Chapter IV.


Town of Koslof(cows, wagon, people)


The town of Koslof, like several other towns in the Tauric peninsula, is known in the Crimea by three different names, all of which have been conferred upon it in accordance with the mutations in the history of the country. The Tatars, to all appearance the founders, and for a long period the sole possessors of this maritime settlement, give it the name of Gouzlov or Gheuslev ; as to the true [152] etymology of this word, find it who can. Eastern geography, so fertile in images, is here deficient in its accustomed clearness. After the conquest by the Empress Catherine, the names of ancient history were, as far as possible, restored to those cities which had continued in existence down to the present time ; as to those which had disappeared from the surface of the soil, it was desirous that their names should be rescued from oblivion, by bestowing them on some modern locality. For this reason, Gouzlov, of which there is no mention in the works of ancient geographers, received, at that period, the name of Eupatoria, in memory of a city so called, which in the time of Mithridates Eupator stood on the verge of the Heracleotic peninsula, on the same spot on which the village of Inkermann now stands. This beautiful Greek name, however, has not prevented the Tatar city from retaining, among that people, its ancient appellation of Gheuslev or Gouzlov, which the Russians have converted into Koslof. This latter name is that now most commonly applied to it - in ordinary language, although in all public documents its new denomination is the only one officially recognised.

A Tower

Koslof was formerly a powerful Tatar city : its beautiful mosques, from their twenty lofty minarets, commanded the surrounding country; its baths, its bazaars, and its workshops, made it the fortunate rival of Baglitcheh [153] Sari and of Kara-Sou-Bazar, the productive cities of the Empire of the Khans : its port was capable of receiving a considerable number of vessels entering with cargoes from Constantinople. It is true that the port is ill protected from the weather, and sometimes dangerous ; but these unfavourable circumstances were not of a kind likely to deter the sailors of the East, who console themselves under all afflictions, by exclaiming, " It was written."

Flourishing though this great Tatar city may once have been, it must be confessed that in the present day there is nothing left but ruins, to bear witness to its former prosperity. Koslof is still a city of vast extent, but in its narrow and irregular streets little else is to be found than crumbling walls, waste enclosures, and low-built and dilapidated houses. One quarter alone still contains a few bazaars, peopled with drowsy merchants, and a few workshops, in which a branch of industry is carried on, which brings some profit to this fallen city. Koslof supplies the market with felted goods, and articles in morocco leather. The karam Jews established here are skilful jewellers, and excel in the manufacture of a kind of ornament in great request among the Jewish and Tatar women. Living here is cheap ; and if the city is deserted, it is not for want of provisions. The true causes of the neglect into which Koslof has fallen [154] are, the engrossing prosperity of Odessa, and the increase of the coasting trade in that part of the port of Sevastopol appropriated to commerce. We must add, at the risk of meeting with opponents, that the climate of this part of the coast, and the proximity of the salt lakes of Sah, must prove injurious to the inhabitants of Koslof : for, even admitting, as we do, the curative qualities ascribed to the mud of the lakes, we cannot conclude, thence, that their exhalations are equally beneficial to the public health. During our stay at Koslof we had opportunities of observing among the inhabitants numerous symptoms of endemic fevers. The approach of the equinox, however, and the instability of the temperature, produce in many other localities the same results

The 16th of September was spent by us in a state of almost complete incarceration. A furious tempest raged over the country : the gusts of wind were so violent, the pouring clouds so thick and close, that we were scarcely able to obtain a glimpse of the vicinity of our abode. At a few paces from us the waves dashed against the shore, carrying away, by the violence of the shock, a portion of the already reduced strand, on which the finest houses in Koslof are built. On this ill-protected shore a large and convenient jetty has recently been erected, a handsome structure of timber, from which the largest boats can be laden with ease ; but vessels [155] are under the necessity of anchoring at a great distance from the shore. The position of the port during the prevalence of north-westerly wind is little better than inconvenient ; but when the wind blows with any violence from the south, or south-west, it is positively dangerous. On the day we speak of, ten brigs of considerable tonnage were anchoring before Koslof ; they appeared very ill at ease in the midst of even this sea, which might have been much rougher.

The next morning we visited the greater part of the city. Its principal monument is its large and superb mosque, called Djouma-Djamai. A bold cupola, surrounded by sixteen domes of smaller dimensions, surmounts this imposing edifice, whose strong walls are pierced with narrow apertures, in the shape of bysantine ogives. Two minarets completed this rich design, but the wind has levelled them, and their fragments strew the ground beneath. This mosque, the most beautiful and most spacious in the Crimea, was founded in 1552 by the khan Devlet-Ghera, as is attested by a deed deposited in the sanctuary. The eighteen sovereigns who, until the annexation of Taurida, sat in succession on the throne of Baghtcheh-Sara, have all appended their signatures to this authentic document, and this scrap of parchment has outlasted both the dynasty of the Ghera and the Mussulman monarchy.


A number Kerauns, with their ample garments, and several Tatars of the upper class, who spend the whole day smoking at the doors of the coffee shops, form the lite of the population of Koslof. The women live secluded from the gaze of the profane. The courtesy of our host, however–one of those Greeks of whom Juvenal speaks, who are ready to turn their hands to any thing, a man of resources, if ever there were one – afforded us an opportunity of catching a glimpse of one of these Tatar women of Koslof, so closely guarded. This personage was no other than the wife of a certain merchant, a friend of our Greek, whose commercial habits had no doubt softened his conjugal severity, for he required but little entreaty to be persuaded to present his wife to us. If we may judge by the favourable specimen brought before us, all honour and praise are due to the women of Koslof. The lady in question was indeed of remarkable beauty : long hair, barely imprisoned in a silk kerchief, the folds of which hung negligently down, moist and clear eyes, a soft and tranquil gaze, a pretty little head, slightly drooping from a neck of unspeakable whiteness, such was this lovely daughter of Mahomet, a fit heroine for a tale of the Arabian nights. A sort of dressing gown closely fitting her shape, with a neck scarf embroidered with gold and silver, trowsers of light texture, and babouches lined with [157] morocco, completed her attractive negligé. Thus taken by surprise in her every day charms, the lady nevertheless betrayed but little embarrassment : she soon retired, however, to our great sorrow.


