Title


THEODOSIA.—.KAFFA.—.KERTCH.—TAMAN.—ALOUCHTA.— YALTA.—ALOUPKA.

CHAPTER V.

THEODOSIA.—KAFFA.—KERTCH.—TAMAN.—. ALOUCHTA.—YALTA.—ALOUPKA.

Men on Horses

[199] RESOLVED, as we were, to devote several days to the study of such an interesting city as Theodosia, and one so filled with subjects worthy of serious attention, from the very first day of our arrival we set to work, each in his peculiar department. The geologist and zoologist daily wandered afar, in quest of treasures, which were every evening [200] brought into the common laboratory, augmenting our already plentiful collections. Our studious botanist found the utmost difficulty in obtaining a few plants, to such a degree is the soil in the neighbourhood of the city burnt up by the sun, and choked by the dust. As to sketches, and curious observations, we were in the spot of all Taurida the most likely to yield an abundant harvest. At the hour when the whole city is given up to the luxury of the siesta, we assembled at our favourite resort, the Museum of Theodosia, to which the curator, Dr. Graperon, a French physician, was kind enough to procure us frequent admittance. This museum is established within the cool cupola of an ancient mosque. It contains an interesting collection of works of art, the valuable memorials of the fertile and ingenious mind of the ancient Greek and Genoese colonies. The scutcheons of the Genoese may almost be said to pave the streets of Theodosia; and you find, appropriated to the most vulgar uses, the sculptured armorial bearings of the Dorias and of the most illustrious families, the armed horseman of the bank of St. George, and the arms of Kaffa, being always found united with those of their masters. But let us penetrate into the interior of the museum. We will first direct our attention to the guardians of the entrance, two lions couchant, of gigantic size, sculptured in marble, with their heads turned [2O1] in the same direction. With these is connected an entire history : long buried at the bottom of the sea, not far from Kertch and Taman in the Cimmerian Bosphorus, these marbles have been worn down by the action of the waves ; but much of the well-understood detail in the modelling of the flanks of the terrible quadrupeds is still preserved. Entering beneath the cupola, we will pass in review the various objects it contains, and which, though displayed with taste, may be charged with want of method in their arrangement. First, here is a marble pedestal, brought from Anapa, a city of Asia : this pedestal must have supported a statue of Ceres, for it was by a woman, Aristonice, daughter to Xenocritus, dedicated to Ceres, that this votive monument was erected. The next object is a Genoese epitaph. This fragment, from a church dating in the year 1523, proves, and only on this account is it interesting, that even after the conquest by the Turks, in 1475, a few Genoese were spared, who remained in Kaffa, where they were allowed to grow old, and die not unhonoured. Farther on, let us examine this Genoese stone : it dates from the time when the consul Grimaldi was completing the fortifications of Kaffa, which were commenced seven years previously by Godfrey de Zoaglio. A Latin inscription, engraved in gothic characters, will inform you that a tower, forming part of this line of fortification, was especially dedicated to the [202] sovereign Pontiff Clement VI., in gratitude for the crusade commanded by the holy father forty years previously. A little beyond, you may contemplate the griffin which formed part of the armorial bearings of Panticapum, the modern city of Kertch, as is shown by the medals of the period. This basso relievo, in white marble, is executed with remarkable skill. The griffin, upright upon his robust legs, is spreading out a pair of large wings, and a crest bristling with spikes.

Soldier with a Rifle

Two immense amphor, standing more than five feet high, several valuable objects found in khourgans, viz., a small head of a bull in gold, encased in a little band of enamel, several little clay images, and lastly, a beautiful head and bust of Venus, a number of fragments of earthenware vases, ornamented with well executed designs, and covered with an indestructible glazing, and a valuable cabinet of medals, complete the collection of antiquities in this newly-formed museum. M. Graperon has not hesitated to place beside these venerable relics of past ages the curious productions of nature, ever young and creative, while the greatest artists die and are forgotten, they and their works. We allude to a collection of the most curious fossils found in the Crimea, and which alone might induce a disciple of Cuvier to pass many days in this modest museum. Having disposed of the antiquities, we paid an especial [203] visit to the lazaretto, and the order and arrangement of the several departments of this immense establishment engrossed our attention for a considerable length of time. To connect the city with the lazaretto, it was necessary to cut a road through the side of a hill : in excavating the earth for this purpose, innumerable fragments of that delicate pottery called Etruscan, were discovered. Several vases of a beautiful design, and almost uninjured, have been taken out of this richly fraught soil ; and we ourselves, in less than an hour, succeeded, without any trouble, in collecting a considerable quantity of these interesting fragments. Were we to give way to antiquarian zeal, the whole mound would be ransacked. In the midst of these remains we discovered, at the same time, a multitude of shells, denoting a favourite article of food among a maritime people long since swallowed up in the tomb. Now, as then, the seashore in the vicinity of Theodosia yields this popular fare, and of late years the fishery, in respect of this article, has been subjected to wise regulations.

