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Travels in Syria and the Holy Land by John Burckhardt

Part 11 out of 12

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[p.612] and here are many huts, built of stones, or of date-branches,
which they then occupy.

In the evening we continued our route in the valley Aleyat, in the
direction N.W. To our right was a mountain, upon the top of which is the
tomb of a Sheikh, held in great veneration by the Bedouins, who
frequently visit it, and there sacrifice sheep. It is called El Monadja
[Arabic]. The custom among the Bedouins of burying their saints upon the
summits of mountains accords with a similar practice of the Israelites;
there are very few Bedouin tribes who have not one or more tombs of
protecting saints (Makam), in whose honour they offer sacrifices; the
custom probably originated in their ancient idolatrous worship, and was
in some measure retained by the sacrifices enjoined by Mohammed in the
great festivals of the Islam.

In many parts of this valley stand small buildings, ten or twelve feet
square, and five feet high, with very narrow entrances. They are built
with loose stones, but so well put together, that the greater part of
them are yet entire, notwithstanding the annual rains. They are all
quite empty. I at first supposed them to be magazines belonging to the
Arabs, but my guides told me that their countrymen never entered them,
because they were Kobour el Kofar, or tombs of infidels; perhaps of the
early Christians of this peninsula. I did not, however, meet with any
similar structures in other parts of the peninsula, unless those already
mentioned in the upper part of Wady Feiran, are of the same class. At
half an hour from the spring and date-trees, we passed to our left a
valley coming from the southern mountains, called Wady Makta [Arabic],
and half an hour farther on, at sunset, we reached Wady Feiran, at the
place where the date plantations terminate, and an hour's walk below the
spot from whence we set out yesterday upon this excursion.


[p.613] In the course of my descent from the cleft at the foot of Mount
Serbal, through the Wady Aleyat, I found numerous inscriptions on blocks
by the side of the road, those which I copied were in the following
order; some I did not copy, and many were effaced.

1. Upon a flat stone in the upper extremity of the Wady, descending from
the foot of Serbal towards the well with date-trees: [not included]

2. Upon a small block lower down: [not included]

3. Upon a small rock still lower down: [not included]

4. 5. Still descending: [not included]

6. Near the spring: [not included]


7. Upon a large rock beyond the spring, and towards Wady Feiran: [not

8. Further down, upon a rock, being one of the clearest inscriptions
which I saw: [not included] On many stones were drawings of goats and
camels. This was once probably the main road to the top of Serbal, which
continued along its foot, and turned by Deir Sigillye round its eastern
side, thus passing the cleft and the road by which we had ascended, and
which nowhere bears traces of having ever been a regular and frequented

After my departure in the morning for Mount Serbal, the messenger
dispatched by the Arabs assembled in Sheikh Szaleh, arrived at Wady
Feiran, and forbad the people from guiding me to the top of Serbal; the
news of this order had spread along the whole valley, so that on our
reaching the first habitations under the date-trees, where I intended to
rest for the night, all the Arabs


[p.615] assembled, and became extremely clamorous as well against me, as
against Hamd for having accompanied me. I cared but little for their
insolent language, which I knew how to reply to, but I was under some
apprehensions for my servant and baggage, and therefore determined to
rejoin them immediately. We ascended the valley, by a gentle slope, and
reached Hamd's garden late at night, greatly fatigued, for we had been
almost the whole day upon our legs. We here met the Bedouins and their
girls occupied in singing and dancing, which they kept up till near

June 2d.--When I awoke I found about thirty Arabs round me, ready to
begin a new quarrel about my pursuits in their mountains. When they saw
that I paid little attention to their remonstrances, and was packing up
my effects, in order to proceed on my journey, they then asked me for
some victuals and coffee. After having observed to them that I was more
easily prevailed upon by civility than harshness, I distributed among
the poorest such provisions as I should not want on my way back to Suez,
together with some coffee-beans and soap. This immediately put them into
good humour, and in return, they brought me some milk, cucumbers, and a
quantity of Bsyse, or ground Nebek. I purchased from them a skinful of
dates reduced to a paste, and one of them joined us for the sake of
travelling in our company to Suez, where he intended to sell a load of
charcoal; we then set out, leaving every body behind us well satisfied.

We followed the same road by which we had ascended last night, and
halted again where the date trees terminate. Here the same Arabs whom we
had found yesterday evening, having been informed that I had made some
presents where I had slept, thought, no doubt, that by being vociferous
they would obtain something. In this, however, they were mistaken, for I
gave them nothing, telling them they might seize my baggage if they
chose, but this they

[p.616] prudently declined to do. Ten years ago I should hardly have
been able to extricate myself in this manner.

The valley of Feiran widens considerably where it is joined by the Wady
Aleyat, and is about a quarter of an hour in breadth. Upon the mountains
on both sides of the road stand the ruins of an ancient city. The houses
are small, but built entirely of stones, some of which are hewn and some
united with cement, but the greater part are piled up loosely. I counted
the ruins of about two hundred houses. There are no traces of any large
edifice on the north side; but on the southern mountain there is an
extensive building, the lower part of which is of stone, and the upper
part of earth. It is surrounded by private habitations, which are all in
complete ruins. At the foot of the southern mountain are the remains of
a small aqueduct. Upon several of the neighbouring hills are ruins of
towers, and as we proceeded down the valley for about three quarters of
an hour, I saw many small grottos in the rocks on both sides, hewn in
the rudest manner, and without any regularity or symmetry; the greater
part seemed to have been originally formed by nature, and afterwards
widened by human labour. Some of the largest which were near the ruined
city had, perhaps, once served as habitations, the others were evidently
sepulchres; but few of them were large enough to hold three corpses, and
they were not more than three or four feet high. I found no traces of
antiquity in any of them.

At half an hour from the last date-trees of Feiran, I saw, to the right
of the road, upon the side of the mountain, the ruins of a small town or
village, the valley in the front of which is at present quite barren. It
had been better built than the town above described, and contained one
very good building of hewn stone, with two stories, each having five
oblong windows in front. The roof

[p.617] has fallen in. The style of architecture of the whole strongly
resembles that seen in the ruins of St. Simon, to the north of Aleppo,
the mountains above which are also full of sepulchral grottos, like
those near Feiran. The roofs of the houses appear to have been entirely
of stone, like those in the ruined towns of the Haouran, but flat, and
not arched. There were here about a hundred ruined houses.

Feiran was formerly the seat of a Bishopric. Theodosius was bishop
during the Monothelite controversy. From documents of the fifteenth
century, still existing in the convent of Mount Sinai, there appears at
that time to have been an inhabited convent at Feiran. Makrizi, the
excellent historian, and describer of Egypt; who wrote about the same
time, gives the following account of Feiran, which he calls Faran.[The
present Bedouins call it Fyran or Feiran [Arabic], and thus it is spelt
wherever it occurs in the Arabic documents in the convent. Niebuhr calls
it Faran, and I have heard some Bedouins pronounce it as if it were
written [Arabic, giving it nearly the sound of Fyran.]]

"It is one of the towns of the Amalakites, situated near the borders of
the sea of Kolzoum, upon a hill between two mountains; on each of which
are numberless excavations, full of corpses. It is one day's journey
distant [in a straight line] from the sea of Kolzoum, the shore of which
is there called "the shore of the sea of Faran;" there it was that
Pharaoh was drowned by the Almighty. Between the city of Faran and the
Tyh are two days journey. It is said that Faran is the name of the
mountains of Mekka, and that it is the name of other mountains in the
Hedjaz, and that it is the place mentioned in the books of Moses. But
the truth is, that Tor and Faran are two districts belonging to the
southern parts of Egypt, and that it is not the same as the Faran
(Paran) mentioned in the books of Moses. It is stated, that the

[p.618] of Mekka derive their name from Faran Ibn Amr Ibn Amalyk. Some
call them the mountains of Faran others Fyran. The city of Faran was one
of the cities belonging to Midian, and remained so until the present
times. There are plenty of palmtrees there, of the dates of which I have
myself eaten. A large river flows by. The town is at present in ruins;
Bedouins only pass there."

Makrizi is certainly right in supposing that the Faran or Paran
mentioned in the Scriptures is not the same as Feiran; an opinion which
has been entertained also by Niebuhr, and other travellers. From the
passage in Numbers xiii. 26, it is evident that Paran was situated in
the desert of Kadesh, which was on the borders of the country of the
Edomites, and which the Israelites reached after their departure from
Mount Sinai, on their way towards the land of Edom. Paran must therefore
be looked for in the desert west of Wady Mousa, and the tomb of Aaron
which is shewn there. At present the people of Feiran bury their dead
higher up in the valley, than the ancient ruins in the neighbourhood of
Sheikh Abou Taleb. There is no rivulet, but in winter time the valley is
completely flooded, and a large stream of water collected from all the
lateral valleys of Wady el Sheikh empties itself through Wady Feiran
into the gulf of Suez near the Birket Faraoun.

We rode for one hour from Feiran, and then stopped near some date trees
called Hosseye [Arabic], where are several Arab huts, and where good
water is found. Here I remained the rest of the day, as I felt very much
the effect of yesterday's exertions. In the evening all the females
quitted the huts to join in the Mesamer, in which I also participated,
and we kept it up till long after midnight. My servant[This was the same
man who had accompanied me during my journey to Upper Egypt, as far as
Assouan. I again engaged him in my service after my return fro[m] the
Hedjaz.] attempted to join the party, but the proud


[p.619] Arabs told him that he was a Fellah, not of good breed, and
would not permit him to mix in the dance. He met with the same repulse
last night at Feiran.

June 3d.--We followed the valley by a slight slope through its windings
W.N.W. and N.W. Many tamarisk trees grow here, and some manna is
collected. The fertility of these valleys is owing chiefly to the
alluvial soil brought down from the mountains by the torrents, and which
soon acquires consistence in the bottom of the Wady; but if a year
passes without rain these alluvia are reduced to dust, and dispersed by
the winds over the mountains from whence they came. The surface was
covered with a yellow clay in which a variety of herbs was growing. At
two hours the valley, for the length of about an hour, bears the name of
Wady el Beka [Arabic], or the valley of weeping, from the circumstance,
as it is related, of a Bedouin who wept because his dromedary fell here,
during the pursuit of an enemy, and he was thus unable to follow his
companions, who were galloping up the valley to wards Feiran. The rock
on the side of the road is mostly composed of gneiss. At three hours and
a half we passed to our right Wady Romman [Arabic]. I was told that in
the mountains from which it descends is a fine spring, and some date-
trees about four hours distant. The road now turned N.W. b. W.; the
granite finishes and sand-stone begins; among the latter rock-salt is
found. At five hours we halted under a large impending sandstone rock,
where the valley widens considerably, and continues in a W. direction
down to the sea-side. Leaving this valley to the left, we rode in the
afternoon N.W. b. W. ascending slightly over rocky ground, until we
reached an upper plain at the end of


[p.620] six hours. The chain of granite mountains continued to our
right, parallel with the road, which was overspread with silex, and
farther on we met with a kind of basaltic tufa, forming low hills
covered with sand. We then descended, and at six hours and a half
entered the valley called Wady Mokatteb [Arabic]. The appellation of
Djebel Mokatteb, which several travellers have applied to the
neighbouring mountains, is not in use. To the north of the entrance of
this valley near the foot of the higher chain, is a cluster of magazines
of the Bedouins, at a spot called El Bedja [Arabic].

The Wady Mokatteb extends for three hours march in the direction N.W.;
in the upper part it is three miles across, having to the right high
mountains, and to the left a chain of lower sandrocks. Half way down, it
becomes narrower, and then takes the name of Seyh Szeder [Arabic]. In
most places the sand-rocks present abrupt cliffs, twenty or thirty feet
in height. Large masses have separated themselves from the cliffs and
lie at their feet in the valley. These cliffs and rocks are thickly
covered with inscriptions, which are continued with intervals of a few
hundred paces only, for at least two hours and a half; similar
inscriptions are found in the lower part of the Wady, where it narrows,
upon the sand-stone rocks of the opposite, or north-eastern side of the
valley. To copy all these inscriptions would occupy a skilful
draughtsman six or eight days; they are all of the same description as
those I have already mentioned, consisting of short lines, written from
right to left, and with the singular character represented in p. 479,
invariably at the beginning of each. Some of them are on rocks at a
height of twelve or fifteen feet, which must have required a ladder to
ascend to them. They are in general cut deeper than those on the granite
in the upper country, but in the same careless style. Amongst them are
many in Greek; containing, probably, like the others, the names of those


[p.621] passed here on their pilgrimage to the holy mountain. Some of
the latter contain Jewish names in Greek characters. There is a vast
number of drawings of mountain goats and of camels, the latter sometimes
represented as loaded, and with riders on their backs. Crosses are also
seen, indicating that the inscribers were Christians. It should be
observed that the Mokatteb lies in the principal route to Sinai, and
which is much easier and more frequented than the upper road by Naszeb,
which I took in my way to the convent; the cliffs also are so situated
as to afford a fine shade to travellers during the mid-day hours. To
these circumstances may undoubtedly in great measure be attributed the
numerous inscriptions found in this valley.

