By the end of the XVIII century, the most important problem of the Russian's Empire foreign policy was the "Eastern question". The interest of the Russian society in the Ottoman's Empire traditions, customs, religion, military affairs and economy was linked to necessity to find ways for cooperation between both states in military, diplomatic and economic spheres. In this situation, literary works served as a source of useful information apart from the reports of diplomatic embassies about an exotic country. One of them was the travel notes "Unlucky adventures of Nizhny Novgorod merchant Vasily Baranshikov in three parts of the world: America, Asia and Europe in 1780-1787", that was published in the last quarter of the 18th century (1787). The problem of authorship and authenticity of this notes also were raised in the article as well as the degree of its value as a historical source. The main attention was paid to the special features of representation of Istanbul by a Russian citizen in the East during the period of aggravation of relations between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, as well as the specifics of self-identification and perception of the "other" by our countryman.