صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

visible in those parts which are neither near to the hills nor the Osus; for towards the former, the matter brought down by the rains has often changed the soil to stony, gritty, or gravelly, sometimes to sandy ; towards the Oxus the soil becomes a loose unfertile sand. The sands begin at Huzrut Iman, and continue to the lake of Aral, their breadth continually increasing. In the space intercepted between Huzrut Iman and the common road from Bulkh to Bokhara, through Kilif, the average breadth of these sands, which are nearly waste, is more than thirty miles; the sandy tract opposite, on the right of the river, is not so broad. The soil of Bulk is a clayey loam, sufficiently friable, and of a good quality. That of Koonduz is very similar, and in colour black. Khoollum, and generally that under the hills is a hard gravelly clay. Talikan is a loam inclining to clay, of a good quality. Undkho has a good deal of sand, but Mymuna is a strong clay, and abounds in ravines and broken ground. About half way between Undkho and Mymuna the traveller begins to see numerous hillocks in the plain, and they continue as far as Muro, and almost to Hirat. They are composed of a good soil, without stone, and bear good grass; they are sometimes under crop, but the chief cultivation in this space is near the moist banks of streams constant or temporary. Budukhshan has a stony soil, but otherwise it is very various in consistency, colour, and excellence. Fyzabad is a sandy loam of a reddish colour, as is found in many other places. Durwaz, and the Shooghnan and Wukhan vallies have a blackish soil. The same observations are probably as applicable to Wukeeha and Keerategin as to Budukhshan.

105. The west of Toorkistan is sandy, and without artificial watering yields poor crops; hence the chief cultivation is near the banks of rivers and streams. Between Kilat and Bokhara the water of wells is usually brackish, but is found at moderate depths. The hillocks near this road are of sand, not of a good soil as those of Bactria. To the west of Bokhara is the Kurakol, an uncultivated space which extends to the lake of Aral; but it is not considered as crossing to the left of the Oxus, where begins the great desert of Margiana, so called by the anci. ents. The principality of Khwaruzm is thus encircled by deserts. It is however to be remarked, that the Toorkmuns who live on the edge of the river, generally avail themselves of the facilities it affords for irrigation in its flood season, and raise some crops on the low grounds near it. Water is here so near the surface, that the inhabitants often dig wells, where they pitch their tents, to serve for their use during the time they

In the interior of the deserts there are wells, which have

may halt.

been dug by the governments of former times; these are never re. markably deep in the Kurakol, but the water is at least as good as that of draw-wells in the neighbourhood of Bokhara. The soil too is seldom impregnated with salt, and were it the custom of the country to water lands from wells, it could be brought into cultivation. At present it affords an early grass to be pastured in the spring. That part which is next to Bokhara, was formerly cultivated. The Kurakol ex. tends beyond the Jaxartes into the country of the Kuzzaks, but that people have also hills and declivities with a good soil. With respect to the Kirghiz country, and the east of Toorkistan, the soil has consi, derable variety; many places are stony; loam and clay are very common, and in natural fertility the cultivated lands of the east are unquestionably superior to those of the west. The Pamer has a rich soil.

106. In the vast extent of Chinese Toorkistan it may be supposed there is to be found all varieties of soil. That of Yarkund is sandy and weak, and sandy wastes intervene between it and Khootun, in which the Chinese Government have erected pillars to guide the travellers into the right road. The uncultivated space is about an hun. dred miles broad, if we pursue the ordinary road. The soil of Khoo. tun is superior to that of Yarkund, and the cultivation considerable. The river of Yarkund passes through this country. To the north. east sands soon recommence, in which the river is at length lost, at no great distance from Toorfan. Ela and Aksoo lie near to mountains in northerly directions, are tolerably well watered, and the soil is good. Akeoo seems to be north and a little east from Yarkund, and the road is sometimes inhabited, sometimes not.

107. There remain some countries of which we have little information which can throw light on the present subject. Such are the Tibets and Kushkar. We know that they are ill cultivated, and perhaps the climate condemns great part of them to sterility. Other parts may be occupied by rocks and stones. From the particulars now detailed, it is evident that the countries most favoured by nature, are neither the upland tracts nor yet the open plains distant from hills, but those which lie at a moderate distance from their foot, and receive the water which flows from them. Lofty mountains however barren themselves, are the cause of fertility to the plains below. In the vast expanse

here treated of, there is a very great proportion now un. cultivated, and may continue so for ever. Some part is a loose sand or hard clay, unproductive without much water, which at the same time the climate and situation deny; another is covered with a profusion of stones. The composition of some lands seems adverse to the growth of useful vegetables. The commonest species of this kind is saline land, which occurs at intervals in almost all the various districts which have been mentioned. A mere sand and a very hard clay seldom give evidence of this quality, which is thus found in soils otherwise of the best composition. Chhuchh, the lands of the Mundurs, and those of the Huzaras, are remarkably free from it. A certain degree of it is by no means inconsistent with fertility, nay, the natives of the west of Khoorasan, prefer land moderately saline for the raising of melons and cucumbers: some remarkable saline spots are mentioned under the subject, which next follows, (see paragraph 112.)


Section 1.- Of Minerals.