We rested for the night, after a day's march of nine hours and a
quarter, near the lower extremity of the Seyh Szeder, and just beyond
the last of the inscriptions. The bottom of the valley is here rocky,
and as flat as if the rock had been levelled by art.

June 4th.--At a few hundred paces below the place where we had slept, the
valley becomes very narrow, the mountains to the right approach, and a
defile of granite rocks is entered in a direction W. by S. called Wady
Kenna [Arabic], where the tomb of a saint of the name of Wawa [Arabic]
stands. I was told afterwards at Cairo, by some Sinai Bedouins, that
lower down in Wady Kenna there is a very deep cavern in the rock. At
three quarters of an hour we passed to the right of the defile, and
turned N.W. into a valley called Badera [Arabic]. The valley of Badera
consists of sand rock, and the ground is deeply covered with sand. We
ascended gently in it, and in an hour and three quarters reached its
summit, from whence we descended by a narrow difficult path, down a
cliff called Nakb Badera [Arabic], into an open plain between the
mountains; we crossed the plain, and at two hours and a quarter entered
Wady Shellal [Arabic], so called from


[p.622] the number of cataracts which are formed in the rainy season, by
the torrents descending from the mountains. A great number of acacia
trees grow here, many of which were completely dried up; during the
whole of our morning's journey not a green herb could be discovered. We
here met several Bedouins on foot, on their way from Suez to Feiran.
They had started from the well of Morkha early in the morning; and had
ventured on the journey without water, or the hope of finding any till
the following day in Wady Feiran. We gave them each a draught of water,
and they went off in good spirits, purposing to pass the afternoon under
some shady rock, and to continue their journey during the night. We
descended the valley slowly, W.N.W. and at the end of four hours and a
half reached its termination, opening upon a sandy plain on the sea-
shore. Many bones of camels were here lying about, as is generally the
case on the great roads through the desert; I have observed that these
skeletons are found in greatest numbers where the sands are deepest;
which arises from the loaded camels passing such places with difficulty,
and often breaking down in them. It is an erroneous opinion that the
camel delights in sandy ground; it is true that he crosses it with less
difficulty than any other animal, but wherever the sands are deep, the
weight of himself and his load makes his feet sink into the sand at
every step, and he groans, and often sinks under his burthen. It is the
hard gravelly ground of the desert which is most agreeable to this

On the plain we fell in with the great road from Tor to Suez, but soon
quitted it to the right, and turned to the north in search of a natural
reservoir of rain, in which the Bedouins knew that some water was still
remaining. At the end of five hours and a half, we reached a narrow
cleft in the mountain, where we halted, and my guides went a mile up in
it to fill the skins. This is called Wady


[p.623] el Dhafary [Arabic]; it is sometimes frequented by the Arabs,
because it furnishes the only sweet water between Tor and Suez, though
it is out of the direct road, and the well of Morkha is at no great
distance. Some rain had fallen here in the winter, and water was
therefore met with in several ponds among the rocks. This is the lowest
part of the primitive chain of mountains, and, I believe, the only
place, on the road between Tor and Suez, where they approach the sea,
which is only three miles distant, with a stony plain ascending from it.
A slave of a Towara Bedouin here partook of our breakfast; he had been
sent to these mountains by his master several weeks ago, to collect wood
and burn charcoal, which he was doing quite alone, with no other
provision than a sack of meal. Charcoal, commonly called Fahm in Arabic,
is by these Bedouins called Habesh, a term which I never heard given to
it by any other Arabs; this word may perhaps be the origin of the name
of Abyssinia, which may have been called Habesh by the Arabs from the
colour of its inhabitants. Travellers will do well to enquire for the
Dhafary, in their way to Feiran, as the water of the Morkha is of the
very worst kind; this memorandum would be particularly useful to any
person intending to copy the inscriptions of Wady Mokatteb.

We reached Morkha, [Arabic], which bears from Dhafary N.W. b. N. in half
an hour, the road leading over level but very rocky ground. Morkha is a
small pond in the sand-stone rock, close to the foot of the mountains.
Two date-trees grow near its margin. The bad taste of the water seems to
be owing partly to the weeds, moss, and dirt, with which the pond is
filled, but chiefly, no doubt, to the saline nature of the soil around
it. Next to Ayoun Mousa, in the vicinity of Suez, and Gharendel, it is
the principal station on this road. After watering our camels, which was
our only motive for coming to the Morkha, we returned to the


[p.624] sea-shore, one hour distant N.W. We followed the shore for three
quarters of an hour in a N.W. b. N. direction, and then halted close by
the sea, where the maritime level is greatly contracted by a range of
chalk hills which in some places approaches close to the water. Before
us extended the large bay of Birket Faraoun, so called, from being,
according to Arab and Egyptian tradition, the place where the Israelites
crossed the sea, and where the returning waves overwhelmed Pharaoh and
his host. There is an almost continual motion of the waters in this bay,
which they say is occasioned by the spirits of the drowned still moving
in the bottom of the sea; but which may also be ascribed to its being
exposed on three sides to the sea, and to the sudden gusts of wind from
the openings of the valleys. These circumstances, together with its
shoals, render it very dangerous, and more ships have been wrecked in
the Bay of Birket Faraoun than in any other part of the gulf of Tor,
another proof, in the eyes of the Arabs, that spirits or demons dwell

This evening and night we had a violent Simoum. The air was so hot, that
when I faced the current, the sensation was like that of sitting close
to a large fire; the hot wind was accompanied, at intervals with gusts
of cooler air. I did not find my respiration impeded for a moment during
the continuance of the hot blast. The Simoum is frequent on this low
coast, but the advantage of sea bathing renders it the less distressing.

June 5th.--We rode close by the shore, at the foot of sandy cliffs; but
as the road was passable only at low water, we were obliged, as the tide
set in, to take a circuitous route over the mountain. At the end of an
hour we again reached the sea, and then proceeded north over a wide
sandy plain. Towards the mountain is a tract of low grounds several
miles in breadth, in which the shrubs Gharkad and Aszef were growing in
great plenty. At the end of two hours and a half, having reached a very


[p.625] promontory, of the mountain, over which lies the road to the
Hammam Mousa, or hot-wells of Moses, we turned, on its south side, into
a fine valley called Wady el Taybe [Arabic], inclosed by abrupt rocks,
and full of trees, among which were a few of the date, now completely
withered. Want of rain is much more frequent in the lower ranges of the
peninsula, than in the upper. At four hours and a half we passed Wady
Shebeyke, reached soon afterwards the top of Wady Taybe, and then fell
in with the road by which I had passed on my way to the convent from
Suez. We rested in Wady Thale, under a rock, in the shade of which, at 2
P.M. the thermometer rose to 107 deg.. After a march of eleven hours we
halted in Wady Gharendel.

June 6th.--We continued in the road described at the beginning of this
journal, and at six hours and a half reached Wady Wardan. Here we turned
out of the great road to Suez, in a more western direction, towards the
sea, in order to take in water at the well of Szoueyra, which we came to
in three hours from Wardan. The lower parts of Wady Wardan, extending
six or eight miles in breadth, consist of deep sand, which a strong
north wind drove full in our faces, and caused such a mist that we
several times went astray. Upon small sandy mounds in this plain
tamarisk trees grow in great numbers, and in the midst of these lies the
well of Szoueyra, which it is extremely difficult to find without a
guide. It is about two miles from the sea. We here met many Terabein
women occupied in watering their camels; I enquired of them whether they
ever collected manna from the tamarisks; I understood from them that in
this barren plain, the trees never yield that substance. In the evening
we rode along a narrow path, parallel with the sea, for two hours and a
half. The wind still continued, and obliged us to seek for shelter
behind a


[p.626] hillock in the lower part of Wady Szeder, where we found
protection against the driving sands.

June 7th.--In the morning we reached Ayoun Mousa. We found here, as we
had previously done, in many places near the shore, the tracks of wheel-
carriages, a very uncommon appearance in the east, and more particularly
in deserts. It was by this road that Mohammed Ali's women passed last
year from Tor to Suez in their elegant vehicles. Towards evening we
entered Suez.

June 8th.--A caravan was to leave Suez this day, but its departure was
delayed. As I knew that the plague had subsided at Cairo, and thought
that the road was tolerably safe, I asked Hamd whether he would venture
with me alone upon the journey; fear seemed to be quite unknown to this
excellent young man, and he readily acquiesced in my proposal. We left
Suez in the evening with some hopes of overtaking a caravan of Towaras,
which we were informed had this day passed to the north of Suez, in
their way to Cairo with charcoal. Towards sunset we came in sight of the
castle of Adjeroud, when Hamd having descried from afar some Bedouins on
foot, who, from the circumstance of their walking about in different
directions in a place where no road passed, and where Bedouins never
alight, appeared to him to be suspicious characters, we halted behind a
hill till it was dark, and took our supper. After sunset we saw several
fires at a distance, in the plain, which Hamd immediately concluded to
be those of the Towara caravan. Taking advantage of the darkness, to
avoid the observation of the suspected persons, we rode towards the
fires, which, instead of being those of the Towara, proved to belong to
a small party of Omran, encamped near the well in the Wady Emshash. Hamd
was much alarmed when he perceived his mistake, for he was well
acquainted with the bad character of the Omran,


[p.627] and he dreaded them the more on account of the Arab of their
tribe whom he had killed near Akaba. They looked very greedily at my
travelling sack, but as I pretended to belong to the Pasha's garrison at
Suez, they did not make any attempt upon it. They told us that in coming
here, they had found five Bedouins sitting near the well, who retired
when they approached it, and who were probably the men we saw. As we
thought it very likely that they would waylay us farther on, in the
narrow pass of Montala, we deemed it prudent to retire to Adjeroud, and
take shelter in the castle for the night. When we reached that place, it
was with great difficulty that I persuaded the officer to open the gates
and let us in; he was in no less fear of the robbers than ourselves; for
two days they had driven back his people from the well of Emshash, where
they were accustomed to fill their water skins, so that the garrison was
reduced to great distress, as they had no provision of sweet water, and
that of the castle well is scarcely drinkable. A Turkish officer, with
his wife and son, and eight peasants from the Sherkieh, formed the whole
garrison, and they trembled at the name and sight of the Bedouins as
much as the monks of the Sinai convent.

June 9th.--This morning I proposed to the officer that we should go out
in force and drive the robbers from the well, which was only half an
hour distant; but this he refused to do, saying that he had no orders to
leave the castle; he found it more convenient to seize my skins, which I
had filled at Suez, and to make use of their contents for his family.
Towards noon we saw several of the Bedouins hovering round the castle,
no doubt expecting us to issue from it. In this difficulty, the Turkish
officer having refused to lend his horse, I mounted Hamd in the evening
upon the strongest of the camels, and told him to gallop to Suez, and
acquaint the commander there with our situation, or else to hire some of

[p.628] countrymen, who were there waiting for the departure of the
caravan, and in their company to return to our relief, bringing with him
a supply of water. He set out, but had not proceeded a mile before he
saw the robbers running upon him from different quarters, and
endeavouring to cut him off from the road. They fired at him, upon which
he returned their fire, and gallopped back to the castle. The officer
and his valiant garrison were now thrown into the greatest
consternation, and could not devise any means of relief. I offered to
ride to Suez, provided the officer would lend me his horse; but he
appeared to be more afraid of losing the horse, than of dying from
thirst. Being thus unable to effect any thing, I was under the necessity
of waiting patiently till the great caravan from Suez should pass.

June 10th.--There was now not a drop of sweet water in the castle, and
all that we could procure of the well-water of Adjeroud had been
standing in the tank since it was filled from the well at the time of
the last pilgrimage. The wheels of the well, which is two hundred and
fifty feet in depth, are put in motion only at that time; during the
rest of the year the building which encloses the well is shut up; and
the person who keeps the key was now at Cairo. The water we were thus
obliged to drink was saline, putrid, and of a yellow green colour, so
that boiling produced no improvement in it, and our stomachs could not
retain it.

June 11th.--A slight shower of rain fell, which the Turk ascribed to his
prayers; but all the water we could collect in every vessel which the
castle could furnish, scarcely afforded to each of us a draught. Hamd
made a second attempt to night to go to Suez, but it being unfortunately
moonlight, he was seen and again driven back.

June 12th.--After three days blockade, I had the pleasure of descrying
the Suez caravan at a distance, on its way towards


[p.629] Cairo; we immediately got every thing ready, and when the
caravan was opposite the castle, at about twenty minutes distance, Hamd
and I hastily joined it. What became of the officer and his garrison, I
never heard. I bought of the Bedouins of the caravan a supply of water,
sufficient to last me to Cairo.

Although the passage of this desert is less dangerous than formerly, it
is impossible to protect it effectually, without establishing a small
body of horsemen or dromedaries at Adjeroud; and it is a discredit to
the government of Egypt, that this is not done. The well of Emshash
affords a seasonable supply of water to robbers, who lay in wait in the
rocky country of Montala, where one of them stationed on the top of a
hill gives notice of the approach of any enemy or object of plunder. The
castle was undoubtedly intended as a look-out post against the Arabs.
The French once had a garrison in it, and its walls have been repaired
by Mohammed Ali Pasha, but the interior is in a very ruinous state, and
few provisions are kept in the extensive store-houses within it.