On Sunday, September 5-17, we prepared for departure. Being less encumbered with baggage, owing to our having left our heavy cases, containing our collections, with a merchant of Koslof, we procured a covered carriage for our sick companion, while the convalescent travellers bestowed themselves two by two in their telegues. Ere taking leave of the town, we were anxious to see the works in progress for forming an artesian well, in which the boring process had been arrested by meeting an intermediate body of water ; the workmen were only awaiting the arrival of earthenware tubes from Odessa, to continue their operations.

For a distance of thirty-five versts, our progress was unimpeded ; our telegues, under the safe-guard of Michael, galloped all the way, leaving M. Huot behind, advancing at a cautious pace beneath the felt covering of his madgiar. But at Toulat, a wretched hamlet where we had to change horses, none were to be had, and we were forced to have recourse to the Tatars for the means of reaching Sympheropol : four hours were lost in the necessary conferences to effect: this negotiation. At last we succeeded in obtaining two [158] long vehicles of wicker work ; narrow baskets perched upon immense wheels. We ranged ourselves in them in a row, with no other accommodation than a scanty litter of straw, and no shelter but a sky overcast with clouds, anticipating the darkness of night. In this fashion our mournful train advanced, drawn by lean horses, too feeble for their task. The clouds soon converted themselves into rain, which became a torrent : a violent storm, mingled with hail and snow, burst upon us, and drenched us with its icy streams ; our carriages became so many overflowing tanks, and the plain was converted into a large pond, in which our grotesque vehicles were plunged, and thus did we wade on in the midst of water until midnight. At last we entered Sympheropol, which we had a dozen times, in our despair, fancied we discovered through the horrible darkness around us. An excellent floor, bare and cold, awaited us to restore our wearied limbs.

The next day we were delighted to find ourselves under the roof of a clean new house, agreeably situated in a part of Sympheropol bearing most resemblance to a European town. We presented ourselves to the civil governor of Taurida, M. Mourounzoff, who for the third time received a section of our expedition, and notwithstanding that he was busily pre-occupied with the expected arrival of the Imperial Court, he gave us a most [159] kind welcome. Let us add, that a learned professor, M. de Steven, who here leads a life of pleasant retirement, as did, for a long time, the illustrious Pallas, received us with that fraternal cordiality which the study of science inspires. A complete herbarium of the plants of Taurida, and an etymological collection, containing specimens of every known species in the country, constitute the scientific treasures which M. de Steven has assembled with persevering labour. We should mention, also, the museum of M. Kaznatcheeff, illustrating the conchology of the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azoff, and containing specimens of the most remarkable fossils in the Crimea.

An excursion to Sabli will afford a morning's employment to the student who wishes to investigate the natural productions of this canton, which is situated on the northern slope of the mountains to the south of Sympheropol. A large landed estate, comprising all that is usually thought requisite to compose what the French call une terre ; namely, woodland, fields, villages, &c. is to be found at Sabli. Even to the mansion, and the avenue of chesnut trees, surrounded by well stocked kitchen gardens, nothing is wanting to complete the comparison. On this domain, and in the villages depending from it, the peasants not employed in the labours of the field devote their attention to the manufacture [160] of a coarse kind of cloth, and to the fabrication of pottery. Not far from Sabli are several pits, affording a supply of that greasy earth called fuller's earth, and which the Tatars call kil. The frequent use made of this earth in the domestic economy of these people, opens a ready market for it throughout the Crimea.

Meanwhile, the days were growing shorter, and the approach of winter was beginning to be felt ; at night, and in the morning, the cold and almost continual rain marked the period of the autumnal equinox. In spite of these sad prognostics, a visit to Tchadir-Dagh offered too many objects of useful study for us to forego so interesting an excursion.

Accordingly we set out forthwith, but too delighted at once more finding our Tatar steeds to carry us over the mountains. Riding these horses is decidedly the best mode of performing the journey ; they are supple, active, obedient, cautious when going over bad ground, and swift when the road is level. The first place we reached was Kilbouroun, a name compounded of the term already mentioned, as that applied to all lofty promontories, and the word kil, the meaning of which we have given a few lines higher. Kilbouroun is truly a height of almost majestic dimensions. Some distance further, we crossed the Salghir by the bridge of Djolnia, acid perceived not far from us the ruins [161] known by the name of Eski Saral, or the old palace. According to a tradition among the people of the country, these fragments are the deserted remains of a palace commenced by the khans but never completed; while if we are to trust the learned Pallas, the geographer, historian and naturalist of Taurida, whom she has adopted as her well-beloved son, the dilapidated walls of Eski Sara are nothing more than the ruins of a little Genoese fort. We had neither time, nor indeed the requisite data, to decide between the Mussulman tradition and the ingenious hypothesis of the savant. We next beheld Soultan-Mahmoud, with its minarets overlooking the surrounding orchards, and la i Tchafki, a village situated at a considerable elevation on the steep declivity of the large system of mountains, above which Tehadir-Dagh raises its straight and clearly-defined outline.

After winding round the base of the height which we wished to ascend on its southern side, we halted for the night at Korbek, a Tatar village, in a grand and picturesque situation. From Korbek there is a view of the sea and of the valley of Alouclita, trenching down, like an immense ditch, to the sea-shore ; and lastly, of Alouchta itself, a large Tatar village, keeping watch, like an advanced sentinel, over the approzaclies to the gigantic ravine.


Day had not yet dawned when we had already com- menced ascending Tchadir-Dagh. Its sides are sufficiently practicable on this side to allow of horses being used up to a considerable height, the rider being in perfect safety during the ascent. After passing through fertile orchards, plateaux clothed with abundant pasturage, and finally, a few straggling strips of a vast forest, we reached the spot where the last subordinate peaks of the mountain are clothed with clumps of trees, now becoming few and scattered. Our station for the night was established by our guides, in a place where a kind of shelter was afforded against the cold winds of the sea. The labour of the Tatars, skilfully directed by Michael, soon completed a roof of woven branches, a useful defence against the vapours which began towards sun-set to envelop the summit of Tchadir-Dagh, We had still an hour's daylight before us, which we employed in pursuing vultures on their way back to their nests in the hollows of the adjoining rocks. The pursuit was wearying, and unfortunately unsuccessful : these birds, which can only be brought down by a bullet, soar at such a height in the air that an ordinary fowling-piece cannot reach them. The best marksman among the Tatars, stimulated by the promise of a handsome reward, proved neither more skilful nor more fortunate than ourselves, and the marauders of the air escaped with a [163] succession of explosions, which scarcely disturbed their inaccessible haunts.

