A Visit to the Holy Land
Ida Pfeiffer

Part 1 out of 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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-

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

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

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

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

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

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-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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