Traveler, Scholar, Political Adventurer
The Austro-Hungarian aristocrat of Transylvanian origin, Baron Franz Nopcsa (1877-1933), was one of the most adventuresome travelers and scholars of Southeast Europe in the early decades of the twentieth century. He was also a paleontologist of renown and a noted geologist of the Balkan Peninsula : many of his assumptions have been confirmed by science.
The Memoirs of this fascinating figure deal mainly with his travels in the Balkans, and specifically in the remote and wild mountains of northern Albania, in the years from 1903 to 1914. They thus cover the period of Ottoman Rule, the Balkan Wars and the outbreak of the First World War. Nopcsa was a keen adventurer who hiked through regions of northern Albania. With time, he became a leading expert in Albanian studies. He was also deeply involved in the politics of the period. In 1913, Nopcsa even offered himself as a candidate for the vacant Albanian throne.
The Introduction also tells of Nopcsa’s tragic death: he shot his Albanian secretary and partner before killing himself. The memoirs themselves reveal some references to his homosexuality for those who can read between the lines.
Part I: Initial Travels (1903-1904)
Part II: Research in Albania (1905-1910)
Part III: Between the Annexation and the Balkan War (1910-1912)
Part IV: From the Balkan War to the World War (1912-1914)