of the movement of the giraffe to that of a gliding boat, and give the line: When at sunset he disguises himself as a marble sail.”

Celebrating Gumilev in the Eurasian Literary Festival, Istanbul.

Celebrating Gumilev in the Eurasian Literary Festival, Istanbul


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