A portion of the quarantine has been erected upon the ruins of a famous monastery dedicated to St. Basil. This wealthy community, protected by the strength of its position, had long resisted the revolutions of which Kaffa was the theatre ; but at last the storm became too powerful, and the holy community was compelled [204] to acknowledge itself conquered. If tradition is to be believed, its valuable library, the result of a long and studious accumulation of the treasures of science, theology and literature, was dispersed at its downfall. Such excursions as these afforded an abundance of subjects for meditation, and features worthy of remembrance. But scarcely had we returned to the new city, and the bustling street which monopolises the whole movement of that city, than all associations connected with the past were swept away by the ever-varying spectacle before us. The people, the buildings, the customs, all are new. Every instant a fresh aspect is presented : now the troops pass, amidst the sound of martial music ; then the caravans, of which Theodosia is the rendezvous, traverse the city : the noise and movement are endless. The expected arrival of the Emperor had revived within these ancient walls all the Asiatic magnificence with which it was once familiar, and the caravans of the wealthy natives were all directing their steps towards this privileged spot. The representatives of Kara-sou- Bazar especially displayed the most costly richness in their attire. These Tatars, all of them moullahs, hadjis, or efb ndis, arrived in little parties, grouped together in their national vehicle, the madgiar, drawn by camels. On approaching the city they alighted, and proceeded to some hospitable khan, where they immediately selected a [205] spot in the shade under the broad heavens, so completely has this race of people preserved their antipathy for any mode of life which is not in the free and open air. When once they are installed, they begin smoking, and go on from morning till night, until the arrival of the expected vessel rouses them from their repose. In this instance the expected vessel, which was to shed so much joy over Kaffa, failed to show itself in the bay : the route of the Imperial progress had been subsequently altered.

AN ANCIENT MOSQUE CONVERTED INTO A GREEK CHURCH,
AT THEODOSIA (CRIMEA).
AN ANCIENT MOSQUE CONVERTED INTO A GREEK CHURCH, AT THEODOSIA (CRIMEA).

The mosques of Kaffa are the same as mosques everywhere else ; but of the Armenian church we must say a few words. It bears evidence of having been com- menced at some distant date, and completed at a later period. The whole portion nearest the ground bears a peculiar stamp, and dates probably from the 13th century, when the first Armenians received permission to establish themselves in Kaffa, which became a refuge for these interesting victims of Tatar conquest. In the upper part the Bysantine style is followed for the completion of the edifice, and thus, begun as a church, it became a mosque. The cupola, the minaret, and the sculptured door at the end of a narrow path, leading, doubtless, to the house of the moullah, remain as distinctive marks of the mahomedan temple : but subsequently, returning to this sanctuary, the Armenians have purified it by a [206] multitude of crosses, sculptured in the stone of the building. The minaret was now transformed into a steeple, and the ecclesiastical bell resounds from whence the mousselim poured forth is screeching chaunt to the four cardinal points. The most striking thing in these Catholic precincts, thus existing in peaceful concord with their profane vicinage, is the cemetery, filled with stones and marble gravestones: on these tombs in engraved some emblem denoting the profession of the person interred,--scissors for the tailor, scales for the merchant, and the special tools of their craft for the various artisans. These specimens of popular heraldry, which is not without its pride, occur at every step.

Meanwhile,the season was advancing, and the temperature daily growing colder. A parching easterly wind swept through the city, which was gradually assuming the habits and appearances of winter. Our excursions already begun to be less agreeable, though our zeal continued undiminished. We undertook in the beginning of our stay and interesting excursion to the south-east of Kaffa, not far from the village called Koktebel, a pretty rural place, separated form the city by a range of large hillocks. Koktebel is situated exactly at the commencement of the great chain of mountains of the Crimea. It is from this spot that its beautiful undulations commence, gradually bristling up into lofty peaks, [207] and stretching out into immense plateaux, which know no decline till they sink into the valley of Sou-Dagh, whence they again rise more majestic than ever. The vicinity of Koktebel afforded our naturalist an abundance of valuable fossils ; and this, indeed, was the object of the excursion, which may be accomplished in a day. A visit purely of an archmological interest brought us to a city, once the metropolis of the peninsula, now but the shadow of itself. Staroi-Krim in Russian and Eski- Krim in Tatar are the names borne in the present day by this ancient capital : both signify the same thing– Old Crimea.

Whether or not this city, which was long wealthy and populous, be built on the site of an ancient city, dating from the first Greek emigration, is a question which we have no time to discuss. In either case, a visit to its ruins is not less deserving the attention of the traveller. The day we arrived at Kaffa we had, greatly against our will, passed the road which leads to Eski-Krim, for the torrents of rain, inundating the country, rendered all excursions impossible. Accordingly, we were compelled to retrace our steps, and travel a tolerable number of versts to make up our loss. It must be confessed that little is left of this city, once so great and powerful that it was without a rival in the Crimea. A little colony of Bulgarians have established [208] themselves, as best they could, among these dilapidated ruins, and have taken up their dwellings in the midst of mosques, baths, ramparts and tombs, the shapeless and mutilated remains of the past. On this spot once rose a fortress ; its fallen towers may yet be counted, and the double trench with which it was surrounded is clearly traceable. A bath and a mosque, which must have been magnificent, are still erect, though injured by time : in the latter edifice, the gates of which are beautifully sculptured, public worship is even now carried on. The principal external feature of this building is a set of columns, covered with arabesque and inscriptions, while in the interior the eye is attracted by six elegant pillars, supporting the vaulted roof and the sanctuary, in which the moullah stands. The whole mosque is one of the most elegant and diversified specimens of the Oriental style. With some attention you may still detect traces of the delicate, and at the same time brilliant tints in which the light ornamental work was painted. Starai- Krim possesses also its khourgans, the steady and irreproachable witnesses of an origin long prior to the Tatar conquest. They were broken open by the conquerors, and since then they have remained closed. Their treasures, if ever they contained any, are lost. These conical mounds contained, as the specimens before us showed beyond a doubt, a sort of vaulted cavity in masonry, or [209] a simple enclosure of stone-work, covered over with a large slab, supporting the weight of the mound.

