صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

MOSQUE OF ORKHAN.

117

berry, walnut, and oak, and cultivated with fruitful vineyards and fields of corn and wheat, rejoicing in luxuriant beauty; while the whole, like an amphitheatre, was encircled by a chain of hills, which circumscribed and fixed limits to the view that the mind might fully comprehend and enjoy the scene.

"Descending thence we took a cavass, and visited the mosque of the celebrated Sultan Orkhan, who conquered Broosa in 1326. It is splendidly built of white marble, and ornamented with much carving on the outside walls. The interior is decorated with Persian porcelain of variegated colors, and the Mirah curiously wrought in antique style. At a side altar are two large copies of the Koran in golden letters, executed with much artistic effect. We also entered the Salamlik, or Sultan's station for performing prayers, apart from and above the rest. This was richly finished with porcelain and gold, and beside it was another closely latticed, for the Sultana to join in her prayers at the same time; the first of the kind I have seen in any mosque. He must have had a higher regard for the sex than the Turks generally. The whole is so shattered by the earthquake as to be rendered unfit for use. The same is also true of all the three hundred and sixty-five mosques of the city; not one of them is entered by Mussulmen for prayer; a severe blow,

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

indeed, to their religion. They regard their places of worship with most devout reverence, resorting to them five times a day to repeat their prayers. And now the curse of Allah rests upon them.

“We then went to the tomb of the Sultan, a marble mausoleum, in which he and six of his family are buried. It is situated in a large court filled with shade and fruit trees, and built with much magnificence, but it is also tottering upon its base, and just ready to fall and bury them again deep in the ruins. The great conqueror has selected a lovely spot for his last resting-place,-at the base of Mount Olympus, enshrined in sculptured marble, surrounded by wide-spreading shade trees, and overlooking the charming plain of Broosa. We then descended from this elevated point of table land, and threading our way through the dilapidated streets, came to Daoud Monastery, once an ancient Greek church, but subsequently converted into a mosque. In proof of which we saw a cross of colored marble worked into one of the columns, and another carved with the chisel upon a capital. Here Osman, the founder of the Ottoman empire, lies buried. The whole is one mass of broken ruins. The earthquake at this point seems to have spent its greatest force. Solid marbles and granites have been rent asunder by the shock, like cords of tow, and thrown together in confused heaps. Never before have I seen such

[blocks in formation]

broken fragments. Our cavass now gave us a description of its effect. Said he:

"There was first a deep, rumbling noise and a loud explosion upwards, and then the whole mountain and earth surged to and fro and trembled as if shaken by the wind. The shocks continued all night. The buildings were falling on all sides, and the women and children shrieked, and fled in every direction for safety. It was a scene terrific beyond conception.'

“We then ascended to the castle hill, and took a last view of the city and country around. This point in front marks the track of the great rocks that were precipitated from the mountain-side, and spread desolation in their path to the plain; there on the right the flames burst forth and laid waste a whole district of the city, and we saw marks of destruction on every hand, though much that was beautiful still rose above the ruins. On the left were several large silk factories, apparently quite uninjured, and we descended through the old castle gate to visit one of these establishments. I was much surprised to find it worked entirely by steam and machinery, attended by factory girls, well dressed, and exhibiting all the enterprise and activity of a Lowell or Lawrence mill. We learned there were twenty-four factories in the city, and only two or three were destroyed by the earthquake. The remainder are now in active opera

[blocks in formation]

tion. Indeed, these and the silk-growing business, form the only dependence of the people.

“We then rode through the Olympian valley, thickly overgrown with vines, and watered by a mountain stream, and around the walls of Castle Hill, built in the massive Byzantine style, and came to an old burial-ground deeply shaded with cypresses and venerable trees. The tombs were ornamented with large turbans and swords, and some with the round crowned hats of Dervishes, telling both of the warlike and fanatical spirit of those olden times. Passing this, and winding through the ruined streets, we at length arrived at the house of our Protestant friend, Baron Bedros. After an excellent dinner in native style, I bid the family a friendly farewell, and received also their cordial salaams at parting, and then set out on my return journey, accompanied only by a Surigi, or Turkish guide, to lead the way. We came down directly upon the plain, and passed along a well-shaded road, through thousands of acres of mulberry trees, and fields of corn and wheat, and pasturage for cattle. At length we reached a village entirely destroyed by the earthquake and deserted by its inhabitants. A large number of storks, however, had taken possession, and built their nests among the ruins. Here I am joined by a Turk as travelling companion, and we gallop together on our way. The

TURKS SMOKING.

121

road is well made and in sections paved or macadamised, but there are no bridges, and we must ford all the streams, some of which are deep and dangerous. There are caffee stations every few miles, at which it is the custom of the country to stop and refresh with coffee and chibouques. But this was not sufficient for my Turkish friend. He carried his long pipe with him, and filled it, and smoked on horseback as we rode along, which seemed to me decidedly the pursuit of pleasure under difficulties. We climbed up the hill-side and enjoyed a combined view of the mountain, city, and plain on the one side, and a valley of vineyards, olive groves and fig trees stretching to the sea on the other, while the clear sunlight was resting on the whole landscape, like a picture before us. It was a scene of beauty I shall long remember. The old Turk exclaimed, 'Guzel tchok, guzel chelibi,' 'Pretty, very pretty, sir!' and drew a long puff from his pipe with peculiar delight that this was the land of the Moslems. Descending thence along a winding road, in two hours we reached Gimleck, and set sail on board the Turkish steamer again for Constantinople.

Sincerely yours,

“C. N. R."

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »