A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt and Italy by Ida Pfeiffer

This ebook was prepared by Les Bowler, St. Ives, Dorset. VISIT TO THE HOLY LAND, EGYPT, AND ITALY By Madame Ida Pfeiffer. Translated from the German by H. W. Dulcken. PREFACE BY THE VIENNA PUBLISHER For two centuries the princes and nations of the West were accustomed to wander towards the land of the morning.
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This ebook was prepared by Les Bowler, St. Ives, Dorset.


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By Madame Ida Pfeiffer.

Translated from the German by H. W. Dulcken.

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For two centuries the princes and nations of the West were accustomed to wander towards the land of the morning. In vain was the noblest blood poured forth in streams in the effort to wrest the country of our heavenly Teacher from the grasp of the infidel; and though the Christian Europe of the present day forbears to renew a struggle which, considering the strength that has been gradually increasing for the last six hundred years, might prove an easy one, we cannot wonder that millions of the votaries of Christianity should cherish an earnest longing to wander in the paths the Redeemer has trod, and to view with their own eyes the traces of the Saviour’s progress from the cradle to the grave.

In the generality of cases, however, the hardships, dangers, and difficulties of such a journey were sufficient to overthrow the bravest resolution; and thus the wishes of the majority remained unfulfilled.

Few _men_ were found to possess the degree of strength and endurance requisite for the carrying out of such an undertaking; but that a delicate lady of the higher classes, a native of Vienna, should have the heroism to do what thousands of men failed to achieve, seemed almost incredible.

In her earliest youth she earnestly desired to perform this journey; descriptions of the Holy Land were perused by her with peculiar interest, and a book of Eastern travel had more charms for her than the most glowing accounts of Paris or London.

It was not, however, until our Authoress had reached a riper age, and had finished the education of her sons, that she succeeded in carrying into effect the ardent aspiration of her youth.

On the 2d of March, 1842, she commenced her journey alone, without companions, but fully prepared to bear every ill, to bid defiance to every danger, and to combat every difficulty. That this undertaking should have succeeded may almost be looked upon as a wonder.

Far from desiring publicity, she merely kept a diary, in order to retain the recollections of her tour during her later life, and to impart to her nearest relatives the story of her fortunes. Every evening, though often greatly exhausted with heat, thirst, and the hardships of travel, she never failed to make notes in pencil of the occurrences of the day, frequently using a sand-mound or the back of a camel as a table, while the other members of the caravan lay stretched around her, completely tired out.

It was in the house of my friend Halm that I first heard of this remarkable woman, at a time when she had not yet completed her journey; and every subsequent account of Madame Pfeiffer increased my desire to make her acquaintance.

In manners and appearance I found her to resemble many other women who have distinguished themselves by fortitude, firmness of soul, and magnanimity; and who are in private life the most simple and unaffected, the most modest, and consequently also the most agreeable of beings.

My request to read our Authoress’s journal was granted with some timidity; and I am ready to assert that seldom has a book so irresistibly attracted me, or so completely fixed my attention from beginning to end, as this.

The simple and unadorned relation of facts, the candour, combined with strong sound sense, which appear throughout, might put to shame the bombastic striving after originality of many a modern author. The scheme and execution of the work are complete and agreeable; strict truth shines forth from every page, and no one can doubt but that so pure and noble a mind must see things in a right point of view. This circumstance is sufficient in itself to raise the book above many descriptions of travel to the Holy Land, whose authors, trusting to the fact that their assertions could not easily be disproved, have indulged their fancy, seeking to impart interest to their works by the relation of imaginary dangers, and by exaggeration of every kind, for the sake of gaining praise and admiration. Many such men might blush with shame on reading this journal of a simple, truth-loving woman.

After much trouble I succeeded in persuading the Authoress to allow her journal to appear in print.

My efforts were called forth by the desire to furnish the reading public, and particularly the female portion, with a very interesting and attractive, and at the same time a strictly authentic picture of the Holy Land, and of Madame Pfeiffer’s entire journey.


CHAPTER I. Departure from Vienna–Scene on board the steamer– Hainburg–Presburg–The “Coronation-mount”–Pesth–Ofen–The steamer Galata–Mohacs–The fortress Peterwardein–Discomfort and bad management on board the steamer–Semlin–Belgrade–Pancsova– Austrian soldiers–The rock Babakay–Drenkova–Falls of Danube–Alt- Orsova–The “Iron Gate”–Cattle-breeding–Callafat–Vexatious delay

CHAPTER II. Giurgewo–Interior of the town–Braila–Sanitary precautions–Galatz–Scarcity of good water–Ridiculous fear of the plague–The steamer Ferdinand–Entrance into the Black Sea–Stormy weather and sea-sickness–Arrival at Constantinople–Picturesque appearance of the city–Mosques–The dancing Dervishes–The Sultan and his barge–Pera–The great and little Campo–Wild dogs–Dirty state of the streets–Preparations in case of fire

CHAPTER III. Scutari–Kaiks–The howling Dervishes–The Achmaidon, or place of arrows–The tower in Galata–The bazaar at Constantinople–Mosques–Slave-market–The old Serail–The Hippodrome–Coffee-houses–Story-tellers–Excursion to Ejub–Houses, theatres, and carriages

CHAPTER IV. Walks and drives of the townspeople–The “Sweet Waters”–Chalcedonia–Baluklid–The great and little Campo–Feasts in Constantinople–Anniversary of Mahomet’s death–Easter holydays of the Greeks–Gladiators and wrestlers–Excursion to Brussa–Olive- trees–Mosques at Brussa–Stone bridge–Wild dogs–Baths and mineral springs–Return to Constantinople

CHAPTER V. Contradictory reports–Departure from Constantinople on board the Archduke John–Scene on the steamer–Galipoli–The Dardanelles–Tschenekalesi and Kilidil Bahar–The field of Troy– Tenedos–Smyrna–Halizar–The date-palm–Burnaba–The Acropolis– Female beauty–Rhodes–Strong fortifications–Deserted appearance of the town–Cyprus

CHAPTER VI. Arrival at Beyrout–Fellahs–Backsheesh– Uncomfortable quarters–Saida–Tyre–St. Jean d’Acre–Caesarea– Excursion among the ruins–Jaffa–An Eastern family–The Indian fig- tree–An Oriental dinner–Costume of the women of Jaffa–Oppressive heat–Gnats–Ramla–Syrian convents–Bedouins and Arabs–Kariet el Areb, or Emmaus–The scheikh–Arrival at Jerusalem

CHAPTER VII. Residence at Jerusalem–Catholic church–The “Nuova Casa”–Via dolorosa–Pilate’s house–The Mosque Omar–Herod’s house– Church of the Holy Sepulchre–Disturbances at the Greek Easter feasts–Knights of the Holy Sepulchre–Mount of Olives–Adventure among the ruins–Mount of Offence–Valley of Jehosaphat–Siloam– Mount Sion–Jeremiah’s Grotto–Graves

CHAPTER VIII. Bethlehem–Rachel’s grave–Convent at Bethlehem– Beggars–Grotto of the Nativity–Solomon’s cisterns–St. John’s– Franciscan church at Jerusalem–Mourning women–Eastern weddings– Mish-mish–Excursion to the Jordan and the Dead Sea–Wilderness near Jerusalem–Convent of St. Saba

CHAPTER IX. Ride through the wilderness to the Dead Sea–The Dead Sea–The river Jordan–Horde of Bedouins–Arab horses–The Sultan’s well–Bivouac in the open air–Return to Jerusalem– Bethany–Departure from Jerusalem–Jacob’s grave–Nablus or Sichem– Sebasta–Costume of Samaritan woman–Plain of Esdralon–Sagun

CHAPTER X. Arrival at Nazareth–Franciscan convent–Tabarith– Mount Tabor–Lake of Gennesareth–Baths–Mount Carmel–Grotto of the prophet Elijah–Acre–The pacha’s harem–Oriental women–Their listlessness and ignorance–Sur or Tyre

CHAPTER XI. River Mishmir–Saida–Arnauts–Desert-path– Residence of Lady Hester Stanhope–Beyrout–The consul’s– Uncomfortable quarters–Sickness–The Bazaar–Vexatious delays– Departure from Beyrout–Beautiful views–Syrian costumes–Damascus– Aspect of the city–House of the consul

CHAPTER XII. The bazaar at Damascus–The khan–Grotto of St. Paul–Fanaticism of the inhabitants–Departure from Damascus–The desert–Military escort–Heliopolis or Balbeck–Stupendous ruins– Continuation of our voyage through the desert–The plague–The Lebanon range–Cedar-trees–Druses and Maronites–Importunate beggars–Thievish propensities of the Arabs

CHAPTER XIII. The Lebanon–Druses and Maronites–Illness of Herr Sattler–Djebel or Byblus–Rocky passes–Dog’s-river–Return to Beyrout–Sickness–Departure for Alexandria–Roguery of the captain– Disagreeables on board–Limasol–Alarm of pirates–Cowardice of the crew–Arrival at Alexandria

CHAPTER XIV. Alexandria–Keeping quarantine–Want of arrangement in the quarantine-house–Bad water–Fumigating of the rooms– Release–Aspect of the city–Departure by boat for Atfe–Mehemet Ali–Arrival at Atfe–Excellence of the Nile water–Good-nature of the Arab women–The Delta of the Nile–The Libyan desert–The pyramids–Arrival at Cairo

CHAPTER XV. Cairo–Quarrel with the captain–Rapacity of the beggars–The custom-house–The consulate–Aspect of Cairo–Narrow and crowded streets–Costumes–The mad-house–Disgusting exhibition– Joseph’s well–Palace of Mehemet Ali–Dates–Mosques at Cairo– Excursion to the pyramids of Gizeh–Gizeh–Eggs hatched by artificial heat–Ascent of the pyramids–The sphynx–Return to Cairo

CHAPTER XVI. Christian churches at Cairo–The Esbekie-square– Theatre–Howling dervishes–Mashdalansher, the birthday of Mahomet– Procession and religious ceremony–Shubra–Excursion through the desert to Suez–Hardships of the journey–Scenes in the desert–The camel–Caravans–Mirage–The Red Sea–Suez–Bedouin Camp–Quarrel with the camel-driver–Departure for Alexandria

CHAPTER XVII. Return to Alexandria–Egyptian burials–Catacombs of Alexandria–Viceroy’s palace–Departure from Alexandria–The steamer Eurotas–Candia–Syra–Paros and Antiparos–The Morea–Fire on board–Malta–Quarantine–St. Augustine’s church–Clergymen– Beggars–Costumes–Soldiers–Civita Vecchia

