The Lands of the Saracen eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about The Lands of the Saracen.
He left two sons, who are both living, Abdul-Medjid having departed from the practice of his predecessors, each of whom slew his brothers, in order to make his own sovereignty secure.  He has one son, Muzad, who is about ten years old, so that there are now three males of the family of Orchan.  In case of their death, the Governor of Mecca would become Caliph, and the sovereignty would be established in his family.  He is a swarthy Arab, of about fifty, with a bold, fierce face.  He wore a superb dress of green, the sacred color, and was followed by his two sons, young men of twenty and twenty-two.  As he advanced to the throne, and was about to kneel and kiss the Sultan’s robe, the latter prevented him, and asked politely after his health—­the highest mark of respect in his power to show.  The old Arab’s face gleamed with such a sudden gush of pride and satisfaction, that no flash of lightning could have illumined it more vividly.

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.

Chapter XXVIII.

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 dome,
  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

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The Lands of the Saracen from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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