On proceeding to Cairo, the caravan took, for the first stage from
Adjeroud, a route somewhat to the southward of that by which I had gone
to Sinai, and joined the latter at Dar el Hamra. Six hours and a half
from Adjeroud we passed Wady Khoeyfera [Arabic], the bed of a torrent,
with trees growing in it, a very little below the level of the
surrounding plain. Here I saw the ruins of a small stone reservoir, and
to a considerable distance round it, ruins of walls, and several wells,
some built with brick and others with stone. They appear to have been
surrounded by a wall, which now forms a circular enclosure of mounds
almost wholly covered with sands. The existence of these ruins, which I
do not remember to have seen mentioned by any traveller, confirms my
belief, that in the most ancient times regular stations


[p.630] were established on this road, to which we must also attribute
the date trees now found in a petrified state.

A road, called Derb el Ban [Arabic], leads from Adjeroud to Birket el
Hadj, by the north side of the mountain El Oweybe; it is the most
northern of all the routes to Suez, and is little frequented.

On the 13th of June, early in the morning, I entered Cairo; the plague
had ceased, and had been less destructive, than it was last year.

[p.631] APPENDIX.

[p.633] APPENDIX. No. I.

An Account of the Ryhanlu Turkmans.

Aleppo, May 12, 1810.

THE district inhabited by the Ryhanlu Turkmans begins at about seven
hours distance from Aleppo, to the north-westward. The intermediate
plain is stony and almost deserted, but it is in many parts susceptible
of culture, and contains a great number of villages in ruins. At five
hours march from Aleppo to the W.N.W. upon the ridge of a low hill are
some plantations of olive and fig trees; on the other side of the hill
lies a valley of an oval shape about eighteen miles in circuit, called
Khalaka [Arabic]; at the foot of the low hills which surround it, are
the following villages: Termine, Tellade, Hoesre, Tellekberoun, Bab,
Dana, and some others. The Fellahs or inhabitants of these villages live
in half ruined houses, which indicate the opulence of their ancient
possessors. The soil of the plain is a fine red mould, almost without a
stone. In March, when I visited the Ryhanlu, it was sown with wheat, but
it produces in another season the finest cotton. The whole plain is the
property of Abbas Effendi of Aleppo, the heir of Tshelebi Effendi, who
was in his time the first grandee of Aleppo[.] Having crossed the plain
of Khalaka, and the rocky calcareous hills which border it on the
western side, a very tedious passage for camels, the first Turkman tents
are met with at about six hours and a half or seven hours distance from
Aleppo. The Turkmans, who prfer living on the hills, erect their tents
on the declivities, and cultivate the valleys below them. These hills
extend in a N.W. direction, above forty miles, the mountain of St. Simon
[Arabic], is in the midst of them. Their average breadth, including the
numerous valleys which intersect them, may be estimated at fifteen or
twenty miles. They lose themselves in the plain of Antioch, which is
bounded on the opposite side by the chain of high mountains, extending
along the southern coast of the gulf of Scanderoun. The river Afrin
[Arabic] waters this plain; its course from the neighbourhood of Killis
to where it empties itself into the lake of Antioch, is fifteen or
twenty hours in length. At about seven hours above the lake, this river
is about the size of the Cam near Cambridge; it regularly but moderately
overflows in spring-time, and is full of carps and barbles; but the
Turkmans have no implements of fishing. Besides the Afrin there are
numerous smaller rivers and sources, which water the valleys. One of the
must considerable of these is the river of Goul, which takes its rise
near a Turkman encampment [p.634] of the same name, about six hours
distant from St. Simon, to the W. by N. in a small lake, about one mile
and a half in circumference, and joins the waters of the Afrin, eight
miles from its source. This beautiful little lake is so full of fish,
that the boys of Goul kill them by throwing stones at them. The river
turns several mills near Goul, and five or six more at six miles
distance, at a place called Tahoun Kash, near a spot where the chieftain
of the Ryhanlu, Mursal Oglu Hayder Aga, has built a house for his winter
residence, and has planted a garden. On the right bank of the Afrin,
about three quarters of an hour distant from it, and at three hours ride
to the N.-westward of the tent of Mohammed Ali, my Turkman host, are two
warm springs at half an hour's walk from each other. I only saw the
southernmost, which is strongly impregnated with sulphur, and made my
thermometer rise to 102 deg.; it constantly bubbles from a bottom of coarse
gravel, in the middle of the bason, which is about twenty feet in
circumference, and four feet deep. The sulphureous smell begins to be
sensible at a distance of twenty-five yards from it, and I was told that
the northern spring was still more sulphureous. The Turkmans hold the
medicinal powers of these springs, as baths, in great estimation: women
as well as men use them for the cure of violent headaches, which are
very prevalent amongst them. The fields of the Turkmans are sown with
wheat, barley, and several kinds of pulse. Their wheat was sown only a
fortnight before my arrival, viz, about the twentieth of February. As it
is only a short time since they have become agriculturists, they have
not yet any plantations of fruit trees, although the olive, pomegranate,
and fig would certainly prosper in their valleys. Thirty years ago the
hills which they now inhabit were partly covered with wood; the trade of
firewood with Aleppo, however, has entirely consumed these forests. At
present they cut the wood for the Aleppo market, in the mountains of the
Kurds on the northern side of the Afrin, and when that shall fail,
Aleppo must depend for its fuel upon the coast of Caramania, from whence
Egypt is now supplied. The Turkman hills are inhabited by vast numbers
of jackals; wolves, and foxes are also numerous; and I saw flocks of
Gazelles, to the number of twenty or thirty in each flock; among a great
variety of birds is the Francoline, which the Syrian sportsmen esteem
the choicest of all game. In the mountains of Badjazze, which borders on
the Turkman plains, stags are sometimes killed. The Turkmans are
passionately fond of hawking; they course the game with grey-hounds, or
if in the plain, they run it down with their horses.

The population of the Ryhanlu Turkmans may be roughly calculated from
the number of their tents, which amount to about three thousand; every
tent contains from two or three to fifteen inmates. They can raise a
military force of two or three thousand horsemen, and of as many
infantry. They are divided into thirteen minor tribes: 1. The
Serigialar, or tribe of the chief of the Ryhanlu Turkmans, Hayder Aga,
has five hundred horsemen. 2. Coudanlut, six hundred. 3. Cheuslu, two
hundred. 4. Leuklu, one hundred. 5. Kara Akhmetlu one hundred and fifty.
6. Kara Solimanlu, fifty. 7. Delikanlu, six hundred. 8. Toroun, sixty.
9. Bahaderlu, one hundred. 10. Hallalu, sixty. 11. Karken, twenty. 12.
Aoutshar, twenty. 13. Okugu, fifty. The Serigialar derive their origin
from Maaden, the Cheuslu from the [p.635] neighbourhood of Badjazze, the
Babaderli from the mountains of St. Simon, the Halalis from Barak. Each
tribe has its own chief, whose rank in the Divan is determined by the
strength his tribe; Hayder Aga presides amongst them whenever it is
found necessary to call together a common council. His authority over
the Ryhanlus seems to be almost absolute, as he sometimes carries his
motions in the Divan even against the opinion and will of the assembled
chiefs. He settles the disputes, which occur between these chiefs, and
which are often accompanied by hostile incursions into one another's
territory. The chiefs decide all disputes among their own followers
according to the feeble knowledge which they possess of the Turkish
laws; but appeals from their tribunal may be made to that of the grand
chief. The whole Ryhanlu tribe is tributary to Tshapan Oglu, the
powerful governor of the eastern part of Anatolia, who resides at
Yuzgat. They pay him an annual tribute of six thousand two hundred and
fifteen piastres, in horses, cattle, &c. He claims also the right of
nominating to the vacant places of chieftains; but his influence over
the Turkman Ryhanlu having of late much diminished, this right is at
present merely nominal. The predecessors of Hayder Aga used to receive
their Firmahn of nomination, or rather of confirmation, from the Porte.
When the tribute for Tshapan Oglu is collected, Hayder Aga generally
gives in an account of disbursements incurred during the preceding year
for the public service, such as presents to officers of the Porte
passing through the camp, expenses of entertaining strangers of rank,
&c. &c. The tribute, as well as Hayder Aga's demands, are levied from
the tribes according to the repartition of the minor Agas; and each
chief takes that opportunity of adding to the sum to which his tribe is
assessed, four or five hundred piastres, which make up his only income
as chief. The Turkmans do not pay any Miri, or general land tax to the
Grand Signor, for the ground they occupy. Families, if disgusted with
their chief, often pass from one tribe to another without any one daring
to prevent their departure.

The Ryhanlu, like most of the larger Turkman nations, are a nomade
people. They appear in their winter quarters in the plain of Antioch at
the end of September, and depart from thence towards the middle of
April, when the flies of the plain begin to torment their horses and
cattle. They then direct their march towards Marash, and remain in the
neighbourhood of that place about one month; from thence they reach the
mountains of Gurun and Albostan. The mountains which they occupy are
called Keukduli, Sungulu, and Kara Dorouk, (upon Kara Dorouk, they say,
are some fine ruins). Here they pass the hottest summer months; in
autumn they repass the plains of Albostan, and return by the same route
towards Antioch.

The winter habitations of the Turkmans in the hilly districts are, as I
have mentioned before, erected on the declivity of the hills, so as to
be by their position somewhat sheltered from the northerly winds.
Sometimes five or six families live together on one spot in as many
tents, but for the greater part tents of single families are met with at
one or two miles distance from each other. In proportion to the arable
land, which the hilly parts contain, these districts are better peopled
than the plain, where a thousand tents are scattered over an [p.636]
extent, of the most fertile country, of at least five hundred square
miles. The structure of the habitations of these nomades is of course
extremely simple: an oblong square wall of loose stones, about four feet
high, is covered over with a black cloth made of goats hair, which is
supported by a dozen or more posts, so that in the middle of the tent
the covering is elevated about nine feet from the ground. A stone
partition is built across the tent, near the entrance: I found in every
tent that the women had uniformly possession of the greater half to the
left of the door; the smaller half to the right hand side is
appropriated to the men, and there is also a partition at H [figure not
included], which generally serves as a stable for a favourite horse of
the master or of one of his sons. The rest of the horses and the cattle
are kept in caverns, which abound in these calcareous hills, or in
smaller huts built on purpose. Besides those who live in tents, many of
the Turkmans, especially in the plain, live in large huts fifteen feet
high, built and distributed like the tents, but having, instead of a
tent covering, a roof of rushes, which grow in great abundance on the
banks of the Afrin. The women's room serves also as the kitchen; there
they work at their looms, and strangers never enter: unless, when, as I
was told, the Turkmans meaning to do great honour to a guest, allow him
a corner of the Harem to sleep in quiet among the women. The men's
apartment is covered with carpets, which serve as beds to strangers and
to the unmarried members of the family; the married people retire into
the Harem. The Turkmans have also a kind of portable tent made of wood,
like a round bird cage, which they cover with large carpets of white
wool. The entrance may be shut up by a small door; it is the exclusive
habitation of the ladies, and is only met with in families who are
possessed of large property. The tent or hut of a Turkman is always
surrounded by three or four others, in which the Fellah families live
who cultivate his land. These Fellahs are the remaining peasants of
abandoned villages, or some poor straggling Kurds. The Turkmans find the
necessary seed, and receive in return half the produce, which is
collected by a few of them who remain for this purpose in the winter
quarters the whole year round. The Fellahs live wretchedly; whenever
they are able to scrape together a small pittance, their masters take it
from them under pretence of borrowing it; I was treated by several of
them at dinner with the best dish they could afford: bad oil, with
coarse bread; they never taste meat except when they kill a cow or an
ox, disabled by sickness or age; the greater part of them live literally
upon bread and water, neither fruits or vegetables being cultivated
here; they are nevertheless, a cheerful good-natured people; the young
men play, sing, and dance, every evening, and are infinitely better
tempered [p.637] than their haughty masters. My host, Mohammed Ali,
began a few years ago to plant a small garden of fruit trees near his
tents; his example will probably be generally followed, because the
Ryhanlu families, at every returning season, pitch their tents on the
same spot. It is only about ten years, that the Ryhanlu have cultivated
the land; like the other Turkman hordes they had always preferred the
wandering life of feeders of cattle. Agriculture was introduced among
them by the persuasion of Hayder Aga, whose daughter having married a
chief of the neighbouring Kurds, an alliance took place, which enabled
the Turkmans to perceive the advantages, derived by the Kurds from the
cultivation of the soil. The principal riches of the Turkmans however
still consist in cattle. Their horses are inferior to those of the Arabs
of the desert, but are well adapted for the mountains. Their necks are
shorter and thicker than those of the Arab horses, the head larger, the
whole frame more clumsy: the price of a good Turkman horse at Aleppo is
four or five hundred piastres, while twice that sum or more is paid for
an Arab horse of a generous breed. Contrary to the practice of the
Arabs, the Turkmans ride males exclusively. The family of my host
possessed four horses, three mares, about five hundred sheep, one
hundred and fifty goats, six cows, and eight camels; he is looked upon as
a man in easy circumstances; there are few families whose property does
not amount to half as much, and there are many who have three or four
times as many cattle. I have heard of some who are possessed of property
in cattle and cash to the amount of one hundred and fifty thousand
piastres. Such sums are gained by the trade with Aleppo and by usury
amongst themselves.