CHAPTER XVIII. The steamer Hercules–Syracuse–Neapolis–Ruins– Catanea–Convent of St. Nicholas–Messina–The Duke of Calabria– Palermo–The royal palace–Church of St. Theresa–St. Ignazio– Catacombs of the Augustine convent–Skeletons–Olivuzza–Royal villa “Favorite”–St. Rosalia–Brutality of the Italian mob–Luxuriant vegetation–Arrival at Naples

CHAPTER XIX. Sojourn at Naples–Sickness–Laziness of the people– Royal palace–Rotunda–Strada Chiaga and Toledo–St. Carlo Theatre– Largo del Castello–Medina Square–Marionettes–St. Jesu Nuovo–St. Jesu Maggiore–St. Maria di Piedigrotta–Public gardens–Academy “degli Studii”–Cathedral of St. Januarius–St. Jeronimi–St. Paula Maggiore–St. Chiara–Baths of Nero–Solfatara–Grotto “del Cane”– Resina–Ascent of Vesuvius–Caserta

CHAPTER XX. Caserta–Costume of the peasants–Rome–Piazza del Popolo–Dogana–St. Peter’s–Palaces–Borghese, Barberini, Colonna, etc.–Churches–Ancient Rome–The Colliseum–Departure for Florence- Bad weather–Picturesque scenery–Siena–Florence–Cathedral and palaces–Departure from Florence–Bologna–Ferrara–Conclusion




Departure from Vienna–Scene on board the steamer–Hainburg– Presburg–The “Coronation-mount”–Pesth–Ofen–The steamer Galata– Mohacs–The fortress Peterwardein–Discomfort and bad management on board the steamer–Semlin–Belgrade–Pancsova–Austrian soldiers– The rock Babakay–Drenkova–Falls of the Danube–Alt-Orsova–The “Iron Gate”–Cattle-breeding–Callafat–Vexatious delay.

I had for years cherished the wish to undertake a journey to the Holy Land; years are, indeed, required to familiarise one with the idea of so hazardous an enterprise. When, therefore, my domestic arrangements at length admitted of my absence for at least a year, my chief employment was to prepare myself for this journey. I read many works bearing on the subject, and was moreover fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of a gentleman who had travelled in the Holy Land some years before. I was thus enabled to gain much oral information and advice respecting the means of prosecuting my dangerous pilgrimage.

My friends and relations attempted in vain to turn me from my purpose by painting, in the most glowing colours, all the dangers and difficulties which await the traveller in those regions. “Men,” they said, “were obliged gravely to consider if they had physical strength to endure the fatigues of such a journey, and strength of mind bravely to face the dangers of the plague, the climate, the attacks of insects, bad diet, etc. And to think of a woman’s venturing alone, without protection of any kind, into the wide world, across sea and mountain and plain,–it was quite preposterous.” This was the opinion of my friends.

I had nothing to advance in opposition to all this but my firm unchanging determination. My trust in Providence gave me calmness and strength to set my house in every respect in order. I made my will, and arranged all my worldly affairs in such a manner that, in the case of my death (an event which I considered more probable than my safe return), my family should find every thing perfectly arranged.

And thus, on the 22d of March 1842, I commenced my journey from Vienna.

At one o’clock in the afternoon I drove to the Kaisermuhlen (Emperor’s Mills), from which place the steamboats start for Pesth. I was joyfully surprised by the presence of several of my relations and friends, who wished to say farewell once more. The parting was certainly most bitter, for the thought involuntarily obtruded itself, “Should we ever meet again in this world?”

Our mournful meditations were in some degree disturbed by a loud dispute on board the vessel. At the request of a gentleman present, one of the passengers was compelled, instead of flying, as he had intended, with bag and baggage to Hungary, to return to Vienna in company of the police. It appeared he owed the gentleman 1300 florins, and had wished to abscond, but was luckily overtaken before the departure of the boat. This affair was hardly concluded when the bell rang, the wheels began to revolve, and too soon, alas, my dear ones were out of sight!

I had but few fellow-passengers. The weather was indeed fine and mild; but the season was not far enough advanced to lure travellers into the wide world, excepting men of business, and those who had cosmopolitan ideas, like myself. Most of those on board were going only to Presburg, or at farthest to Pesth. The captain having mentioned that a woman was on board who intended travelling to Constantinople, I was immediately surrounded by curious gazers. A gentleman who was bound to the same port stepped forward, and offered his services in case I should ever stand in need of them; he afterwards frequently took me under his protection.

The fine mild weather changed to cold and wind as we got fairly out into the great Danube. I wrapped myself in my cloak, and remained on deck, in order to see the scenery between Vienna and Presburg, which, no doubt, appears lovely enough when nature is clad in the garment of spring; but now I only saw leafless trees and fallow ground–a dreary picture of winter.

Hainburg with its old castle on a rock, Theben with its remarkable fortress, and farther on the large free city of Presburg, have all a striking appearance.

In three hours’ time we reached Presburg, and landed in the neighbourhood of the Coronation-hill, an artificial mound, on which the king must stand in his royal robes, and brandish his sword towards the four quarters of the heavens, as a token that he is ready to defend his kingdom against all enemies, from whatever direction they may approach. Not far from this hill is situate the handsome inn called the “Two Green Trees,” where the charges are as high, if not higher, than in Vienna. Until we have passed Pesth, passengers going down the river are not allowed to remain on board through the night.

March 23d.

This morning we continued our journey at six o’clock. Immediately below Presburg the Danube divides into two arms, forming the fertile island of Schutt, which is about forty-six miles long and twenty- eight in breadth. Till we reach Gran the scenery is monotonous enough, but here it improves. Beautiful hills and several mountains surround the place, imparting a charm of variety to the landscape.

In the evening, at about seven o’clock, we arrived at Pesth. Unfortunately it was already quite dark. The magnificent houses, or rather palaces, skirting the left bank of the Danube, and the celebrated ancient fortress and town of Ofen on the right, form a splendid spectacle, and invite the traveller to a longer sojourn. As I had passed some days at Pesth several years before, I now only stayed there for one night.

As the traveller must change steamers here, it behoves him to keep a careful eye upon the luggage he has not delivered up at the office in Vienna.

I put up at the “Hunting-horn,” a fine hotel, but ridiculously expensive. A little back room cost me 45 kreutzers (about one shilling and eightpence) for one night.

The whole day I had felt exceedingly unwell. A violent headache, accompanied by nausea and fever, made me fear the approach of a fit of illness which would interrupt my journey. These symptoms were probably a consequence of the painful excitement of parting with my friends, added to the change of air. With some difficulty I gained my modest chamber, and immediately went to bed. My good constitution was luckily proof against the attacks of all enemies, and waking the next morning, on

March 24th,

in tolerable health, I betook myself on board our new steamboat the Galata, of sixty-horse power: this boat did not, however, appear to me so tidy and neat as the Marianna, in which we had proceeded from Vienna to Pesth. Our journey was a rapid one; at ten o’clock in the morning we were already at Feldvar, a place which seems at a distance to be of some magnitude, but which melts away like a soap- bubble on a nearer approach. By two o’clock we had reached Paks; here, as at all other places of note, we stopped for a quarter of an hour. A boat rows off from the shore, bringing and fetching back passengers with such marvellous speed, that you have scarcely finished the sentence you are saying to your neighbour before he has vanished. There is no time even to say farewell.

At about eight o’clock in the evening we reached the market-town of Mohacs, celebrated as the scene of two battles. The fortress here is used as a prison for criminals. We could distinguish nothing either of the fortress or the town. It was already night when we arrived, and at two o’clock in the morning of

March 25th

we weighed anchor. I was assured, however, that I had lost nothing by this haste.

Some hours afterwards, our ship suddenly struck with so severe a shock, that all hastened on deck to see what was the matter. Our steersman, who had most probably been more asleep than awake, had given the ship an unskilful turn, in consequence of which, one of the paddles was entangled with some trunks of trees projecting above the surface of the water. The sailors hurried into the boats, the engine was backed, and after much difficulty we were once more afloat.

Stopping for a few moments at Dalina and Berkara, we passed the beautiful ruin of Count Palffy’s castle at about two o’clock. The castle of Illok, situate on a hill, and belonging to Prince Odescalchi, presents a still more picturesque appearance.

At about four o’clock we landed near the little free town of Neusatz, opposite the celebrated fortress of Peterwardein, the outworks of which extend over a tongue of land stretching far out into the Danube. Of the little free town of Neusatz we could not see much, hidden as it is by hills which at this point confine the bed of the river. The Danube is here crossed by a bridge of boats, and this place also forms the military boundary of Austria. The surrounding landscape appeared sufficiently picturesque; the little town of Karlowitz, lying at a short distance from the shore, among hills covered with vineyards, has a peculiarly good effect. Farther on, however, as far as Semlin, the scenery is rather monotonous. Here the Danube already spreads itself out to a vast breadth, resembling rather a lake than a river.

At nine o’clock at night we reached the city of Semlin, in the vicinity of which we halted. Semlin is a fortified place, situated at the junction of the Save with the Danube; it contains 13,000 inhabitants, and is the last Austrian town on the right bank of the Danube.

On approaching Semlin, a few small cannons were fired off on board our boat. Unfortunately the steward did not receive notice of this event early enough to allow of his opening the windows, consequently one was shattered: this was a serious misfortune for us, as the temperature had sunk to zero, and all the landscape around was covered with snow. Before leaving Vienna, the cabin stove had been banished from its place, as the sun had sent forth its mild beams for a few days, and a continuance of the warm weather was rashly relied on. On the whole, I would not advise any traveller to take a second-class berth on board a steamer belonging to the Viennese company. A greater want of order than we find in these vessels could scarcely be met with. The traveller whose funds will not permit of his paying first-class fare will do better to content himself with a third-class, i.e. a deck-passage, particularly if he purposes journeying no farther than Mohacs. If the weather is fine, it is more agreeable to remain on deck, watching the panorama of the Danube as it glides past. Should the day be unfavourable, the traveller can go, without ceremony, into the second-class cabin, for no one makes a distinction between the second and third-class places. During the daytime, at any rate, it is quite as agreeable to remain on deck as to venture below. Travelling down the river from Pesth, the women are compelled to pass the night in the same cabin with the men; an arrangement as uncomfortable as it is indecorous. I afterwards had some experience of steamers belonging to the Austrian Lloyds, on whose vessels I always found a proper separation of the two sexes, and a due regard for the comfort of second-class passengers.