The time rapidly slipped away amidst these instructive studies, while every thing combined to press us towards the distant object of our voyage. It was necessary that we should take leave of Theodosia, where we had enjoyed a long interval of rest, and experienced the fortifying effects of a healthy regimen. The lack of beds was scarcely felt by us, for we had long become inuured to sleeping on the hard floor. At the same time that we were planning a desertion of this comfortable state, we still took every advantage of it.

Every thing had been managed for the best. Our caravan had been completed at Theodosia, and we had even received a short visit from M. Le Play, who had come form the banks of the Don, where he had been so zealously at work, to pursue his mineralogical researches on these shores. When every thing was ready, we all, with the exception of Michael, who was still suffering from an obstinate fever, set off in excellent cue, and taking the road to Kertch, we found ourselves, on the 4th of October, once more on the steppe, whirling rapidily towards the east, and this time well srapped up in our cloaks, which scarcely proved a protection, however, from the cutting wind.

A more steady-looking rear guard, consisting of a large [210] madgiar, with its team of dromedaries, conveyed our baggage and the guide, whose condition required a gentler pace. A barren, uncultivated country, inhabited only by flocks of sea birds, and from time to time, a German village, distinguishable at a distance by its stacks of corn, monuments of the industry of the hardworking colonists, composed the monotonous spectacle constantly before our eyes. At Porpatch, the first stage on our road, we found a considerable assemblage of Tatars and Germans, who had brought their horses to the post-house, with a view to supply an expected extraordinary demand. While some of us were engaged in conversation with these good-natured quiet Germans, in their holiday clothes, with their houses in brass-ornamented harness, our naturalists were dispersed in the environs on a fruitful quest. here they were attracted by a number of splendid bustards, lumbering in their flight, but so cautious as to lead the sportsman many a weary and fruitless chase. Yonder, in that narrow quagmire, a variety of shells were revealed to the delighted gaze of the zoologist. Meanwhile, the process of changing horses was going on with more than usual celerity. Arghin was our second station: this post-house i situated on a plateau, at the extremity of an almost imperceptible slope in the steppe. From this point the level of the country continues to sink [211] as far as Kertch, while to the right, that is to say in the southern part, a hilly tract of some elevation completely conceals the sea, which bathes it on the opposite side. Though the plain is here less arid than in the vicinity of Theodosia, it is not less deserted : the tall grass which waves over its surface shelters a large number of hares and bustards, but not a single human being has taken up his abode in this-wilderness. Several Tatar villages, however, were at one time to be found on this road, and we passed through their ruins, which seemed to have been the effect of an earthquake. Nothing has been left standing, neither houses, mosques, nor sepulchres, and the grass has completely grown over all these ruins, as though ages of desolation had swept over this gloomy region. Yet these Tatar villages, which seem to have been destroyed by some sudden visitation, were still inhabited as late as 1833. A fearful dearth, extending over the steppes, drove the inhabitants to a more fertile region ; tempests and wintry winds have done' the rest, investing these dilapidated fragments with an air of antiquity that would deceive the most ex. perienced. Eighteen versts further on, we passed across a broad ditch, with a natural rampart of earth on the east side. This is a genuine relic of antiquity. The trench, which extends north and south across the entire peninsula of Kerteh, in the direction of its greatest breadth, [212] has retained the name of the rampart of Akos ; it was dug as the last defence of the diminished kingdom of Bosphorus : this outwork only preceded, by a few years, the downfall of this ancient power. The rampart of Akos, no longer needed as a defence, now serves as a shelter and halting place for the caravans, which, in tempestuous weather, take up their station along it, ranging themselves to the east or to the west, according to the direction of the wind.

As we approached- Kertch we came upon a tract covered with tumuli. Nowhere previously had we seen them in such numbers ; and, as though to add to the effect of this landscape, covered with conical mounds, the hills in the vicinity assume the same appearance ; they are covered with coralite rocks, forming a natural assemblage of elevations, resembling khourgans. All these tumuli have been broken open and searched, and indeed there is something mournful in the disordered appearance they present, with the breaches in them still gaping open. The accurately-rounded lines of the khourgans, the only spectacle presented by the steppe, become, at last, pleasing to the eye of the traveller, as he accustoms himself to discover a certain harmony in the arrangement of these scattered cones, all children of one family. Is it not afflicting to see all these dilapidated tombs in the neighbourhood of Kertch, with their rounded tops [213] knocked off, and presenting a sort of yawning crater, surrounded with crumbling fragments and whiteish earth? Undoubtedly these curious searches, with a view to enrich a museum, or bring ancient times nearer to the modern, are of advantage to science, but would it not be a mark of respect towards the past, and even towards science itself, to restore these ransacked tumuli to their former shape and appearance ? They, too, are monuments, and of the least perishable character : their preservation appears to us a duty–nay, more ; might not the tumulus, which has yielded up its treasures from their ineffectual concealment, be protected and defended by some mark through which it could be recognised, an inscription, for instance, stating what were the objects discovered and transferred to the museum ? Thus, an easy corelation would be established between the object and its source, and a useful piece of information would be afforded the student of history, at the saine time that a much to be regretted mutilation would be repaired.