At the time of their departure for Armenia the Ryhanlu buy up buffaloes
and Arab camels, which they exchange in Armenia for a better breed of
camels and for some other cattle, for the Aleppo market. The Armenian or
Caramanian camel is taller and stronger than the Arab, its neck is more
bent, and the neck and upper part of the thighs are covered with thick
hair; the Arab camel, on the contrary, has very little hair. The common
load of the latter is about six hundred weight, or one hundred and
twenty rotolos, but the Armenian camel will carry one hundred and sixty
rotolos, or eight hundred weight. The price of an Arabian camel is about
two hundred and fifty piastres, that of an Armenian at Aleppo is twice
as much. This breed of camels is produced by a he-dromedary and a she-
Arabian camel. The people of Anatolia keep these male dromedaries as
stallions for the purpose of covering the females of the smaller Arabian
breed, which the Turkmans, yearly bring to their market. If left to
breed among themselves the Caramanian camels produce a puny race of
little value. The Arabs use exclusively their smaller breed of camels,
because they endure heat, thirst, and fatigue, infinitely better than
the others, which are well suited to hilly districts. The camels of the
Turkmans feed upon a kind of low bramble called in Turkish Kufan, which
grows in abundance upon the hills; in the evening they descend the
mountains and come trotting towards the tents, where each camel receives
a ball of paste, made of barley meal and water, weighing about one
pound. The expense of feeding these useful animals is therefore reduced
to the cost of a handful of barley per day. The Turkmans do not milk
their camels, but use them exclusively as beasts of burthen. Through
[p.638] their means they carry on a very profitable trade with Aleppo.
They provide the town with firewood, which they cut in the mountains of
the Kurds, distant about four hours to the N.W. of Mohammed Aga's tent;
the Kurds themselves who inhabit those mountains have no camels, and are
obliged to sell their wood and their labour in cutting it at a very
trifling price. Besides wood the Turkmans carry to town the produce of
their fields, together with sheep and lambs, wool, butter and cheese in
the spring, and a variety of home made carpets. They transport the
merchandize of the Frank merchants at Aleppo from Alexandretta to the
city. The profits arising from the trade with Aleppo are almost entirely
consumed by the demands of their families for cloth, coffee, sweetmeats,
and various articles of eastern luxury; they seldom take back any cash
to their tents.

The manner of living of the Turkmans is luxurious for a nomade people.
Their tents are for the greater part clean, the floor in the men's room
is furnished with a Divan or sophas, leaving only a space in the middle
where a large fire is continually kept up to cheer the company and to
make coffee, of which they consume a great quantity. Their coffee cups
are three times the size of those commonly used in the Levant, or as
large as an English coffee cup; whenever coffee is handed round, each
person's cup is filled two or three times; when I was with them, I often
drank twenty or more cups in the course of the day. The servants roast
and pound the coffee immediately before it is drank. They pound it in
large wooden mortars, and handle the pestle with so much address, that
if two or three are pounding together they keep time, and made a kind of
music which seemed to be very pleasing to their masters.

The Turkmans taste flesh only upon extraordinary occasions, such as a
marriage or a circumcision, a nightly feast during the Ramazan, or the
arrival of strangers. Their usual fare is Burgoul; this dish is made of
wheat boiled, and afterwards dried in the sun in sufficient quantity for
a year's consumption: the grain is re-boiled with butter or oil, and
affords a very palateable nourishment; it is a favourite dish all over
Syria. Besides Burgoul they eat rice, eggs, honey, dried fruit, and sour
milk, called Leben. They have none but goats milk. Their bread is a thin
unleavened cake, which the women bake immediately before dinner upon a
hot iron plate, in less than a minute. Breakfast is served at eight
o'clock in the morning, the principal meal takes place immediately after
sunset. The Turkmans, are great coxcombs at table, in comparison with
other Levantines; instead of simply using his fingers, the Turkman
twists his thin bread very adroitly into a sort of spoon, which he
swallows, together with the morsel which he has taken out of the dish
with it. I remember sitting with a dozen of them round a bason of sour
milk, which we dispatched in a few minutes without any person, except
myself, having in the least soiled his fingers.

The Turkman women do not hide themselves, even before strangers, but the
girls seldom enter the men's room, although they are permitted freely to
talk with their father's guests. I was much struck with the elegance of
their shapes and the regularity of their features. Their complexion is
as fair as that of European women; as they advance in age the sun browns
them a little. As to their morals, chastity becomes a necessary virtue
where [p.639] even a kiss, is punished with death by the father or
brother of the unhappy offender. I could mention several instances of
the extreme severity of the Turkmans upon this subject; but one may
suffice. Three brothers taking a ride end passing through an insulated
valley, met their sister receiving the innocent caresses of her lover.
By a common impulse they all three discharged their fire-arms upon her,
and left their fallen victim upon the ground, while the lover escaped
unhurt; my host Mohammed Ali, upon being informed of the murder, sent
his servant to bring the body to his tent, in order to prevent the
jackals from devouring it: the women were undressing and washing the
body to commit it to the grave, when a slight breathing convinced them
that the vital spark was not yet extinguished; in short the girl
recovered. She was no sooner out of immediate danger, than one of Ali's
sons repaired to the tent of his friends, the three brothers, who sat
sullen and silent round the fire, grieving over the loss of their
sister. The young man entered, and saluted them, and said, "I come to
ask you, in the name of my father, for the body of your sister; my
family wishes to bury her." He had no sooner finished than the brothers
rose, crying: "if she was dead you would not have asked for her, you
would have taken the body without our permission." Then seizing their
arms, they were hurrying out of the tent, in search of the still living
victim; but Mohammed Ali's son opposed the authority of his father and
his own reputation of courage to their brutal intentions; he swore that
he would kill the first who should leave the tent, told them that they
had already sufficiently revenged the received injury, and that if their
sister was not dead it was the visible protection of the prophet that
had saved her: and thus, he at last persuaded them to grant his request.
The girl was nursed for three months in Mohammed Ali's family, and
married after her complete recovery to the young man who had been the
cause of her misfortune. Notwithstanding such severity the young
Turkmans boast of their intrigues, and delight in all the dangers of
secret courtship; and I have been assured, upon indisputable authority,
that there are few men among them who have not enjoyed the favours of
their mistresses before the consumnnation of their nuptials. If the
woman happens to become a mother, she destroys her illegitimate
offspring as the only means of saving her own life and that of the

The Turkman ladies dress in the common style of Syrian women; their
bonnet is adorned with strings of Venetian zequins, or other gold
pieces. The dress of the men is that of the Turks of Anatolia. The
horsemen wear wide riding pantaloons, or Sherwalls, of cloth; their
head-dress consists of a red cap round which they twist a turban of
cotton or silk stuff; the wealthy wear turbans of flowered stuffs, or
even Persian shawls. Twenty years ago the national head-dress was a tall
and narrow cap of white wool, in the shape of a sugar-loaf, since that
time the Ryhanlu have left off wearing it, but I remember to have seen a
headdress of this kind during my stay with the Turkmans near Tarsus. The
Turkman women are very laborious; besides the care of housekeeping, they
work the tent coverings of goats hair, and the woollen carpets, which
are inferior only to those of Persian manufacture. Their looms are of
primitive simplicity; they do not make use of the shuttle, but pass the
woof with their hands. They seem to have made great progress in the art
of dyeing; their colours [p.640] are beauitful. Indigo and cochineal,
which they purchase at Aleppo, give them their blue, and red dyes, but
the ingredients of all the others, especially of a brilliant green, are
herbs which they gather in the mountains of Armenia; the dyeing process
is kept by them as a national secret. The wool of their carpets, is of
the ordinary kind; the carpets are about seven feet long and three
broad, and sell from fifteen to one hundred piastres a piece. While the
females are employed in these labours the men pass their whole time in
indolence; except at sunset, when they feed their horses and camels,
they lounge about the whole day, without any useful employment, and
without even refreshing their leisure by some trifling occupation. To
smoke their pipes and drink coffee is to them the most agreeable
pastime; they frequently visit each other, and collecting round the
fire-place, they keep very late hours. I was told that there are some
men amongst them, who play the tamboura, a sort of guitar, but I never
heard any of them perform. If the young men would condescend to assist
in agriculture, the wealth of the families would rapidly increase, and
the whole of the plains of Antioch might in time be cultivated: at
present, as far as I could observe, there are few families growing rich;
most of them spend their whole income.

A Turkman never leaves his tent to take a ride in the neighbourhood
without being armed with his gun, pistols, and sabre. I was astonished
to see that they do not take the smallest care of their fire arms: a
great number of them were shewn to me, to know whether they were of
English manufacture; I found them covered with rust, and they complained
of their often missing fire. They have no gunsmiths amongst them; nor
any artizans at all, except some farriers, and a few makers of bridles
and of horse accoutrements[.]

There are no lawyers or Ulemas among the Ryhanlu. Some families of
consequence carry with them a Faqui or travelling Imam, to teach their
children to read and to pray, and who in case of need performs likewise
the duties of a menial servant, much like the young German baron's
governor. These Faqui are for the greater part natives of Albostan,
educated there in mosques: they follow the Turkmans to participate in
the pious alms which the Koran prescribes. They are generally ignorant,
even of the Turkish law: they are often consulted however by the chiefs,
and their sentence is generally confirmed by the chief whenever there is
no precedent or customary law in point to the contrary.

I did not see any books amongst the Turkmans, and I am certain that out
of fifty hardly one knows how to read or write. Even few of them know
the text of their prayers (which are throughout the Mohammedan countries
in the sacred language, the Arabic), and therefore perform the
prescribed prostrations silently and without the usual ejaculations. The
married people, men as well as women, are tolerably exact in the
performance of their devotions, but the young men never trouble
themselves about them.

I did not stay long enough among the Turkmans to be able to judge
correctly of their character, especially as I was ignorant of their
language. I saw enough, however, to convince me that they possess most
of the vices of nomade nations, without their good qualities. The
Turkmans are, like the Arabs and Kurds, a people of robbers, that is to
say, [p.641] every thing which they can lay hold of in the open country
is their lawful prize, provided it does not belong to their acknowledged
friends. The Arabs make amends in some measure for their robberies by
the hospitality and liberality with which they receive friends and
strangers. In this respect I soon found that I had been led to form a
very erroneous opinion of the Turkman character. I was introduced at
Aleppo to Mohammed Ali Aga, a man of considerable influence amongst the
Ryhanlu, as a physician who was travelling in search of herbs, and I
succeeded in supporting my assumed character during near a fortnight's
stay under his tent. Before my departure from Aleppo, I made him a
present of coffee and sweetmeats, to the amount of sixty piastres, and I
promised him another present, when he should have brought me back in
safety to Aleppo. Notwithstanding these precautions, my reception in his
tent was rather cool, and I soon found that I was among men who had no
other idea than that of getting as much out of me as they could. They
were not under the least restraint, but calculated in my presence how
much my visit was worth to them, as I sufficiently understood, from
their animated tone and gestures, added to the few Turkish words, which
I learnt. To spare my dinner my host took me out a visiting almost every
day, just before the dinner hour; and that he might know how far it
would be prudent to incur expence on my account, he permitted one of his
friends to search my pockets, and was cruelly disappointed when he found
that my purse did not contain more than four or five piastres. My horse,
for the maintenance of which I had agreed with my host, was fed with
straw, until I told them that I should take care of it myself, when they
were obliged to deliver its daily portion of barley into my own hands.
Such was the liberality which I experienced in return for the medical
advice and medicines which they received without hesitation from me upon
demanding them. Their minds seemed intent only upon money, except among
the lovers there was no other subject of conversation, and instead of
the Arab virtues, of honour, frankness, and hospitality, there appeared
to be no other motive of action among them than the pursuit of gain. The
person of a Frank may be safe among them, but his baggage will be
exposed to close search, and whatever strikes the fancy of a powerful
man, will be asked of him in such a manner, that it is adviseable to
give up the object at once. I had fortunately hidden my compass in my
girdle, but a thermometer which they found in my pocket, attracted
general notice; if I had explained to them the use I meant to make of
it, it would have confirmed the suspicion already hinted to me by one of
them, that I intended to poison their springs. I pretended that the
thermometer was a surgical instrument, which being put into the blood of
an open wound served to shew whether the wound was dangerous or not. It
is not more from the behaviour of the Turkmans towards myself, that I
formed my opinion of their character, than from their conduct towards
each other. They are constantly upon their guard against robbers and
thieves of their own tribe; they cheat each other in the most trifling
affairs, and like most of the Aleppo merchants, make use of the most
awful oaths and imprecations to conceal their falsehood. If they have
one good quality it is their tolerance in religious matters, which
proves, on the other hand, how little they care about them.

