HotFreeBooks.com
A Woman's Journey Round the World
by Ida Pfeiffer
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12
Home - Random Browse

Half-ruined fortification walls and towers of the time of Genueser remain, as well as a fine mosque, which has been turned into a Christian church by the Russians.

The town lies upon a large bay of the Black Sea, on the declivity of barren hills. Pretty gardens between the houses form the only vegetation to be seen.

28th September. We stopped this morning at Jalta, a very small village, containing 500 inhabitants, and a handsome church founded by the Prince Woronzoff. It is built in pure Gothic style, and stands upon a hill outside of the village. The country is again delightful here, and beautiful hills and mountains, partly covered with fine woods, partly rising in steep precipices, extend close to the sea-shore.

The steamer stayed twenty-four hours at Jalta. I took advantage of the time to make an excursion to Alupka, one of the estates of Prince Woronzoff, famous for a castle which is considered one of the curiosities of the Crimea. The road to it passed over low ranges of hills close to the sea through a true natural park, which had here and there been embellished by the help of art. The most elegant castles and country-houses belonging to the Russian nobles are seated between woods and groves, gardens and vineyards, in open spaces on hills and declivities. The whole prospect is so charming, that it appears as if prosperity, happiness, and peace, only reigned here.

The first villa which attracted me was that of Count Leo Potocki. The building is extremely tasteful. The gardens were laid out with art and sumptuousness. The situation is delightful, with an extensive view of the sea and neighbourhood.

A second magnificent building, which, however, is more remarkable for magnitude than beauty of construction, lies near the sea-shore. It resembles an ordinary square house with several stories; and, as I was informed, was built as a country bathing-place of the emperor, but had not yet been made use of. This castle is called Oriander.

Far handsomer than this palace was the charming country-house of Prince Mirzewsky. It is seated on a hill, in the centre of a magnificent park, and affords a delightful view of the mountains and sea. The principal front is Gothic.

The villa of Prince Gallizin is built entirely in the Gothic style. The pointed windows, and two towers of which, decorated with a cross, give to it the appearance of a church, and the beholder involuntarily looks for the town to which this gorgeous building belongs.

This place lies nearly at the extremity of the fine country. From here the trees are replaced by dwarf bushes, and finally by brambles; the velvety-green turf is succeeded by stony ground, and steep rocks rise behind, at the foot of which lie a quantity of fallen fragments.

Even here very pretty seats are to be seen; but they are entirely artificial, and want the charm of nature.

After travelling about thirteen wersti, the road winds round a stony hill, and the castle of Prince Woronzoff comes in sight in its entire extent. The appearance of it is not by any means so fine as I had imagined. The castle is built entirely of stone, of the same colour as the neighbouring rocks. If a large park surrounded the castle, it would stand out more prominently, and the beauty and magnificence of its architecture would be better shown. There is, indeed, a well laid out garden, but it is yet new and not very extensive. The head gardener, Herr Kebach (a German), is a master in his art; he well knows how to manage the naked barren land, so that it will bear not only the ordinary trees, plants, and flowers, but even the choicest exotic plants.

The castle is built in the Gothic style, and is full of towers, pinnacles, and buttresses, such as are seen in similar well preserved buildings of olden time. The principal front is turned towards the sea. Two lions, in Carrara marble, artistically sculptured, lie in comfortable ease at the top of the majestic flight of steps which lead from the castle far down to the sea- shore.

The interior arrangement of the castle reminded me of the "Arabian Nights;" every costly thing from all parts of the world, such as fine woods and choice works of art, is to be seen here in the greatest perfection and splendour. There are state apartments in Oriental, Chinese, Persian, and European styles; and, above all, a garden saloon, which is quite unique, for it not only contains the finest and rarest flowers but even the tallest trees. Palms, with their rich leafy crowns, extend to a great height, climbing plants cover the walls, and on all sides are flowers and blossoms. The most delightful odour diffused itself through the air, cushioned divans stood half-buried under the floating leaves; in fact, everything combined to produce the most magical impression upon the senses.

The owner of this fairy palace was unfortunately absent at a fete on a neighbouring estate. I had letters to him, and should have been glad to have made his acquaintance, as I had heard him spoken of here, both by rich and poor, as a most noble, just and generous man. I was, indeed, persuaded to wait his return, but I could not accept this offer, as I should have had to wait eight days for the arrival of the next steamer, and my time was already very limited.

In the neighbourhood of the castle is a Tartar village, of which there are many in the Crimea. The houses are remarkable for their flat earth roofs, which are more used by the inhabitants than the interior of the huts; as the climate is mild and fine they pass the whole day at their work on the roofs, and at night sleep there. The dress of the men differs somewhat from that of the Russian peasants, the women dress in the Oriental fashion, and have their faces uncovered.

I never saw such admirably planted and clean vineyards as here. The grapes are very sweet, and of a good flavour; the wine light and good, and perfectly suited for making champagne, which indeed is sometimes done. I was told that more than a hundred kinds of grapes are grown in the gardens of Prince Woronzoff.

When I returned to Jalta, I was obliged to wait more than two hours, as the gentlemen with whom I was to go on board had not yet finished their carouse. At last, when they broke up, one of them, an officer of the steamer, was so much intoxicated that he could not walk. Two of his companions and the landlord dragged him to the shore. The jolly-boat of the steamer was indeed there, but the sailors refused to take us, as the jolly-boat was ordered for the captain. We were obliged to hire a boat, for which each had to pay twenty kopecs (8d.) The gentlemen knew that I did not speak Russian but they did not think I partially understood the language. I, however, overheard one of them say to the other "I have no change with me, let us leave the woman to pay." Upon this the other turned round to me, and said in French, "The share that you have to pay is twenty silver kopecs." These were gentlemen who made pretensions to honesty and honour.

29th September. Today we stopped at the strong and beautiful fortress Sewastopol. The works are partly situated at the entrance of the harbour, and partly in the harbour itself; they are executed in massive stone, and possess a number of towers and outworks which defend the entrance to the harbour. The harbour itself is almost entirely surrounded by hills, and is one of the safest and most excellent in the world. It can hold the largest fleets, and is so deep that the most gigantic men-of-war can lie at anchor close to the quays. Sluices, docks and quays have been constructed in unlimited splendour and magnificence. The whole of the works were not quite finished, and there was an unparalleled activity apparent. Thousands of men were busy on all sides. Among the workmen I was shown many of the captured Polish nobles who had been sent here as a punishment for their attempt, in 1831, to shake of the Russian yoke.