Meanwhile, our indefatigable and adventurous geologist had been anxious to take advantage of the short glimpse of daylight left us, to examine more closely a ridge of rocks at some considerable distance; and we beheld him once more descending into the depths of a ravine, where he was soon lost to sight. Night advanced, and the darkness grew deeper and deeper, till at last it was complete, and our companion could no longer return to us. At dawn our anxiety increased, not hearing any answer to our signals; we imagined, however, that finding himself unable to achieve the task he had undertaken, M. Hout had taken refuge in some shepherd's hut, such as we had seen on the sides of he mountain on the previous day. We achieved our ascent without further cause of anxiety. Earl in the morning we reached the plateau of Tchadir-Dagh, by a number of narrow paths, which we succeeded in climbing, though not without difficulty. The almost perpendicular sides of the mountain are composed of a friable grey limestone rock, with veins of a darker colour, and emitting a slightly fetid odour in the heat of the sun. The summit consists of a sort of platform, utterly devoid of vegetation. It stretches from south-west to north-east, presenting a considerable depression towards the latter side. The [164] height of Tchadir-Dagh, taken at various periods, and by persons whose names offer every guarantee of exactitude, may be estimated at 1,580 metres for the western peak, while the eastern edge of the plateau rises no higher than 1,510 metres, making a difference of 70 metres between the two extremities. But the higher of the two summits rises like a culminating point on the plateau itself, which, on account of its extent and the imposing dimensions of the mountains, appears almost horizontal from a distance. Like all mountains of a similar form, Tchadir-Dagh, in breaking through the vapours condensed round it in clouds, gathers them sometimes along its flattened summit, on which they form a large white mass. The Tatars, who have learned from experience the usual consequences of this phenomenon, look out for rain the next day; for Tchadir-Dagh, they say, has put on his cap.

The atmosphere was not yet sufficiently free from the vapours of the morning for us to obtain a distinct view of the beautiful panorama which stretches from the base of this elevated centre to the last limits of the horizon. At one time we caught a glimpse of the steppe, with its parched tint, a blank monotonous prospect; at another the sea, looking in the distance like a tranquil lake; or an endless scries of heights, gradually dwindling down to the level of the plains around us. This [165] alternation of clouds and sunshine produced the most charming and unexpected effects.

The ancients called this mountain Berosus, and it appears evident to us that it must almost have borne the name of Trapezos, given by the Greeks to a remarkable mountain in Taurida. To no other mountain could this designation be more fitly applied than Tchadir-Dagh, the form of which bears so much resemblance to the trapezium of geometricians. The Tatar name itself, Tchadir-Dagh, the component words of which signify a tent and a mountain, comes too near the Greek notion, not to lead to the conclusion that the tent and the trapezium form one and the same figure of comparison. It should be kept in mind, also, that writers of authority have disagreed as to the true site of Mount Trapezos. Some conjecture it to be a mountain in the neighbourhood of Balaklava. In the same manlier the exact position of the Kriou-Metopon, or ham's Head, a celebrated promontory among the Greeks, has now become a point of such difficulty, that maps and geographical works present a lamentable degree of indecision respecting this cape.

The descent on the side which we adopted is dan- gerous, so steep is the surface of the rock. We looked out, however, along the precipitous sides of the mountain, for a narrow terrace, which wo soon discovered, iiid which [166] leads into a vast grotto. In these caverns, reaching through a succession of passages down to some unexplored depth, are found lumps of ice, which are preserved from winter to winter. We contented ourselves, however, with exploring the first chamber, a magnificent vault, the roof of which is about fifty feet high, and without seeking to verify, by our researches, the somewhat fabulous extent of these icy labyrinths, we quickly emerged to the light.

The approach of night found us all assembled at Korbek : our lost companion had arrived there before us, worn out with fatigue. In estimating the distance between him and the rocks he wished to examine, M. Huot had not taken into account the depth of an intervening ravine, covered with large trees. Scarcely had he reached its edge, and plunged beneath its vaulted branches, than night overtook him. It was impossible to proceed, and in the attempt to retrace his steps he entirely lost his way. Without provisions, and with no other weapon than his heavy hammers, he was at first somewhat alarmed at his lonely position ; fortunately, however, he contrived to light up a good fire. It was in a spot of a singularly wild and beautiful character, surrounded by trees crumbling and hollow with decay, and which seemed ready to drop with age. The trunk of an immense oak, which had fallen of itself, [167] perhaps, many years back, was lying on the ground. At the expense of this venerable wreck our hermit kindled a gigantic bonfire, by the side of which he spent the night, but sleeping with one eye open for fear of the wolves. And, indeed, the shepherds in these parts so dread these voracious animals, that they never go out except escorted by a number of dogs well accustomed to encounter such enemies. Our imprudent comrade was well aware of this, and took care to keep a vigilant watch. Heaven be thanked, however, he had no serious cause to repent his rash enterprise, having received no other visits than those of large birds of prey, who wheeled and flittered about round the fire, as it threw an unaccustomed glare over the forest. The approach of day restored hope, if not strength, to M. Huot, by that time fairly fatigued, and when he arrived before us at Korbek, he esteemed himself fortunate in obtaining from the good Tatars of the place that hospitable treatment of which he stood in need.

The same road led us back to Sympheropol, where we commenced, without delay, our preparations for an excursion to the eastern part of the peninsula.

We have already stated all that is worthy of remark in this youthful capital of modern Taurida. Taken altogether, it forms a double town ; or rather, two towns closely connected together. The buildings in [168] new Sympheropol have been no expense to the ancient A1'-]Iie/ iet, the white mosque, as the Tatars still call it. The two cities accordingly live on friendly terms ; they have, like affectionate sisters, made an equal division of advantages. One has its beautiful barracks, its large severe looking hospital, its pretty churches in brick, ambitious copies of the monuments of Rome ; the other has its dirty rugged streets, its bazaars, and its Tatar artisans. One entire street is monopolised by the Jews : it is of considerable extent, and filled throughout with shops closely packed together. Here are found every species of utensil, metals, and stuffs required by the European consumer. Here, too, the brokers and money–changers – that immortal race of l'harises–spread out their greedy treasures of roubles, paper money, and apocryphal medals.

