A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 318 pages of information about A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy.
and even then a number of these unbidden guests would follow, barking and howling incessantly.  Neither distemper nor madness is to be feared from these dogs, though no one cares for their wants.  They live on carrion and offal, which is to be found in abundance in every street, as every description of filth is thrown out of the houses into the road.  A few years ago it was considered expedient to banish these dogs from Constantinople.  They were transported to two uninhabited islands in the Sea of Marmora, the males to one and the females to another.  But dirt and filth increased in the city to such a degree, that people were glad to have them back again.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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