صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

cultivated, by the Jebour Arabs on the east and Mahjamma on the west. Obtained the following bearings and angles from the masthead when at anchor. True bearing of the Maluryeh near Samarrah 328o. El Ghaim,* at the head of the south branch of the Nahrwán 19° left of the Maluryeh. Tombs of the Imams at Samarrah 3° 20' left. Khán Mazrakji right 110° 40'. S. W. angle of the old fort of Qádésiyeh left 15° 33'. Shortly after sunset the south wind fell and heavy rain fol. lowed with thunder and lightning, but before morning the sky again became clear,

At sunrise, on the 5th resumed our route, contending against a heavy stream of 6 knots an hour, and occasional slight rapids in the narrow channels. Reached our fuel at Qádésiyeh at 7h. 48m.

While taking in wood I visited the remains of the old fortress and city of Qádésiyeh, † situate about one mile from the river. I never had so agreeable a walk. The country is literally covered with wild grass of every description in full blossom. Flowers of every tint and hue were crushed beneath our footsteps, and the very air was impregnated with their odour. It is of an octagonal form, with round towers at each angle, between which 16 buttresses or bastions are placed, 378 paces distant from each other. A gap exists in the centre of either side, which no doubt, held the gates of the fortress, but all traces of them are now gone. The wall by measurement was originally 50 feet in thickness, and is at present about 25 feet high. Its interior face must have comprised an entire range of vaulted chambers, one of which is still entire and affords a good specimen of the whole structure.

It is built of sun-dried clay bricks 18 inches square and 5 thick. No buildings, at present, exist within its area, but on minute examination, at one-third the distance across the interior from its western side, I discovered the traces of a wall, which extended from the southern ramparts, in a line due north, for 1240 paces. This line of wall at

* See note page 305. This I have erroneously termed the south branch instead of the one referred to in page 305.

+ A rough plan accompanies these notes. Fraser in his Mesopotamia and Assyria, describes the distance as 10 to 12 yards. How he has fallen into this error I am at a loss to conceive. If his distance were correct the circumference of the walls of this large fort would be, in round numbers, but 1400 yarıls, whereas from actual measurement by pacing, I made its diameter alone 1500 yards, its circumference therefore as a regular octagon would amount to nearly 4500 yards, or above two and half English miles,

the distances along it of 700 and 790 paces, and at its termination, had other walls connected with and extending from it, at right angles, or due east, for 450 paces, where they break off abruptly, for I could trace them no further. A perfect oblong enclosure of 250 paces long from north to south and 100 broad, occupied the space between the northern parallels. A high mud rampart appears to have surrounded the town, leaving a space between it and the outer defences of 70 feet wide. The great canal of the Nahrwán is seen stretching far to the eastward and passing within 200 yards of the north-east angles of the fort. A canal or cut from the Nahrwán, about one mile north-west of the city, watered the country between it and the Tigris and rau along the west face of the fortification, throwing out a branch in a S. S. E. direction at a short distance below its junction with the Nahrwán. This offshoot entered the fort at its N. W. angle and ran in a S. S. E. direction to the angle of the city wall, where it bifurcated, one branch passing along the north face of the city, while the other, running parallel with the western wall for 640 paces, suddenly turned to the east through an opening in it. After supplying the town, I presume, both this and the northern branch must have been employed in irrigation. It is probable indeed, that the whole space between the walls of the city and the outer defences contained gardens, for no mounds of any size or extent are to be met with which could lead us to conclude that buildings of any importance existed there.

From the S. W. angle of Qádésiyeh* observed the following bearings. Malwújeh Tower 328°, Khán Mazrakji 97°, Ghaim Tower 307, Istabolat ruins and mouth of the Dijeil canal 267o. There can be no doubt, I imagine, that this city was one of importance during the flourishing period of the Nahrwán, and probably owes its decline and subsequent abandonment to that vast canal being allowed to fall into decay. A small oblong enclosure, termed El Sanam, existed too on the summit

Qádésiyeh is 26' 27" west of Baghdad. Mr. Rich, in his Kurdistan and Nineveh, quoting from Gibbon, imagines this to be the Assyrian city of Cardesia, but Col. Taylor, a profound Arabic scholar, deems it the site of an early Arab town. Mr. Fraser in alluding to it in his Mesopotamia and Assyria, wrongly terms it a Septagon instead of an Octagon, and has unaccountably placed it on the west side of the Tigris, whereas it is on the east bank. I presume him to have confounded Istabolat, which is on the west bank, with Qádésiyeh, though his description in other respects certainly appertains to ihe latter. See his work, p. 159.

of the cliffs, now washed by the Tigris, but half of it at present remains, the river having swept the remainder away-the walls however on the face of the cliffs are plainly distinguishable, and unlike Qádésiyeh itself, are built of fine kiln-dried bricks, but bear no inscription or characters. The lower half of a statue (whence its name) of black stone similar to those of Egypt, was found here some years ago, and is now in the possession of Dr. Ross. Lat. of Qádésiyeh by a meridional observation of the sun, 34° 4' 38''.

On the high land forming the western valley of the Tigris and immediately opposite, or due west of Qádésiyeh, the remains of a neat square town of some extent are met with. It is called Istabolat. The streets and buildings can be traced by a multitude of mounds and broken brick walls in well designed order, running parallel to, and at right angles from each other. A ruined wall of kiln-dried bricks and a ditch surround it. I had not time to visit this interesting spot, but the note here given is from memory, having previously examined it in 1843. The Dijeil* canal leaves the Tigris close to this. The northern and more ancient mouth is now dried up. This canal pursues a $. E. direction and passing the end of the Median Wall, the villages of Harbah and Sumeichah, is finally lost near the Tarmiyeh water. The country is now considerably more elevated.

