תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

318

THE TURKS OF ASIA MINOR.

beheld. Many of these bowers command a prospect, whose equal for mountain, wood and water, forest glade and smiling valley, snowy peaks and grassy knolls, waving pines and enamelled turf, is only to be found

among

the
scenery

of Switzerland or the Tyrol. Several of the Turks (principally old men) were enjoying their pipes in the entrances to these retreats, and did not seem altogether insensible to the charms of nature that surrounded them. The inhabitants were all Turks ; an athletic, well-made, handsome race of men, who dressed to great advantage, did not wear beards, had broad turbans, and were armed with long guns, daggers, and pistols. Numbers were engaged out of doors cultivating the land, contrary to the general report of travellers, who affirm that the women are employed in such laborious occupations, while their lords and masters are hunting, or enjoying the ease and luxury of the shibook. The females whom we met in our rambles appeared unusually cautious of encountering the unhallowed gaze of a Christian; for not only did they cover up every feature except one eye, but they invariably stopped and turned

away their faces until we passed by. As far as we could observe, the people seemed quiet and inoffensive, and totally different from the character given of them at the time of the visit of Sir Sidney Smith's squadron, the sailors of which, it is possible, may have earned for themselves the inhospitable treatment mentioned in the works written about that period. On the evening of the second day we weighed anchor, and took up our station in the south-west angle of the bay, behind the island that forms the western barrier of its entrance.

21st. We had a night of great severity; it froze so hard that there was ice on all the neighbouring fresh water in the morning ; the wind was keen, and blew from the north-east, and, as it passed over the higher range of the snow-clad mountains of Karamania, the cold it carried with it was very annoying. To the west of the island is another valley, still more beautiful than that we visited yesterday, though not quite so extensive or so cultivated. It has a fine pebbled beach, descending almost as perpendicular as that at Madeira. The sides of this valley are formed of precipitous rocks, that lead up the highly wooded mountain side, and gradually narrow into a mere mountain-pass at its upper end. Two streams, abounding with eel and grey mullet, meander through it, among low woods of myrtle and dwarf oak; the former were

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

the largest shrubs of this description I ever beheld. Woodcocks were plenty in the copses, but although the lower part of the plain is marshy, snipes are very scarce. Towards the upper end there is a village of about a dozen circular houses, with flat roofs, formed by boughs of fir trees, covered over with clay. Bees seemed the principal stock of the inhabitants of this village, and apiaries abounded every where ; the hives were formed out of the hollowed trunks of palm trees, closed by circular pieces of wood at either end, and altogether resembling small casks; they were placed in rows, one over another, under sheds, some of which contained above twenty hives. The people find a ready market for their honey at Rhodes, from whence it is forwarded to Turkey; it has a peculiarly wild but not unpleasant flavour. The bee is held in great veneration by Mohammadans, and is spoken of in the Kooran as “a sign unto the people that understand.” The mountain limestone extends all along the north-west side of the bay, with the serpentine appearing in some places at the water's edge. The eastern side of the bay has a reddish volcanic appearance, but from the quantity of brushwood with which the ground is covered, it is difficult to ascertain its geology with accuracy. The hills are difficult of ascent, owing to their exceeding steepness, the closeness of the brambles, and the number of loose stones that are put in motion by the attempt; but the view from the summit is superb, embracing the numerous bays, creeks, and islands along this varied and beautiful coast, as well as the inland country, which consists of a succession of mountains similar to those surrounding the bay-wild, rugged fells, without a trace of cultivation, but with forests of enormous timber, too massive and too far distant from the coast to be turned to any account by the dwellers in these regions. At an elevation of eight hundred feet I found the splendid erica mediterranea, growing in great luxuriance, and perfectly white with its fragrant blossoms, that perfumed the air with a scent like that of meadow-sweet. It here attains the height of eight or ten feet, and forms a belt along the hills at an elevation of about five hundred feet above the sea level, and altogether presents one of the most magnificent decorations that the vegetable world affords these alpine regions. It swarms with thousands of bees, and seems to be their principal food. 1 remarked that the bees, having finished their repast upon its flowers, flocked to drink at some of the many rills and miniature

[blocks in formation]

cascades that trickled through the rocks, before proceeding homeward with their store. The arbutus andrachne, then in full flower, was also plentiful at this elevation. Bears and wolves are reported to inhabit these parts, but it was not our lot to encounter any of them.

Here, and still higher up the mountains, I found numbers of land tortoises (testudo græca), several of which were upwards of eighteen inches in length, and were busily engaged in rooting for their food among the stones and decayed vegetable matter. This the animal does with great adroitness with its horny snout; but if it wishes to raise a stone that is too heavy for its snout, it withdraws the head, and placing the anterior end of the shell against it, converts itself into a lever, by raising and pressing forward the hind legs ; or finding this ineffectual, it converts itself into a battering ram, and knocks at it with great force till it overturns it. I have watched these curious animals for hours, and have been astonished not only at the extraordinary strength but at the instinct displayed by them. The male and female can be at once distinguished by the recurved lip or prominence at the posterior edge of the carapace, which is characteristic of this species, being more marked and turned downwards in the male, as well as by the hacked and broken edge of the anterior part.