108. The Persian metals are not found in these countries in great abundance. Most of the streams which rise in the great northern range, or in that branch of it which forms Kafiristan, and also those streams which arise in the Belur, wash down grains of gold whieh the natives take pains in collecting, but it is not supposed that this business is very profitable. In some parts of the south-east of the Hu. zara country, grains of gold are also found. With respect to silver, if we except a little found in the country of the Kafirs, it is produced no where but in the Chinese dominions, and I am not sure whether it be in their ancient territories or their new acquistion of Chinese Toorkistan. Copper seems to have been formerly found in the district called Seahbund (see paragraph 101) and according to some it is produced not far from Nishaboor, which is in the Persian Khoorasan. The same hill which yields it, is said to yield iron and lead; but according to others, lead is the only metal produced. Between Furah and Ghaeen, is Tubus, called Miseen from its copper mines, and to distinguish it from another Tubus, far to the west, commonly called Gil Tubus. At present both are under the Persians. Indications of copper are to be seen in the Bajour territory. In the kingdom of Bokhara, is a town called Sherabad, about seven days south-east of Bokhara, and about two days north of Sherabad is a hill called after it which produces copper, not wrought, and also verdigris, which is an oxyde of copper. With respect to precious stones, the ruby mines of Budukhshan, once so famous in the whole world are no longer wrought. We are told that in the south-eastern parts of that country are whole rocks of lapis lazuli. Nishaboor is still famous for its turquoises, which are found in a hill in its neighbourhood, that yields no other mineral product. Major Welford has mentioned lapis lazuli, hyacinths, crystal, bajor, stones of a superior quality, and marbles of various colours, being found not far from the banks of the Indus, before its junction with the Cabul river, (see his paper on mount Caucasus in the sixth volume of the Asiatic Researches) I scarce. ly remember to have heard of these things, but as that author's information is generally very correct on points of geography and statistics, I presume there is much truth in the account. · 109. Aboolfuzl has mentioned an iron mine at Khiroo in Kushmeer, and it is still wrought, being perhaps the only mineral of any note to be found in the valley. There are numerous mines of iron near Kanee Goorm of the Wuzeerees, which lies to the north of the range of 322°, towards its termination to the eastward. Iron is found near Burawul, and Burwa of the Turkoolnees, and also above Deer of the Yoosufzyes, lying in Punjkora. In all it is gathered in the state of coarse sand or gravel. An iron mine was formerly wrought near Dhukha of the upper Mihmunds. Near Cimnan, a city of Khoorasan, on the frontiers of Irak, iron is produced, and also in a hill four days south of Ghaeen. The existence of iron in the territory of Nishaboor is disputed ; an ore of this metal is found in a hill of Chhuchh or Huzara, six miles west of Hussun Abdal. In Toorkistan there are very numerous mines of iron. In the territory of Kokum may be two, in that of Bokhara one, in that of Hisar two. Shuhursubz bas one mine, the territory of Tashkund one, perhaps more. It is said Keerategin and Durwaz have none.

In the territory of Fyzabad there are four mines; and in the small principality of Kolab, the greater part of which lies on this side the Oxus, between Keerategin and Fyzabad, there is one. Bulkh has one mine in its hill to the south, and Tolekan another. Notwithstanding the number of iron mines in Toorkistan, that metal is imported from Russia, and is of a superior quality,

110. Lead is very abundant in many parts of these countries. Not unfrequently it is found in the same matrix with soorma, which is an ore of antimony ;* sometimes it is found alone, as soorma also is. I have heard of the following mines of joint lead and soorma, viz. two in the country of the Afreedus, one at Khakshista of the Huzaras, south of Bameean, one or two near the source of the Urghundal, two at least in Chitral, and one in the dominions of Kokur. One mine of lead is found in upper Bungush. In the country of the Shinwarees, who are west of the Afreedus, one mine. There are two mines in the country of the Kokurs, and one at Turbulakh of the Dehzungee Huzaras, who are the most westerly of all. Near Baghis of the Ty. munees within the Ymak hills, the spring torrents bring down pieces of this metal. I have not heard of its being found in any other place of Khoorasan, except near Nishaboor. In Toorkistan it is very abun. dant. There is one mine in the hills near Bulkh ; in the principality of Talikan there seem to be two mines. In the district of Undurab there is one mine, and in that of Khoost another. Lead is also found in Khirjan, which lies between Khoollum and Bameean. In Bu. dukhshan lead is abundant, and there are three or four mines in the valley of Wunj. Some lead is also brought through this country from Kashkar and the borders of the Kafirs. Kolab has two mines, Buljeewan, which is under the lesser Kolab and is beyond the Oxus, has one, and in the territory of Hisar are two. Nooruta has one mine, and there is perhaps another in the dominions of Kokun, and one or two in those of Tashkund. There is one mine in Keerategin, probably

* I am now (January 1811) assured there is also sold under the name of soorma a certain sulphate of lead, and it is natural to suppose, this is the substance here meant.

Soorma without lead is found in the principality of Talikan, in several places, and is said to be abundant in Budukhshan, Durwaz, and Keerategin. Soorma is found in the country of the Besoot Huzaras, who are among the most easterly of that nation. A mineral called white soorma, is found near Dubran, which lies north of Huzara.

111. Orpiment, which is yellow oxyde of arsenic, is found near Sakhir in Seahbund, and in more than one place in the hills of Bulkh. It is also produced somewhere in Budukhshan, near Lungreeal, which is not far from Dubran ; it is the ore of some metal of a whitish colour and a consistence which adapts it to be easily made into bullets. Towards Cabul and in many other places, the villagers use a certain species of gravel, called sungisachma, for shot. The most fa. mous place for sulphur is Gogirduk, between Khoollum and Bulkh, but this mineral is said to be found in some other places of Bactria, to the east of Bulkh. Some is produced in the territory of the greater Kolab, and some in that of Fyzabad. Sulphur is reported to be found in the hill of Sherabad (see paragraph 188.) It abounds in Chitral, and some other parts of Kashkar, and some of it is in an oxydized state. Some is to be seen in the desert of Margiana (see paragraph 101.) There are two mines in Seeweestan, of which one is near Bhag, and one not far from Sunnee. The western Tubus is famous for its sulphur, as well as its tobacco. Some of the springs of the Kafirs

« السابقةمتابعة »