Having obtained the noon observation, continued our course at 12 hours 15 minutes, passing the head of the Dijeil and Istabolat, and 1245 El Ghaim,t a solid quadrangular tower situated at the head of the south branch of the Nahrwán. It is certain that this magnificent canal had two large branches from which it received its supply of water, and by some it is imagined that a smaller canal, called the Nahr Hafú, having its mouth at the foot of the Hamrin range, where it is severed by the Tigris, might be called a third. The Nahr Hafú however, is much smaller than the other two branches. It joins the centre one near the Kantara el Resasas from whence this main branch pur

* The Dijeil and the Khalis are the only canals of importance now existing in the Baghdad Pachalic. They exhibit a lamentable contrast with the numerous catalogue of antiquity.

+ See note, p. 305. This gigantic canal has long since fallen to decay. It can still be traced for 300 miles, and the ruins of former cities, met with on its margin, attest the flourishing state of Irak during its existence. Vast swamps and extensive lakes, in all probability origi

« sid” or

sued a S. E. direction, meeting the branch from El Ghaim which flowed in a more easterly direction, a little above the junction of the Atheim with the Tigris. From this spot they became one united stream, considerably more elevated than the surrounding country, and pursuing an uninterrupted course to the S. eastward over the "Atheim,” the Diala and the present bed of the Tigris, it formerly fertilized the immense plains of Irak by its many ramifications to the neighbourhood of the Persian Gulf, and opening* to the south of El Ghaim, I have since heard is a duct of this splendid work. In March 1843, I visited the spot marked out as the junction of the two larger branches, where the remains of a

'band,” still exist. A town must also have stood on this site formerly, for the ground was strewed with the remains of buildings, glass and pottery.--Opis is represented by some to have occupied this position, but I hardly think that opulent city could have left no further traces of its existence than the insignificant remains to be here met with at present. From El Ghaim to Samarrah the ascent of the river is very

difficult. The fall or inclination of the surface of the stream is plainly distinguishable to the eye opposite to El Ghaim ; a single fall took us 40 minutes to overcome, and I fear, had we not been assisted with a westerly wind which enabled us to make sail, our further progress would have been stopped.

Reached Samarrah, † April 6th, at 7 A. M. and remained until 9-35 to arrange about our fuel. I did not however receive any more on board as the vessel is already much too deep, purposing to use coal to the next station at Dúr, when the fuel we have at present on board is finished.

The modern town of Samarrah, situate on the cliffs forming the left

nally caused by its own decline, surround it in every direction, converting this once lux. uriant and highly cultivated province into hot beds of malaria and fever. Its dry bed is now used as a high road by travellers and caravans on account of the protection as. forded in the recesses of its mutilated banks, from any of the numerous parties who may be out in search of plunder.

• Sidet Aziz. See note, page 305.

+ In the ninth century Sumere or Samarrah became with a slight change of name, the royal residence of the Khalifs of the house of Abbas. Gibbon, Vol. 3, p. 225.

The Roman army under Jovian encamped here after marching and fighting a long summer's day.--Ibid.

bank of the Tigris, is now encircled by a strong wall built at the expense of the influential Shiáh population of India. When I visited it in 1843 this wall was just begun. The town was before open

and suffered much from the demands of the Bedoins. They used to encamp outside and threaten to pillage the place if their demands were not complied with. It however is now secure and free from such visits. But a great oversight has been committed in not extending the walls to the margin of the cliffs overlooking the river, for the Bedoins could at any time destroy the aqueduct which conveys the water to the town, and thus by cutting off the supply of this necessary article, compel the inhabitants to come to terms. It is however on the whole a miserable town and owes its importance chiefly to two handsome tombs ;* surmounted by cupolas, the larger being that erected over the remains of Imam Hussain Askari. It has recently been repaired, and, I believe, was formerly covered with gold similar to the cupolas of Kathemein, Kerbella and Nejáf, but is now perfectly white, the present funds not being sufficient to give it its former splendour. The smaller cupola, or that of Imam Mehdi, is a very neat cupola, beautifully enamelled with yellow and white flowers on a bluish green ground. Imam Mehdi was the last of the Imams revered by the Shishs, and is said to have disappeared from the earth at this spot. A large hole over which this edifice is erected points out the locality, and from which it is believed he will at some future period present himself.

It is therefore much venerated by Mahomedans, epecially by the Shiáhs. Pilgrimst from all parts of Persia resort to this place annually. I am informed that 10,000 is the yearly average of the number of devotees to this sacred spot, but am inclined to believe this amount is even now under-estimated. No tax is here levied on the Pilgrims, but the proprietors of the Kháns and houses in which they reside, pay to Government 2 Riego Piastres for each individual. The modern town comprises about 250 houses, with a Sunni population slightly under 1000, who possess among them barely 100 stand of arms.

See sketch accompanying these notes. + Since the occupation of the holy cities of Kerbella and Nejaf, by the Turks in 1843, the influx of pilgrims into the Baghdad Pachalic ha3 much decreased. The security afforded at present by the mild government and toleration of Nejib Pasha, will however soon restore the confidence of the Persian devotees, and moreover materially add to the annual revenue of the province, which diminished considerably after the supposed illtimed policy of the Pasha.

« السابقةمتابعة »