The works of the fortress and the barracks are so large that they will hold about 30,000 men.

The town itself is modern, and stands upon a range of barren hills. The most attractive among the buildings is the Greek church, as it stands quite alone on a hill, and is built in the style of a Grecian temple. The library is situated on the highest ground. There is also an open-columned hall near the club, with stone steps leading to the sea-shore, which serves as the most convenient passage to the town for those who land here. A Gothic monument to the memory of Captain Cozar, who distinguished himself greatly at the battle of Navarino, and was killed there, does not less excite the curiosity of the traveller. Like the church, it stands alone upon a hill.

The streets here, as in all the new Russian towns, are broad and clean.

30th September. Early in the morning we reached Odessa. The town looks very well from the sea. It stands high; and consequently many of the large and truly fine buildings can be seen at one glance. Among these are the Palace of Prince Woronzoff, the Exchange, the government offices, several large barracks, the quarantine buildings, and many fine private houses. Although the surrounding country is flat and barren, the number of gardens and avenues in the town give it a pleasant appearance. In the harbour was a perfect forest of masts. By far the greater number of ships do not lie here, but in the quarantine harbour. Most of the ships come from the Turkish shore, and are obliged to pass through a quarantine of fourteen days, whether they have illness on board or not.

Odessa, the chief town of the government of Cherson, is, from its situation on the Black Sea, and at the mouth of the Dniester and Dnieper, one of the most important places of commerce in South Russia. It contains 50,000 inhabitants, was founded in 1794, and declared a free port in 1817. A fine citadel entirely commands the harbour.

The Duke of Richelieu contributed most to the advancement of Odessa; for after having made several campaigns against his native country (France) in an emigrant corps, he went to Russia; and in 1803 was made governor-general of Cherson. He filled this post until 1814, during which time he brought the town to its present position. When he was appointed it contained scarcely 5,000 inhabitants. One of the finest streets bears the name of the duke, and several squares are also named in honour of him.

I remained only two days in Odessa. On the third I started by the steamer for Constantinople. I went through the town and suburbs in every direction. The finest part lies towards the sea, especially the boulevard, which is furnished with fine avenues of trees, and offers a delightful promenade; a life-size statue of the Duke Richelieu forms a fine ornament to it. Broad flights of stone steps lead from here down to the sea-shore; and in the background are rows of handsome palaces and houses. The most remarkable among them are the Government House, the Hotel St. Petersburgh, and the Palace of Prince Woronzoff, built in the Italian style, with a tasteful garden adjoining. At the opposite end of the boulevard is the Exchange, also built in the Italian style, and surrounded by a garden. Not far from this is the Academy of Arts, a rather mediocre one-story building. The Theatre, with a fine portico, promises much outside, but is nothing great within. Next to the theatre is the Palais Royal, which consists of a pretty garden, round which are ranged large handsome shops, filled with costly goods. Many articles are also hung out, but the arrangement is not near so tasteful as is the case in Vienna or Hamburgh.

Among the churches the Russian cathedral is the most striking. It has a lofty arched nave and a fine dome. The nave rests upon strong columns covered with brilliant white plaster, which looks like marble. The decorations of the churches with pictures, lamps, and lustres, etc., is rich but not artistic. This was the first church in which I found stoves, and really it was quite necessary that these should be used, the difference of temperature between this place and Jalta was very considerable for the short distance.

A second Russian church stands in the new bazaar; it has a large dome surrounded by four smaller ones, and has a very fine appearance from the exterior; inside it is small and plain.

The Catholic church, not yet quite finished, vies in point of architecture with the Russian cathedral.

The streets are all broad, handsome, and regular, it is almost impossible to lose your way in this town. In every street there are fine large houses, and this is the case even in the most remote parts as well.

In the interior of the town lies the so-called "crown garden," which is not, indeed, very large or handsome, but still affords some amusement, as great numbers of people assemble here on Sundays, and festivals, and a very good band of music plays here in summer under a tent; in winter the performances take place in a plain room.

The botanic garden, three wersti from the town, has few exotic plants, and is much neglected. The autumn changes, which I again saw here for the first time for some years, made a truly sad impression upon me. I could almost have envied the people who live in hot climates, although the heat is very troublesome.

The German language is understood by almost all but the lowest orders in Odessa.

On leaving the Russian dominions I had as much trouble with the passport regulations as on entering. The passport which was obtained on entering must be changed for another for which two silver roubles are paid. Besides this, the traveller's name has to be three times printed in the newspaper, so that if he has debts, his creditors may know of his departure. With these delays it takes at least eight days, frequently, however, two or three weeks to get away; it is not, however, necessary to wait for these forms, if the traveller provides security.

The Austrian Consul, Herr Gutenthal, answered for me, and I was thus able to bid adieu to Russia on the 2nd of October. That I did this with a light heart it is not necessary for me to assure my readers.



CHAPTER XXIV. CONSTANTINOPLE AND ATHENS.



CONSTANTINOPLE—CHANGES—TWO FIRES—VOYAGE TO GREECE—QUARANTINE AT AEGINA—A DAY IN ATHENS—CALAMACHI—THE ISTHMUS—PATRAS—CORFU.

Little can be said of the passage from Odessa to Constantinople; we continued out at sea and did not land anywhere. The distance is 420 miles. The ship belonged to the Russian government, it was named Odessa, was of 260 horse power, and was handsome, clean, and neat.

In order that my parting with my dear friends, the Russians, might not be too much regretted, one of them was so good at the end of the passage as to behave in a manner that was far from polite. During the last night which was very mild and warm, I went out of the close cabin on to the deck, and placed myself not far from the compass- box, where I soon began to sleep, wrapt in my mantle. One of the sailors came, and giving me a kick with his foot, told me to leave the place. I thanked him quietly for the delicate way in which he expressed himself, and requesting him to leave me at peace, continued to sleep.

