I departed from Tripolis with a caravan, on the 14th May, passing, in three days, over the ridge of Mount Libanus; and at the end of that time came to the city of Hammah, which stands in a goodly plain, abounding in corn and cotton-wool. On these mountains grow great quantities of gall-trees, which are somewhat like our oaks, but less, and more crooked; and, on the best trees, a man shall not find above a pound of galls on each. This town of Hammah is fallen into decay, and continues to decay more and more, so that at this day scarcely is the half of the wall standing, which has once been strong and handsome; but, because it cost many lives to win it, the Turks will not have it repaired, and have caused to be inscribed in Arabic, over one of the gates, “Cursed be the father and the son of him who shall lay hands to the repairing of this place.”
Refreshing ourselves one day here, we went forwards three days more, with our camels, and came to Aleppo, where we arrived on the 21st of May. This has the greatest trade, for an inland town, of any in all those parts, being resorted to by Jews, Tartars, Persians, Armenians, Egyptians, Indians, and many different kinds of Christians, all of whom enjoy liberty of conscience, and bring here many different kinds of merchandise. In the middle of the city there is a goodly castle, raised on high, having a garrison of four or five hundred janisaries. Within four miles round about there are many goodly gardens and vineyards, with many trees, which bear excellent fruit, near the side of the river, which is very small. The walls of the city are about three miles in circuit, but the suburbs are nearly as large as the city, the whole being very populous.
We departed from Aleppo on the 31st of May, with a caravan of camels, along with Mr John Newberry, and his company, and came to Birrah, [Bir] in three days, being a small town on the Euphrates, where that river first assumes the name, being here collected into one channel, whereas before it comes down in numerous branches, and is therefore called by the people of the country by a name which signifies a thousand heads. We here found abundance of provisions, and furnished ourselves for a long