[p.642] The men marry at fourteen or fifteen, the girls at thirteen.
Excepting Hayder Aga, and some of his brothers, there are very few who
have more than one wife. They celebrate their marriage feasts with great
pomp. The young men play upon those occasions at a running game much
resembling the "jeu de barre," known on the continent of Europe. Their
music then consists in drums and trumpets, only, for the Turkmans, are
not so fond of music as the Aleppines and the Arabs, nor did I ever meet
among them with any of the story-tellers, who are so frequent amongst
the Arabs of the desert. Whenever a son reaches the marriageable age,
his father gives him, even before his marriage, a couple of camels and a
horse to defray, by the profits of trade, his private expenses. At the
death of the father, his property is divided amongst the family
according to the Turkish law. The Ryhanlu bury their dead in the burying
places which are found scattered among the ruins of deserted villages.

My observations were confined to the Ryhanlu. But they will probably in
great measure apply to all the large Turkman tribes which inhabit the
western parts of Asia Minor, and concerning which I obtained a few

In the level country between Badjazze and Adena lives a tribe which is
tributary to the governors of these two places. They are called Jerid,
and are more numerous than the Ryhanlu; they likewise leave their plains
towards the approach of summer, and winter in the Armenian mountains, in
the neighbourhood of the Ryhanlu. Like the latter they have one head,
and several minor chiefs, and they are divided into six tribes: viz.
Jerid (chief Shahen Beg), Tegir (chief Oglu Kiaya), Karegialar (chief
Rustam Beg), Bozdagan (chief Kerem Oglu), Aoutshar (chief Hassan Beg),
Leck (chief Agri Bayouk). The Lecks speak, besides the Turkish, a
language of their own, which has no resemblance either to the Arabic,
Turkish, Persian or Kurdine; "it sounds like the whistling of birds,"
said the Turkman from whom I obtained this information, and the same
remark was confirmed by others. The name of the Leck, renders the
supposition probable that they are descendants of the Lazi, a people
inhabiting the coast of the Black sea, and who in the time of the great
Justinian opposed his forces with some success. Chardin mentions having
met descendants of the Lazi near Trebizond, whom he describes as a rude
sea-faring people, with a peculiar language.

The Pehluvanlu are the most numerous tribe of the whole nation of
Turkmans. They are governed by a chief, (Mahmoud Beg), who is tributary
to Tshapan Oglu. A part of them have for a long period been cultivators,
others are shepherds. They inhabit the country from Bosurk to near
Constantinople, and pass the summer months at one day's journey distance
from the Ryhanlu. They are in possession of a very profitable transport
trade, and their camels form almost exclusively the caravans of Smyrna
and of the interior of Anatolia. They drive their sheep for sale as far
as Constantinople.

The Rishwans are more numerous than the Ryhanlu, but their tribe is not
held in esteem among the Turkmans. They were formerly tributary to
Rishwan Oglu, governor of Besna, which lies at one day's journey from
Aintab; and they used then to winter in the neighbourhood [p.643] of
Djeboul, on the borders of a small salt lake, five hours to the S. E. of
Aleppo. They are at present dependent on Tshapan Oglu, and winter in the
plains near Haimani in Anatolia; they pass their summer months in the
neighbourhood of the Ryhanlu. Their principal tribes are Deleyanli
(chief Ali Beg Oglu), Omar Anli (chief Omar Beg), Mandolli (Omar Aga),
Gelikanli (Hassan Beg Mor Oglu). The Rishwans are noted, even among
robbers, for their want of faith.

The great tribes of the Turkmans are often at war with each other, as
well as with the Kurds, with whom they are in contact in many places.
These wars seldom cause the death of more than three or four
individuals, after which peace is concluded. In a late war between the
Ryhanlu and the Kurds, which lasted five or six months, and brought on
several battles, the whole list of deaths was only six Kurds and four
Turkmans. In the mountains, the Turkmans are accompanied in their
military expeditions by foot soldiers, armed with muskets; these are men
of the tribe who cannot afford to keep a horse. Neither the lance, nor
the bow is used among them. Some tribes of Kurds, on the contrary, have
never abandoned the use of the bow.

The Tar, or blood-revenge, is observed among the Turkman nations, as
well among themselves, as with respect to foreigners. They have a
particular species of Tar which I have never heard of among the Arabs.
It attaches to their goods; the following incident will best explain it:
a caravan of Turkman camels laden with wood was seized last winter, just
before the gates of Aleppo, by a detachment of Karashukly (a mixt tribe
of Turkmans and Arabs, who inhabit the banks of the Euphrates, in the
vicinity of Bir). One of the Turkmans was wounded, the loads were thrown
down, and fifty camels driven away, worth about five hundred piastres
apiece. The Turkmans immediately dispatched an old Arab woman as
ambassadress to their enemies, to treat for the restoration of their
camels, and she succeeded in recovering them at the rate of one hundred
and sixty piastres apiece, or eight thousand piastres, for the whole.
"Thus," I was told by a Turkman chief, "the Tar between us will not be
for the whole sum of twenty-five thousand piastres, the real value of
the camels, but only for the sum of eight thousand piastres, for which
we shall, on the first opportunity take our revenge."

There are no Sherif families, or families claiming a descent from the
prophet, amongst the Ryhanlu. But family pride is not unknown among
them. Descendants from ancient and renowned chiefs claim, though poor,
some deference from wealthy upstarts. In one of their late battles with
the Kurds, a young man of noble extraction, but poor, and without
authority, was crying out in the heat of action: "Comrades, let us
attack them on the left flank." Hayder Aga, who heard it, exclaimed:
"Who are you? hold your tongue." After the victory the young man, was
seen thoughtful and melancholy in the midst of the rejoicings of his
brethren; Hayder Aga, as proud a man as ever sat upon a throne, to whom
it was reported, sent for the young man, and when he entered the tent
rose, and kissed his beard, begging [p.644] him to forget whatever lie
might have said in the heat of action, when he was not always master of

Their ideas of decency appear singular, when compared with our own. A
Turkman will talk before his wife, daughter, or sister upon subjects
which are banished from our discourse; at the same time that he would be
much offended if any friend should in the presence of his females speak
in raptures or poetical terms of the charms of a beloved mistress.

Remains of Antiquity.

One of the principal motives of my visit to the Turkmans was my desire
to visit some ruins near their encampments, particularly those of Deir
Samaan, which at Aleppo I had heard compared to the temples at Baalbec.
I therefore made it a condition with my Turkman host, that he should
take me to Deir Samaan as well as to several other ruins whose names I
had collected from different Aleppines. The day after my arrival under
his tent, he set out with me towards the Deir, and we reached it after a
ride of four hours over the rocky hills which encircle the mountain of
St. Simon, called Djebel Samaan, or Sheikh Barekat. The Deir Samaan
consists of the ruins of a church, monastery, or episcopal palace, built
upon the top of an insulated hill, bearing from the top of the mountain
of St. Simon, N. 20 E., about eight miles distant. It is now inhabited
by several families of Kurds, who have their black goat hair tents
pitched in the middle of the ruins. They received us with much
hospitality; a sheep was immediately killed, and all the delicacies of
the season were served up to us. After dinner and coffee, Tshay[FN#1]
was served round, which the Aleppines and all Syrians esteem as one of
the greatest dainties: it is a heating drink, made of ginger, cloves,
rosewater, sugar and similar ingredients, boiled together to a thick
syrup. Mursa Aga, the chief, a handsome young man, then took up his
Tamboura or guitar, and the rest of the evening passed in music and

The whole summit of the hill, which is six hundred paces in length and
one hundred and seventy in breadth, was once covered with stately
buildings. A thick wall of square hewn stones, is traceable all round.
The principal ruins consist of two separate buildings, a palace, and a
church, or monastery, which were separated from each other by a court-
yard one hundred and ten paces in length. The palace, or perhaps the
high priest's habitation, is not remarkable either for its size or
elegance. I could not enter it because it was occupied by the Harem of
Mursa Aga. A colonnade led from the palace to the church gate; the
broken fragments only of the columns remain. Of the church most of the
side walls are still standing, ornamented with pillars and arches worked
in the walls; it is divided into two circular apartments [p.645] of
which the inner may have been the sanctuary. On the eastern side of the
church is a dark vaulted room, which receives the daylight only from the
door, and which appears to have been a sepulchre. A number of niches (if
I recollect right, nine), not perpendicular like the Egyptian sepulchral
niches, but horizontal, have been built around the wall. Into this
chamber opens a subterraneous passage, which is said by the Kurds, to
continue a long way under ground, in the direction of Antakia. I could
not persuade any body to enter it with me. Adjacent to this sepulchre is
another vaulted, open hall, which has been changed by its present
proprietors into stables, and an apartment for receiving strangers in
the heat of summer. The softness of the calcareous stone from the
adjacent hills, with which the buildings are constructed, has caused all
the ornaments of the arches and columns and even the shafts themselves
to decay; enough remains however, of their clumsy and overcharged
ornaments, to shew that the edifices are of an advanced period of the
Greek empire. The columns are very small in proportion to the arches
which they support, and I did not see any above eighteen or twenty feet
high. The perishable nature of the stone has not left a single
inscription visible, if there ever were any, with the exception of some
names of Frenchmen from Aleppo, who visited the place eighty years ago.
The sign of the cross is visible in several places. If these buildings
were constructed in pious commemoration of the devout sufferings of St.
Simon Stylites, who passed thirty-five years of his life upon a column,
they are probably of the sixth century. St. Simon died towards the end
of the fifth century, and in the seventh century Syria was conquered and
converted to Islamism by the successors of Mohammed. The structures are
certainly not of the date of the Crusades. On the eastern side of the
building are the remains of an aqueduct, the continuation of which is
again met with on the opposite hill. The Kurdine inhabitants of these
ruins collect at present the rain water in cisterns.

Descending from the top of the hill on the western side, the remains of
a broad paved causeway lead to an arch, which stands about ten minutes
walk from the castle, and faces the ruins of a city, built at the foot
of the hill, of which a number of buildings are still extant. These
ruins, called Bokatur, are uninhabited, their circumference may be
estimated at about one mile and a half. Amongst the many private houses
a palace may be distinguished, surrounded by a low portico, at which
terminates the causeway leading from the arch. At half an hour's
distance to the S.W. of Bokatur, are ruins resembling the former in
extent and structure. I saw several houses of which the front was
supported by columns, of a smaller size than those of the palace at
Bokatur. This place is now called Immature, at three quarters of an hour
to the W. of it, are other similar ruins of a town called Filtire, which
I did not see. The two latter places are now inhabited by some poor
Kurdine families. The style of building which I observed in the houses
of these ruined cities approaches more to the European than the Asiatic
taste. The roofs are somewhat inclined, and the windows numerous, and
large, instead of being few and small, as in Turkish houses. The walls,
most of which are still remaining, are for the greatest part without
ornament, [p.646] from one foot to about one foot and a half thick, and
built of calcareous squared stones, like Deir Samaan. The pillars which
are still to be seen in some of the ruined buildings are none of them
more than fifteen feet high. Their capitals, like those of the columns
in the Deir Samaan, are rude and unfinished; if any order is discernible
it is a corrupted Corinthian. The neighbourbood of these towns, at least
for five miles round, presents nothing but an uneven plain, thickly
covered with barren rocks, which rise to the height of two or three feet
above the surface. A few herbs grow in the fissures of the rocks, which
are scarcely sufficient to keep from starving half a dozen horses, the
property of the present miserable inhabitants. There are several wells
of good water in the neighbourhood of the ruins. To the S.S.E. of the
Deir, at an hour and a half's distance, stands a single pillar about
thirty-five feet high, the base and capital of which are like those of
the Deir. No inscriptions are visible. At a few yards from the column is
the entrance to a spacious subterraneous cavern. I passed this spot on
my way to the Deir, and purposed to examine the contents of the cave on
our return; I returned however by another route.

We left our friendly Kurds on the following day at noon. At taking my
leave I told the chief that I should be happy to make him some
acknowledgments for the hospitality shewn to me, whenever he should
visit Aleppo. He excused himself for not having been able to treat us
according to his wishes, and begged me to send him from Aleppo a few
strings for his guitar; which I gladly promised. These Kurds have been
for some time past at war with the Janissaries at Aleppo, which prevents
them from going there.

On our road back to Mohammed Ali's tents, through Bokatur and Immature,
we met halfway a poor gypsy, or as they are called here, Kurpadh; these
Kurpadh are spread over the whole of Anatolia and Syria.