Among the passengers were six English sailors, who had taken a new ship to Odessa, and were returning home. I spoke with them several times, and had soon quite won them. As they perceived that I was without any companion, they asked me if I spoke enough Turkish to be able to get what I wanted from the ship's people and porters. On my answering that I did, they offered to manage everything for me if I would go on shore with them. I willingly accepted their offer.

As we approached land a customs' officer came on board to examine our luggage. In order to avoid delay I gave him some money. When we landed I wanted to pay, but the English sailors would not allow it; they said I had paid for the customs' officer, and it was therefore their time to pay for the boat. I saw that I should only have affronted them if I had pressed them further to receive the money. They settled with the porter for me, and we parted good friends. How different was the behaviour of these English sailors from that of the three well-bred Russian gentlemen at Jalta!

The passage into the Bosphorus, as well as the objects of interest in Constantinople, I have already described in my journey to the Holy Land. I went immediately to my good friend Mrs. Balbiani; but, to my regret, found that she was not in Constantinople; she had given up her hotel. I was recommended to the hotel "Aux Quatre Nations," kept by Madame Prust. She was a talkative French woman, who was always singing the praises of her housekeeping, servants, cookery, etc., in which, however, none of the travellers agreed with her. She charged forty piasters (8s.), and put down a good round sum in the bill for servants' fees and such like.

Since my last stay here a handsome new wooden bridge had been erected over the Golden Horn, and the women did not seem to be so thickly veiled as on my first visit to Constantinople. Many of them wore such delicately woven veils that their faces could almost be seen through them: others had only the forehead and chin covered, and left their eyes, nose, and cheeks exposed.

The suburb of Pera looked very desolate. There had been a number of fires, which were increased by two during my stay; they were called "small," as by the first only a hundred and thirty shops, houses, and cottages, and by the second, only thirty were burned to the ground. They are accustomed to reckon the number destroyed by thousands.

The first fire broke out in the evening as we were seated at table. One of the guests offered to accompany me to see it, as he thought I should be interested by the sight if I had not seen such a one before. The scene of the fire was rather distant from our house, but we had scarcely gone a hundred steps when we found ourselves in a great crowd of people, who all carried paper lanterns, {330a} by which the streets were lighted. Every one was shouting and rushing wildly about; the inhabitants of the houses threw open their windows and inquired of the passers by the extent of the danger, and gazed with anxiety and trembling at the reflection of the flames in the sky. Every now and then sounded the shrill cry of "Guarda! guarda!" (take care) of the people, who carried small fire-engines {330b} and buckets of water on their shoulders, and knocked everything over that was in their way. Mounted and foot soldiers and watchmen rushed about, and Pashas rode down with their attendants to urge the people on in extinguishing the fire, and to render them assistance. Unfortunately almost all these labours are fruitless. The fire takes such hold of the wooden buildings painted with oil colours, and spreads with such incredible rapidity that it is stopped only by open spaces or gardens. One fire often destroys several thousand houses. The unfortunate inhabitants have scarce time to save themselves; those who live some distance off hastily pack their effects together and hold themselves prepared for flight at any moment. It may easily be supposed that thieves are not rare on such occasions, and it too often happens that the few things the poor people have saved are torn away from them in the bustle and confusion.

The second fire broke out in the following night. Every one had retired to sleep, but the fire-watch rushed through the street, knocking with his iron-mounted staff at the doors of the houses and waking the people. I sprang terrified out of bed, ran to the window, and saw in the direction of the fire a faint red light in the sky. In a few hours the noise and redness ceased. They have at last begun to build stone houses, not only in Pera but also in Constantinople.

I left Constantinople on the evening of the 7th of October, by the French steamer Scamander, one hundred and sixty-horse power.

The passage from Constantinople to Smyrna, and through the Greek Archipelago is described in my journey to the Holy Land, and I therefore pass on at once to Greece.

I had been told, in Constantinople, that the quarantine was held in the Piraeus (six English miles from Athens), and lasted only four days, as the state of health in Turkey was perfectly satisfactory. Instead of this, I learnt on the steamer that it was held at the island of AEgina (sixteen English miles from Piraeus), and lasted twelve days, not on account of the plague but of the cholera. For the plague it lasts twenty days.

On the 10th of October we caught sight of the Grecian mainland. Sailing near the coast, we saw on the lofty prominence of a rock twelve large columns, the remains of the Temple of Minerva. Shortly afterwards we came near the hill on which the beautiful Acropolis stands. I gazed for a long time on all that was to be seen; the statues of the Grecian heroes, the history of the country came back to my mind; and I glowed with desire to set my foot on the land which, from my earliest childhood, had appeared to me, after Rome and Jerusalem, as the most interesting in the earth. How anxiously I sought for the new town of Athens—it stands upon the same spot as the old and famous one. Unfortunately, I did not see it, as it was hidden from us by a hill. We turned into the Piraeus, on which a new town has also been built, but only stopped to deliver up our passports, and then sailed to AEgina.

It was already night when we arrived; a boat was quickly put out, and we were conveyed to the quay near the quarantine station. Neither the porters nor servants of this establishment were there to help us, and we were obliged to carry our own baggage to the building, where we were shown into empty rooms. We could not even get a light. I had fortunately a wax taper with me, which I cut into several pieces and gave to my fellow-passengers.

On the following morning I inquired about the regulations of the quarantine—they were very bad and very dear. A small room, quite empty, cost three drachmas (2s. 3d.) a-day; board, five drachmas (3s. 9d.); very small separate portions, sixty or seventy leptas (6d. or 7d.); the attendance, that is, the superintendence of the guardian, two drachmas a-day; the supply of water, fifteen leptas daily; the physician, a drachma; and another drachma on leaving, for which he inspects the whole party, and examines the state of their health. Several other things were to be had at a similar price, and every article of furniture has to be hired.