Of the ruins of the ancient Physcus, said to be in this neighbourhood, I could find no trace, unless it could have been the following :-Upon a small mound in a thicket near the shore of this valley, I stumbled over the remains of a building, whose foundation is now nearly covered up with shrubs of myrtle and mastic. Here were pieces of broken marble, a fluted doric pilaster, and a portion of a frieze of white marble, on which were still visible three triglyphs, and on the intervening metopes the Greek word QIKA, the last letter of which occurs just where the stone is broken off. In the neighbourhood of this were some remains of more modern date, probably of the Genoese or Venetians. Of the pillar discovered by Dr. Hume upon the other side of the bay I could gain no tidings; but in the Turkish burial-ground adjoining, there is the shaft of a white marble column, in length about four feet, used as a head-stone, and alongside of it a rude Tuscan capital, on which, however, there is the cross of St. John ; but this may have been carved on it at a period long subsequent to its original construction. This graveyard, which is situated in a most

[blocks in formation]

romantic, lovely spot, is not of a character with those usual among Mohammadans, for the graves are simple barrows, without any stone-work at top. I may here remark, that burial-grounds are among the first places the antiquary and ruin-hunter should visit ; for whether it be that the odour of sanctity still remains about them, or that they are usually situated on the site, or in the vicinity of ancient places of worship, like the round towers of Ireland, I do not know; but there will generally be found the indications of ancient ruins, if any such exist in the vicinity.

Not hearing of any cases of plague in this district, we became emboldened to hold some communion with the natives; and as a relief from salt provisions, procured a fat-tailed sheep, * which, however, was passed through water on our receiving it. There is a very general opinion throughout the Levant, that passing any substance through water clears it from all infection.

July 24th. We sailed out of Marmorice, and coasted to Karagatch, distant about ten miles by water, but separated from it by a sandy isthmus of not more than a mile in breadth. The hammershaped peninsula that spreads over the southern margin of these two noble bays, was, in all probability, an island at no very remote age, and resembles in its character the rest of the coast, in its bold cliffs, overhanging rocks fringed with fir-trees, and vast natural caverns, into which the sea rolls with terrific fury; and the reacting swell from which is perceptible at a considerable distance from the spot where it is generated.

Karagatch is still a finer bay than that we had left; for though fully as much land-locked and as well protected, it is better suited to vessels of a larger class, being more easy of access, and having within it several small sheltered nooks, that afford secure riding for the smaller craft. Here also the mountains rise abruptly from the water; in some places wooded from their base to their summits, and opening out into verdant vales, with rivulets running toward the sea. At its distant extremity a point of land separates two broad basins of calm water. The western one of

• The tail of one of those sheep will weigh as much as six or eight pounds, and is often much heavier than a quarter of the same animal. Although when fresh this is not very palatable food, yet when salted, it is delicious, being of a substance much resembling the hump of the bison. I remarked, that in all the fat-tailed sheep there was scarcely a vestige of the suet or adipose substance that surrounds the kidneys in the common kind.

Y

[blocks in formation]

these is surrounded by a very extensive plain, the greater part of which is marshy, and covered over with sedge, tall reeds, and brushwood. A considerable stream of clear water, having a sandy bottom, empties itself into the sea by a number of mouths at this point; and as it forms many windings, and rushes over several falls, it forms a pleasing object in the landscape. It was filled with tortoises and numbers of small fish; and several kinds of kingfishers were very common along its banks. I shot the white egret ; the nuthatch was in every tree, and woodcocks were plenty ; but there were very few snipes. We procured some coarse sponges from the people, who report them to be plenty in this bay. None of the timber grown here is of a size sufficient to make a stun-sail boom. The common arbutus grows on the hills, also the lime and the plane-tree (plantanus orientalis), which latter is, I find, used in a manner that I was not before acquainted with. In the spring or autumn it is stripped of its bark, which is pressed in a rudely-constructed machine, placed between two trees, and by a board at top and bottom, acted on by a long lever, so compressed that it exudes a kind of yellow resin, somewhat like Burgundy pitch. This is used as incense, principally by the Greeks. Heaths were numerous, laburnums were coming into blossom, and the scarlet anemone and blue crocus gave presage of the returning season. With the climate of this place we were much pleased ; at ten o'clock at night the thermometer on deck was 63o, the highest point marked at this hour since we entered the Mediterranean.

On one of the neighbouring headlands a remarkable geological formation appears :-next the sea is a stratum of green stone, on which rests a band of precious serpentine, and over both occurs a grey marble, which at one point is let down like a dyke between them, thrusting aside the strata, and contorting it in a very singular manner. In the retired and sheltered parts of these bays, the green, shining serpentine is distinguishable at a considerable distance ; but opposite the entrance, or where the wind plays with great force against it, it has become partially decomposed, and has assumed a brown, crumbling appearance.

There is no modern town within this bay ; the few stationary inhabitants residing in scattered cottages, and living as woodcutters and hunters. The wandering tribes of Turcomans that are still to be found in Asia Minor frequently resort hither with their flocks, which consist of sheep, kine, and goats. These

« הקודםהמשך »