The sacred writers, or transcribers of the Koran, closed the procession, after which the Sultan rose and entered the Seraglio. The crowd slowly dispersed, and in a few minutes the grand reports of the cannon on Seraglio Point announced the departure of the Sultan for his palace on the Bosphorus. The festival of Bairam was now fairly inaugurated, and all Stamboul was given up to festivity. There was no Turk so poor that he did not in some sort share in the rejoicing. Our Fourth could scarcely show more flags, let off more big guns or send forth greater crowds of excursionists than this Moslem holiday.
The Mosques of Constantinople.
Sojourn at Constantinople—Semi-European Character of the City—The Mosque—Procuring a Firman—The Seraglio—The Library—The Ancient Throne-Room—Admittance to St. Sophia—Magnificence of the Interior—The Marvellous Dome—The Mosque of Sultan Achmed—The Sulemanye—Great Conflagrations—Political Meaning of the Fires—Turkish Progress—Decay of the Ottoman Power.
“Is that indeed Sophia’s far-famed
Where first the Faith was led in triumph home,
Like some high bride, with banner and bright sign,
And melody, and flowers?” Audrey de Vere.
Constantinople, Tuesday, August 8, 1852.
The length of my stay in Constantinople has enabled me to visit many interesting spots in its vicinity, as well as to familiarize myself with the peculiar features of the great capital. I have seen the beautiful Bosphorus from steamers and caiques; ridden up the valley of Buyukdere, and through the chestnut woods of Belgrade; bathed in the Black Sea, under the lee of the Symplegades, where the marble altar to Apollo still invites an oblation from passing mariners; walked over the flowery meadows beside the “Heavenly Waters of Asia;” galloped around the ivy-grown walls where Dandolo and Mahomet II. conquered, and the last of the Palaeologi fell; and dreamed away