The cold was so severe, that we would gladly have closed every window, but for the close atmosphere engendered by the number of poor people, mostly Jews, who form the larger portion of passengers on board a Hungarian steamer. When the weather is unfavourable, these men are accustomed to hasten from their third-class places to those of the second class, where their presence renders it immediately desirable to open every outlet for purposes of ventilation. What the traveller has to endure on board these vessels would scarcely be believed. Uncushioned benches serve for seats by day and for beds by night. A separation of the two sexes is nowhere attempted, not even on board the Ferdinand, in which you enter the Black Sea, and are exposed to the merciless attacks of sea-sickness.

Considering the high rate of passage-money demanded on this journey, I really think the traveller might expect better accommodation. The first-class to Constantinople costs 120 florins, {23} the second 85 florins, exclusive of provisions, and without reckoning the hotel expenses at Presburg.

March 26th.

Last night was not a period of rest, but of noise for us travellers. Not one of us could close his eyes.

Semlin is a place of considerable importance as a commercial town: above 180 cwt. of goods were unloaded here from our vessel; and in exchange we took on board coals, wood, and wares of various descriptions. The damaged wheel, too, had to be repaired; and every thing was done with so much crashing and noise, that we almost imagined the whole steamer was coming to pieces. Added to this, the cold wind drove in continually through the broken pane, and made the place a real purgatory to us. At length, at six o’clock in the morning, we got afloat once more. One advantage, however, resulted from this fortuitous stoppage: we had a very good view of Belgrade, a town of 20,000 inhabitants, situate opposite to Semlin. It is the first Turkish fortified city in Servia.

The aspect of Belgrade is exceedingly beautiful. The fortifications extend upwards on a rock from the Danube in the form of steps. The city itself, with its graceful minarets, lies half a mile farther inland. Here I saw the first mosques and minarets. The mosques, as far as I could observe from the steamer, are built in a circular form, not very high, and surmounted by a cupola flanked by one or two minarets, a kind of high round pillar. The loftiest among these buildings is the palace of Prince Milosch. From this point our voyage becomes very interesting, presenting a rich and varied succession of delightful landscape-views. The river is hemmed in on either side by mountains, until it spreads itself forth free and unrestrained, in the neighbourhood of Pancsova, to a breadth of 800 fathoms.

Pancsova, on the left bank of the Danube, in the territory of Banata, is a military station.

As the stoppages are only for a few moments, little opportunity is afforded of seeing the interior of the towns, or of visiting most of the places at which we touch. At such times all is hurry and confusion; suddenly the bell rings, the planks are withdrawn, and the unlucky stranger who has loitered on board for a few moments is obliged to proceed with us to the next station.

At Neusatz this happened to a servant, in consequence of his carrying his master’s luggage into the cabin instead of merely throwing it down on the deck. The poor man was conveyed on to Semlin, and had to travel on foot for a day and a half to regain his home. A very pleasant journey of two hours from Pancsova brought us to the Turkish fortress Semendria, the situation of which is truly beautiful. The numerous angles of its walls and towers, built in the Moorish style, impart to this place a peculiar charm. As a rule, the Turkish fortresses are remarkable for picturesque effect.

But the villages, particularly those on the Servian shore, had the same poverty-stricken look I had frequently noticed in Galicia. Wretched clay huts, thatched with straw, lay scattered around; and far and wide not a tree or a shrub appeared to rejoice the eye of the traveller or of the sojourner in these parts, under the shade of which the poor peasant might recruit his weary frame, while it would conceal from the eye of the traveller, in some degree, the poverty and nakedness of habitations on which no feeling mind can gaze without emotions of pity.

The left bank of the river belongs to Hungary, and is called the “Banat;” it presents an appearance somewhat less desolate. Much, however, remains to be desired; and the poverty that reigns around is here more to be wondered at, from the fact that this strip of land is so rich in the productions of nature as to have obtained the name of the “Garner of Hungary.”

On the Austrian side of the Danube sentries are posted at every two or three hundred paces–an arrangement which has been imitated by the governments on the left bank, and is carried out to the point where the river empties itself into the Black Sea.

It would, however, be erroneous to suppose that these soldiers mount guard in their uniforms. They take up their positions, for a week at a time, in their wretched tattered garments; frequently they are barefoot, and their huts look like stables. I entered some of these huts to view the internal arrangements. They could scarcely have been more simple. In one corner I found a hearth; in another, an apology for a stove, clumsily fashioned out of clay. An unsightly hole in the wall, stopped with paper instead of glass, forms the window; the furniture is comprised in a single wooden bench. Whatever the inhabitant requires in the way of provisions he must bring with him; for this he is allowed by the government to cultivate the land.

Throughout the Russian territory the soldiers at least wear uniform.

Our journey becomes more and more charming. Frequently the mighty river rushes foaming and roaring past the rocks, which seem scarcely to allow it a passage; at other times it glides serenely onwards. At every turn we behold new beauties, and scarcely know on which side to turn our eager eyes. Meanwhile the ship sails swiftly on, gliding majestically through wildly romantic scenery.

At one o’clock in the afternoon we reached Pasiest, where there is nothing to be seen but a large store of coals for the steamers and a few huts. Of the town itself nothing can be distinguished.

A couple of miles below Pasiest we enjoy an imposing spectacle. It is the solitary rock Babakay, rising from the midst of the waters. Together with the beautiful ruin Golumbacz, on the Servian shore, it forms a magnificent view.

March 27th.

How unfortunate it is that all advantages are so seldom found combined! We are now travelling amid glorious scenery, which we hoped should recompense us for the manifold discomforts we have hitherto endured; but the weather is unpropitious. The driving snow sends us all into the cabin. The Danube is so fiercely agitated by the stormy wind, that it rises into waves like a sea. We are suffering lamentably from cold; unable to warm ourselves, we stand gazing ruefully at the place where the stove stood–once upon a time.

At four o’clock we reached Drenkova without accident, but completely benumbed: we hurried into the inn built by the steamboat company, where we found capital fare, a warm room, and tolerably comfortable beds. This was the first place we had reached since leaving Pesth at which we could thoroughly warm and refresh ourselves.

At Drenkova itself there is nothing to be seen but the inn just mentioned and a barrack for soldiers. We were here shewn the vessel which was wrecked, with passengers on board, in 1839, in a journey up the Danube. Eight persons who happened to be in the cabin lost their lives, and those only who were on deck were saved.

March 28th.

Early in the morning we embarked on board the Tunte, a vessel furnished with a cabin. The bed of the Danube is here more and more hemmed in by mountains and rocks, so that in some places it is not above eighty fathoms broad, and glides with redoubled swiftness towards its goal, the Pontus Euxinus or Black Sea.

On account of the falls which it is necessary to pass, between Drenkova and Fetislav, the steamer must be changed for a small sailing vessel. The voyage down the stream could indeed be accomplished without danger, but the return would be attended with many difficulties. The steamers, therefore, remain behind at Drenkova, and passengers are conveyed down the river in barks, and _upwards_ (since the accident of 1839) in good commodious carriages.

To-day the cold was quite as severe as it had been yesterday so that but for the politeness of a fellow-passenger, who lent me his bunda (great Hungarian fur), I should have been compelled to remain in the little cabin, and should thus have missed the most interesting points of the Danube. As it was, however, I wrapped myself from head to foot in the fur cloak, took my seat on a bench outside the cabin, and had full leisure to store my memory with a succession of lovely scenery, presenting almost the appearance of a series of lake views, which continued equally picturesque until we had almost reached Alt-Orsova.

A couple of miles below Drenkova, near Islas, the sailors suddenly cried, “The first fall!” I looked up in a fever of expectation. The water was rising in small waves, the stream ran somewhat faster, and a slight rushing sound was to be heard. If I had not been told that the Danube forms a waterfall here, I should certainly never have suspected it to be the case. Between Lenz and Krems I did not find either the rocks or the power of the stream much more formidable. We had, however, a high tide, a circumstance which diminishes both the danger of the journey and the sublimity of the view. The numerous rocky points, peering threateningly forth at low tide, among which the steersman must pick his way with great care, were all hidden from our sight. We glided safely over them, and in about twenty minutes had left the first fall behind us. The two succeeding falls are less considerable.

On the Austro-Wallachian side a road extends over a distance of fourteen to sixteen miles, frequently strengthened with masonry, and at some points hewn out of the solid rock. In the midst of this road, on a high wall of rock, we see the celebrated “Veteran Cave,” one of the most impregnable points on the banks of the Danube. It is surrounded by redoubts, and is admirably calculated to command the passage of the river. This cave is said to be sufficiently spacious to contain 500 men. So far back as the time of the Romans it was already used as a point of defence for the Danube. Some five miles below it we notice the “Trajan’s Tablet,” hewn out of a protruding rock.

On the Turco-Servian side the masses of rock jut out so far into the stream, that no room is left for a footway. Here the famous Trajan’s Road once existed. No traces of this work remain, save that the traveller notices, for fifteen or twenty miles, holes cut here and there in the rock. In these holes strong trunks of trees were fastened; these supported the planks of which the road is said to have been formed.

At eleven in the forenoon we reached Alt-Orsova, the last Austrian town on the military frontier of Banata or Wallachia. We were obliged to remain here for half a day.

The town has rather a pretty effect, being composed mostly of new houses. The house belonging to the steamboat company is particularly remarkable. It is not, however, devoted to the accommodation of travellers, as at Drenkova. Here, as at Presburg and Pesth, each passenger is required to pay for his night’s expenses,–an arrangement which I could not help finding somewhat strange, inasmuch as every passenger is made to pay twice; namely, for his place on the steamer and for his room in the inn.

It was Sunday when we arrived, and I saw many people proceeding to church. The peasants are dressed tolerably neatly and well. Both men and women wear long garments of blue cloth. The women have on their heads large handkerchiefs of white linen, which hang down their backs, and on their feet stout boots; the men wear round felt hats, and sandals made of the bark of trees.

March 29th.

After having completely refreshed ourselves at the good inn called the “Golden Stag,” we this morning embarked on a new craft, the Saturnus, which is only covered in overhead, and is open on all sides.

So soon as a traveller has stepped upon this vessel he is looked upon as unclean, and may not go on shore without keeping quarantine: an officer accompanied us as far as Galatz.

Immediately below Alt-Orsova we entirely quit the Austrian territory.

We are now brought nearer every moment to the most dangerous part of the river, the “Iron Gate,” called by the Turks Demir kaju. Half an hour before we reached the spot, the rushing sound of the water announced the perilous proximity. Numerous reefs of rocks here traverse the stream, and the current runs eddying among them.

We passed this dangerous place in about fifteen minutes. Here, at the Iron Gate, the high tide befriended us, as it did at the former falls.

