A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 685 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 07.
the south side of the city there are two mountains very near each other, having a very narrow intervening valley, which is the way leading to Mecca on that side.  To the east there in a similar valley between two other mountains, by which is the road to a mountain where they sacrifice to the patriarchs Abraham and Isaac, which hill or mount is ten or twelve miles from Mecca, and is about three stone throws in height, being all of a stone as hard as marble, yet is not marble.  On the top of this mount is a temple or mosque, built after their manner, having three entrances.  At the foot of the mountain are two great cisterns, which preserve water free from corruption:  one of these is reserved for the camels belonging to the caravan of Cairo, and the other for that of Damascus.  These cisterns are filled by rain water, which is brought from a great way off.  We shall speak afterwards of the sacrifices performed at this mountain, and must now return to Mecca.

On our arrival we found the caravan from Memphis, or Babylon of Egypt, which had arrived eight days before us, coming by a different way, and consisted of 64,000 camels, with a guard of an hundred Mamelukes.  This city of Mecca is assuredly cursed of God, for it is situated in a most barren spot, destitute of all manner of fruit or corn, and so burnt up with drought, that you cannot have as much water for twelve pence as will satisfy one person for a whole day.  Most part of their provisions are brought from Cairo in Egypt, by the Red Sea, or Mare Erythreum of the ancients, and is landed at the port of Gida, Joddah or Jiddah, which is about forty miles from Mecca.  The rest of their provisions are brought from the Happy Arabia, or Arabia Felix, so named from its fruitfulness in comparison with the other two divisions, called Petrea and Deserta, or the Stoney and Desert Arabias.  They also get much corn from Ethiopia.  At Mecca we found a prodigious multitude of strangers who were peregrines or pilgrims; some from Syria, others from Persia, and others from both the Indies, that is, from India on this side the river Ganges, and also from the farther India beyond that river.  During my stay of twenty days at Mecca, I saw a most prodigious number and variety of people, infinitely beyond what I had ever before seen.  This vast concourse of strangers of many nations and countries resort thither from various causes, but chiefly for trade, and to obtain pardon of their sins by discharging a vow of pilgrimage.

From India, both on this side and beyond the Ganges, they bring for sale precious stones pearls and spices; and especially from that city of the greater India, which is named Bangella[42] they bring much gossampyne cloth[43] and silk.  They receive spices also from Ethiopia[44]; and, in short, this city of Mecca is a most famous and plentiful mart of many rich and valuable commodities.  But the main object for which pilgrims resort thither from

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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