After this digression, which we submit with all modesty to the good taste as well as excellent sense which characterize the government of Kertch, let us now speak of that city which we entered, as night was falling, perishing with cold, and suffering the sharp pangs of hunger.

The traveller enters the ancient capital of the kingdom [214] of Bosphorus by a large and elegant street : a roadway rising towards the middle, a flagged footway, and buildings of the same soft porous calcareous stone found in Odessa, are the first features presented by the city. Arcades, columns, balustrades, and a thousand other architectural devices, point it out as one of our cities. Here, however, we must praise the wise proportions observed in the construction of the streets, sufficient for a large amount of traffic, without presenting those exaggerated dimensions which convert a city into a desert. The principal street is intersected at right angles by several lateral streets, all equally remarkable for the good order in which they are kept. In one of these streets we found, after a long search, the Bosphorus Hotel, Bospheri-Tractir, recommended to us as the best, and haply, the only place in Kertch where we were likely to get lodgings. And what lodgings ! Alas ! judge of our wretchedness at finding that the only piece of furniture approaching to a bed, was the fatal billiard table, of which we treasured the remembrance since our journey in Wallachia. The German family–a very charming family, let us add–by whom the Bosphorus Hotel is kept, have lost none of the traditional slowness of their nation. It was several hours before we could get a fire lighted in an immense stove built into the house, and which does not begin [215] to give out any heat till it has been lighted twenty- four hours. Even the classical carbonade only made its appearance after a tedious interval. When we requested some substitute for three large window panes, whose absence caused us to partake too freely of the cold night air, our conduct was considered extraordinary. Window panes indeed ! From that moment we could get n.o one to wait on us. They looked upon us as much too fastidious. Yet is it possible to sleep even without beds, and without window panes. And accord- ingly we slept until daybreak, when a frightful noise in the street–which, thanks to the circumstances before detailed, directly reached our ears–woke us up at once, and we became witnesses of a singular scene It was as thus :--

Kertch, like all the other cities of the Crimea--in fact, we may say, like all Eastern cities--is infested with a superfluous and useless population ; noisy, trouble- some, and sometimes threatening the personal safety of the public. We refer once more to those abominable vagrant dogs, which would at last become masters of the town, but for the wise though cruel measures taken against them. Gipsies are at Kertch the executors of this work of carnage, and the proceedings are in this wise :--One of these honest Tsigans, invested on this occasion with the character of a public officer, and [216] accordingly dressed up in some cast-off military coat, goes about dragging behind him the carcase of a dog clubbed to death the night before. He proceeds in this way through the different quarters of the city with a calm visage, but keeping a sharp look-out, for beneath his garment he carries a heavy bludgeon, a weapon fatal to the canine race. No sooner does the executioner show himself in a street; than a horrible yelling immediately breaks out on all sides from this republic of dogs, who recognise their destroyer, and perhaps, who knows ? his victim. Immediately they rush forth from the houses, from the gardens on all sides, pursuing the unperturbable gipsy with their infuriated barking. The latter still continues his steady, leisurely progress, until the fatal instant when one of these enraged pursuers comes within reach of his bludgeon. As quick as lightning the blow comes down with murderous precision, and another Trojan is stretched by the side of the lamented Hector. In the evening, the 'rsigan, after a good day's work, goes before the magistrate, and stretches out a hand stained with such or such a number of deaths. Each fractured skull brings him twenty-five copecks, or if you will, twenty-five centimes.

DOG KILLERS AT KERTCH (CRIMEA).
DOG KILLERS AT KERTCH (CRIMEA).

As soon as we were up, we explored Kertch. At the eastern extremity of the 'ramie peninsula, in a deep bay, on whose shores the waves of the Armenian [217] Bosphorus sink exhausted, stands Kertch, occupying a considerable space. The city stretches out in the form of a crescent on the northern coast, towards the western part of the bay, and on the not very lofty plateaux which surround it. At one point alone is there any very considerable elevation, and this is at the extremity of the spur of hills ending exactly over the city, in a hill loftier than the rest, and sloping off suddenly towards the sea. This is Mount Mithridates ; it is covered with a number of natural elevations, bearing so striking a resemblance to the khourgans, that at any distance it is impossible to distinguish the work of man from the work of nature. Mount Mithridates, on which the Akropolis, the citadel of the ancient town of Panticapceum once stood, overlooks Kertch, and a tumulus covered with large masses of rock, called the tomb of Mithridates, forms its culminating point. At the foot of the tumulus there is a rock divided into two parts by a large hollow, and bearing some resemblance to a curule chair, such as the Druids would have selected : this is called the seat of Mithridates. It was here the king of Pontus came to gaze proudly on his innumerable fleet, the terror of the Romans. You feel at once in an atmosphere of tradition you feel that a hero has trodden upon this soil, and that it still treasures the memory of his noble footsteps.