I found these falls, and indeed almost every thing we passed, far below the anticipations I had formed from reading descriptions, frequently of great poetic beauty. I wish to represent every thing as I found it, as it appeared before my eyes; without adornment indeed, but truly.

After passing the Iron Gate we come to a village, in the neighbourhood of which some fragments of the Trajan’s Bridge can be discerned at low water.

The country now becomes flatter, particularly on the left bank, where extend the immense plains of Wallachia, and the eye finds no object on which it can rest. On the right hand rise terrace-like rows of hills and mountains, and the background is bounded by the sharply-defined lines of the Balkan range, rendered celebrated by the passage of the Russians in 1829. The villages, scattered thinly along the banks, become more and more miserable; they rather resemble stables for cattle than human dwellings. The beasts remain in the open fields, though the climate does not appear to be much milder than with us in Austria; for to-day, nearly at the beginning of April, the thermometer stood one degree below zero, and yesterday we had only five degrees of warmth (reckoning by Reaumur). {30}

The expeditious and easy manner in which cattle are here declared to be free from the plague also struck me as remarkable. When the creatures are brought from an infected place to one pronounced healthy, the ship is brought to some forty or fifty paces from the shore, and each animal is thrown into the water and driven towards the bank, where people are waiting to receive it. After this simple operation the beasts are considered free from infectious matter.

Cattle-rearing seems to be here carried on to a considerable extent. Everywhere I noticed large herds of horned beasts and many buffaloes. Numerous flocks of goats and sheep also appear.

On the Saturnus we travelled at the most for two hours, after which we embarked, opposite the fortress of Fetislav, on board the steamer Zriny.

At five o’clock in the evening we passed the fortress of Widdin, opposite which we stopped, in the neighbourhood of the town of Callafat. It was intended merely to land goods here, and then to proceed immediately on our voyage; but the agent was nowhere to be found, and so we poor travellers were made the victims of this carelessness, and compelled to remain here at anchor all night.

March 30th.

As the agent had not yet made his appearance, the captain had no choice but to leave the steward behind to watch over the goods. At half-past six in the morning the engines were at length set in motion, and after a very agreeable passage of six hours we reached Nicopolis.

All the Turkish fortresses on the Danube are situated on the right bank, mostly amid beautiful scenery. The larger towns and villages are surrounded by gardens and trees, which give them a very pleasant appearance. The interior of these towns, however, is said not to be quite so inviting as one would suppose from a distant view, for it is asserted that dirty narrow streets, dilapidated houses, etc., offend the stranger’s sight at every step. We did not land at any of these fortresses or towns; for us the right bank of the river was a forbidden paradise; so we only saw what was beautiful, and escaped being disenchanted.

Rather late in the evening we cast anchor opposite a village of no note.


Giurgewo–Interior of the town–Braila–Sanitary precautions– Galatz–Scarcity of good water–Ridiculous fear of the plague–The steamer Ferdinand–Entrance into the Black Sea–Stormy weather and sea-sickness–Arrival at Constantinople–Picturesque appearance of the city–Mosques–The dancing Dervishes–The Sultan and his barge– Pera–The great and little Campo–Wild dogs–Dirty state of the streets–Preparations in case of fire.

March 31st.

We started early this morning, and at eight o’clock had already reached Giurgewo. This town is situate on the left bank of the Danube, opposite the fortress of Rustschuk. It contains 16,000 inhabitants, and is one of the chief trading towns of Wallachia. We were detained here until four o’clock in the afternoon; for we had to unload above 600 cwt. of goods and eight carriages, and to take coals on board in exchange. Thus we had time to view the interior of this Wallachian city.

With what disappointed surprise did my fellow-passengers view the ugliness of this town, which from a distance promises so much! On me it made but little impression, for I had seen towns precisely similar in Galicia. The streets and squares are full of pits and holes; the houses are built without the slightest regard to taste or symmetry, one perhaps projecting halfway across the street, while its neighbour falls quite into the background. In some places wooden booths were erected along each side of the street for the sale of the commonest necessaries of life and articles of food, and these places were dignified by the name of “bazaars.” Curiosity led us into a wine-shop and into a coffee-house. In both of these we found only wooden tables and benches; there were hardly any guests; and the few persons present belonged to the humblest classes. Glasses and cups are handed to the company without undergoing the ceremony of rinsing.

We purchased some eggs and butter, and went into the house of one of the townspeople to prepare ourselves a dish after the German fashion. I had thus an opportunity of noticing the internal arrangements of a house of this description. The floor of the room was not boarded, and the window was only half glazed, the remaining portion being filled up with paper or thin bladder. For the rest, every thing was neat and simple enough. Even a good comfortable divan was not wanting. At four o’clock we quitted the town.

The Danube is now only broad for short distances at a time. It is, as it were, sown with islands, and its waters are therefore more frequently parted into several streams than united into one.

In the villages we already notice Greek and Turkish costumes, but the women and girls do not yet wear veils.

Unfortunately it was so late when we reached the fortress of Silistria that I could see nothing of it. A little lower down we cast anchor for the night. At an early hour on

April 1st

we sailed past Hirsova, and at two o’clock stopped at Braila, a fortress occupied by the Russians since the year 1828. Here passengers were not allowed to land, as they were considered infected with the plague; but our officer stepped forward, and vouched for the fact that we had neither landed nor taken up any one on the right bank of the river; thereupon the strangers were allowed to set foot on terra firma.

By four o’clock we were opposite Galatz, one of the most considerable commercial towns, with 8000 inhabitants,–the only harbour the Russians possess on the Danube. Here we saw the first merchant-ships and barques of all kinds coming from the Black Sea. Some sea-gulls also, heralds of the neighbouring ocean, soared above our heads.

The scene here is one of traffic and bustle; Galatz being the place of rendezvous for merchants and travellers from two quarters of the globe, Europe and Asia. It is the point of junction of three great empires–Austria, Russia, and Turkey.

After the officer had repeated his assurances as at Braila, we were permitted to leave the ship. I had a letter of recommendation to the Austrian consul, who accidentally came on board; after reading my letter he received me very kindly, and most obligingly procured quarters for me.

The town promises much, but proves to be just such a miserable dirty place as Giurgewo. The houses are generally built of wood or clay, thatched with straw; those alone belonging to the consul and the rich merchants are of stone. The finest buildings are the Christian church and the Moldavian hotel.

Though Galatz lies on the Danube, water for drinking is a dear article among the inhabitants. Wells are to be found neither in the houses nor in the squares. The townspeople are compelled to bring all the water they require from the Danube, which is a great hardship for the poor people, and a considerable expense for the rich; in winter a small tub of water costs from 10 to 12 kreutzers (about 4d. or 5d.) in the more distant quarters of the town. At every corner you meet water-carriers, and little wagons loaded with tubs of water. Attempts have frequently been made to procure this indispensable element by digging; water has, indeed, in some instances gushed forth, but it always had a brackish taste.

In Galatz we made a halt of twenty-four hours: the delay was not of the most agreeable kind, as neither the town itself nor its environs offer any thing worthy of remark. Still I always think of these days with pleasure. Herr Consul Huber is a polite and obliging man; himself a traveller, he gave me many a hint and many a piece of advice for my journey. The air of quiet comfort which reigned throughout his house was also not to be despised by one who had just endured many days of privation; at Herr Huber’s I found relief both for body and mind.

April 2d.

The scenery round the town is so far from being inviting, that I did not feel the least inclination to explore it. I therefore remained in the town, and went up hill and down dale through the ill-paved streets. Coffee-houses appear in great abundance; but if it were not for the people sitting in front of them drinking coffee and smoking tobacco, no one would do these dirty rooms the honour of taking them for places of entertainment.

In the market and the squares we notice a great preponderance of the male sex over the female. The former are seen bustling about every where, and, like the Italians, perform some duties which usually fall to the lot of the softer sex. We notice a mixture of the most different nations, and among them a particularly large number of Jews.

The bazaar is overloaded with southern fruits of all kinds. Oranges and lemons are seen here in great numbers, like the commonest of our fruits. The prices are of course very trifling. The cauliflowers brought from Asia Minor are particularly fine. I noticed many as large as a man’s head.

In the evening I was required to repair to the harbour and re- embark.

It is almost impossible to form an idea of the confusion which reigns here. A wooden railing forms the barrier between the healthy people and those who come from or intend travelling to a country infected with the plague. Whoever passes this line of demarcation is not allowed to return. Soldiers, officers, government officials, and superintendents, the latter of whom are armed with sticks and pairs of tongs, stand at the entrance to drive those forcibly back who will not be content with fair words. Provisions and other articles are either thrown over the barrier or left in front of it. In the latter case, however, they may not be touched until the bearers have departed. A gentleman on the “plague” side wished to give a letter to one on the other; it was immediately snatched from his hand and handed across by means of a pair of tongs. And all this time such a noise and hubbub is going on, that you can scarcely hear the sound of your own voice.

“Pray hand me over my luggage!” cries one. “Keep farther away! don’t come near me, and mind you don’t touch me!” anxiously exclaims another. And then the superintendents keep shouting–“Stand back, stand back!” etc.

I was highly entertained by this spectacle; the scene was entirely new to me. But on my return, when I shall be one of the prisoners, I fear I may find it rather tedious. For this time I was not at all hindered in the prosecution of my journey.

On the whole, these timid precautions seemed to me exceedingly uncalled for, particularly at a time when neither the plague nor any kind of contagious disease prevailed in Turkey. One of my fellow- passengers had been banished to our ship on the previous day because he had had the misfortune to brush against an official on going to see after his luggage.

At seven o’clock the tattoo is beaten, the grating is shut, and the farce ends. We now repaired to the fourth and last steamer, the Ferdinand. From first to last we changed vessels six times during a journey from Vienna to Constantinople; we travelled by four steamers and twice in boats; a circumstance which cannot be reckoned among the pleasures of a trip down the Danube.

Though not a large boat, the Ferdinand is comfortable and well built. Even the second-class cabin is neatly arranged, and a pretty stove diffused a warmth which was peculiarly grateful to us all, as the thermometer showed only six to eight degrees above zero. Unfortunately even here the men and women are not separated in the second-class cabin; but care is at least taken that third-class passengers do not intrude. Twelve berths are arranged round the walls, and in front of these are placed broad benches well cushioned.

April 3d.

At five o’clock in the morning we steamed out of the harbour of Galatz. Shortly afterwards basins and towels were handed to us; a custom totally unknown upon former vessels. For provisions, which are tolerably good, we are charged 1 fl. 40 kr. per diem.