The residence of the governor, the handsomest building in the city, stands in the most agreeable quarter, opposite a recently planted avenue, extending as far as the Salghir. This little river flows beneath the shade of large masses of trees, irrigating meadows, vineyards, and beautiful orchards. It is spanned by a stone bridge, forming the eastern extremity of Sympheropol. Towards the middle of the avenue are a few houses of tolerably handsome appearance ; one of then' was then occupied by an exhibition of the pro [169] ductions of the soil and manufactures of Taurida, collected in view of the expected visit of the Emperor. This was a fortunate circumstance for us, and having obtained an authorisation from the governor, we pro- ceeded, with all eagerness, to inspect this curious exhibition.

A number of fine woollen carpets, of native manufacture, occupied the first room ; then came the wines and provisions furnished by the soil of the Crimea. Here might be observed, under their respective and somewhat pompous labels, all the select growths, the introduction of which into this country has been attended with satisfactory results. Here, too, were samples of fish out of the Black Sea, preserved ni a variety of methods, and caviare enveloped in a coating of wax, an infallible recipe, it is asserted, for its thorough preservation.

The industry of the population of the Crimea was represented in this exhibition by a collection of belts in the Circassian fashion, manufactured at Koslof. They are made of morocco, ornamented with little plates in niello, or chased with remarkable skill. There were also a great variety of the silver trinkets, which are manufactured by the Karams. Then came saddlery, babouches, and a thousand varieties of those articles which the Tatars are so skilful in producing with their [170] supple and brightly dyed leathers. Fine lambs' fleeces, commonly used as a head dress by the natives, occupied also a compartment in this museum of industry. These beautiful specimens are derived from a peculiar breed of sheep, fed on the steppe to the north of Koslof, and on the plains in the vicinity of Kertch, at the other extremity of the peninsula. The black fleeces can only be procured by the sacrifice of the mother : the ewe is killed before the time of yearning, which accounts for the high price of these skins.

The mineral department of Taurida had sent a number of productions worthy of attention. Two large and handsome cups of porphyry, represented at the same time the produce of the Yala range and the talent of a sculptor of the Crimea.

What shall we say of the felts, the stuffs, the cloths, and the cloaks of camels' hair, which filled an entire apartment ? These productions undoubtedly exhibit a remarkable degree of progress, which only requires to be guided at its commencement by the introduction of good models of manufacture. The most significant ornament in these exhibition-rooms were a profusion of wreaths of vine branches laden with grapes, and numbered and ticketed according to their origin. The elegant arrangement and well-ordered classification of this interesting exhibition, were due to the taste of [171] M. Schenschine, with whose kindness we had become acquainted at Odessa.

Ere long, Sympheropol will also have its artesian well. The boring operations have already commenced in the most populous part of the new city, not far from the Salghir. By a singular chance, the boring tube had not reached a depth of twenty-five feet, when it came in contact with a fossil substance, which was soon recognised as being the tooth of a mammoth. Every endeavour was being made to pierce through this piece of hard ivory, which would have delighted a geologist, but only disheartened the workmen, and blunted all their instruments.

We were interested by a visit from M. Montandon, the author of the " Guide to the traveller in the Crimea," a useful work, and the utility of which will be greatly increased when it is put in proper order. M. Montandon, a native of Switzerland, has settled in the peninsula, with which he appears to have become thoroughly acquainted by a conscientious course of study. In the course of a long and interesting conversation, we were enabled to obtain satisfaction as to several doubtful points in our observations, and to correct several notions current among the public which M. Montandon had inserted in his work. For instance, the existence of coal deposits at Miskhor and Phoros, in the southern [172] coast, is a fact which should not, it appeared to us, be admitted in the mineralogical statistics of the Crimea. The same may be observed relative to the coal, said to have been procured from Terenair, on an estate situated ten versts from Sympheropol. A special visit to all these places, and an attentive examination of the specimens collected, convinced us that this coal, so anxiously and justly desired, to the eye of the cool observer, dwindles into lignite, and that frequently of an inferior quality.

We had now seen everything in Sympheropol, of which we could not but bear away a favourable impression, so eager had all been to show us every attention; and yet, on our arrival, how many more important subjects of pre-occupation absorbed the entire population of the city. We took our departure on the 21st of September. The Wallachian carriage, which had recently been repaired, was entrusted with the conveyance of our persons, Michael having proceeded in advance with our baggage, in a Tatar waggon. It was only after infinite trouble, that we were enabled to hire three horses from a private inhabitant, there being no post-horses whatever. Our horse lender, who, nevertheless, was not a Jew, and whose rank was far from being a low one, did not disdain to take advantage of a circumstance through which the conveyance of the public was left open to competition. [173] After demanding the price of our horses in advance, at three times the ordinary charge, our friend only sent three horses, and that five hours after the appointed time. At last, however, we found ourselves on the road to Kara-sou-Bazar : some seated in our modest vehicle, others trudging over the plain, and amusing themselves shooting at the birds of prey and hares, with which these regions abound. Thus we went onwards, collecting all the while our scattered reminiscences into a succinct form, as a sort of adieu to Sympheropol, the capital of Taurida, which we were never again to see. While on this subject, let us confess our inability to discover, in the local antiquities of Ak-Metchet, any motive for the adoption of its modern name. No research of ours amongst written authorities has furnished a clue to any con- nected circumstance or distant source of allusion which may have given occasion for the Greek appellation. We contented ourselves accordingly with the conclusion, that the name of Sympheropol, double city, was of modern date, and had been expressly composed for this city.

If we have failed in etymology, we shall make it up in a more important department ; that of statistics. Sympheropol contains about eight thousand inhabitants, although in the best works on geography, not more [174] than half that number is assigned to it. Among this number there are three thousand Tatars, seventeen hundred Germans, four hundred foreigners, and nine hundred Tsigans, the vagrant scourge of the country, attracted thither by the number of markets offering a favourable field for their thieving propensities. The rest of the population is composed of Jews ready to profess any calling ; Armenians trading in woollen fabrics, and Greeks chiefly engaged in a kind of speculation on which it is the duty of the police to keep an eye. The public baths, and some other establishments of an equivocal character, are in the province of these lastnamed individuals. The city contains upwards of nine thousand houses ; it possesses a civil and a military hospital, the latter of considerable magnitude, and consisting of long buildings with only a ground floor. Three Greek churches, a Catholic chapel, an Armenian church, and five mosques, are contained within its walls, in testimony of that wise toleration, which, after the example of ancient Rome, admits within the territory of the empire every creed, as well as every nation. The Protestant religion, which numbers but few fol- lowers, has obtained a temporary asylum in one of the apartments of the hospital. Asa Tatar town, Ak-Metchet could not be without fountains, but the greater number are in ruins, and their conduits broken, or choked up, [175] demand the attention of the government, which, in its turn, is not inclined to refuse it. A basin affording four separate streams of water suffices to supply the wants of the higher portion of the town. In the vicinity of the Salgliir the supply of water is effected by hand, and by means of water carts. We have before referred to an artesian well, which will supersede the necessity of repairing the aqueducts in the new town.