[218]

It must be confessed that all these memorials of the past are wonderfully mixed up with modern monuments. Within ten paces of the tomb of Mithridates, a sepulchral monument of quite modern date, erected to one of the governors of the city, rears its light columns, the style of which is far too frivolous for a tomb. Mount Mithridates, which has been deeply excavated of late years, has afforded a spacious site for a Greek temple but just completed, ill which the numerous and valuable objects discovered in the khourgans are deposited. The sides and base of the cutting made into the mountain present a solid agglomeration of bones, so that the spectator might fancy himself on one of those mountains of human victims said to have been heaped up on the borders of the Caspian sea by the conquests of the sanguinary Attila. To proceed from this temple to the city, you descend a giant staircase. These stairs are of modern construction, they are ornamented with a balustrade in the Greek style, decorated with masks and vases, and the Griffins of Panticapeeum, a fine and correct piece of sculpture, of which we have already spoken. They terminate in a polygon, surrounded with an arcade, in the middle of which is held the market. This place is surrounded by a number of regularly-built streets : some of these, descending towards the sea, are short ; but there is one, the principal street, running towards the [219] north-west, which traverses the entire city, from one end to the other. This is the trading street, the populous thoroughfare : it has several streets parallel to it, and, like itself, intersected at right angles. Along the sides of the whole bay there is a stone quay of spacious dimensions, covered with vast edifices, first among which are to be classed, the residence of the governor of Kertch, and an immense building, partly occupied by the customs department, and partly used as a store-house for goods. Unfortunately, vessels are prevented, by the shallowness of the waters in the bay, from mooring alongside this quay. They anchor at some distance, beneath the walls of the lazaretto, situated on that part of the shore, the waters of which, in consequence of the vicinity of the straits, are deeper, and afford easier anchorage.

Our first visit was, as a matter of course, to the leading personage in this interesting place, Prince Kherkheoulidzeff. The civic governor of Kertch gave us a reception, for which we still feel the deepest gratitude. Directly he heard the deplorable manner in which we were lodged, the governor desired one of his officers to place at our disposal one of the houses reserved for the reception of the emperor's suite. Not- withstanding the pre-occupation of his mind by the preparations for the expected visit of the emperor, this [220] amiable Prince paid us the most solicitous attention. We were allowed to pass a few moments in his company, and during this interview he related to us a number of interesting facts. Prince Kherkheoulidzeff was born in Georgia ; and the account he gave us of that beautiful country, of its grandeur, and the extent of its natural resources, made us regret that the in- clemency of the season, and the necessity of our returning, precluded our visiting it.

The museum of Kertch deserves a place among these brief notes. It is to the museum of Theodosia what an Italian museum is to a French or German collection. In the former we find a few specimens of high value, stealthily possessed, as it were, and much treasured by the proprietor ; in the latter, wealth and profusion. The Etruscan vases at Kertch, found in the tombs, would of themselves deserve an archoeological memoir, and their beautiful designs call for a skilful burin to make Europe participate in the enjoyment of these splendid discoveries. What shall we say, too, of the marble cenotaphs taken out entire from the obscure depths in which they have lain buried for more than two thousand years ? The feeble and somewhat heavy drawing of the figures, and the more successful delicacy of the ornaments, marks them as the production of a Greek colony. to which those artists who excelled in [221] this the most difficult of the arts, had only sent their least advanced pupils. We shall not attempt to enumerate the funeral monuments of all ages, with which this fine museum is crowded. The epitaphs are written in every variety of idiom, from pure Greek to the most distantly related dialects of that fine language ; and on these monuments, now no longer covering their dead, is recorded the gradual decline, and final disappearance of the old Homeric tongue. Thus from echo to echo, some noble war-song sinks and dies away ! More than one of these stones with Greek inscriptions bear the image of a genuine Tatar, armed and mounted much as we see them in the present day. A succession of glazed cabinets contains a number of valuable objects, medallions, crystal vases, chains, rings, and medals without end; treasures concealed from the profane, but which the amiable kindness of our guide, the sub- director of the museum, submitted to our admiring gaze. The order of the museum is excellent. Chro- nological classification is observed, as far as is consistent with the size and number of the objects. Each curious inscription–and Heaven knows how many there are– is accompanied with 'a careful translation in Russian and French. Through these especially, we learn to what purpose the khourgans have been applied, but without gathering further certitude as to the origin and date [222] of these singular monuments, totally devoid of any external mark or sign by which their age can be determined. H ow, indeed, is it possible to divine how many centuries have rolled over the head of any one of these tumuli, enveloped, like the rest of its innumerable brethren, in its robe of turf, which grows green with every spring, and fades with every winter! The antiquity of each mound is wrapt in its own especial mystery. Here we find remains of purely Greek origin ; yonder you are disturbing the manes of some Bosphorian chief. Proceed, and you will stumble over a Sarmatian ; nay, who shall tell but you will find a Khazar, or a Petcheneque reposing in one of these tombs, the perfect similarity of which is the despair of archæologists. What conclusion can be arrived at relative to monu- ments in which the lapse of one or ten centuries, more or less, neither leaves nor effaces a single feature ?