I cannot understand how it is that the government pays so little attention to institutions which are established for sanitary purposes and which the poor cannot avoid. They must suffer more privation here than at home; they cannot have any hot meals, for the landlord, who is not restricted in his prices, charges five or six times the value. Several artizans who had come by the vessel were put into the same room with a servant-girl. These people had no hot food the twelve days; they lived entirely upon bread, cheese, and dried figs. The girl, after a few days, begged me to let her come into my room, as the people had not behaved properly to her. In what a position the poor girl would have been placed if there had not happened to be a woman among the passengers, or if I had refused to receive her!

Are such arrangements worthy of a public institution? Why are there not a few rooms fitted up at the expense of government for the poor? Why cannot they have a plain hot meal once in the day for a moderate price? The poor surely suffer enough by not being able to earn anything for so long a time, without being deprived of their hard earnings in such a shameful manner!

On the second day the court-yard was opened, and we were permitted to walk about in an inclosed space a hundred and fifty paces wide, on the sea-shore. The view was very beautiful; the whole of the Cyclades lay before us: small, mountainous islands, mostly uninhabited and covered over with woods. Probably they were formerly a part of the mainland, and were separated by some violent convulsion of nature.

On the fourth day our range was extended, we were allowed to walk as far as the hills surrounding the lazaretto under the care of a guard. The remains of a temple stand upon these hills, fragments of a wall, and a very much decayed column. The latter, which consisted of a single piece of stone, was fluted, and, judging from the circumference, had been very high. These ruins are said to be those of the remarkably fine temple of Jupiter.

21st October. This was the day we were set at liberty. We had ordered a small vessel the evening before which was to take us to Athens early in the morning. But my fellow-travellers would insist upon first celebrating their freedom at a tavern, and from this reason it was 11 o'clock before we started. I availed myself of this time to look about the town and its environs. It is very small and contains no handsome buildings. The only remains of antiquity which I found were traces of the floor of a room in Mosaic work of coloured stones. From what I could see of the island of AEgina, it appeared extremely barren and naked, and it does not show any indications of having been once a flourishing seat of art and commerce.

AEgina is a Greek island, about two square miles in extent, it was formerly a separate state, and is said to have received the name of AEgina from the daughter of AEsop. It is supposed that the first money of Greece was coined in this island.

Our passage to the Piraeus occupied a long time. There was not a breath of wind, and the sailors were obliged to row; we did not land at our destination until nearly 8 in the evening. We were first visited by the health-officer, who read through the certificates which we brought from the quarantine very leisurely. There was unfortunately nobody among us who was inclined to make it more understandable to him by a few drachmas. Of course we could not neglect going to the police-office; but it was already closed, in consequence of which we dare not leave the town. I went into a large fine-looking coffee-house to look for night quarters. I was conducted to a room in which half of the window-panes were broken. The attendant said this was of no consequence, it was only necessary to close the shutters. In other respects the room looked very well but I had scarcely laid down on the bed when certain animals compelled me to take to flight. I laid down upon the sofa, which was no better. Lastly, I tried an easy chair, in which I passed the night, not in the most agreeable position.

I had already been told in AEgina of the great dirtiness and number of vermin prevalent in the Piraean inns, and had been warned against passing a night there; but what was to be done? for we could not venture to leave the town without permission of the police.

22nd October. The distance of the harbour of the Piraeus from Athens is thirteen stadia, or six English miles. The road leads through olive-plantations and between barren hills. The Acropolis remains continually in sight; the town of Athens does not appear till afterwards. I had intended to remain eight days in Athens, in order to see all the monuments and remarkable places of the town and environs leisurely; but I had scarcely got out of the carriage when I heard the news of the breaking out of the Vienna revolution of October.

I had heard of the Paris revolution of the 24th February while in Bombay; that of March in Germany, at Baghdad; and the other political disturbances while at Tebris, Tiflis, and other places. No news had astonished me so much in my whole life as that from Vienna. My comfortable, peace-loving Austrians, and an overthrow of the government! I thought the statement so doubtful, that I could not give full credit to the verbal information of the Resident at Baghdad; he was obliged to show it to me in black and white in the newspaper to convince me. The affair of March so delighted and inspirited me that I felt proud of being an Austrian. The later occurrences of May, however, cooled my enthusiasm; and that of the 6th of October completely filled me with sadness and dejection. No overthrow of a state ever began so promisingly. It would have stood alone in history if the people had gone on in the spirit of the March movement; and then to end in such a way! I was so grieved and upset by the result of the 6th of October, that I lost all enjoyment of everything. Moreover, I knew my friends were in Vienna, and I had heard nothing from them. I should have hastened there immediately if there had been an opportunity of doing so; but I was obliged to wait till the next day, as the steamer did not start till then. I made arrangements to go by it, and then took a cicerone to show me all the objects of interest in the town, more for diversion than pleasure.

My fate had been very unfortunate; twelve days I had patiently endured being shut up in the lazaretto at AEgina, in order to be able to see the classic country, and now I was so anxious to leave it that I had neither rest nor peace.

Athens, the capital of the former State of Attica, is said to have been founded in the year 1300, fourteen hundred years before Christ, by Cecrops, from whom it then took the name of Cecropia, which in after-times was retained only by the castle: under Eriktonius the town was named "Athens." The original town stood upon a rock in the centre of a plain, which was afterwards covered with buildings; the upper part was called the "Acropolis," the lower the "Katopolis;" only a part of the fortress, the famous Acropolis, remains on the mountain, where the principal works of art of Athens stand. The principal feature was the temple of Minerva, or the Parthenon; even its ruins excite the astonishment of the world. The building is said to have been 215 feet long, ninety-seven feet broad, and seventy feet high; here stood the statue of Minerva, by Phidias. This masterly work was executed in gold and ivory; its height was forty-six feet, and it is said to have weighed more than 2000 pounds. Fifty-five columns of the entrance to the temple still remain, as well as parts of enormous blocks of marble which rest upon them, and belonged to the arches and roof.

This temple was destroyed by the Persians, and was again restored with greater beauty by Pericles, about 440 years after the birth of Christ.

There are some fine remains of the temples of Minerva and Neptune, and the extent of the amphitheatre can still be seen; there is but little of the theatre of Bacchus remaining.