The Kurds have spread themselves over some parts of the plain which the
Afrin waters, as well as some of the neighbouring mountains. They live
in tents and in villages, are stationary, and are all occupied in
agriculture and the rearing of cattle. They form four tribes, of which
the Shum, who live in the plain, are the most considerable. The Kurds
seem to be of a more lively disposition than the Turkmans; the Aleppines
say that their word is less to be depended upon than that of the
Turkmans. My hosts at Deir Samaan asked me many questions relative to
European politics. I found the opinion prevalent among them which
Buonaparte has taken such pains to impress upon the winds of the
continental nations, that Great Britain is and ought to be merely a
maritime power. This belief, however, proves very advantageous to
English travellers in these countries. A Frenchman will every where be
taken for a spy, as long as the French invasion of Egypt and Syria is in
the memory of man, but it seems never to enter into the suspicions of
these people that the English can have any wish to possess the countries
of the Levant. I was astonished to find that all the Kurds spoke Arabic
fluently, besides the Turkish and their own language, which latter is a
corrupted mixture of Persian, Armenian, and Turkish. On the other hand,
I only met three or four Turkmans who knew how to express themselves
[p.647] in Arabic, though both nations are alike in almost continual
intercourse with Arab peasants and Aleppines.

Besides the ruins just described, there are many others dispersed over
the Turkman territories; which, to judge from the prevailing
architecture, are of the same date as those already mentioned. Tisin,
Sulfa, Kalaa el [B]ent, Jub Abiad, and Mayshat, all of them at two or
three hours distance from the tent of Mohammed Ali, are heaps of ruined
buildings, with a few remains of houses. Kalaa el Bent and Jub Abiad
contain each of them a square tower about sixty feet high. They have
only one small projecting window near the top; the roof is flat.
Tradition says that Kalaa el Bent or in Turkish Kislar Kalassi, (the
castle of girls), was formerly a convent; probably of nuns. At Mayshat,
a Turkman encampment on the top of a hill, at the foot of which is a
large deep well, with a solid wall, I was shewn a subterraneous chamber,
about twenty feet long and fifteen in breadth, hewn out of the rock, at
the entrance to which are two columns; there are two excavations in the
bottom of it, like the sepulchral niches which I saw in the Deir Samaan.
I have been told that near Telekberoun, a village situated at the foot
of the hills which encircle the plain of Khalaka, there are remains of
an ancient causeway elevated two or three feet from the ground, about
fifteen feet broad, running in the direction from Aleppo to Antioch; it
may be traced for the length of a quarter of an hour. In the plain of
the Afrin, about three miles from Mursal Oglu's residence, and half an
hour from the Afrin, stands an insulated hillock in the plain with the
ruins of a Saracen castle, called Daoud Pasha; four miles to the N.E. of
it is situated another similar hillock, with ruins of a castle, called
Tshyie. The sight of these numerous ruins fills the minds of the
Turkmans and Kurds with ideas of hidden treasures, and they relate a
variety of traditionary tales of Moggrebyn Sheikhs, who have been once
on the point of getting out the treasure, when they have been
interrupted by the shrieks of a woman, &c. &c. Having provided myself at
Aleppo with a small hammer to break off spesimens of rocks, the Turkmans
could not be pursuaded that this instrument was not for the purpose of
searching for gold. Several Turkmans pressed me to do them the favour of
working for a day in their behalf. I endeavoured to persuade them that
the hammer was to assist me in procuring medicinal herbs.

[FN#1] Tshay is the Chinese word for tea; and our word is corrupted from
it. The word Tshay is used all over Tartary and Turkey, where the dried
herb, which is brought over land from China, is also well known. In
Syria and Egypt, where the word is better known than the herb, real tea
is generally distinguished by the name of Tshay Hindy (tea of India).


On the Political Division of Syria, and the recent Changes in the
Government of Aleppo.

THE political division of Syria has not undergone any changes, since the
time of Volney.

The Pashaliks are five in number. To the pashalik of Aleppo belongs the
government of Aintab, Badjazze, Alexandretta, and Antakia. Damascus
comprehends Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablous, Bostra, Hums, and Hama. The
Pashalik of Tripoli extends along the seacoast from Djebail to Latikia;
that of Seide or Akka, from Djebail nearly to Jaffa, including the
mountains inhabited by the Druses. The Pasha of Gaza governs in Jaffa
and Gaza, and in the adjacent plains. The present Pasha of Damascus is
at the same time Pasha of Tripoli, and therefore in possession of the
greater half of Syria. The Pashalik of Gaza is at present annexed to
that of Akka.

Such is the nominal division of Syria. But the power of the Porte in
this country has been so much upon the decline, particularly since the
time of Djezzar Pasha of Akka, that a number of petty independent chiefs
have sprung up, who defy their sovereign. Badjazze, Alexandretta, and
Antakia have each an independent Aga. Aintab, to the north of Aleppo,
Edlip and Shogre, on the way from Aleppo to Latikia, have their own
chiefs, and it was but last year that the Pasha of Damascus succeeded in
subduing Berber, a formidable rebel, who had fixed his seat at Tripoli,
and had maintained himself there for the last six years. The Pashas
themselves follow the same practice; it is true that neither the Pasha
of Damascus nor that of Akka has yet dared openly to erect the standard
of rebellion; they enjoy all the benefits of the protection of the
supreme government, but depend much more upon their own strength, than
on the caprice of the Sultan, or on their intrigues in the seraglio for
the continuance of their power. The policy of the Porte is to flatter
and load with honours those whom she cannot ruin, and to wait for some
lucky accident by which she may regain her power; but, above all, to
avoid a formal rupture, which would only serve to expose her own
weakness and to familiarize the Pashas and their subjects with the ideas
of rebellion. The Pashas of Damascus and of Akka continue to be dutiful
subjects of the Grand Signior in appearance; and they even send
considerable sums of money to Constantinople, to ensure the yearly
renewal of their offices. (The Pashaliks all over the Turkish dominions
are given for the term of one year only, and at the beginning of the
Mohammedan year, the Pashas receive [p.649] their confirmation or
dismissal) The Agas of Aintab, Antakia, Alexandretta, Edlip, and Shogre,
pay also for the renewal of their offices. There are a few chiefs who
have completely thrown off the mask of subjection; Kutshuk Ali, the Lord
of Badjazze openly declares his contempt of all orders from the Porte,
plunders and insults the Sultan's officers, as well as all strangers
passing through his mountains, and with a force of less than two hundred
men, and a territory confined to the half ruined town of Badjazze, in
the gulf of Alexandretta, and a few miles of the surrounding mountains,
his father and himself have for the last thirty years defied all the
attempts of the neighbouring Pashas to subdue them.

The inhabitants of Aleppo have been for several years past divided into
two parties; the Sherifs (the real or pretended descendants of the
Prophet), and the Janissaries. The former distinguish themselves by
twisting a green turban round a small red cap, the latter wear high
Barbary caps, with a turban of shawl, or white muslin, and a Khandjar,
or long crooked knife in their girdles. There are few Turks in the city
who have been able to keep aloof from both parties.

The Sherifs first showed their strength about forty years ago, during a
tumult excited by their chiefs in consequence of a supposed insult
received by Mr. Clarke, the then British Consul. Aleppo was governed by
them in a disorderly manner for several years without a Pasha, until the
Bey of Alexandretta, being appointed to the Pashalik, surprised the town
and ordered all the chief Sherifs to be strangled[.] The Pasha however,
found his authority greatly limited by the influence which Tshelebi
Effendi, an independent Aleppine grandee, had gained over his
countrymen. The immense property of Tshelebi's family added to his
personal qualities, rendered his influence and power so great that
during twenty years he obliged several Pashas who would not yield to his
counsels and designs to quit the town. He never would accept of the
repeated offers made by the Porte to raise him to the Pashalik. His
interests were in some measure supported by the corps of Janissaries;
who in Aleppo, as in other Turkish towns, constitute the regular
military force of the Porte; but until that period their chiefs had been
without the smallest weight in the management of public affairs. One of
Tshelebi's household officers, Ibrahim Beg, had meanwhile been promoted,
through the friends of his patron at Constantinople, to the first
dignities in the town. He was made Mutsellim (vice governor), and
Mohassel (chief custom house officer), and after the death of Tshelebi,
his power devolved upon Ibrahim. This was in 1786.

Kussa Pasha, a man of probity and talents, was sent at that time as
Pasha to Aleppo. Being naturally jealous of Ibrahim Beg's influence, he
endeavoured to get possession of his person, by ordering him to be
detained during a visit, made by Ibrahim to compliment the Pasha [p.650]
upon his arrival, for a debt which Ibrahim owed to a foreign merchant,
who had preferred his complaints to the Pasha's tribunal. Ibrahim paid
the debt, and was no sooner out of the Pasha's immediate reach, than he
engaged Ahmed Aga (one of the present Janissary chiefs), to enter with
him into a formal league against Kussa. The Janissaries, together with
Ibrahim's party, attacked the Pasha's troops; who after several days
fighting, were driven out of the town, and Ibrahim was soon afterwards
named Pasha of three tails, and for the first time Pasha of Aleppo. From
that period (1788-89) may be dated the power of the Janissaries. Ibrahim
had been the cause of their rising into consideration, but he soon found
that their party was acquiring too much strength; he therefore deemed it
necessary to countenance the Sherifs, and being a man of great talents,
he governed and plundered the town, by artfully opposing the two parties
to each other. In the year 1789, Ibrahim was nominated to the Pashalik
of Damascus. Sherif Pasha, a man of ordinary capacity, being sent to
Aleppo, the Janissaries soon usurped the powers of government.

At the time of the French invasion of Egypt, the intrigues of Djezzar
Pasha of Akka drove Ibrahim from his post at Damascus, and he was
obliged to follow the Grand Vizir's army into Egypt. When after the
campaign of Egypt the Grand Vizir with the remains of his army, was
approaching Aleppo upon his return to Constantinople, Ibrahim conceived
hopes of regaining his lost seat at Aleppo. Through the means of his son
Mohammed Beg, then Mobassei, the Janissaries were persuaded that the
Vizir had evil intentions against them, forged letters were produced to
that effect, and the whole body of Janissaries left the town before the
Vizir's arrival in its neighbourhood. Their flight gave Ibrahim the
sought for opportunity to represent the fugitives to the Vizir as rebels
afraid to meet their master's presence; they were shortly afterwards, by
a Firmahn from the Porte, formally proscribed as rebels, and the killing
of any of them who should enter the territory of Aleppo was declared
lawful. They had retired to Damascus, Latikia, Tripoli, and the
mountains of the Druses, and they spared no money to get the edict of
their exile rescinded. After a tedious bargain for the price of their
pardon, they succeeded at last in obtaining it, on condition of paying
one hundred thousand piastres into the Sultan's treasury. Ibrahim Pasha,
who had in the meanwhile regained the Pashalik of Aleppo, was to receive
that sum from them, and he had so well played his game, that the
Janissaries still thought him their secret friend. The principal chiefs,
trusting to Ibrahim's assurances, came to the town for the purpose of
paying down the money; they were a few days afterwards arrested, and it
was generally believed that Ibrahim would order them the same night to
be strangled. In Turkey however, there are always hopes as long as the
purse is not exhausted. The prisoners engaged Mohammed, Ibrahim's
beloved son, to intercede in their favour; they paid him for that
service one thousand zequins in advance, and promised as much more: and
he effectually extorted from his father a promise not to kill any of
them. It is said that Ibrahim foretold his son that the time would come
when he would repent of his intercession. A short time afterwards
Ibrahim was nominated a second time to the Pashalik of Damascus, which
[p.651] became vacant by Djezzar's death, in 1804. His prisoners were
obliged to follow him to Damascus; from whence they found means to open
a correspondence with the Emir Beshir, the chief of the Druses, and to
prevail upon him to use all his interest with Ibrahim to effect their
deliverance. Ibrahim stood at that time in need of the Emir's
friendship; he had received orders from the Porte to seize upon
Djezzar's treasures at Akka, and to effect this the co-operation of the
Druse chief was absolutely necessary. Upon the Emir's reiterated
applications, the prisoners were at last liberated.