A considerable number of droschkies traverse the town at all hours. These vehicles are extremely fast, and may be hired at a moderate price. In the summer you ride in a droschki wrapped up in a cloak, which preserves you from the dust. In the winter, the mud holes occurring throughout the surface of the city, render the droschki indispensable.

Public instruction is represented in this capital by a gymnasium, connected with the university of Odessa. In 1828, a Tatar normal school was established : it is intended to form teachers for the primary schools, and professors for the university colleges. The pupils in these schools are all sons of moullahs or effendis, the priests and literati of the Nlussulman sect. The Turkish and Arabic languages, together with the Koran, are taught to these youths, and on leaving school they are required to devote six years to the service of the State.


Let us add, that the couriers of the post-office arrive at Sympheropol twice a week. A communication is established by diligences with the two extreme points of the peninsula–Koslof to the west, and Kertch to the east. There is an annual ceremony also, which takes place on the 15th of October, and at which we were unable to be present, viz., the horse races–a useful institution in a country where the breed of horses, so remarkable for their peculiar qualities, should command the attention of the administration. A principal prize of 1,500 roubles, and a second prize of 500, are awarded to the winners. The entire lite of the Tatar population, all intrepid horsemen, assemble in crowds to these ftes, which are peculiarly congenial to the spirit of the nation.

We have already said a few words relative to the situation of Sympheropol. The city is built on an unsheltered and barren tract ; but standing as it does, on the banks of the Salghir, which flows through a valley filled with beautiful trees, to artists it is worthy a visit. Standing on the stone bridge, the eye ranges over a landscape bounded by lofty mountains ; from this point, the rectangular form of Tchadir–Dagh is seen to the best advantage, distinguishing it no less than its relative height from the rest of the Tauric chain. The situation of this capital is, on the whole, therefore, the best that [177] could have been selected. It stands there as in a centre, accessible from all sides, whether we approach from the steppe, or descend from the mountains, and its directing influence is rapidly communicated by all the roads which start from it, and, with the exception of that to Perecop, extend to every point of the coast, the entire line of which exceeds a hundred and sixty leagues.

We are now once more on the road to Kara–sou–Bazar, a level road, across a succession of plateaux burned up by the sun, with no other specimens of vegetation than tall, yellow, dried–up grass, looking like corn in the month of August—barren plains, deceptive crops, swayed by the winds far around us.

On this road, the pyramidical posts which mark out, over the whole of this country, the passage of the Empress Catherine, are in a better state of preservation and repair than in any other parts : many of them are even protected by a wooden railing. The load is broad, and bordered on either side by a ditch, the state of which gave evidence of some attention being paid to its maintenance in good repair. We were not the only travellers across these plains, and frequently our modest equipage was crossed on the road, or caught up and passed, for the distance was short, and we travelled like true naturalists, examining every place through which we journeyed, and fearlessly indulging in lateral exeursion:s whenever [178] a curious bird, a breach in the earth, or a strange plant should happen to lead them aside from the beaten path.

The only village met with on the course of this journey is a Russian one, called Zouiskaa, from the name of a rivulet, the Zoua, running in the midst of willows. This water–course is one of the four tributaries flowing into the Salghir from the southern mountains. As soon as the Zoua has been crossed, the traveller has to skirt round the northern declivities of the mountains until he reaches the borders of a semicircular valley, overlooked by a number of calcareous plateaux of considerable height. At the bottom of this narrow basin the various branches of the Kara-sou, whose Tatar name signifies black water, are scattered, working their way down to the Salghir. The town of Kara-sou-Bazar lies in the centre of this wild and chalky valley : its numerous minarets, vieing in height with the cypresses and poplars in the gardens, and its irregular houses, interspersed among thick clumps of walnut and fruit trees, invest it with the same thoroughly eastern character which we had remarked about Baghtcheh-Sara, although there is here a certain tincture of Christian colouring.

Meanwhile, our good Michael had had some trouble in providing lodgings for us. Two very small rooms in a Russian house, for the accommodation of carriers, formed our head-quarters. One of these rooms was at [179] once converted into a common sitting room, the other was supplied with the layers of hay necessary to transform it into a bivouac. Having completed these arrangements, we set out to inspect the town.


Next to Sevastopol, Kara-sou-Bazar presents the greatest population of any town in the Crimea. This large commercial town numbers no less than 15,000 inhabitants. The streets, which are muddy and ill- paved, are filled with an immense number of shops, protected from the sun and rain by sheds, supported on rickety pillars. The prospect thus presented is more picturesque than elegant. According to the oriental custom already referred to, the traders in each description of article are gathered together in the same quarter of the town. In one part provisions, in another, foreign produce ; then woollen goods, woven fabrics, and the inevitable babouches, dazzling the customer with their bright colours. Numerous coffee-shops are collected together in the same street, the largest and least rugged in the town ; and within these abodes of rest, may be studied the characteristics of the entire population. Each coffee-shop is divided into square compartments, bounded round by a wooden balustrade : a passage in the middle serves as the common gangway ; you may enter at pleasure any one of these open pens in which the idlers are folded. Squatted upon the divan [180] which surrounds the narrow enclosure; with a chafing dish in the centre, and an assembly of babouches left upon the floor, the Tatars, Armenians and Karaims spend entire hours smoking in silence through their long pipes of cherry stick. Scarcely is a word uttered amongst these groups of majestic statues, except here and there, when some expression passes from one to the other in a low tone. What docile and excellent models did Ieaf!et find in these silent taverns, that seemed dedicated to slumber ! How many fine grave faces sat there for his pencil, beneath their fantastically twisted turbans, or the characteristic lamb's-wool cap of the Tatar ! It was especially easy, amidst this eastern imperturbability, to seize the delicate shades of expression impressed on the physiognomy of these various races, so easily distinguishable. The Armenians, for the most part, unite with their calm expression of countenance a smoother skin than the Tatars. A more silky beard, a softer glance, and a certain degree of obesity, the mark of indolent habits, distinguish them from the race of Mussulmans, whose bold and independent deport- ment and expressive countenances, lined with premature wrinkles, we have already described. The most striking point about the Karams is their scrupulous attention to their attire. They wear large robes of a dark colour, falling about then) in simple folds, which impart a [181] solemn and grave character to their appearance. Their profile has something dignified in it, notwithstanding its resemblance to the Jewish type : a well-shaven chin, and delicate hands, which they are fond of adorning with rings, are the remaining characteristics of these Jewish sectarians in the more elevated class. All these people, differing so completely in manners, genius and habits, nevertheless associate peaceably amidst the fragrant clouds of the coffee-shops, and frequently amuse themselves together at a gaine of backgammon, conversing without noise or emotion, and sipping, at long intervals, a few drops of the excellent coffee, which is prepared in these modest establishments.