Towards ten o’clock we reached Tehussa, a Bessarabian village of most miserable appearance, where we stopped for a quarter of an hour; after which we proceeded without further delay towards the Black Sea.

I had long rejoiced in the expectation of reaching the Black Sea, and imagined that near its mouth the Danube itself would appear like a sea. But as it generally happens in life, “great expectations, small realisations,” so it was the case here also. At Galatz the Danube is very broad; but some distance from its mouth it divides itself into so many branches that not one of them can be termed majestic.

Towards three o’clock in the afternoon we at length entered the Black Sea.

Here the arms of the Danube rush forward from every quarter, driving the sea tumultuously back, so that we can only distinguish in the far distance a stripe of green. For above an hour we glide on over the yellow, clayey, strongly agitated fresh water, until at length the boundary is passed, and we are careering over the salt waves of the sea. Unfortunately for us, equinoctial gales and heavy weather still so powerfully maintained their sway, that the deck was completely flooded with the salt brine. We could hardly stand upon our feet, and could not manage to reach the cabin-door, where the bell was ringing for dinner, without the assistance of some sailors.

Several of the passengers, myself among the number, did little honour to the cook’s skill. We had scarcely begun to eat our soup, before we were so powerfully attacked by sea-sickness, that we were obliged to quit the table precipitately. I laid myself down at once, feeling unable to move about, or even to drag myself on deck to admire the magnificent spectacle of nature. The waves frequently ran so high as to overtop the flue of our stove, and from time to time whole streams of water poured into the cabin.

April 4th.

Since yesterday the storm has increased considerably, so that we are obliged to hold fast by our cribs to avoid being thrown out. This misfortune really happened to one of the passengers, who was too ill to hold sufficiently tight.

As I already felt somewhat better, I attempted to rise, but was thrown in the same instant with such force against a table which stood opposite, that for a long time I felt no inclination to try again. There was not the slightest chance of obtaining any sleep all night. The dreadful howling of the wind among the masts and cordage, the fearful straining of the ship, which seemed as though its timbers were starting, the continual pitching and rolling, the rattling of the heavy cables above us, the cries, orders, and shouting of the captain and his sailors, all combined to form a din which did not allow us to enjoy a moment’s rest. In the morning, ill as I felt myself, I managed to gain the deck with the help of the steward, and sat down near the steersman to enjoy the aspect of that grandest of nature’s phenomena–a storm at sea.

Holding tightly on, I bade defiance to the waves, which broke over the ship and wetted me all over, as though to cool my feverish heat. I could now form a clear and vivid conception of a storm at sea. I saw the waves rush foaming on, and the ship now diving into an abyss, and anon rising with the speed of lightning to the peak of the highest wave. It was a thrilling, fearful sight;–absorbed in its contemplation, I soon ceased to think of my sickness.

Late at night the violence of the storm abated in some degree; we could now run in and cast anchor in the harbour of Varna, which under ordinary circumstances we should have reached twelve hours sooner.

April 5th.

This morning I had leisure to admire this fine fortress-town, which was besieged and taken by the Russians in 1828. We remained here several hours. The upper portion of the ship was here loaded with fowl of all descriptions, to such a degree that the space left for us travellers was exceedingly circumscribed. This article of consumption seems to be in great demand in Constantinople both among Turks and Franks; for our captain assured me that his vessel was laden with this kind of ware every time he quitted Varna, and that he carried it to Stamboul.

April 6th.

The shades of night prevented my seeing one of the finest sights in the world, in anticipation of which I had rejoiced ever since my departure from Vienna–the passage through the Bosphorus. A few days afterwards, however, I made the excursion in a kaik (a very small and light boat), and enjoyed to my heart’s content views and scenes which it is totally beyond my descriptive power to portray.

At three o’clock in the morning, when we entered the harbour of Constantinople, every one, with the exception of the sailors, lay wrapped in sleep. I stood watching on deck, and saw the sun rise in its full glory over the imperial city, so justly and universally admired.

We had cast anchor in the neighbourhood of Topona; the city of cities lay spread out before my eyes, built on several hills, each bearing a separate town, and all blending into a grand and harmonious whole.

The town of Constantinople, properly speaking, is separated from Galata and Pera by the so-called “Golden Horn;” the means of communication is by a long and broad wooden bridge. Scutari and Bulgurlu rise in the form of terraces on the Asiatic shore. Scutari is surrounded, within and without, by a splendid wood of magnificent cypresses. In the foreground, on the top of the mountain, lie the spacious and handsome barracks, which can contain 10,000 men.

The beautiful mosques, with their graceful minarets–the palaces and harems, kiosks and great barracks–the gardens, shrubberies, and cypress-woods–the gaily painted houses, among which single cypresses often rear their slender heads,–these, together with the immense forest of masts, combine to form an indescribably striking spectacle.

When the bustle of life began, on the shore and on the sea, my eyes scarcely sufficed to take in all I saw. The “Golden Horn” became gradually covered as far as the eye could reach with a countless multitude of kaiks. The restless turmoil of life on shore, the passing to and fro of men of all nations and colours, from the pale inhabitant of Europe to the blackest Ethiopian, the combination of varied and characteristic costumes, this, and much more which I cannot describe, held me spell-bound to the deck. The hours flew past like minutes, and even the time of debarcation came much too early for me, though I had stood on deck and gazed from three o’clock until eight.

I found myself richly repaid for all the toils of my journey, and rejoiced in the sight of these wonderful Eastern pictures; I could only wish I were a poet, that I might fitly portray the magnificent gorgeousness of the sight.

To land at Topona, and to be immediately surrounded by hired servants and hamaks (porters), is the fate of every traveller. The stranger is no longer master either of his will or his luggage. One man praises this inn, the other that. {40} The porters hustle and beat each other for your effects, so that the custom-house officers frequently come forward with their sticks to restore order. The boxes are then searched,–a ceremony which can, however, be considerably accelerated by a fee of from ten to twenty kreutzers.

It is very advisable to fix on an hotel before leaving the boat. There are always passengers on board who are resident at Constantinople, or at least know the town well, and who are polite enough to give advice on the subject to strangers. By this means you rid yourself at once of the greedy servants, and need only tell a porter the name of your inn.

The inns for the Franks (a term used in the East to designate all Europeans) are in Pera. I stayed at the hotel of Madame Balbiani, a widow lady, in whose house the guests are made comfortable in every respect. Clean rooms, with a beautiful view towards the sea, healthy, well-selected, and palatable fare, and good prompt attendance, are advantages which every one values; and all these are found at Madame Balbiani’s, besides constant readiness to oblige on the part of the hostess and her family. The good lady took quite a warm interest in me; and I can say, without hesitation, that had not my good fortune led me under her roof, I should have been badly off. I had several letters of introduction; but not being fortunate enough to travel in great pomp or with a great name, my countrymen did not consider it worth while to trouble themselves about me.

I am ashamed, for their sakes, to be obliged to make this confession; but as I have resolved to narrate circumstantially not only all I saw, but all that happened to me on this journey, I must note down this circumstance with the rest. I felt the more deeply the kindness of these strangers, who, without recommendation or the tie of country, took so hearty an interest in the well-being of a lonely woman. I am truly rejoiced when an opportunity occurs of expressing my sincere gratitude for the agreeable hours I spent among them.

The distance from Vienna to Constantinople is about 1000 sea miles.


I arrived at Constantinople on a Tuesday, and immediately inquired what was worth seeing. I was advised to go and see the dancing dervishes, as this was the day on which they held their religious exercises in Pera.

As I reached the mosque an hour too soon, I betook myself in the meantime to the adjoining garden, which is set apart as the place of meeting of the Turkish women. Here several hundred ladies reclined on the grass in varied groups, surrounded by their children and their nurses, the latter of whom are all negresses. Many of these Turkish women were smoking pipes of tobacco with an appearance of extreme enjoyment, and drinking small cups of coffee without milk. Two or three friends often made use of the same pipe, which was passed round from mouth to mouth. These ladies seemed also to be partial to dainties: most of them were well provided with raisins, figs, sugared nuts, cakes, etc., and ate as much as the little ones. They seemed to treat their slaves very kindly; the black servants sat among their mistresses, and munched away bravely: the slaves are well dressed, and could scarcely be distinguished from their owners, were it not for their sable hue.

During my whole journey I remarked with pleasure that the lot of a slave in the house of a Mussulman is not nearly so hard as we believe. The Turkish women are no great admirers of animated conversations; still there was more talking in their societies than in the assemblies of the men, who sit silent and half asleep in the coffee-houses, languidly listening to the narrations of a story- teller.

The ladies’ garden resembles a churchyard. Funeral monuments peer forth at intervals between the cypresses, beneath which the visitors sit talking and joking cheerfully. Every now and then one would suddenly start up, spread a carpet beside her companions, and kneel down to perform her devotions.

As no one of the male sex was allowed to be present, all were unveiled. I noticed many pretty faces among them, but not a single instance of rare or striking beauty. Fancy large brilliant eyes, pale cheeks, broad faces, and an occasional tendency to corpulence, and you have the ladies’ portrait. Small-pox must still be rather prevalent in these parts, for I saw marks of it on many faces.

The Turkish ladies’ costume is not very tasteful. When they go abroad, they are completely swathed in an upper garment, generally made of dark merino. In the harem, or in any place where men are not admitted, they doff this garment, and also the white cloth in which they wrap their heads and faces. Their costume consists, properly speaking, of very wide trousers drawn together below the ancle, a petticoat with large wide sleeves, and a broad sash round the waist. Over this sash some wear a caftan, others only a spencer, generally of silk. On their feet they wear delicate boots, and over these slippers of yellow morocco; on their heads a small fez-cap, from beneath which their hair falls on their shoulders in a number of thin plaits. Those Turks, male and female, who are descended from Mahomet, have either a green caftan or a green turban. This colour is here held so sacred, that scarcely any one may wear it. I would even advise the Franks to avoid green in their dresses, as they may expose themselves to annoyance by using it.

After I had had more than an hour’s leisure to notice all these circumstances, a noise suddenly arose in the courtyard, which produced a stir among the women. I considered from these appearances that it was time to go to the temple, and hastened to join my party. A great crowd was waiting in the courtyard, for the Sultan was expected. I was glad to have the good fortune to behold him on the very day of my arrival. As a stranger, I was allowed, without opposition, a place in the front ranks,–a trait of good breeding on the part of the Turks which many a Frank would do well to imitate. In a Turk, moreover, this politeness is doubly praiseworthy, from the fact that he looks upon my poor sex with great disrespect; indeed, according to his creed, we have not even a soul.