Outside the Acropolis stands the temple of Theseus and that of Jupiter Olympus; the one on the north, the other on the south side. The former is in the Doric style, and is surrounded by thirty-six fine columns. On the metope are represented the deeds of Theseus in beautiful reliefs. The interior of the temple is full of fine sculptures, epitaphs, and other works in stone, most of which belong to the other temples, but are collected here. Outside the temple stand several marble seats which have been brought from the neighbouring Areopagus, the former place of assembly for the patricians. Of the Areopagus itself nothing more is to be seen than a chamber cut out of the rock, to which similarly cut steps lead.

Of the temple of Jupiter Olympus so much of the foundation-walls still remain as to show what its size was; there are also sixteen beautiful columns, fifty-eight feet in height. This temple, which was completed by Hadrian, is said to have exceeded in beauty and magnificence all the buildings of Athens. The exterior was decorated by one hundred and twenty fluted columns six feet in diameter and fifty-nine in height. The gold and ivory statue of Jupiter was, like that of Minerva, the production of the masterly hand of Phidias. All the temples and buildings were of pure white marble.

Not far from the Areopagus is the Pnyx, where the free people of Athens met in council. Of this nothing more remains than the rostrum, hewn in the rock, and the seat of the scribe. What feelings agitate the mind when it is remembered what men have stood there and spoke from that spot!

It was with sadness that I examined the cave near here where Socrates was imprisoned and poisoned. Above this memorable grotto stands a plain monument erected in memory of Philopapoe.

The Turks surrounded the Acropolis with a broad wall, in the building of which they made use of many fragments of columns and other remains of the most beautiful temples.

No remnants of antiquity are to be seen in the old town of Athens except the Tower of the Winds, or, as others call it, Diogenes' Lantern, a small temple in the form of an octagon, covered with fine sculpture; also the monument of Lysicrates. This consists of a pedestal, some columns, and a dome in the Corinthian style.

The chapel Maria Maggiore, is said to have been built by the Venetians, 700 years after Christ. Its greatest peculiarity is that it was the first Christian church in Athens.

The view of the whole country from the Acropolis is also very interesting; there can be seen the Hymetos, the Pentelikon, towards Eleusis, Marathon, Phylae, and Dekelea, the harbour, the sea, and the course of the Ilissus.

Athens contains a considerable number of houses, most of which are, however, small and unimportant; the beautiful country-houses, on the contrary, surrounded by tasty gardens, have a very agreeable appearance.

The small observatory was built by Baron Sina, the well-known banker in Vienna, who is by birth a Greek.

The royal palace, which is of modern date, is built of brilliant white marble, in the form of a large quadrangle. On two sides, which occupy a large part of the breadth of the wings, under a peristyle, is a kind of small porch which rests upon pillars. The one approach is for the ministers, ambassadors, etc., the other for the royal family. With the exception of these two peristyles, the whole building is very tasteless, and has not the least ornament; the windows are in the ordinary form; and the high large walls appear so naked, bare, and flat, that even the dazzling white of the beautiful marble produces no effect; and it is only on a close approach that it can be seen what a costly material has been employed in the building.

I regretted having seen this palace, especially opposite to the Acropolis, on a spot which has made its works of art as classic as its heroes.

The palace is surrounded by a rather pretty though recently-formed garden. In the front stand a few palms, which have been brought from Syria, but they bear no fruit. The country is otherwise barren and naked.

The marble of which this palace is built, as well as the temples and other buildings on the Acropolis, is obtained from the quarries of the neighbouring mountain, Pentelikon, where the quantity of this beautiful stone is so great that whole towns might be built of it.

It was Sunday, and the weather was very fine, {335} to which I was indebted for seeing all the fashionable world of Athens, and even the Court, in the open promenade. This place is a plain avenue, at the end of which a wooden pavilion is erected. It is not decorated by either lawns or flower-beds. The military bands play every Sunday from five to six. The King rides or drives with his Queen to this place to show himself to the people. This time he came in an open carriage with four horses, and stopped to hear several pieces of music. He was in Greek costume; the Queen wore an ordinary French dress.

The Greek or rather Albanian costume is one of the handsomest there is. The men wear full frocks, made of white perkal, which reach from the hips to the knees, buskins from the knee to the feet, and shoes generally of red leather. A close-fitting vest of coloured silk without arms, over a silk shirt, and over this another close- fitting spencer of fine red, blue, or brown cloth, which is fastened only at the waist by a few buttons or a narrow band, and lays open at the top. The sleeves of the spencer are slit up, and are either left loose or slightly held together by some cords round the wrists; the collar of the shirt is a little turned over. The vest and spencer are tastily ornamented with cords, tassels, spangles and buttons of gold, silver or silk, according to the means of the wearer. The material, colour and ornament of the Zaruchi correspond with those of the spencer and vest. A dagger is generally worn in the girdle, together with a pair of pistols. The head-dress is a red fez, with a blue tassel.

The Greek dress is, as far as I saw, less worn by the women, and even then much of its originality is lost. The principal part of the dress consists of a French garment, which is open at the breast, over this a close spencer is drawn on, which is also open, and the sleeves wide and rather shorter than those of the gown. The front edges of the gown and spencer are trimmed with gold lace. The women and girls wear on their head a very small fez, which is bound round with rose or other coloured crape.

24th October. I left Athens by the small steamer Baron Kubeck, seventy-horse power, and went as far as Calamachi (twenty-eight miles). Here I had to leave the ship and cross the Isthmus, three English miles broad. At Lutrachi we went on board another vessel.

During the passage to Calamachi, which lasts only a few hours, the little town of Megara is seen upon a barren hill.

Nothing is more unpleasant in travelling than changing the conveyance, especially when it is a good one, and you can only lose by doing so. We were in this situation. Herr Leitenberg was one of the best and most attentive of all captains that I had ever met with in my travels, and we were all sorry to have to leave him and his ship. Even in Calamachi, where we remained this day and the following, as the ship which was to carry us on from Lutrachi did not arrive, on account of contrary winds, until the 25th, he attended to us with the greatest politeness.