One of our favourite excursions was to Ak-Bouroun. " the white nose," in the language of the Tatars, who apply this picturesque designation to all such protruding points as the Latins called promontorium ; the French, borrowing from the dialect of the south, call cap; and the English, head. From this spot an extensive panorama of an austere character lies unfolded at the feet of the spectator. Situated at the southern extremity of the bay of Kertch, this headland overlooks, at one and [223] the same time, the Black Sea, the straits and their two extreme points, and the Asiatic coast, in which direction the horizon is bounded by the blue summits of the Caucasus. The headland itself is surmounted by an immense tumulus, and is encircled by a number of rounded hillocks, standing out towards the hills which overlook Kertch. From this lofty eminence we counted more than a hundred vessels ploughing the waters of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, or riding at anchor beneath the walls of the vast lazaretto. Our naturalists prosecuted their researches at a distance, and returned from another promontory, Kamiouch-Bouroun, laden with fossil bivalves, still enveloped in their ferruginous coating, a rarity hitherto unknown in the museums of Europe. At length, on our return one evening from one of these excursions, so fruitful of results, we found the whole quay of Kertch crowded with eager spectators. The prince-governor's galley, with its elegant crew of oarsmen, had left the place, and was making towards two steamers just entering the bay. Victory ! at last the dearest hopes of the city were accomplished, and their imperial guest would shortly make his appearance. Those endowed with the keenest eyes had already recognised the Emperor on the deck of the Severaaïa-Zvesda, the " Star of the North." His Majesty received while on deck the homage of the authorities of Kertch, and expressed his [224] intention of remaining on board his steamer until' the next day. At night a splendid illumination lit up the entire circumference of the bay. A heap of bituminous material collected on Ak-Bouronn was set on. fire, and threw a blueish light on all around. The entire city, its streets and edifices, and its historic mountain, sparkled with long strings of light, which passed through the adjoining villages, and connected themselves with the quarantine ; the appearance thus presented was that of a city two leagues in extent, the sea-girt boundary of which was marked out by an immense line of light–that on the quay–reflected in the. waters. Meanwhile the city resounded with the joyous .bursts of private festivities and mirth, and noise prevailed everywhere; no great European capital could have acquitted itself better.

The next day at dlawn, the crowd were already assembled at their post, when the Emperor disembarked. It was a solemn moment, and nothing could be more picturesque than the appearance of so immense a crowd covering the quay and its approaches, all absorbed in the same eager expectation. The Russians represented the public authorities and government officials ; the Jews had donned their handsome black gaberdines; while the Tatars, already preparing for the winter, were grouped together, dressed in their sheep-skin over-coats, with the thick wool turned inside. In. the midst of this [225] crowd might be seen Greek women, in all the charm of their uncommon beauty, and Russian ladies, who, but for the language they spoke, would make you imagine yourself in Paris, so omnipotent is fashion, realising the dreams of Utopia, and uniting all feminine nations into one. The Emperor stepped on shore amidst loud shouts. The Grand Duke, heir-apparent, followed his father at a short distance. The carriages prepared for the reception of the illustrious guests, soon conveyed them to the church, where the élite of the inhabitants had assembled to give thanks. From the church, the imperial cortége proceeded to visit the museum, and several new buildings, among which must be mentioned, a handsome church in the Greek style, bearing the following, perhaps somewhat too concise inscription, Reddite Dei Deo, et Ccesaris Coesari. The governor's residence, a stately, well- designed edifice, was next honoured with the presence of the Emperor. Prince Kherkheoulidzeff had assembled the most valuable objects in the Panticapcean collection, viz.: the contents of the most richly stored tumulus hitherto opened. Imagine an assemblage of all the articles of luxury with which it was customary to bury a Greek lady ; her most valued trinkets, her ordinary attire, the elegant appliances of a refined toilette, and the caparison of a favourite horse, studded with gold ornaments and the most precious jewels. In addition [226] to these, and the most valuable of all, were a golden mask, and laurel crown in the same metal, which had covered the face and adorned the head of the illustrious deceased. This mask, which was of substantial thickness, was of no common-place design, and had evidently fitted exactly the features of the person entombed, the expression of the ace presenting that perfectly natural character, which belongs only to an actual cast. These rare treasures are now appropriately deposited in the museum of St. Petersburg. The Emperor having visited the whole of this rising city, examined the plans according to which it was to be completed, and signed his approval of them in the margin. After a few hours, devoted to study rather than repose, the monarch pursued his journey, proceeding towards the Black Sea, while the heir-presumptive remained at Kertch, intending to return by the same route we had ourselves taken, to join the Empress, and the numerous suite assembled at the delightful residence of Count Woronzoff, at Aloupka.

Faithful still to our intention of proceeding to Taman, on the other side of the straits, we took the road to Yeni-Kaleh, the " New Fort," as a little town of tolerably ancient date is called, commanding the narrowest portion of the Cimmerian Bosphorus. The road as far as the quarantine, which is daily travelled over by the merchants of Kertch, whose only traffic is with [227] the lazaretto, is excellent, and kept in perfect order. It passes through a Russian village of considerable magnitude, stretching out on both sides of it. As soon as the sanitary establishment is passed, a thousand difficulties are encountered on the journey over the slippery ground beyond, especially if, as in our case, the traveller has to contend with unceasing'rain. The road is sufficiently close to the sea-shore to afford a clear view of a number of curious rocks of the madrepora class, assuming fantastic shapes, sometimes forming caverns, and sometimes light arches, looking like the commencement of a bridge. Each cavity in the sponge-like structure of these rocks, which, by the strange caprice of nature, are the work of a small moluscous animal, serves as a sort of sentry-box to a black cormorant. At the first report of a gun, a dense cloud of these lazy denizens of the rock rises in the air, and when the danger is deemed to be over, they return to their ports, and the labour of digestion proceeds.