The lower class of people, also, are not without their sensual gratification. What fine studies for the painter Varied attitudes, brilliant colours, expressive faces, youth and age, refinement and coarseness, fun and gravity, are mingled together in the groups seated together in the evening beneath the sheds in front of the Tatar cook-shops. These active cooks were scarcely able to keep up a sufficient supply of a species of viand to which all seemed particularly devoted. Mutton roasted upon skewers, and thin cakes, appeared to form the basis of all these al-fresco repasts : next to mutton, the cheapest thing in this country is tobacco ; and these two commodities suffice to complete the happiness of this easily contented people.


Quitting the central quarter, and exploring the remote streets branching out in the direction of the Kara-sou and the Tunas, the two streams which enclose the town, you will meet, amidst a profusion of tufted and luxuriant trees, a number of huts, whose disorderly arrangement and dilapidated condition are wonderfully assorted with the rustic and picturesque scene before you. In these suburbs the inhabitants are not so much upon their guard, and it is not at all rare to surprise, through a door treacherously ajar, a group of women, seated on the floor of their enclosures. These surprises are usually followed by a sudden disorderly flight, and the old women closing the rear are the only individuals seen by the indiscreet intruder. A number of pretty children, with their smart dresses and determined air, generally, on these occasions, remain in possession of the field, and gaze with eager curiosity at the stranger from behind corners, ready to scamper off at the first alarm.

Kara-sou-Bazar, lying between its two rivers, which sometimes overflow their banks, is nightly enveloped in white mists, said to be pernicious to the health, and to engender epidemic fevers. Another evil of which the inhabitants complain, is the reflection from the enormous mass of white rocks, called by the Tatars Ak-Kaa, stretching like a wall along the north side of the valley. Irr summer, when the rays of the sun strike upon this ridge, they are reflected with such [183] intensity that the temperature is considerably increased, not to mention the injury done to the sight from the excessive light.

Though the rocks of Ak-Kaa are unpleasant neigh- bours for Kara-sou-Bazar, it must be confessed that a more favourable vantage ground for obtaining a view of the town, and every house in it, could not be conceived. From the summit of this lofty terrace, the plan of the great city lies before the spectator in all its details, and he may at the same time indulge in guessing at the mysteries of these enclosed dwellings,-- at the internal life of the Mussulman, who raises a barrier between the domestic sanctuary and the public way, which the most obstinate curiosity cannot penetrate. From this elevation we beheld a labyrinth of streets intersecting each other without order, winding and crossing in the midst of upwards of seven hundred houses. Twenty-four minarets raise their spires from the various quarters of the city. Not far from the principal mosque may be seen the elegant green dome of the orthodox Greek church. A little further on, the eye discovers two Catholic churches ; one Roman, the other Armenian, while the evening breeze wafts upwards to your ears the strange harmony of the Israelite hymns from a neighbouring synagogue. The remarkable edifice, of quadrangular form, in the centre of the city, is a [184] large khan, a kind of fortified bazaar, stretching out its rows of shops with slender galleries, rickety balconies, and worm-eaten roofs, round a court-yard. Here, again, amidst the busy turmoil of trade, you meet with Mussulman indolence squatting, and bent round upon itself. This khan is an ancient and powerful structure ; the name of the minister of one of the Tatar sovereigns, by whom it was founded in 1656, has been handed down. Defended externally by its four formidable walls, presenting no other aperture than a row of narrow loop-holes, this khan has but one entrance, which is strongly guarded by a gate studded with iron. Such a fortress could not but have proved impregnable to the Tatars, who, taking advantage of public dissensions, threatened to seize the town and its treasures. Between these walls the rich traders found a safe shelter for their wealth, while the assailants, exposed to a murderous fire from the besieged, were compelled to retreat no richer than they had come.

Our good fortune, together with the assistance of a few roubles, procured us admission one evening to witness a religious ceremony of the Tatars ; a strange and fantastic rite, of which it would be vain to seek a rational explanation : we mean the dance of the Dervishes ; an exhibition rather grotesque than impressive in character, and of which we obtained a sight, to the [185] satisfaction of our curiosity, and the benefit of the good moullahs. The performance is after this fashion :--

At about nine in the evening, twenty bearded Dervishes, all old men, came and placed themselves in the middle of the mosque, standing upright, and forming a circle, in the midst of which stood a venerable moullah. Each old man thereupon commenced singing, and turning round on his own axis with moderate rapidity, while the moullah in the centre turned more rapidly in an opposite direction, and raising his voice above the others. By degrees, all these human spindles twirled faster and faster, and their nasal chaunt grew louder and more strongly accentuated. At certain intervals, the whole circle of Dervishes bowed down with mechanical precision before the moullah. This first proceeding being concluded, one of the Dervishes placed himself in the middle of this mysterious corps de ballet, and stretching out his arms, began to turn and turn incessantly, with the rapidity of a peg-top. It was no longer a man you were looking at, but a whirlwind. Imagine this martyrdom continuing for twenty minutes, while the troop of satellites around are turning, bowing down to the earth, suddenly rising again, and yelling like savages, always addressing themselves to the left side. When the first performer is exhausted, two others take his place, and begin the same performance, till they are [186] succeeded by two others. The ceremony lasts an hour, at the end of which all depart, the pious actors staggering, the spectators bewildered, and all equally stupefied by this absurd exhibition.