When Ibrahim Pasha removed to Damascus, he procured the Pashalik of
Aleppo for his son Mohammed Pasha, a man who possesses in a high degree
the qualification so necessary in a delegate of the Porte, of
understanding how to plunder his subjects. The chief of a Sherif family,
Ibn Hassan Aga Khalas (who has since entered into the corps of the
Janissaries, and is now one of their principal men), was the first who
resolved to oppose open force to his measures; he engaged at first only
seven or eight other families to join him, and it was with this feeble
force that the rebellion broke out which put an end to the Pasha's
government. The confederates began by knocking down the Pasha's men in
the streets wherever they met them, Janissaries soon assembled from all
quarters to join Hassan's party; and between two or three hundred Deli
Bashi or regular troops of the Pasha were massacred in the night in
their own habitations, to which the rebels found access from the
neighbouring terraces or flat roofs. Still the Pasha's troops would have
subdued the insurgents had it not been for the desperate bravery of
Hassan Aga. After several months daily fighting in the streets, in which
the Pasha's troops had thrown up entrenchments, want of food began to be
sensibly felt in the part of the city which his adherents occupied near
the Serai, a very spacious building now in ruins. He came therefore to
the resolution of abandoning the city. At Mohammed's request a Tartar
was sent, from Constantinople, with orders enjoining him to march
against Berber, governor of Tripoli, who had been declared a rebel.
Having thus covered the disgrace of his defeat, he marched out of Aleppo
in the end of 1804, but instead of proceeding to Tripoli, he established
his head quarters at Sheikh Abou Beker, a monastery of Derwishes
situated upon an elevation only at one mile's distance from Aleppo,
where he recruited his troops and prepared himself to besiege the town.
His affairs, however, took a more favourable turn upon the arrival of a
Kapidgi Bashi or officer of the Porte from Constantinople, who carried
with him the most positive orders that Mohammed Pasha should remain
governor of Aleppo, and be acknowledged as such by the inhabitants, The
Kapidgi's persuasions, as well as the Sultan's commands, which the
Janissaries did not dare openly to disobey, brought on a compromise, in
consequence of which the Pasha re-entered the city. So far he had gained
his point, but he soon found himself in his palace without friends or
influence; the Janissaries were heard to declare that every body who
should visit him would be looked upon as a spy; on Fridays alone, the
great people paid him their visit in a body. The place meanwhile was
governed by the chiefs of the Janissaries and the Sherifs. At length the
Pasha succeeded, by a secret nightly correspondence, to detach the
latter from the Janissaries, who were gaining the ascendancy. The
Sherifs are the natural supporters [p.652] of government in this
country; most of the villages round Aleppo were then in their
possession, they command the landed interests, all the Aleppo grandees
of ancient families, and all the Ulemas and Effendis belong to their
body, and the generality of them have received some education, while out
of one hundred Janissaries, there are scarcely five who know how to read
or to write their own names. The civil war now broke out afresh, and
Mohammed had again the worst of it. After remaining three months in the
town, he returned to his former encampment at Sheikh Abou Beker, from
whence he assisted his party in the town who had taken possession of the
castle and several mosques. This warfare lasted nearly two years without
any considerable losses on either side. The Sherifs were driven out of
the mosques, but defended themselves in the castle.

Generally, the people of Aleppo, Janissaries as well as Sherifs, are a
cowardly race. The former never ventured to meet the Pasha's troops on
the outside of their walls, the latter did not once sally forth from the
castle, but contented themselves with firing into the town, and
principally against Bankousa, a quarter exclusively inhabited by
Janissaries. The Pasha on his side would have ordered his Arnaouts to
take the town by assault, had not his own party been jealous of his
military power, and apprehensive of the fury of an assaulting army, for
which reason they constantly endeavoured to prevent any vigorous attack,
promising that they would alone bring the enemy to terms. After nearly
two years fighting, during which time a considerable part of the town
was laid in ruins, the Pasha with the Sherifs were on the point of
succeeding, and compelling the Janissaries to surrender. The chiefs of
the Janissaries had applied to the European Consuls for their mediation
between them and the Pasha, the conditions of their surrender were
already drawn up, and in a few days more their power in Aleppo would
probably have been for ever annihilated by a treacherous infraction of
the capitulation, when, by a fortunate mistake, a Tartar, sent from
Constantinople to Mohammed, entered the town, instead of taking his
packet to Sheikh Abou Beker; the Janissaries opened the dispatches, and
found them to contain a Firmahn, by which Mohammed Pasha was recalled
from his Pashalik of Aleppo. This put an end to the war; Mohammed
dismissed the greater part of his troops and retired: the Janissaries
came to a compromise with the Sherifs in the castle, and have since that
time been absolute masters of the city.

I cannot omit mentioning that during the whole of the civil war, the
persons and property of the Franks were rigidly respected. It sometimes
happened that parties of Sherifs and Janissaries skirmishing in the
Bazars, left off firing by common consent, when a Frank was seen
passing, and that the firing from the Minarets ceased, when Franks
passed over their flat roofs from one house to another. The Janissaries
have this virtue in the eyes of the Franks, that they are not in the
smallest degree fanatical; the character of a Sherif is quite the
contrary, and whenever religious disputes happen, they are always
excited and supported by some greenhead.

Since the removal of Mohammed Pasha the Porte has continued to nominate
his successors; but the name of Pasha of Aleppo is now nothing more than
a vain title. His first successor was Alla eddin Pasha, a near relation
of Sultan Selim: then Waledin Pasha, Othman [p.653] Pasha Darukly,
Ibrahim Pasha, a third time, and the present governor Seruri Mohammed
Pasha. Except the last, who is now in the Grand Vizir's camp near
Constantinople they have all resided at Aleppo, but they occupied the
Serai more like state prisoners than governors. They never were able to
carry the most trifling orders into effect, without feeing in some way
or other the chiefs of the Ja[n]issaries to grant their consent.

The corps of Janissaries, or the Odjak of Aleppo, was formerly divided,
as in other Turkish towns, into companies or Ortas, but since the time
of their getting into power, they have ceased to submit to any regular
discipline: they form a disorderly body of from three to four thousand
men, and daily increase their strength and number by recruits from the
Sherifs. Those who possess the greatest riches, and whose family and
friends are the most numerous, are looked upon as their chiefs, though
they are unable to exercise any kind of discipline. Of these chiefs
there are at present six principal ones, who have succeeded in sharing
the most lucrative branches of the revenue, and what seems almost
incredible, they have for the last six years preserved harmony amongst
themselves; Hadji Ibrahim Ibn Herbely is at this moment the richest and
most potent of them all.

The legal forms of Government have not been changed, and the Janissaries
outwardly profess to be the dutiful subjects of the Porte. The civil
administration is nominally in the hands of the Mutsellim, who is named
by the Pasha and confirmed by the Porte. the Kadhi presides in the court
of justice, and the Mohassel or chief custom house officer is [a]llowed
to perform his functions in the name of his master, but the Mutsellim
dares not enforce any orders from the Porte nor the Kadhi decide any law
suit of importance, without being previously sure of the consent of some
of the chief Janissaries. The revenue which the grand Signior receives
at this moment from Aleppo is limited to the Miri, or general landtax,
which the Janissaries themselves pay, the Kharatsh or tribute of the
Christians and Jews, and the income of the custom house, which is now
rented at the yearly rate of eighty thousand piastres. Besides these
there are several civil appointments in the town, which are sold every
year at Constantinople to the highest bidder: the Janissaries are in the
possession of the most lucrative of them, and remit regularly to the
Porte the purchase money. The outward decorum which the Janissaries have
never ceased to observe towards the Porte is owing to their fear of
offending public opinion, so as to endanger their own security. The
Porte, on the other hand, has not the means of subduing these rebels,
established as their power now is, without calling forth all her
resources and ordering an army to march against them, from
Constantinople. The expense of such an enterprize would hardly be
counterbalanced by the profits of its success; for the Janissaries,
pushed to extremities, would leave the town and find a secure retreat
for themselves and their treasures in the mountains of the Druses: both
parties therefore endeavour to avoid an open rupture; it is well known
that the chief Janissaries send considerable presents to Constantinople
to appease their master's anger, and provided the latter draws supplies
for his pressing wants, no matter how or from whence, the insults
offered to his supreme authority are easily overlooked.

The Janissaries chiefly exercise their power with a view to the filling
of their purses. [p.654] Every inhabitant of Aleppo, whether Turk or
Christian, provided he be not himself a Janissary, is obliged to have a
protector among them to whom he applies in case of need, to arrange his
litigations, to enforce payment from his creditors, and to protect him
from the vexations and exactions of other Janissaries. Each protector
receives from his client a sum proportionate to the circumstances of the
client's affairs. It varies from twenty to two thousand piastres a year,
besides which, whenever the protector terminates an important business
to the client's wishes, he expects some extraordinary reward. If two
protectors happen to be opposed to each other on account of their
clients, the more powerful of the two sometimes carries the point, or if
they are equal in influence, they endeavour to settle the business by
compromise, in such a way as to give to justice only half its due. Those
Janissaries, who have the greatest number of clients are of course the
richest, and command the greatest influence. But these are not the only
means which the Janissaries employ to extort money. They monopolize the
trade of most of the articles of consumption, (which have risen in
consequence, to nearly double the price which they bore six years ago),
as well as of several of the manufactures of Aleppo; upon others they
levy heavy taxes; in short their power is despotic and oppressive; yet
they have hitherto abstained from making, like the Pashas, avanies upon
individuals by open force, and it is for that reason that the greater
part of the Aleppines do not wish for the return of a Pasha. Though the
Janissaries extort from the public, by direct and indirect means, more
than the Pashas ever did by their avanies, each individual discharges
the burthen imposed upon him more readily, because he is confident that
it insures the remainder of his fortune; in the Pasha's time, living was
cheaper, and regular taxes not oppressive; but the Pasha would upon the
most frivolous pretexts order a man of property to be thrown into prison
and demand the sacrifice of one fourth of his fortune to grant him his
deliverance. Notwithstanding the immense income of the chief
Janissaries, they live poorly, without indulging themselves in the usual
luxuries of Turks-women and horses. Their gains are hoarded in gold
coin, and it is easy to calculate, such is the publicity with which all
sort of business is conducted, that the yearly income of several of them
cannot amount to less than thirty or forty thousand pounds sterling.

It is necessary to have lived for some time among the Turks, and to have
experienced the mildness and peacefulness of their character, and the
sobriety and regularity of their habits, to conceive it possible that
the inhabitants of a town like Aleppo, should continue to live for years
without any legal master, or administration of justice, protected only
by a miserable guard of police, and yet that the town should be a safe
and quiet residence. No disorders, or nightly tumults occur; and
instances of murder and robbery are extremely rare. If serious quarrels
sometimes happen, it is chiefly among the young Janissaries heated with
brandy and amorous passion, who after sunset fight their rivals at the
door of some prostitute. This precarious security is however enjoyed
only within the walls of the city; the whole neighbourhood of Aleppo is
infested by obscure tribes of Arab and Kurdine robbers, who through the
negligence of the Janissaries, acquire every day more insolence and more
confidence in the [p.655] success of their enterprises. Caravans of
forty or fifty camels have in the course of last winter been several
times attacked and plundered at five hundred yards from the city gate,
not a week passes without somebody being ill-treated and stripped in the
gardens near the town; and the robbers have even sometimes taken their
night's rest in one of the suburbs of the city, and there sold their
cheaply acquired booty. In the time of Ibrahim Pasha, the neighbourhood
of Aleppo to the distance of four or five hours, was kept in perfect
security from all hostile inroads of the Arabs, by the Pasha's cavalry
guard of Deli Bashi. But the Janissaries are very averse from exposing
themselves to danger; there is moreover no head among them to command,
no common purse to pay the necessary expences, nor any individual to
whose hands the public money might be trusted.

[p.656] APPENDIX. No. III. The Hadj Route from Damascus to Mekka.

IN later times the Hadj has been accustomed to leave Damascus on the
15th Shauwal. On the 26th or 27th it leaves Mezerib, and meets the new
moon at Remtha or Fedhein.

The Hadj route from Damascus to Mekka has changed three different times;
at first it passed on the eastern side of Djebel Haouran; the fear of
the Arabs made the Pashas prefer afterwards the route through the Ledja
and Boszra; about eighty years ago the present caravan route was

1st. day. The Emir el Hadj leaves the town about mid-day, and remains
the night at Kubbet el Hadj el Azeli [Arabic], an ancient mosque at a
quarter of an hour from Bab Ullah or the southern gate of Damascus. Near
the Kubbe lies the village of Kadem [Arabic].

2. At four hours is the village of Kessoue [Arabic], with a well
provided Bazar. One hour Khan Denoun [Arabic], situated on the river
Aawadj [Arabic], which comes from Hasbeia and empties itself into the
Ghouta of Damascus. The Khan is in ruins. At a quarter of an hour to the
S.E. from it lies the village of Khiara [Arabic].

3. Four hours from Denoun is the village Ghebaib [Arabic]; it has a
small Khan to the left of the Hadj route, to the right of it is a Birket
or reservoir of water, which is supplied by the river Shak-heb [Arabic],
whose source, Ain Shak-heb, with a village called Shak-heb, lies to the
N.W. of Ghebaib. In that source the barbers of Damascus collect leeches
[Arabic], The Shak-heb loses itself in the plain of the Haouran, after
having watered the gardens and Dhourra fields of Ghebaib. Three hours
farther the village Didy [Arabic]; one hour farther the ruins of a town
and castle called Es-szanamein [Arabic], where there are two towers
built of black stone, still remaining. The Fellahs have a few houses
there. An hour and a half farther a hill with a small Birket at its
foot, called El Fekia [Arabic], containing a source which loses itself
in the eastern plain. The Hadj passes the night sometimes here, and
sometimes at Szannamein.

4. At four hours from Szannamein is a hill called the hill of Dilly
[Arabic], with a ruined village at the top. At its foot flows a river
whose source is at Tel Serraia [Arabic], a hill two hours W. of Dilly,
likewise with a ruined village. The river works a mill near Dilly. In
winter and spring time the district of Dilly is a deep bog; at four
hours farther is a village [p.657] called Shemskein [Arabic], of
considerable size, and in a prosperous state. Three hours farther is
Tafs [Arabic], a village, ruined by the Wahabis in June 1810. One hour
farther is El Mezareib [Arabic], with a castle of middling size, and the
principal place in the Haouran next to Boszra.