I had only stood a few moments, when the Sultan appeared on horseback, surrounded by his train. He alone rode into the courtyard; the others all dismounted at the gate, and entered on foot. The horse on which the Sultan rode was of rare beauty, and, as they told me, of the true Arabian breed; the saddle-cloth was richly embroidered with gold, and the stirrups, of the same precious metal, were in the form of shoes, covered with the finest chased work.

The Sultan is a slender slim-looking youth of nineteen years of age, and looks pale, languid, and blase. His features are agreeable, and his eyes fine. If he had not abandoned himself at so early an age to all the pleasures of the senses, he would, no doubt, have grown up a stalwart man. He wore a long cape of dark-blue cloth; and a high fez-cap, with a heron’s plume and a diamond clasp, decked his head. The greeting of the people, and the Sultan’s mode of acknowledging it, is exactly as at Vienna, except that here the people at intervals raise a low cry of welcome.

As soon as the Sultan had entered the temple, all flocked in. The men and the Franks (the latter without distinction of sex) sit or stand in the body of the temple. The Turkish women sit in galleries, behind such close wire gratings that they are completely hidden. The temple, or more properly the hall, is of inconsiderable size, and the spectators are only separated from the priests by a low railing.

At two o’clock the dervishes appeared, clad in long petticoats with innumerable folds, which reached to their heels. Their heads were covered with high pointed hats of white felt. They spread out carpets and skins of beasts, and began their ceremonies with a great bowing and kissing of the ground. At length the music struck up; but I do not remember ever to have heard a performance so utterly horrible. The instruments were a child’s drum, a shepherd’s pipe, and a miserable fiddle. Several voices set up a squeaking and whining accompaniment, with an utter disregard of time and tune.

Twelve dervishes now began their dance,–if indeed a turning round in a circle, while their full dresses spread round them like a large wheel, can be called by such a name. They display much address in avoiding each other, and never come in contact, though their stage is very small. I did not notice any “convulsions,” of which I had read in many descriptions.

The ceremony ended at three o’clock. The Sultan once more mounted his horse, and departed with his train and the eunuchs. In the course of the day I saw him again, as he was returning from visiting the medical faculty. It is not difficult to get a sight of the Sultan; he generally appears in public on Tuesdays, and always on Fridays, the holiday of the Turks.

The train of the young autocrat presents a more imposing appearance when he goes by water to visit a mosque, which he generally does on every Friday. Only two hours before he starts it is announced in which mosque he intends to appear. At twelve, at noon, the procession moves forward. For this purpose two beautiful barges are in readiness, painted white, and covered with gilded carvings. Each barge is surmounted by a splendid canopy of dark-red velvet, richly bordered with gold fringe and tassels. The floor is spread with beautiful carpets. The rowers are strong handsome youths, clad in short trousers and jacket of white silk, with fez-caps on their heads. On each side of the ship there are fourteen of these rowers, under whose vigorous exertions the barge flies forward over wave and billow like a dolphin. The beautifully regular movements of the sailors have a fine effect. The oars all dip into the water with one stroke, the rowers rise as one man, and fall back into their places in the same perfect time.

A number of elegant barges and kaiks follow the procession. The flags of the Turkish fleet and merchant-ships are hoisted, and twenty-one cannons thunder forth a salutation to the Sultan. He does not stay long in the mosque, and usually proceeds to visit a barrack or some other public building. When the monarch goes by water to the mosque, he generally returns also in his barge; if he goes by land, he returns in the same manner.

The most popular walks in Pera are “the great and little Campo,” which may be termed “burying-places in cypress-groves.” It is a peculiar custom of the Turks, which we hardly find among any other nation, that all their feasts, walks, business-transactions, and even their dwellings, are in the midst of graves. Every where, in Constantinople, Pera, Galata, etc., one can scarcely walk a few paces without passing several graves surrounded by cypresses. We wander continually between the living and the dead; but within four and twenty hours I was quite reconciled to the circumstance. During the night-time I could pass the graves with as little dread as if I were walking among the houses of the living. Seen from a distance, these numerous cypress-woods give to the town a peculiar fairy-like appearance; I can think of nothing with which I could compare it. Every where the tall trees appear, but the tombs are mostly hidden from view.

It took a longer time before I could accustom myself to the multitude of ownerless dogs, which the stranger encounters at all corners, in every square and every street. They are of a peculiarly hideous breed, closely resembling the jackal. During the daytime they are not obnoxious, being generally contented enough if they are allowed to sleep undisturbed in the sun, and to devour their prey in peace. But at night they are not so quiet. They bark and howl incessantly at each other, as well as at the passers-by, but do not venture an attack, particularly if you are accompanied by a servant carrying a lantern and a stick. Among themselves they frequently have quarrels and fights, in which they sometimes lose their lives. They are extremely jealous if a strange dog approaches their territory, namely the street or square of which they have possession. On such an intruder they all fall tooth and nail, and worry him until he either seeks safety in flight or remains dead on the spot. It is therefore a rare circumstance for any person to have a house-dog with him in the streets. It would be necessary to carry the creature continually, and even then a number of these unbidden guests would follow, barking and howling incessantly. Neither distemper nor madness is to be feared from these dogs, though no one cares for their wants. They live on carrion and offal, which is to be found in abundance in every street, as every description of filth is thrown out of the houses into the road. A few years ago it was considered expedient to banish these dogs from Constantinople. They were transported to two uninhabited islands in the Sea of Marmora, the males to one and the females to another. But dirt and filth increased in the city to such a degree, that people were glad to have them back again.

The town is not lighted. Every person who goes abroad at night must take a lantern with him. If he is caught wandering without a lantern by the guard, he is taken off without mercy to the nearest watch-house, where he must pass the night. The gates of the city are shut after sunset.

In proportion as I was charmed with the beautiful situation of Constantinople, so I was disgusted with the dirt and the offensive atmosphere which prevail every where; the ugly narrow streets, the continual necessity to climb up and down steep places in the badly- paved roads, soon render the stranger weary of a residence in this city.

Worse than all is the continual dread of conflagration in which we live. Large chests and baskets are kept in readiness in every house; if a fire breaks out in the neighbourhood, all valuable articles are rapidly thrown into these and conveyed away. It is customary to make a kind of contract with two or three Turks, who are pledged, in consideration of a trifling monthly stipend, to appear in the hour of danger, for the purpose of carrying the boxes and lending a helping hand wherever they can. It is safer by far to reckon on the honesty of the Turks than on that of the Christians and Greeks. Instances in which a Turk has appropriated any portion of the goods entrusted to his care are said to be of very rare occurrence. During the first nights of my stay I was alarmed at every noise, particularly when the watchman, who paraded the streets, happened to strike with his stick upon the stones. In the event of a conflagration, he must knock at every house-door and cry, “Fire, fire!” Heaven be praised, my fears were never realised.


Scutari–Kaiks–The howling Dervishes–The Achmaidon, or place of arrows–The tower in Galata–The Bazaar at Constantinople–Mosques– Slave-market–The old Serail–The Hippodrome–Coffee-houses–Story- tellers–Excursion to Ejub–Houses, theatres, and carriages.

I chose a Friday for an excursion to Scutari, the celebrated burying-place of the Turks, in order that I might have an opportunity of seeing the “howling dervishes.”

In company with a French physician, I traversed the Bosphorus in a kaik. {48} We passed by the “Leander’s Tower,” which stands in the sea, a few hundred paces from the Asiatic coast, and has been so frequently celebrated in song by the poets. We soon arrived at our destination.

It was with a peculiar feeling of emotion that for the first time in my life I set foot on a new quarter of the globe. Now, and not till now, I seemed separated by an immeasurable distance from my home. Afterwards, when I landed on the coast of Africa, the circumstance did not produce the same impression on my mind.

Now at length I was standing in the quarter of the earth which had been the cradle of the human race; where man had risen high, and had again sunk so low that the Almighty had almost annihilated him in his righteous anger. And here in Asia it was that the Son of God came on earth to bring the boon of redemption to fallen man. My long and warmly-cherished wish to tread this most wonderful of the four quarters of the earth was at length fulfilled, and with God’s help I might confidently hope to reach the sacred region whence the true light of the world had shone forth.

[Illustration 3. Burial Place at Scutari. ill3.jpg]

Scutari is the place towards which the Mussulman looks with the hope of one day reposing beneath its shade. No disciple of any other creed is allowed to be buried here; and here, therefore, the Mahometan feels himself at home, and worthy of his Prophet. The cemetery is the grandest in the world. One may wander for hours through this grove of cypresses, without reaching the end. On the gravestones of the men turbans are sculptured; on those of the women fruits and flowers: the execution is in most cases very indifferent.

Though neither the chief nor the tributary streets in Scutari are even, they are neither so badly paved nor quite so narrow as those at Pera. The great barracks, on a height in the foreground, present a splendid appearance, and also afford a delicious view towards the Sea of Marmora and the inimitably beautiful Bosphorus. The barracks are said to contain accommodation for 10,000 men.


At two o’clock we entered the temple, a miserable wooden building. Every Mussulman may take part in this religious ceremony; it is not requisite that he should have attained to the rank and dignity of a dervish. Even children of eight or nine stand up in a row outside the circle of men, to gain an early proficiency in these holy exercises.

The commencement of the ceremony is the same as with the dancing dervishes; they have spread out carpets and skins of beasts, and are bowing and kissing the ground. Now they stand up and form a circle together with the laymen, when the chief begins in a yelling voice to recite prayers from the Koran; by degrees those forming the circle join in, and scream in concert. For the first hour some degree of order is still preserved; the performers rest frequently to husband their strength, which will be exerted to the utmost at the close of the ceremony. But then the sight becomes as horrible as one can well imagine any thing. They vie with one another in yelling and howling, and torture their faces, heads, and bodies into an infinite variety of fantastic attitudes. The roaring, which resembles that of wild beasts, and the dreadful spasmodic contortions of the actors’ countenances, render this religious ceremony a horrible and revolting spectacle.

The men stamp with their feet on the ground, jerk their heads backwards and forwards, and certainly throw themselves into worse contortions than those who are described as having been in old times “vexed with a devil.” During the exercise they snatch the covering from their heads, and gradually take off all their clothes, with the exception of shirt and trousers. The two high priests who stand within the circle receive the garments one after another, kiss them, and lay them on a heap together. The priests beat time with their hands, and after the garments have been laid aside the dance becomes faster and faster. Heavy drops of perspiration stand on every brow; some are even foaming at the mouth. The howling and roaring at length reach such a dreadful pitch, that the spectator feels stunned and bewildered.

