תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

ed with semicircular butresses. These courts are filled with corn, brought down from Upper Egypt for the use of the soldiers, and distributed amongst them as part of their pay; which, however, they generally convert into ready money. As the granaries are open at top, the grain is covered with mat- . ting; but nevertheless, the birds sometimes find means to come at it, for which a certain allowance is made to the keeper of this magazine. There is a slight fence of canes round the tops of the walls, which a thief must necessarily break down before he can carry off any corn; so that it seems designed, not to prevent robberies, but to give noticeowhen they have been committed. The town of Old Cairo is the port to the new city for all boats that arrive from Upper Egypt, as Bulac is for those which come up from the Delta. In general the buildings are ruinous, but there are many good houses in it, and the inhabitants are pretty numerous. Three or four Franciscans live here in a meat little house, belonging to the convent of those fathers at Jerusalem, of whose welfare we gave them an account. Near the South corner of Old Cairo are the remains of an extensive strućture, supposed to have been a sort of castrum for the Roman troops at Babylon, which town was probably situated on a neighbouring mountain, now called Jehusi, and was founded by some captives who escaped from Babylon on the Euphrates. This castle is at present called Kieman, is built of small hewn stone intermixed with layers of brick, and has several large round towers, one of which is converted into a Greek nunnery. As it is inhabited by Christians, there are

[ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][graphic]
[subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][graphic]
[ocr errors]

two or three churches in it; but some parts of the building are entirely destroyed, and the rest in a ruinous condition; it having often been the refuge of fačtious and rebellious parties. Hastening from Old Cairo, we crossed the Nile. near the pleasant island of Roida, (of which hereaf. ter) to the opposite village of Gize or Geeza, where the ancient Memphis is generally supposed to have been situated, though the ruins of that famous city are so completely buried or removed, that not the least trace of them are now to be discovered. About ten miles to the Westward of this place, upon a ridge of rocky hills on the borders of the Lybian deserts, stand those three vast pyramids, so justly the admiration of all that behold them. There are many others, indeed, dispersed up and down; but most of them are so much inferior in bulk to any of the former, that travellers take little notice of them, confining their observations chiefly to the three which appear most considerable. The hill, on which they are situated, rises with an easy ascent from the plains of Egypt about a hundred feet; and the rock consists of such free-stone as is used in the pyramids themselves. The largest of these pyramids, which has suffered least by time and weather, is six hundred ninetythree English feet square at the basis, and its perpen. :

dicular height is four hundred ninety-nine feet; but

if we take it as the pyramid ascends inclining, then.

the height is equal to the breadth of the basis, name

ly, six hundred and ninety-three feet, the angles and

the base making an equilateral triangle. The whole

area, therefore, of the basis contains four hundred

eighty thousand two hundred and forty-nine square feet, which is something more than eleven acres of ground. This pyramid is ascended on the outside by steps, which are from two feet and a half to four feet in height, and broad in proportion, being placed in such a manner, that a line stretched from the bottom to the top would touch the angle of every step, if the stones were not washed and impaired by the air and rain; but they are so worn and mouldered away at present, that they cannot conveniently be ascended, except on the South side, or the NorthEast angle. Each step is one entire stone, many of them thirty feet in length, and the number of steps from the bottom to the top is two hundred and seven". The day being warm, we had no small fatigue and difficulty in clambering up to the summit of this pyramid, which does not end in a point, as mathematical pyramids do, and as it appears to those that view it from below, but in a square platform, consisting of nine large stones, besides two that are wanting at the angles. Each side of this platform is above sixteen feet, so that some scores of people may stand upon it, and from thence enjoy one of the finest prospects the world affords. Many travellers have reported, that a man cannot shoot an arrow from the top of this pyramid beyond

: * This is Mr. Greaves' number, but travellers differ strangely in their computations, perhaps from their having ascended the pyramid at different places. Sandys makes the steps two hundred and fifty-five, Lewenstein two hundred and sixty; Thevenot and Maillet reckon two hundred and eight, and Dr. Pocock counted two hundred and twelve, though he thinks that Greaves and Maillet come nearest the truth. - - -

« הקודםהמשך »