The Kurds have thin, dark faces, hooked noses, and black eyes, with a fierce and malicious look.
They are of the Mahomedan religion, and the call to prayers may be heard in the villages of these robbers and murderers.
This country is part of Turkey in Asia. It lies between two very famous rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, often spoken of in the Bible. The word Mesopotamia means “between rivers.” It was between these rivers that faithful Abraham lived when God first called him to be his friend. Should you not like to see that country? It is now full of ruins. The two most ancient cities in the world were built on the Tigris and Euphrates.
Nineveh was on the Tigris.
What a city that was at the time Jonah preached there! Its walls were so thick that three chariots could go on the top all abreast.
But what is Nineveh now? Look at those green mounds. Under those heaps of rubbish lies Nineveh. A traveller has been digging among those mounds, and has found the very throne of the kings of Nineveh, and the images of winged bulls and lions which adorned the palace. God overthrew Nineveh because it was wicked.
There is another ancient city lying in ruins on the Euphrates, it is Babylon the Great.
There are nothing but heaps of bricks to be seen where once proud Babylon stood. Where are now the streets fifteen miles long? Where are the hanging gardens? Gardens one above the other, the wonder of the world? Where is now the temple of Belus, (or of Babel, as some think,) with its golden statue? All, all are now crumbled into rubbish. God has destroyed Babylon as he said.
There are dens of wild beasts among the ruins. A traveller saw some bones of a sheep in one, the remains, he supposed, of a lion’s dinner; but he did not like to go further into the den to see who dwelt there. Owls and bats fill all the dark places. But no men live there, though human bones are often found scattered about, and they turn into dust as soon as they are touched.
There is now a great city in Mesopotamia, called Bagdad. In Babylon no sound is heard but the howlings of wild beasts; in Bagdad men may be heard screaming and hallooing from morning to night. The drivers of the camels and the mules shout as they press through the narrow crooked streets, and even the ladies riding on white donkeys, and attended by black slaves, scream and halloo.
In summer it is so hot in Bagdad that people during the day live in rooms under ground, and sleep on their flat roofs at night.