A steep slope leads directly to Yeni-Kaleh, a little town of half Eastern half Genoese character, now almost entirely occupied by modern Greeks. A fort situated at the' north end sufficiently betrays, from the ignorant irregularity of its plan, that it is due to the Turks. It has been recently repaired, and put into good order ; one remarkable feature in it is a gate in the pure [228] oriental style. A large square tower flanked by four wardour turrets rising separately, call to mind the defensive art of the Genoese. At the base of this tower may be seen two fountains constructed by the Turks. One of these fountains is in ruins, and useless ; the wall has fallen in, and the spring dried up ; but the murmuring waters of the other are still poured forth into a splendid Greek sarcophagus, in white marble, which serves as a basin. The sculpture with which it was ornamented is worn away, but two figures of birds may still be distinguished. The inhabitants of Yeni-Kaleh, which is situated on the sandy beach, and exposed to the winds, have, nevertheless, found means to set up a few shops for the sale of canvas, tar, oars, and an immense quantity of fish, which is daily brought into Kertch. That which is not consumed on the spot, is doubtless salted. The species of fish most in demand, are the turbot and enormous sturgeons.

It was requisite that we should pass through the straits, and after a long and troublesome discussion, we obtained possession of a little boat, long and narrow, turned up with a point at each end, and provided with two latin sails. We seated ourselves in a row at the bottom of this boat of antique structure, acting as ballast against the effects of the wind, and we had three men to manage it, although one would, strictly speaking, [229] have been enough. There was a point of land covered with weeds, and partly concealed beneath the waters round which we had to sail, keeping a great distance off. On this account, vessels proceeding to Taman, are obliged to sail double the distance they would have to perform if they went in a direct line. As soon as we were within the great bay of Taman, and sheltered from the surge, our passage was smooth enough, and we could even indulge in an attack upon the troops of swans, pelicans, cormorants, grebes, and other aquatic birds rising up in long rows, and skimming the surface of the sea with a noise like the rolling of distant thunder. Approaching the coast of Taman, we were struck with its appearance, which was still more sombre, if possible, than that of the opposite shore. At last we reached land, at the extremity of a little creek filled with tall water-plants, and at the foot of a wooden pier, not very efficiently protected against the action of the waters. There is nothing very striking in the appearance of Taman, as seen from the shore ; it presents only a miserable assemblage of wooden buildings covered with thatch. A few houses higher than the rest mark the dwellings of the chief military officers of this important station. After complying in a satisfactory manner with the formalities required on landing, we proceeded through the cold rain, which still continued, to look out for a [230] lodging. Miserable and piteous was the appearance of our caravan, and what a contrast was here presented with Yalta, and the majestic mountain paths of Stillé- Bogas ! Beneath a leaden grey sky we had to contend against a tempestuous wind, soaking rain, and deep mud ; and to crown our misery, we could find no shelter. A Genoese inhabitant of Kertch had furnished us with an introduction to a fellow countryman at Taman. Having with great difficulty reached the house, we began to supplicate, like Ulysses at the door of Eumæus, but the inhospitable lady to whom we tendered our missive, cruelly returned it to us, saying that her husband was absent. The next instant the door was closed, and the dogs of the establishment, bettering the example of their mistress, gave us a hint to evacuate the premises, which we took without further delay. The situation was serious, and the prospect of passing the night in the open air appeared to us in anything but an attractive light. At last, after considerable search, our Greek sailors found us a shelter in the house of an honest Russian woman. A confined den, aired and lighted by two holes, was soon provided with the accustomed litter, the soft eider-down of the steppe, which served us in lieu of beds, while in an adjoining hole it was converted into fuel, for the preparation of a copious repast of milk. The most respectable feature in this lodging, [231] or rather hut, was the door. It opened upon the principal street in Taman, in which were the houses of the superior officers, and a quantity of good comfortable carriages, stationed in the adjoining court-yards, bore evidence of the number of officers attracted into this humble village by the military operations in the neighbourhood. Immediately opposite was a guard-house, the soldiers in which wore the Circassian costume, viz. : a close fitting tunic, with cartridge cases on the chest, and a large cap with a thick border of fur, which unfolds like a turban, and gives a noble air to the tanned faces of the wearers. The Cossacks of the Kouban perform the regular military duties in Taman, and their stations, established at intervals along the military road of Ekaterinodar and the banks of the stream, which forms the boundary of Asia, supply escorts for the baggage trains. Nothing can be more picturesque than these rustic bivouacs, of which a cottage forms the head quarters. Cars, télègues, and a great number of horses, are here in readiness for the accommodation of the traveller, for the Cossack stations are also post-houses, and every soldier becomes, according to circumstances, a postillion or a cavalry escort. Round the boundary of the bivouac, sentinels are posted, keeping as vigilant watch as though they were in the presence of the enemy, while the men forming the picket smoke and talk together [232] near their lances with red staffs, ranged in symmetrical order against the roof. From henceforward, every hour was of importance ; and notwithstanding the dreadful state of the weather, we commenced studying the environs of Taman. Our first visit was to the church–an isolated building, protected by an enclosure, from the sands drifted by the wind, and which often reach up to the top of the wall. The church is built of wood : it has been erected on ancient foundations, and contains a curiously-contrasted assemblage of marble monuments and Greek inscriptions. This sacred and deserted edifice is the haunt of a multitude of birds of prey, which our shots soon scared out of their hiding places. An extremely fine breed of falcons have established their abode within these sacred walls. This visit concluded, we preferred to returning to the dark seclusion of our lodging, walking in the rain to a place at some distance from Taman, where a fortress overlooks the bay from a sombre and lofty cliff. Phanagoria is the name of this citadel, which contains within its line of ramparts a number of handsome and spacious barracks. It is reported, that in a certain part of this fort are to be found the ruins of an ancient wall, dating from the time of the Ionian colonies. Phanagoria and Taman were Greek settlements, at the very time the Milesians were founding Theodosia and Panticapceum.