Suddenly one of these maniacs fell lifeless to the ground. The priests and a few from the circle hurried towards him, stretched him out flat, crossed his hands and feet, and covered him with a cloth.

The doctor and I were both considerably alarmed, for we thought the poor man had been seized with apoplexy. To our surprise and joy, however, we saw him about six or eight minutes afterwards suddenly throw off the cloth, jump up, and once more take his place in the circle to howl like a maniac.

At three o’clock the ceremony concluded. I would not advise any person afflicted with weak nerves to witness it, for he certainly could not endure the sight. I could have fancied myself among raving lunatics and men possessed, rather than amidst reasonable beings. It was long before I could recover my composure, and realise the idea that the infatuation of man could attain such a pitch. I was informed that before the ceremony they swallow opium, to increase the wildness of their excitement!

The Achmaidon (place of arrows) deserves a visit, on account of the beautiful view obtained thence; the traveller should see it, if he be not too much pressed for time. This is the place which the Sultan sometimes honours by his presence when he wishes to practise archery.

On an open space stands a kind of pulpit of masonry, from which the Sultan shoots arrows into the air without mark or aim. Where the arrow falls, a pillar or pyramid is erected to commemorate the remarkable event. The whole space is thus covered with a number of these monuments, most of them broken and weather-stained, and all scattered in the greatest confusion. Not far from this place is an imperial kiosk, with a garden. Both promise much when viewed from a distance, but realise nothing when seen from within.


Whoever wishes to appreciate in its fullest extent the charm of the views round Constantinople should ascend the tower in Galata near Pera, or the Serasker in Constantinople. According to my notion, the former course is preferable. In this tower there is a room with twelve windows placed in a circle, from which we see pictures such as the most vivid imagination could hardly create.

Two quarters of the globe, on the shores of two seas united by the Bosphorus, lie spread before us. The glorious hills with their towns and villages, the number of palaces, gardens, kiosks, and mosques, Chalcedon, the Prince’s Islands, the Golden Horn, the continual bustle on the sea, the immense fleet, besides the numerous ships of other nations, the crowds of people in Pera, Galata, and Topana–all unite to form a panorama of singular beauty. The richest fancy would fail in the attempt to portray such a scene; the most practised pen would be unequal to the task of adequately describing it. But the gorgeous picture will be ever present to my memory, though I lack the power of presenting it to the minds of others.

Frequently, and each time with renewed pleasure, I ascended this tower, and would sit there for hours, in admiration of the works of the created and of the Creator. Exhausted and weary with gazing was I each time I returned to my home. I think I may affirm that no spot in the world can present such a view, or any thing that can be compared with it. I found how right I had been in undertaking this journey in preference to any other. Here another world lies unfolded before my view. Every thing here is new–nature, art, men, manners, customs, and mode of life. He who would see something totally different from the every-day routine of European life in European towns should come here.


In the town of Constantinople we come upon a wooden bridge, large, long, and broad, stretching across the Golden Horn. The streets of the town are rather better paved than those of Pera. In the bazaars and on the sea-coast alone do we find an appearance of bustle; the remaining streets are quiet enough.

The Bazaar is of vast extent, comprehending many covered streets, which cross each other in every direction and receive light from above. Every article of merchandise has its peculiar alley. In one all the goldsmiths have their shops, in another the shoemakers; in this street you see nothing but silks, in another real Cashmere shawls, etc.

Every dealer has a little open shop, before which he sits, and unceasingly invites the passers-by to purchase. Whoever wishes to buy or to look at any thing sits down also in front of the booth. The merchants are very good-natured and obliging; they always willingly unfold and display their treasures, even when they notice that the person to whom they are shewing them does not intend to become a purchaser. I had, however, imagined the display of goods to be much more varied and magnificent than I found it; but the reason of this apparent poverty is that the true treasures of art and nature, such as shawls, precious stones, pearls, valuable arms, gold brocades, etc., must not be sought in the bazaars; they are kept securely under lock and key in the dwellings or warehouses of the proprietors, whither the stranger must go if he wishes to see the richest merchandise.

The greatest number of streets occupied by the followers of any one trade are those inhabited by the makers of shoes and slippers. A degree of magnificence is displayed in their shops such as a stranger would scarcely expect to see. There are slippers which are worth 1000 piastres {53} a pair and more. They are embroidered with gold, and ornamented with pearls and precious stones.

The Bazaar is generally so much crowded, that it is a work of no slight difficulty to get through it; yet the space in the middle is very broad, and one has rarely to step aside to allow a carriage or a horseman to pass. But the bazaars and baths are the lounges and gossiping places of the Turkish women. Under the pretence of bathing or of wishing to purchase something, they walk about here for half a day together, amusing themselves with small-talk, love- affairs, and with looking at the wares.


Without spending a great deal of money, it is very difficult to obtain admittance into the mosques. You are compelled to take out a firmann, which costs from 1000 to 1200 piastres. A guide of an enterprising spirit is frequently sufficiently acute to inquire in the different hotels if there are any guests who wish to visit the mosques. Each person who is desirous of doing so gives four or five colonati {54} to the guide, who thereupon procures the firmann, and frequently clears forty or fifty guilders by the transaction. An opportunity of this description to visit the mosques generally offers itself several times in the course of a month.

I had made up my mind that it would be impossible to quit Constantinople without first seeing the four wonder-mosques, the Aja Sofia, Sultan Achmed, Osmanije, and Soleimanije.

I had the good fortune to obtain admittance on paying a very trifling sum; I think I should regret it to this day if I had paid five colonati for such a purpose.

To an architect these mosques are no doubt highly interesting; to a profane person like myself they offer little attraction. Their principal beauty generally consists in the bold arches of the cupolas. The interior is always empty, with the exception of a few large chandeliers placed at intervals, and furnished with a large number of perfectly plain glass lamps. The marble floors are covered with straw mats. In the Sofia mosque we find a few pillars which have been brought hither from Ephesus and Baalbec, and in a compartment on one side several sarcophagi are deposited.

Before entering the mosque, you must either take off your shoes or put on slippers over them. The outer courts, which are open to all, are very spacious, paved with slabs of marble, and kept scrupulously clean. In the midst stands a fountain, at which the Mussulman washes his hands, his face, and his feet, before entering the mosque. An open colonnade resting on pillars usually runs round the mosques, and splendid plantains and other trees throw a delicious shade around.

The mosque of Sultan Achmed, on the Hippodrome, is surrounded by six minarets. Most of the others have only two, and some few four.

The kitchens for the poor, situated in the immediate neighbourhood of the mosques, are a very praiseworthy institution. Here the poor Mussulman is regaled on simple dishes, such as rice, beans, cucumbers, etc., at the public expense. I marvelled greatly to find no crowding at these places. Another and an equally useful measure is the erection of numerous fountains of clear good water. This is the more welcome when we remember that the Turkish religion forbids the use of all spirituous liquors. At many of these fountains servants are stationed, whose only duty is to keep ten or twelve goblets of shining brass constantly filled with this refreshing nectar, and to offer them to every passer-by, be he Turk or Frank. Beer-houses and wine-shops are not to be found here. Would to Heaven this were every where the case! How many a poor wretch would never have been poor, and how many a madman would never have lost his senses!

Not far from the Osmanije mosque is the


I entered it with a beating heart, and already before I had even seen them, pitied the poor slaves. How glad, therefore, was I when I found them not half so forlorn and neglected as we Europeans are accustomed to imagine! I saw around me friendly smiling faces, from the grimaces and contortions of which I could easily discover that their owners were making quizzical remarks on every passing stranger.

The market is a great yard, surrounded by rooms, in which the slaves live. By day they may walk about in the yard, pay one another visits, and chatter as much as they please.

In a market of this kind we, of course, see every gradation of colour, from light brown to the deepest black. The white slaves, and the most beautiful of the blacks, are not however to be seen by every stranger, but are shut up in the dwellings of the traffickers in human flesh. The dress of these people is simple in the extreme. They either wear only a large linen sheet, which is wrapped round them, or some light garment. Even this they are obliged to take off when a purchaser appears. So long as they are in the hands of the dealers, they are certainly not kept in very good style; so they all look forward with great joy to the prospect of getting a master. When they are once purchased, their fate is generally far from hard. They always adopt the religion of their master, are not overburdened with work, are well clothed and fed, and kindly treated. Europeans also purchase slaves, but may not look upon them and treat them as such; from the moment when a slave is purchased by a Frank he becomes free. Slaves bought in this way, however, generally stay with their masters.


is, of course, an object of paramount attraction to us Europeans. I betook myself thither with my expectations at full stretch, and once more found the reality to be far below my anticipations. The effect of the whole is certainly grand; many a little town would not cover so much ground as this place, which consists of a number of houses and buildings, kiosks, and summer-houses, surrounded with plantains and cypress-trees, the latter half hidden amid gardens and arbours. Everywhere there is a total want of symmetry and taste. I saw something of the garden, walked through the first and second courtyard, and even peeped into the third. In the last two yards the buildings are remarkable for the number of cupolas they exhibit. I saw a few rooms and large halls quite full of a number of European things, such as furniture, clocks, vases, etc. My expectations were sadly damped. The place where the heads of pashas who had fallen into disfavour were exhibited is in the third yard. Heaven be praised, no severed heads are now seen stuck on the palings.

I was not fortunate enough to be admitted into the imperial harem; I did not possess sufficient interest to obtain a view of it. At a later period of my journey, however, I succeeded in viewing several harems.


is the largest and finest open place in Constantinople. After those of Cairo and Padua, it is the most spacious I have seen any where. Two obelisks of red granite, covered with hieroglyphics, are the only ornaments of this place. The houses surrounding it are built, according to the general fashion, of wood, and painted with oil- colours of different tints. I here noticed a great number of pretty children’s carriages, drawn by servants. Many parents assembled here to let their children be driven about.

Not far from the Hippodrome are the great cisterns with the thousand and one pillars. Once on a time this gigantic fabric must have presented a magnificent appearance. Now a miserable wooden staircase, lamentably out of repair, leads you down a flight of thirty or forty steps into the depths of one of these cisterns, the roof of which is supported by three hundred pillars. This cistern is no longer filled with water, but serves as a workshop for silk- spinners. The place seems almost as if it had been expressly built for such a purpose, as it receives light from above, and is cool in summer, and warm during the winter. It is now impossible to penetrate into the lower stories, as they are either filled with earth or with water.

The aqueducts of Justinian and Valentinian are stupendous works. They extend from Belgrade to the “Sweet Waters,” a distance of about fourteen miles, and supply the whole of Constantinople with a sufficiency of water.


