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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 318 pages of information about A Visit to the Holy Land, Egypt, and Italy.

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

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

THE HIPPODROME

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.

Coffee-houses—­story-te
llers
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