The village of Calamachi offers but little of interest, the few houses have only been erected since the steamers plied, and the tolerably high mountains on which it lies are for the most part barren, or grown over with low brambles. We took several walks on the Isthmus, and ascended minor heights, from whence on one side is seen the gulf of Lepanto, and on the other the AEgean sea. In front of us stood the large mountain, Akrokorinth, rising high above all its companions. Its summit is embellished by a well-preserved fortification, which is called the remains of the Castle of Akrokorinth, and was used by the Turks in the last war as a fortress. The formerly world-famous city of Corinth, after which all the fittings of luxury and sumptuousness in the interior of palaces were named, and which gave the name to a distinct order of architecture, is reduced to a small town with scarcely a thousand inhabitants, and lies at the foot of the mountain, in the midst of fields and vineyards. It owes the whole of its present celebrity to its small dried grapes, called currants.

It is said that no town of Greece had so many beautiful statues of stone and marble as Corinth. It was upon this isthmus, which consists of a narrow ridge of mountains, and is covered with dense fig-groves, in which stood a beautiful temple of Neptune, were held the various Isthmian games.

How greatly a people or a country may degenerate! The Grecian people, at one time the first in the world, are now the furthest behind! I was told by everyone that in Greece it was neither safe to trust myself with a guide nor to wander about alone, as I had done in other countries; indeed, I was warned here in Calamachi not to go too far from the harbour, and to return before the dusk of the evening.

26th October. We did not start from Lutrachi until towards noon, by the steamer Hellenos, of one hundred and twenty-horse power.

We anchored for a few hours in the evening near Vostizza, the ancient AEgion, now an unimportant village, at the foot of a mountain.

27th October, Patras. That portion of Greece which I had already seen was neither rich in beauty, well cultivated, nor thickly inhabited. Here were, at least, plains and hills covered with meadows, fields, and vineyards. The town, on the Gulf of Lepanto, was formerly an important place of trade; and before the breaking out of the Greek revolution in 1821, contained 20,000 inhabitants; it has now only 7,000. The town is defended by three fortresses, one of which stands upon a hill, and two at the entrance of the harbour. The town is neither handsome nor clean, and the streets are narrow. The high mountains pleased me better; and their chain can be followed for a considerable distance.

I saw grapes here whose beauty and size induced me to buy some; but I found them so hard, dry, and tasteless, that I did not even venture to give them to a sailor, but threw them into the sea.

28th October. Corfu is the largest of the Ionian Islands, which formerly belonged to Greece, and lie at the entrance to the Adriatic sea. Corfu, the ancient Corcyra, has been subject to England since 1815.

The town of Corfu is situated in a more beautiful and fertile country than Patras, and is far larger. It contains 18,000 inhabitants. Adjoining the town are two romantic peaks of rock, with strong fortified works, upon which stand the telegraph and the lighthouse. Both are surrounded by artificial ditches, with draw- bridges leading across. The immediate environs of the town, as well as the whole island, are rich in delightful groves of olive and orange trees.

The town contains handsome houses and streets, with the exception of the bye-streets, which are remarkably crooked and not very clean. At the entrance of the town stands a large covered stone hall, in which on one side are the stalls of the butchers; on the other, those of the fishermen. In the open space in front are exposed the choicest vegetables and most beautiful fruits. The theatre presents a very pretty appearance; it would seem, from the sculptures upon it, to have been used for a church. The principal square is large and handsome; it is intersected by several avenues, and one side faces the sea. The palace of the English governor stands here; a fine building in the Grecian-Italian style.

The famous and much-visited church of St. Spiridion is but small; it contains many oil-paintings, some are good specimens of the old Italian School. In a small dark chapel at the furthest end of the church lies, in a silver sarcophagus, the body of St. Spiridion, who is held in great veneration by the Ionians. The chapel is always full of devotees who tenderly kiss the sarcophagus.

On the 29th of October we saw the low mountain-country of Dalmatia, and on the 30th I entered Trieste, whence I hastened on to Vienna the day following. I was obliged to pass several days in the greatest anxiety before the town, as it had been taken by storm on the last day of October and was not opened until the 4th of November. It was not until I had seen that all my relations were safe that I was able to return thanks with a grateful heart to the good Providence which, in all my dangers and troubles, had so remarkably protected and preserved me in health and strength. With equal gratitude I remembered those people who had treated me with such kindness, had so disinterestedly received me, and through whose help I had been enabled to overcome the frequent great hardships and difficulties I encountered.

From my readers I hope for a charitable judgment upon my book, which in simple language describes what I have experienced, seen and felt, and makes no higher pretension than that of being sincere and trustworthy.



NOTES.



{9} The sextant is a mathematical instrument by which the different degrees of longitude and latitude are determined, and the hour known. The chronometers also are set by it. In order to find the latitude the ship is in, an observation is taken at noon, but only when the sun shines. This last is absolutely necessary, since it is from the shadow cast upon the figures of the instrument that the reckoning is made. The longitude can be determined both morning and afternoon, as the sun, in this case, is not necessary.

{11} The heat does not require to be very great in order to melt the pitch in a ship's seams. I have seen it become soft, and form bladders, when the thermometer stood at 81.5 in the sun.

{12} Every four hours the state of the wind, how many miles the vessel has made, in fact, every occurrence, is noted down in the log with great exactitude. The captain is obliged to show this book to the owners of the ship at the conclusion of the voyage.

{13} Some years ago a sailor made an attempt to scale the Sugarloaf. He succeeded in attaining the summit, but never came down again. Most likely he made a false step and was precipitated into the sea.

{14} The worthy Lallemand family received her, a few days after her arrival into their house.

{23a} The princess was three weeks old.

{23b} Rockets and small fireworks are always let off at every religious festival, some before the church, and others at a short distance from it. The most ludicrous part of the affair is, that this is always done in open day.

{27} They are differently paid, according to what they can do. The usual hire of a maid-servant is from ten to twelve shillings per month; for a cook, twenty-four to forty; for a nurse, thirty-eight to forty; for a skilful labourer, fifty to seventy.

{34a} Truppa is a term used to designate ten mules driven by a negro; in most instances a number of truppas are joined together, and often make up teams or caravans of 100 or 200 mules. Everything in the Brazils is conveyed upon mules.

{34b} A cord, with a noose at the end; the native inhabitants of South America use it so skilfully that they catch the most savage animals with it.