The next day we bent our steps towards the source of the great Kara-sou, situated at a distance of some versts from the town. On our way, we observed a remarkable effect of the lightning. The electric fluid having struck a minaret, passed along the little door in the upper balcony, and proceeding down the narrow staircase within the structure, reached the earth, though not without splitting the wall along its entire course. The ruins, which still remain held together by strong cement, appear suspended in the air, and ready to tumble down at the least shock. On emerging from the city, the ruins of a cemetery attracted our attention for a short time. We saw nothing of any note, except the tomb of a Pasha ; an octagonal monument, surrounded by an arcade, not without elegance in the design. No sooner had we proceeded beyond a little hill at the extremity of the valley, than all at once, on the summit of a height of some magnitude, an edifice was presented to our view of a stately appearance : this was the residence constructed for the reception of the Empress Catherine. An extremely fertile valley, filled with clumps of trees, at the feet of which flows [187] the river, forms the first plan of the truly Italian landscape which is here unfolded. In the distance, behind the white outlines of the large mansion, are seen the grand massive forms of the mountains. Once out of this valley, however, and the scenery in the upper plateau is as rugged and barren as the rest of the surrounding country. A beautiful spring, pouring into a rocky basin, attracted our attention in a neighbouring ravine. This fresh and limpid water is shrouded beneath the shadow of four gigantic elms ; on all the branches immediately over the spring we observed a multitude of rags of all colours. These are all votive offerings, wretched testimonials of the cures operated upon by, or at least sought from, the waters of the spring, whose medical properties are in high repute among the people of the country. Several silver coins, the offerings of rich invalids whom the spring had cured, respected by the cupidity of the wayfarer, might be clearly seen at the bottom of the reservoir.

The source of the Kara-sou lies in the bosom of a rustic valley. One of the springs flows down from a vast arcade of calcareous rocks, making its way out of an immense natural reservoir. The second spring, situated at some distance, bubbles forth from a rocky fissure. Besides the attractions of a pleasant walk, of shooting, and pursuing our usual course of observations, [188] [189] whose companionship, if it was of no other service, protected us, by the shouts and other means adopted in the country to that effect, from the savage dogs which threatened to rush upon us every time we approached a habitation.

On our return to the confined apartments in which we were lodged, we employed ourselves in concerting measures for proceeding to Theodosia. The post–house was scarcely in a condition to supply us with horses, and we needed all the zeal of our faithful arnaout to obtain the number we required on hire.

At last, on the 24th of September, after carefully gathering together our newly made collections, we left the great Tatar city. Meanwhile there had been an entire change in the weather, and we were inundated with torrents of rain throughout the journey. The direction of the road is a little to the east, cutting through the base of the last declivities on the north side of the mountains. Only two stations occur before reaching Theodosia ; Bouroundoutskaia and Krenitchka. The plain was soon converted into a deep bed of liquid mud, through which it was impossible to advance. At first, our intention was to make a stay of a few hours at the village of Eski–lKrim, or Old Crim : such is the name given to the ruins of what was once an extensive town, said to have been the capital of the peninsula; [190] but with this positive deluge pouring over the country, it was impossible we could derive any advantage from visiting this spot amidst impassable roads and flooded ruins. Accordingly, we left this once flourishing and now deserted locality for a future visit, and after procuring fresh horses at a station, which for once was well supplied, we hastened to seek a refuge within the walls of Theodosia.

In a few hours we reached this port : a steep declivity brought us .from the steppe down to the beach, upon which is situated the pretty city called indifferently by either of its two names, Theodosia or Kaffa ; the one ancient Greek, the other derived from the Turkish language. When we had passed a square tower still of stately appearance, and the ruins of an ancient fort which had once commanded the sea shore, we came upon a miserable avenue of stunted trees, and thence entered a paved street, lined with elegant porticoes, and painted houses, in a style of architecture seldom seen in this country. We at once perceived, from the peculiar character of these edifices, that Theodosia still preserved the memory of its once powerful masters. An entire street, running parallel with the shore, is completely Italian ; an arcade extending before the houses, as in the streets of Bologna. In the streets at right angles to this, you recognise the Russian [191] character, and ascending still higher, you find yourself in the Tatar suburbs ; but the city, properly so called, the active, working city, still remains Genoese.

We must confess, however, that the state of discomfort we were in, from the cold rain and north wind, that seemed to enter our very bones, somewhat spoiled our relish for these historical memorials. By good fortune, we obtained timely shelter in the Hotel de Constantinople. A German widow did the honours of this comfortable house, where we forgot our fatigue amidst the gentle warmth imparted by an immense stove, conveying heat to four apartments at once.

This then was Theodosia. The site upon which this city stands is in the form of a cresent, and slopes gradually upwards. It faces the rising sun, and com- mands a spacious roadstead. The winds from the east and south-east only are to be feared by the merchant vessels anchoring before the city. The bottom is sufficiently firm to afford a good hold for anchors ; two wooden moles and a number of boats are employed in landing.

The history of this celebrated city of the Crimea, would be the history of the whole peninsula, for Theodosia has borne a part in every phasis of the aggrandisement or decline of this ancient land. We have now to concern ourselves only with its present [192] state, and our excursions were productive of sufficient interest to permit us to record even the smallest details of our daily observations. To complete the description of this city, of which we have already sketched the principal feature, we must add that the three quarters of Theodosia, so distinct in their separate characteristics, are far from filling the limits of the ancient Genoese city; it is now extended at ease over a space scarcely half of that which it formerly occupied, pressed in by its boundary walls. The pretty Italian street of which we have spoken, presents beneath its narrow arcades a considerable number of shops, in which the Karam Jews and Armenians carry on their business. They are well educated people, and have quite the appearance of honest dealing tradesmen. The upper stories of the houses in this street, which is, properly speaking, the high street of Theodosia, appear to be occupied by the public authorities and the employs.