Before I bade farewell to Constantinople for the present and betook me to Pera, I requested my guide to conduct me to a few coffee- houses, that I might have a new opportunity of observing the peculiar customs and mode of life of the Turks. I had already obtained some notion of the appearance of these places in Giurgewo and Galatz; but in this imperial town I had fancied I should find them somewhat neater and more ornamental. But this delusion vanished as soon as I entered the first coffee-house. A wretchedly dirty room, in which Turks, Greeks, Armenians, and others sat cross- legged on divans, smoking and drinking coffee, was all I could discover. In the second house I visited I saw, with great disgust, that the coffee-room was also used as a barber’s shop; on one side they were serving coffee, and on the other a Turk was having his head shaved. They say that bleeding is sometimes even carried on in these booths.

In a coffee-house of a rather superior class we found one of the so- called “story-tellers.” The audience sit round in a half-circle, and the narrator stands in the foreground, and quietly begins a tale from the Thousand and One Nights; but as he continues he becomes inspired, and at length roars and gesticulates like the veriest ranter among a company of strolling players.

Sherbet is not drunk in all the coffee-houses; but every where we find stalls and booths where this cooling and delicious beverage is to be had. It is made from the juice of fruits, mixed with that of lemons and pomegranates. In Pera ice is only to be had in the coffee-houses of the Franks, or of Christian confectioners. All coffee-house keepers are obliged to buy their coffee ready burnt and ground from the government, the monopoly of this article being an imperial privilege. A building has been expressly constructed for its preparation, where the coffee is ground to powder by machinery. The coffee is made very strong, and poured out without being strained, a custom which I could not bring myself to like.

It is well worth the traveller’s while to make an


the greatest suburb of Constantinople, and also the place where the richest and most noble of the Turks are buried.

Ejub, the standard-bearer of Mahomet, rests here in a magnificent mosque, built entirely of white marble. None but a Mussulman may tread this hallowed shrine. A tolerably good view of the interior can, however, be obtained from without, as the windows are lofty and broad, and reach nearly to the ground. The sarcophagus stands in a hall; it is covered with a richly embroidered pall, over which are spread five or six “real” shawls. The part beneath which the head rests is surmounted by a turban, also of real shawls. The chief sarcophagus is surrounded by several smaller coffins, in which repose the wives, children, and nearest relations of Ejub. Hard by the mosque we find a beautiful fountain of white marble, surrounded by a railing of gilded iron, and furnished with twelve bright drinking-cups of polished brass. A Turk here is appointed expressly to hand these to the passers-by. A little crooked garden occupies the space behind the mosque. The mosques in which the dead sultans are deposited are all built in the same manner as that of Ejub. Instead of the turban, handsome fez-caps, with the heron’s feather, lie on the coffins. Among the finest mosques is that in which repose the remains of the late emperor. In Ejub many very costly monuments are to be seen. They are generally surrounded by richly- gilt iron railings, their peaks surmounted by the shining crescent, and forming an arch above a sarcophagus, round which are planted rose-bushes and dwarf cypresses, with ivy and myrtle clinging to their stems. It would, however, be very erroneous to suppose that the rich alone lie buried here. The poor man also finds his nook; and frequently we see close by a splendid monument the modest stone which marks the resting-place of the humble Mussulman.

On my return I met the funeral of a poor Turk. If my attention had not been attracted to the circumstance, I should have passed by without heeding it. The corpse was rolled in a cloth, fastened at the head and at the feet, and laid on a board which a man carried on his shoulder. At the grave the dead man is once more washed, wrapped in clean linen cloths, and thus lowered into the earth. And this is as it should be. Why should the pomp and extravagance of man accompany him to his last resting-place? Were it not well if in this matter we abated something of our conventionality and ostentation? I do not mean to say that interments need be stripped of every thing like ornament; in all things the middle way is the safest. A simple funeral has surely in it more that awakes true religious feeling than the pomp and splendour which are too frequently made the order of the day in these proceedings. In this case are not men sometimes led away to canvass and to criticise the splendour of the show, while they should be deducing a wholesome moral lesson for themselves, or offering up a fervent prayer to the Almighty for the peace of the departed spirit?


The houses in the whole of Constantinople, in which we may include Pera, Topana, etc., are very slightly and carelessly put together. No door, no window, closes and fits well; the floorings frequently exhibit gaps an inch in breadth; and yet rents are very high. The reason of this is to be found in the continual danger of fire to which all towns built of wood are exposed. Every proprietor of a house calculates that he may be burnt out in the course of five or six years, and therefore endeavours to gain back his capital with interest within this period. Thus we do not find the houses so well built or so comfortably furnished as in the generality of European towns.

There is a theatre in Pera, which will hold from six to seven hundred spectators. At the time of my sojourn there, a company of Italian singers were giving four representations every week. Operas of the most celebrated masters were here to be heard; but I attended one representation, and had quite enough. The wonder is that such an undertaking answers at all, as the Turks have no taste for music, and the Franks are too fastidious to be easily satisfied.

The carriages–which are, generally speaking, only used by women– are of two kinds. The first is in the shape of a balloon, finely painted and gilt, and furnished with high wheels. On each side is an opening, to enter which the passenger mounts on a wooden stool, placed there by the coachman every time he ascends or descends. The windows or openings can be closed with Venetian blinds. These carriages contain neither seats nor cushion. Every one who drives out takes carpets or bolsters with him, spreads them out inside the coach, and sits down cross-legged. A carriage of this description will hold four persons. The second species of carriage only differs from that already described in having still higher wheels, and consisting of a kind of square box, covered in at the top, but open on all sides. The passengers enter at the back, and there is generally room for eight persons. The former kind of vehicle is drawn by one horse in shafts, and sometimes by two; the latter by one or two oxen, also harnessed in shafts, which are, however, furnished in addition with a wooden arch decorated with flowers, coloured paper, and ribbons. The coachman walks on foot beside his cattle, to guide them with greater security through the uneven ill- paved streets, in which you are continually either ascending or descending a hill.

Wagons there are none; every thing is carried either by men, horses, or asses. This circumstance explains the fact that more porters are found here than in any other city. These men are agile and very strong; a porter often bears a load of from one hundred to a hundred and fifty pounds through the rugged hilly streets. Wood, coals, provisions, and building-materials are carried by horses and asses. This may be one reason why every thing is so dear in Constantinople.


Walks and drives of the townspeople–The “Sweet Waters”– Chalcedonia–Baluklid–The great and little Campo–Feasts in Constantinople–Anniversary of Mahomet’s death–Easter holidays of the Greeks–Gladiators and wrestlers–Excursion to Brussa–Olive- trees–Mosques at Brussa–Stone bridge–Wild dogs–Baths and mineral springs–Return to Constantinople.

On Sundays and holydays the “Sweet Waters” of Europe are much frequented. One generally crosses the Golden Horn, into which the sweet water runs, in a kaik. There is, however, another way thither across the mountains.

A large grass-plat, surrounded by trees, is the goal towards which the heaving multitude pours. Here are to be seen people from all quarters of the globe, and of all shades of colour, reclining in perfect harmony on carpets, mats, and pillows, and solacing themselves, pipe in mouth, with coffee and sweetmeats. Many pretty Jewesses, mostly unveiled, are to be seen among the crowd.

On Friday, the holiday of the Turks, the scene in the Asiatic Sweet Waters is just as animated; and here there is much more to interest us Europeans, as the company consists chiefly of Turks, male and female. The latter have, as usual, their faces covered: the most beautiful feature, the flaming eye, is, however, visible.

The trip across the sea to the Asiatic Sweet Waters is incomparably more beautiful and interesting than the journey to the European. We travel up the Bosphorus, in the direction of the Black Sea, past the splendid new palace of the Sultan. Though this palace is chiefly of wood, the pillars, staircases, and the ground-floor, built of marble of dazzling whiteness, are strikingly beautiful. The great gates, of gilded cast-iron, may be called masterpieces; they were purchased in England for the sum of 8000 pounds. The roof of the palace is in the form of a terrace, and round this terrace runs a magnificent gallery, built only of wood, but artistically carved. We also pass the two ancient castles which command the approach to Constantinople, and then turn to the right towards the Sweet Waters. The situation of this place is most lovely; it lies in a beautiful valley surrounded by green hills.

Very interesting is also an excursion to Chalcedonia, a peninsula in the Sea of Marmora, on the Asiatic side, adjoining Scutari. We were rowed thither in a two-oared kaik in an hour and a quarter. The finest possible weather favoured our trip. A number of dolphins gambolled around our boat; we saw these tame fishes darting to and fro in all directions, and leaping into the air. It is a peculiar circumstance with regard to these creatures, that they never swim separately, but always either in pairs or larger companies.

The views which we enjoy during these trips are peculiarly lovely. Scutari lies close on our left; the foreground is occupied by mountains of moderate elevation; and above them, in the far distance, gleams the snow-clad summit of Olympus. The uninhabited Prince’s Island and the two Dog Islands are not the most picturesque objects to be introduced in such a landscape. To make up for the disadvantage of their presence we have, however, a good view of the Sea of Marmora, and can also distinguish the greater portion of the city of Constantinople.

On Chalcedonia itself there is nothing to be seen but a lighthouse. Beautiful grass-plats, with a few trees and a coffee-house, are the chief points of attraction with the townspeople.

An excursion by sea to Baluklid is also to be recommended. You pass the entire Turkish fleet, which is very considerable, and see the largest ship in the world, the “Mahmud,” of 140 guns, built during the reign of the late Sultan Mahmud. Several three-deckers of 120 guns, some of them unrigged, and many men-of-war mounting from forty to sixty cannons, lie in the harbour. For an hour and a half we are riding through the Sea of Marmora, to the left of the great quay which surrounds the walls of Constantinople. Here, for the first time, we see the giant city in all its magnificent proportions. We also passed the “Seven Towers,” of which, however, only five remain standing; the other two, I was told, had fallen in. If these towers really answer no other purpose than that of prisons for the European ambassadors during tumults or in the event of hostilities, I think the sooner the remaining five tumble down the better; for the European powers will certainly not brook such an insult from the Turks, now in the day of their decline.

We disembarked immediately beyond the “Seven Towers,” and walked for half an hour through long empty streets, then out at the town-gate, where the cypress-grove for a time conceals from our view a large open space on which is built a pretty Greek church. I was told that during the holidays at Easter such riotous scenes were here enacted that broken heads were far from being phenomena of rare occurrence. In the church there is a cold spring containing little fishes. A legend goes, that on the high days at Easter these poor little creatures swim about half fried and yet alive, because once upon a time, when Constantinople was besieged, a general said that it was