{38} Fazenda is equivalent to our word "plantation."

{39} Kabi is African grass, which is planted all over the Brazils, as grass never grows there of its own accord. It is very high and reed-like.

{40} Rost (roaster) is employed to denote partly a strip of low brushwood, partly the place where a wood has stood previously to being burnt.

{42} All through Brazil, carna secca is one of the principal articles of food, both for whites and blacks. It comes from Buenos Ayres, and consists of beef cut into long, thin, broad stripes, salted and dried in the open air.

{47} Under the term "whites," are included not only those Europeans who have lately immigrated, but also the Portuguese, who have been settled in the country for centuries.

{50} This wholesome plant grows very commonly in the Brazils.

{53} In the southern hemisphere the seasons, as regards the months, are exactly the contrary to what they are in the northern. For instance, when it is winter on one side of the Equator it is summer on the other, etc.

{55} Maroon negroes are those negroes who have run away from their masters. They generally collect in large bands, and retire into the recesses of the virgin forests, whence, however, they often emerge to steal and plunder; their depredations are not unfrequently accompanied by murder.

{59} The Rio Plata is one of the largest rivers in Brazil.

{60} Other captains assured me that it was only possible for men-of- war to pass through the Straits of Magellan, as the passage requires a great number of hands. Every evening the ship must be brought to an anchor, and the crew must constantly be in readiness to trim or reef the sails, on account of the various winds which are always springing up.

{62} The glass sank in the day-time to 48 and 50 degrees, and at night to 28 degrees below Zero.

{73} All the Indians are Christians (Protestants), but I fear only in name.

{76} Elephantiasis, in this country, generally shows itself in the feet, and extends up as far as the calves of the legs. These portions of the body, when so affected, are greatly swollen, and covered with scurf and blotches, so that they really might be taken for those of an elephant.

{78} I purposely abstain from mentioning the names of any of the gentlemen at Tahiti, a piece of reserve which I think entitles me to their thanks.

{86} Up to the present period, Tahiti has produced nothing for exportation, and therefore all vessels have to clear out in ballast. The island is important to the French, as a port where their ships in the Pacific may stop and refit.

{91a} The expense of living at an hotel in Macao, Victoria, and Canton is from four to six dollars a-day (16s. to 24s.).

{91b} Carl Gutzlaff was born on the 8th of July, 1803, at Pyritz, in Pomerania. As a boy he was distinguished for his piety and extraordinary talent. His parents apprenticed him to a leather- seller. In this capacity he was noted for his industry, although he was far from contented with his position; and, in the year 1821, he found an opportunity of presenting a poem, in which he expressed his sentiments and wishes, to the King of Prussia. The king recognised the talent of the struggling youth, and opened to him a career in accordance with his inclination. In the year 1827 he proceeded as a missionary to Batavia, and, at a later period, to Bintang, where he applied himself with such assiduity to the study of Chinese, that in the space of two years he knew it well enough to preach in it. In December, 1831, he went to Macao, where he established a school for Chinese children, and commenced his translation of the Bible into Chinese. He founded, in conjunction with Morrison, a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China, and edited a monthly Chinese magazine, in which he endeavoured to interest the people upon history, geography, and literature. In 1832 and 1833 he penetrated as far as the province of Fo-Kien.

Gutzlaff's Travels have made us acquainted with several very important facts connected with the different Chinese dialects, and are also of great worth to other scientific points of view. They are especially useful in enabling us to form a correct opinion as to the merits of the works that have lately appeared on China; and everyone must acknowledge his rare talent, must value his immovable fixedness of purpose, and must admire his zealous perseverance in the cause of science, and his unshaken belief in the principles of his religion. (Dr. Gutzlaff died in November, 1851).

{93} All large vessels have two painted eyes let into the prow; with these, as the Chinese believe, they are better able to find their way.

{95} There is only one mail a month from Europe.

{101} When they copy a picture they divide it, like our own artists, into squares.

{102a} A pikul of raw opium is worth about 600 dollars (120 pounds).

{102b} I had more especially reason to fear this latter circumstance, as the people had given out that on the 12th or 13th of August, at the latest, there would be a revolution, in which all the Europeans would lose their lives. My state of mind may easily be imagined, left, as I was, entirely alone with the Chinese servants.

{103} One of the ports which were opened to the English in 1842.

{104} His costume was composed of a wide over-garment reaching to the knees, and furnished with flowing arms, and, underneath this, trousers of white silk. The upper garment was made of brocade of very vivid colours and an extraordinary pattern. On his breast he wore two birds as marks of his rank, and a necklace of precious stones. His shoes, composed of black silk, were turned up into points at the extremities. On his head he wore a conical velvet hat with a gilt button.

{105} The reader must know that these animals are looked upon as particularly sacred.

{108} The town of Canton is nine miles in circumference. It is the residence of a Viceroy, and divided by walls into the Chinese and the Tartar town. The population of the town itself is reckoned at 400,000, while it is calculated that 60,000 persons live in the boats and schampans, and about 200,000 in the immediate vicinity. The number of Europeans settled here is about 200.

{110} The Chinese adopt white for mourning.

{112} Noble Chinese ladies pass a much more secluded life than Eastern women. They are allowed to visit one another very seldom, and that only in well-closed litters. They have neither public baths nor gardens in which they can meet.

{114} The leaves of this gathering are plucked with the greatest care by children and young people, who are provided with gloves and are bound to pick every leaf separately.

{116} 173 dollars the chief cabin, 117 the second (34 pounds 12s. and 23 pounds 8s.)

{118} These steamers carry the mails, and make the voyage from Canton to Calcutta once a month, touching at Singapore on their way.

{120a} Horses cannot be bred here; they have all to be imported.

{120b} The East India Company, to which the island belongs, have a governor and English troops here.

{125} The mangostan is unanimously pronounced the finest fruit in the world.

{128} One of the four had been removed from the first cabin, because it was asserted that he was somewhat cracked, and did not always know what he said or did.

{150} The finest and most costly muslin is manufactured in the province of Dacca, and costs two rupees (4s.), or even two rupees and a half the ell.

{153} The hurgila, a kind of stork, that eats dead bodies, and is frequently to be seen near the rivers in India.