The Greek population, amounting in this city to a very large number, occupy the central portion, and inhabit modern houses, constructed with some degree of elegance. Each family lives separately, and the greater number of houses have gardens. That which most strikes the observer in this numerous Greek population, is the beauty of the women ; and there are many families in which the rigid perfection of the ancient Greek type is [193] still preserved, embellished by an indefinable expression of liveliness and coquetry, which seems borrowed from some great city of the west. Though the Tatars also appear among the inhabitants of Theodosia, it is clear that they are no longer masters there, and that attracted within those ancient walls by the necessities of commerce, they have been compelled to make a sacrifice of their habits. The separate suburb inhabited by them, presents no single feature of the physiognomy peculiar to a Tatar village. The structures of clay and thatch which constitute their dwellings, are ranged in a regular line, and in an order to which the Tatar is totally a stranger. Ascending the hill, beyond this assemblage of buildings, nothing is seen but a large number of wooden mills with eight sails. The mechanism of these mills is contained in so small a space, that the whole structure is reduced almost to portable dimensions. We may here observe, that none of the hills forming a circle round Theodosia, produce so much as a single bush.

Among the inhabitants of this city a considerable number of Nogas Tatars are also to be found, carrying on their ordinary craft of cart and wheelwrights ; they have no other dwellings than their madgiars, with enormous dromedaries ruminating close by. The Armenians occupy several khans of considerable magnitude, and lodge in apartments above their richly stocked warehouses.


Two immense squares, parallel with each other, and divided by a single row of houses, terminate on the Italian street, with which they form a right angle. In one of these squares, that situated to the south, is held the market of Theodosia ; here, amidst a noisy crowd, are sold a variety of wares, and an abundance of fish. The good-natured phlegmatic faces of the Germans may here be seen, bringing from the neighbourhood of Kara- sou-Bazar their produce, now become indispensable to all the great cities of southern Russia. At the foot of the mountains between the Zoua and the Kara-sou, to the right of the road from Sympheropol, we might have seen three important settlements, reminding one of the borders of the Rhine. Neusatz, Friedenthal and Rosenthal are the names of these three colonies, embracing a population of more than eight hundred inhabitants, all devoted to agriculture. These Germans excel chiefly in dairy produce and bread stuffs ; only at their hands can the refined inhabitants of the cities seek those agreeable accessaries to the tea-table to be found in all houses of a superior class.

Another square, situated close to this large market, and of which we shall speak anon, is deserted and silent. Not long since, this space, which is now level, contained the most beautiful mosque in Theodosia, as well as the most sumptuous of its baths. The mosque [195] was an exact copy of St. Sophia in Constantinople ; and Theodosia was long called the Constantinople of the Crimea. The interior of the baths was lined throughout with marble. The whole of this noble pile of masonry has disappeared, and its place is now occupied by a few wretched remains, heaped together upon the ground, where the foundations of the two demolished edifices may still be traced. Some symptoms of conservative intentions with respect to these buildings were at first exhibited, and there had even been a certain amount of expenditure towards their maintenance and restoration ; but winter coming on, with its accompanying hardships to the poor without employment, they were set to clear this place, and the fine baths and splendid mosques disappeared from the surface of the earth, the Tatars themselves assisting in the demolition of the St. Sophia of the Crimea. Its marble pilasters, ornamented with arabesques, now serve as a door–step to some Italian tavern in the neighbourhood, where the sailors from Genoa and Ragusa get drunk with foreign wines, and sing their national melodies.

Everything in this demolished city serves a different purpose from that for which it was intended. The majority of the mosques have been converted into churches, dedicated to various forms of worship, and some have even been profanely applied to domestic [196] uses. The present beautiful Armenian church was a large mosque, and a golden cross now surmounts its elegantly proportioned dome. The isolated minaret rising to such a height towards the sky, has lost its crowning ornament, and in the place of its spire stands a belfry of green copper. Another mosque has met with a nobler fate in its adversity, and now contains the museum of Theodosia. It is an interesting establishment, and will be mentioned hereafter, though unfortunately at no great length. We have already given a general sketch of the city, which, as the reader knows, is confined, though by no means narrowly, within the ancient boundary traced by the Genoese. Towards the southern headland are the ruins of a fortification, quite as wide in extent as the city itself. The citadel which the Genoese had constructed here, commanded both the city and the hays. The numerous compartments of masonry still left standing on the declivity of these hills, have been appropriated by the modern city to the construction of a lazaretto, upon a plan as costly as it is well devised. A number of well-ventilated buildings, suitably isolated, are scattered amidst trees, and the view of the sea enjoyed by the prisoners must considerably relieve the tedium of their captivity.

Spacious warehouses, a large number of buildings, in which the merchandise is laid out and purified, a separate [197] quarter for the reception of the unfortunate sufferers attacked with plague, and a little cemetery close by, in which lie buried some who, on entering those gates, cherished the hope of leaving them, form the principal objects on which the eye rests, when, from the top of the hill, we look down upon this fine sanitary establishment. This description of Theodosia, the city beloved by the gods, as it was called by the Greeks of antiquity, will be complete, when we have said a word relative to the vast barracks, surrounded by covered galleries, where the soldier is sheltered from the weather. Theodosia possesses also a public garden, yet not so public but that its gates were kept constantly closed. The baths, our beloved Turkish baths, are in great number ; and, as may be imagined, we hastened thither without delay. But judge of our horror on discovering, through the dim obscurity of the bath room, a poor fellow suffering from Egyptian ophthalmia, the only bather in the place. To get rid of the unpleasant impression produced by this wretched apparition, let us betake ourselves to the most cheerful quarter of the city. A handsome and well-proportioned house in this quarter, belonging to M. Amoretti, had been unanimously selected for the reception of the Emperor, on his approaching visit. The absence of any intelligence from the west of the Crimea rendered the precise epoch of this august visit a matter [198] of complete uncertainty. M. Amoretti's house was, however, quite ready : a complete set of furniture, to which every one had contributed the most precious objects he possessed, adorned a suite of apartments, rendered remarkable by almost too great a profusion of frescoes. The Emperor might arrive at any moment, and the anxious inhabitants awaited only to see the smoke of the steamer, to rush down to the shore with shouts and hurrahs.

This city contains 4,500 inhabitants. A Greek church, a mosque, an Armenian Catholic church, a synagogue for the karams, another for the rabbinists, and several pretty fountains, constitute all that remains of its ancient and prodigious magnificence. The sequel of this narrative will show all that it has to regret in the past.

We will now relate the mode in which our time was spent during our stay at Theodosia, and how our visit to the historic soil of Taurida terminated.

Inhabitants in Robes

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