5. At one hour from Mezareib is the Wady el Medan [Arabic], which comes
from the Djebel Haouran. In winter time the Hadjis were often
embarrassed by it. Djezzar Pasha ordered a bridge to be built over it.
The ground is a fine gravel; even in summer time, when the Wady is dry,
water is found every where underground by digging to the depth of two or
three ells. At three hours is the village El Remtha [Arabic], inhabited
by Fellahs, who have about ten cisterns of rain-water, and a small
Birket in the neighbourhood of the village. Most of them live in caverns
underground, which they arrange into habitations; the caverns are in a
white rock. The Sheikh of Remtha is generally a Santon, that dignity
being in the family of Ezzabi [Arabic], who possesses there a mosque of
the same name. On account of the sanctity of his family, the Pasha does
not take any Miri from the Sheikh Ezzabi. The Hadjis sometimes sleep at
Remtha, at other times they go as far as Fedhein [Arabic], also called
Mefrak [Arabic], a castle four hours from Remtha, where the Pasha keeps
a small garrison, under the orders of an Aga, or Odabashi. The Arabs of
the Belka are in the habit of depositing in the castle of Fedhein their
superfluous provisions of wheat and barley, which they retake the next
year, or sell to the Hadj, after having paid to the Aga a certain
retribution. From Fedhein runs a Wady E. which turns, after one day's
journey towards the S. and is then called Wady Botun. The Djebel Heish,
which continues its southerly course to the W. of the Hadj route,
changes its name in the latitude of Fedhein into that of Djebel Belka
[Arabic]. To the east of Fedhein the Djebel Haouran terminates, not far
to the North of Boszra. At one day's journey from where the mountain
finishes lies the village of Szalkhat [Arabic]. From Fedhein to the
south-east the plain is uncultivated, and without habitations.

6. The castle of Zerka [Arabic] is at one day's journey from Fedhein.
The Hadj rests here one day, during which the Hadjis amuse themselves
with hunting the wild boars which are found in great numbers on the
reedy banks of Wady Zerka. The castle is built in a low Wady which forms
in winter-time the bed of a river of considerable size, called Naher
Ezzerka [Arabic], whose waters collect to the south of Djebel Haouran.
In summer time the Wady to the E. of the castle has no water in it, but
to the west, where there are some sources, the river is never completely
dried up. It then enters the Djebel Belka and empties itself into the
Sheriat el Kebir. The Pasha of Damascus has an Aga in the castle, who is
always an Arab of the tribe of Ehteim [Arabic], part of whom live in
tents round the castle and sow the ground. They have plenty of grapes,
and sow Dhourra and wheat.

7. One day's journey is Kalaat el Belka [Arabic]. The name of Kalaat, or
castle, is given on the Hadj route, and over the greater part of the
desert, to any building walled in, and covered, and having, like a Khan,
a large court-yard in its enclosure. The walls are sometimes of stone,
but more commonly of earth, though even the latter are sufficient to
withstand an [p.658] attack of Arabs. The castle of Belka has a large
Birket of rain-water. Its commander or Odabashi is always chosen from
among the Janissaries of Damascus. It serves the Arabs of the Djebel
Belka as a depot for their provisions. To the west of the castle the
mountain of Belka terminates. The Arabs of Belka live in tents round the
castle, and are Felahein or cultivators of the ground.

8. One day's journey from the latter is the Kalaat el Katrane [Arabic],
whose Odabashi is likewise a Janissary from Damascus. It has a Birket of
rainwater. At one day's journey to the N.W. of it is the Kalaat Kerek
[Arabic], from whence the Arabs of Kerek bring wheat and barley for sale
to the Odabashi of Katrane, who sells it again to advantage to the

9. One day's journey Kalaat el Hassa, [Arabic], with a fine source,
whose water is drawn up by means of a large wheel. The castle is built
in the middle of a Wady running from E. to W.; in the winter a river
runs through the Wady, which is dry in summer; but at a quarter of an
hour W. from the castle, there are several springs of good water, which
are never dry. They collect into a river which empties itself into the
Jordan or Sheriat el Kebir at two days' journey from El Hassa. The
Fellahs who live round the castle in the Wady, in several small
villages, sow Dhourra and barley, those that live towards the western
mountains, sow for their masters the El Hadjaia Arabs [Arabic], and
receive from them half of the harvest in return. To the S.E. of El
Hassa, on the northern side of the Wady, about five hours distance from
El Hassa, is a high hill, called Shehak [Arabic], which is visible from
Masn and Akaba. At the same distance due east from El Hassa is a
watering place called Meshash el Rekban [Arabic], where water is found
on digging to a small depth. To the S. of Wady el Hassa, in the Djebel
Shera, is the town of Tafyle. South of it the Shera spreads into four or
five branches, and embraces the whole country as far as Djebel Tor. At
two days journey from Wady el Hassa, is a road leading along the summit
of the mountain towards Gaza; this road is called Akaba, or more
frequently Eddhohel [Arabic]; it is much frequented by the people of
Tafyle and the Arabs Toueiha.

10. Half a day's journey is Kalaat Aeneze [Arabic], with a Birket of

11. Another half day's journey Kalaat Maan [Arabic], where the Hadjis
remain for two days. Maan has a large well of water. The town consists
of about one hundred houses on both sides the Hadj route, which divides
the town; the eastern part is called Shamie, the western Maan. The
inhabitants cultivate figs, pomegranates, and plums in large quantities,
but do not sow their fields. They purchase wheat from Kerek, which their
women grind; and at the passage of the Hadj they sell the flour as well
as their fruits to the pilgrims; which, is their means of subsistence.
They purchase articles of dress and luxury from Ghaza and El Khalil.

12. A long day's journey to the castle of Akaba Esshamie [Arabic], or
the Syrian Akaba, so called in opposition to the Akaba el Masri or the
Egyptian Akaba which is on the eastern branch of the Red-sea, at one
day's journey from the Akaba Esshamie; here is a Birket of rain-water.
The Hadj road, as far as Akaba, is a complete desert on both sides, yet
not incapable [p.659] of culture. The mountain chain continues at about
ten hours to the west of the Hadj route. Akaba is in the hands of the
Arabs el Howeytat [Arabic], who are in communication with Cairo. From
the foot of the castle walls the Hadj descends a deep chasm, and it
takes half an hour to reach the plain below. The pilgrims fear that
passage, and repeat this prayer before they descend; "May the Almighty
God be merciful to them who descend into the belly of the dragon"
[Arabic]. The mountain consists of a red gray sand stone, which is used
at Damascus for whetstones. There are many places where the stones are
full of small holes. When the pilgrims reach the bottom of the descent
they fire off their pistols for the sake of the echo. The mountain sinks
gradually, and is lost at a great distance in the plain, which is very

13. Medawara [Arabic], one day's journey, a castle with a Birket of

14. Dzat Hadj [Arabic], a castle surrounded by a great number of wells,
which are easily found on digging two or three feet. It has likewise a
Birket of rainwater. At four hours from it is a descent, rendered
difficult by the deep sand. It is called El Araie [Arabic], or Halat
Ammar [Arabic]; it was here that in the time of Daher el Omar, Pasha of
Acre, and of Osman, Pasha of Damascus, the Arabs Beni Szakher plundered
the Hadj in the year 1170 of the Hedjra (1757), the only example of such
an event in the last century. From Halat Ammar the plain is no longer
sandy, but covered with a white earth as far as Tebouk. The vicinity of
Dzat Hadj is covered with palm trees: but the trees being male, they
bear no fruit, and remain very low. The inhabitants sell the wood to the

15. One day from Dzat Hadj is Tebouk [Arabic], a castle, with a village
of Felahein, of the tribe of Arabs Hammeide. There is a copious source
of water, and gardens of fig and pomegranate trees, where Badintshaus
(egg plant), onions, and ether vegetables are also cultivated. The
Fellahs collect in the neighbouring desert the herb Beiteran (a species
of milfoil), which the Hadjis buy up, and bring to Damascus. The castle
is also surrounded by shrubs with long spines called Mehdab, which the
Fellahs sell to the Hadj as food for the camels, and likewise two other
herbs called Nassi and Muassal. They thus earn their livelihood. If the
Hadj arrives in the neighbourhood of Tebouk at night, the bones of dead
camels indicate the way to the castle. The Hadj rests here one day: and
on its return is met by the Djerde, or provision caravan, headed by the
Pasha of Tripoli, by which all the Syrian pilgrims, receive
refreshments, sent by their families.

16. Akhdhar [Arabic], a castle with a Birket of rainwater, upon a small
ascent. Two or three hundred years ago, the Hadj went to the E. of the
present route, and it is even now called the eastern road.

17. El Moadham [Arabic], a very long day's march.

[p.660]18. Dar el Hamra [Arabic].

19. Medayn Szaleh [Arabic], with a number of habitations hewn in the
rock; and many sculptured figures of men and animals.

20. El Olla [Arabic], a village of about two hundred and fifty houses,
with a rivulet and agreeable gardens of fruit trees. Its inhabitants are
all of barbaresque origin.

21. Biar el Ghanam [Arabic], with many wells of fresh water.

22. Byr Zemerrod [Arabic], a large well.

23. Byr Djedeyde [Arabic].

24. Hedye, where the Hadj remains two days. It is a Ghadeir, or low Wady
coming from Khaibar, which is four hours distant. The people of the
caravan often go thither to buy fresh provisions.

25. El Fahletein [Arabic]; apes, and what the Arabs call tigers, are met
with here. An ancient building of black stones is near it; it is called
Stabel Antar.

26. Biar Naszeif [Arabic], a number of wells in the sandy ground, which
are every year newly digged up, because the wind covers them immediately
after the caravan's departure. El Fahletein is the last castle. At all
these stations small castles have been built, close to the basons in
which the rain water is collected. If there are any wells, they are
within the walls of the castle, and the water is drawn up by camels in
order to fill the basons, on the arrival of the Hadj. The pilgrims, in
order to lighten their loads, generally leave in every castle a small
parcel of provisions, which they take on their return. These castles are
garrisoned by four or five men of Damascus, who remain shut up there the
whole year until they are relieved by the passage of the caravan. It
often happens that only one man is left alive of the number; the others
having been either killed by the Arabs, or having died from the effects
of the confinement, for the fear of the Arabs seldom permits them to
issue out of the castle. Each of these castles has a Meghaffer [Arabic],
or protector, among the neighbouring Arab tribes, to whom the Pasha pays
a certain tribute. The office of these guardians, who are usually
inhabitants of the Meidhan or suburb of Damascus, is very lucrative, on
account of the presents and small contributions paid to them by the
pilgrims. One of them has been known to remain for twenty-three years at
Fahletein. Ibn Balousa, a man of the Meidhan of Damascus, is looked upon
as the chief of all these castles, and resides generally at El Hassa.

27. El Medine, where the Hadj remains three days. There are two
different roads leading from Medine to Mekke, the eastern and western.
The principal men of the Arab tribes of both routes meet the Pasha at
Medine, to learn which road the Hadj intends to take, and to treat with
him about the passage duty. On the eastern route [Arabic], the first
station from Medine is:

28. (1) El Khona [Arabic], a deep Wady with rain water.

29. (2) El Dereybe [Arabic], a village with walls.

30. (3) Sefyne [Arabic], a village.

31. (4) El Kobab [Arabic], an assemblage of wells.


32. (5) Biar el Hedjar [Arabic], wells.

33. (6) Set Zebeyde [Arabic], a ruined village with a large Birket.

34. (7) El Makhrouka [Arabic], wells.

35. (8) Wady Leimoun [Arabic], a village with a rivulet.

36 (9) Byr el Baghle [Arabic], wells.

37.(10) Mekke [Arabic].

The western road, or as it is likewise called, the great road [Arabic]
is the more usual, but Djezzar always used to take the other. The first
station from Medine on this route is:

28. (1) Biar Aly [Arabic], a village with wells and gardens.

29. (2) El Shohada [Arabic], a spot in the plain, without any water.

30. (3) Djedeyde [Arabic], and at a short distance before it the well
called Byr Dzat el Aalem [Arabic]. Djedeyde is a considerable village on
the sides of a rivulet. The Sheikh of the western route lives here
[Arabic]. The year before the last Hadj caravan effected its passage,
Abdullah Pasha of Damascus was attacked in a Wady near Djedeyde by the
armed population of that village, who were Wahabi. They routed his army,
and obliged him to pay forty thousand dollars for his passage. From
Djedeyde the route leads through the villages of Esszafra [Arabic], and
El Hamra [Arabic], to the second station, which is:

31. (4) The famous Beder [Arabic], where Mohammed laid the foundation of
his power by his victory over his combined enemies. It contains upwards
of five hundred houses, with a rivulet. The Egyptian pilgrim caravan
generally meets here the Syrian.

32. (5) El Kaa [Arabic], a spot in the desert without any water. From
thence a long march to

33. (6) El Akdyd [Arabic], which is twenty-eight hours distant from

34. (7) Rabagh [Arabic], a village. Between Rabagh and Khalysz, the Red
sea is seen from the Hadj route. There are Wadys coming from the Red

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