{158a} At the period of my visit there were about 782 of them.

{158b} Rajmahal was, in the seventeenth century, the capital of Bengal.

{160a} Monghyr is termed the Birmingham of India, on account of its extensive manufactories of cutlery and weapons. Its population is about 30,000 souls.

{160b} Patna is the capital of the province of "Bechar," and was once celebrated for the number of its Buddhist temples. Near Patna was situated the most famous town of ancient India, namely, "Parlibothra." Patna contains a great many cotton and a few opium factories.

{161} In all Indian, Mahomedan, and in fact all countries which are not Christian, it is a very difficult task to obtain anything like an exact calculation of the number of inhabitants, as nothing is more hateful to the population than such computations.

{162} I landed with two travellers at Patna, and rode on to Deinapore in the evening, where our steamer anchored for the night.

{170} If a Hindoo has no son, he adopts one of his relations, in order that he may fulfil the duties of a son at the funeral of his adoptive father.

{173} The dislike which the Hindoos evince towards the Europeans, is chiefly in consequence of the latter showing no honour to the cow, of their eating ox-flesh, and drinking brandy; and that they spit in their houses, and even in the temples, and wash their mouths with their fingers, etc. They call the Europeans "Parangi." This disrespect is said to make the Hindoos dislike the Christian religion.

{177} Many of the more recent Indian towns were built by the Mongolians, or were so much altered by them that they altogether lost their original character. India was conquered by the Mongolians as early as the tenth century.

{183} At the time of its greatest prosperity it had 2,000,000 inhabitants.

{185} Some writers describe this colossal crystal as being twenty- five feet long.

{190} If these two towers did belong to a mosque, why were they built of such different sizes?

{193} The cheprasses are servants of the English government. They wear red cloth scarfs, and a brass plate on the shoulders, with the name of the town to which they belong engraved upon it. Each of the higher English officials are allowed to have one or more of these people in their service. The people consider them much superior to the ordinary servants.

{200} Children are generally considered as impure until the ninth year, and are therefore not subject to the laws of their religion.

{204} The god Vishnu is represented as a tortoise.

{209} Although only the beginning of spring, the temperature rose during the day as high as 95-99 degrees Fah.

{212a} Mundsch is the royal tutor, writer, or interpreter.

{212b} It is well known that saltpetre produces a considerable reduction of temperature.

{213} Indor lies 2,000 feet above the level of the sea.

{225} Monsoons are the periodical winds which blow during one-half the year from east to west, during the other half from west to east.

{226} The Black Town is that part of the town in which the poorer classes of inhabitants reside. That neither beauty nor cleanliness are to be sought there, is a matter of course.

{227} There are in all only 6,000 Parsees in the island of Bombay.

{228} And yet Bombay is the principal seat of the Fire-worshippers.

{268} This is an error: M. Botta made the first attempt to excavate the Ninevite remains at Khorsabad. Mr. Layard had, moreover, commenced his excavations before he received the countenance of the British Museum authorities. See "Nineveh—the Buried City of the East," one of the volumes of the "National Illustrated Library," for the rectification of this and other errors in Madame Pfeiffer's account.

{270} The manuscripts of the journey through Hindostan as far as Mosul miscarried for more than a year and a half. I gave them up as lost. This was the cause of the delay in the publication of my "Journey round the world."

{279} I had picked up enough of the language between here and Mosul to understand this much.

{287} Mela is the name of the Indian religious festivals at which thousands of people assemble. The missionaries frequently travel hundreds of miles to them in order to preach to the people.

{305} Tradition says that the country about Erivan is that part of the earth which was first of all peopled. Noah and his family dwelt here, both before and after the deluge; the Garden of Eden is also said to have been situated here. Erivan was formerly called Terva, and was the chief city of Armenia. Not far from Erivan lies the chief sacred relic of the Armenian Christians—the cloister Ecs- miazim. The church is simple in construction; the pillars, seventy- three feet high, consist of blocks of stone joined together. In the Treasury were, formerly, two of the nails with which Christ was crucified, the lance with which he was stabbed in the side, and, lastly, a seamless garment of Christ. It is asserted that in the centre of the church is the spot where Noah, after his delivery, erected an altar and offered sacrifice. Besides these, the church is in the possession of innumerable important relics.

{308} This is carried to such an extent that if a traveller has his horses already put to, and is in the carriage, and an officer arrives, the horses are taken off and given to the latter.

{309} Georgia was called Iberia by the ancients. Formerly, this country extended from Tauris and Erzerum, as far as the Tanais, and was called Albania. It is a country of mountains. The river Kurry, also called Cyrus, flows through the midst. On this river the famous conqueror of Persia, Cyrus, was exposed in his childhood. Tiflis was formerly one of the finest towns of Persia.

{312} His wives I dare not speak of, as the Mussulmen consider this an affront.

{314} The River Ribon, also called Rione, is considered to be one of the four rivers of Paradise, and was known by the name of Pison. Its waters were formerly held sacred. On account of the number of trunks of trees, it is unnavigable for large ships.

{320a} The Circassians are so wild and warlike that no one dare venture into the interior of the country. Little is known of their habits, customs, or religion. Bordering on Circassia are the Atkans, who inhabit the coast country between Mingrelia and Circassia, and are also wild and given to plunder.

{320b} Large plains covered with short grass.

{321} Mithridates lived in Pantikapaum. The hill at Kertsch is called to this day "Mithridates' Seat." During the excavations in it, which have been made since 1832, many remains were found, such as funeral urns, implements of sacrifice, Grecian inscriptions, handsome figures, and groups.

{330a} Constantinople is not lighted—whoever goes out without a lantern is considered suspicious, and taken to the next watch-house.

{330b} The streets of Constantinople are narrow, full of holes, and uneven, so that carriages cannot be taken everywhere and people are obliged to manage with small fire-engines carried by four men.

{335} Here, where I arrived about four weeks after leaving Odessa, the sun appeared as hot as with us in July. The vegetation was greatly in want of rain, and the leaves were almost dying from the heat; while in Odessa they were already killed by the cold.

THE END

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12
Home - Random Browse