COSSACKS OF THE KOUBAN (TAMAN).
COSSACKS OF THE KOUBAN (TAMAN).

[233] We have said something of the hospital roof beneath which we were sheltered; to return to it, we had to cross an ocean of mud. As truthful historians, however, it behoves us, in some degree, to modify our strictures. The old hostess evidently looked upon it as any thing but a pleasant turn of fortune, to have brought her a party of foreigners, with whose habits and language she was unacquainted. Although two or three of us might make ourselves understood by the old Cossack, through the Russian language, it was clearly apparent that the foreign air and deportment of some of our companions were a source of discomfort to the good lady, whose ill-humour could only be appeased by weighty and frequently repeated arguments. First it was agreed that we should pay a stipulated sum for the room in which we were crowded together; but, to the great delight of the old woman, every new want to be supplied was the occasion of a fresh charge. There was os much for the hay, and so much for the dim light; every wooden spoon was let out at a fixed price, and salt--even salt, the universal symbol of hospitality in Russia--was made, perhaps for the first time in this country, a subject of charge.

Early on Tuesday, the 28th of September, we were on the road leading from Taman to Boughaz, on the borders of a vast lake communicating with the sea. This lake [234] is called the liman of the Kouban, that stream mingling its waters with those of the immense basin. Among the ancients this was called the Hyrcanian sea; by the Tatars it is called Kisil-tach, or Red Stone, from the colour of the rocks in the neighbourhood. A few hours afterwards we had traversed eighteen versts in telègues, supplied with horses and postillions from the Cossack stations. These postillions are certainly quite equal to any others ; and the speed at which they travel, is only equalled by their uncommon docility. We reached the village called Boughaz, a generic appellation applied by the Turks to all mouths of rivers. The village is built on the sides of a number of low hills ; and immediately opposite, on a flat tongue of land, stand the unpretending buildings of the lazaretto, in which the travellers and merchandise from Anapa are purified. The required period of seclusion is seven days. On reaching the gates of this quarantine, we were politely received by officials, who immediately sent for some of the quarantine prisoners to talk with us. We were thus assured that, without any infringement of the laws, we could explore the environs of Boughaz, and climb the neighbouring hills, whence we should enjoy a more extended view of Asia. We lost no time in making use of the permission ; and leaving our light vehicles at Boughaz, we set about climbing the neighbouring hillocks towards a distant [235] promontory overlooking the mouth of the river. After clearing several ravines, we discovered in a slightly hollow plateau, surrounded by several heights, a bubbling spring of greyish mud issuing from the naked soil. This mud, which was almost liquid, ran down the slope, giving out a fetid gas. On the sides of each muddy stream we observed an oily deposit, with an iridescent surface ; and in the crater from which the mud and gas issued, each hole was surrounded by a ring of brown substance, resembling bitumen. Some portions of a greenish substance, gathered from the same craters, presented under the microscope an agglomeration of animalcule belonging to the genus clostrum ; but let us not encroach on the province of our scientific colleagues. In a few moments we counted seventeen similar apertures, through which the mud rose bubbling without noise, sending forth a number of small streams, which soon became dry. After examining these we proceeded on our journey, sometimes over the hills, sometimes along the shores of the liman, washed by a tide which is scarcely even brackish. At noon we reached, at last, the end of our journey, the lofty headland which we had fixed upon as the extreme limit of our long expedition–our pillars of Hercules, towards which we had striven with such ardour during nearly a hundred days of sometimes toilsome travelling, chequered with good and evil fortune. [236] From this point, beyond which we were not to proceed, we gazed with the more eagerness upon the admirable panorama before us, forming the juncture between Europe and Asia, as it was the last incident in our laborious pilgrimage.

To the east we beheld the Kouban, flowing through its rushy bed to unite itself with a sea which at that point is as yet scarcely deserving the name. Beyond the immense lake of the liman, we could distinguish the beautiful mountainous masses on the coast of Asia; Anapa, all white, bathing on the sea-shore; and the majestic amphitheatres of the Caucasian range, blending their dim and misty forms with the clouds. To the west was Boughaz, with its lazaretto, perched like a halcyon's nest, at the extremity of a sandy tongue of land. The north was bounded by a series of unsheltered plateaux. As though the sky had intended to favour this our last glance at the mountains, the waters, and the graceful lines of a prospect to which we were about to bid farewell for ever, it had appropriately shed its soft light over the most interesting features of the scene.

We were soon back in Boughaz, and we had not long to wait for our telègues. The Cossacks, our sprightly drivers, appeared in excellent spirits, and excited the horses by short cries and cheering expressions, sometimes tender, and sometimes of a more energetic character. [237] All, however, went well. On returning to Taman, we entertained the idea of taking advantage of the fine evening, to cross over to the other shore ; but an interesting subject of research arose, and caused us to forget the passing hours. Having been induced to follow in the steps of our naturalists towards the headland, whose form stands out to the south of the vast bay, we discovered there a deposit of those rich fossil bivalves which had been found in such abundance exactly opposite on the other side of the straits. This deposit was so rich, and the specimens so perfect, that even the profane could not help adding, with unskilful hand, to the riches of our collection ; and so absorbed had we been, that, on returning to our hostess, it was too late to embark.

On the 29th of September, the first glimpses of day showed us a sea agitated by a strong gale, and from the unfavourable appearance of the weather, we were apprehensive of being condemned to remain another day in this gloomy land. Fortunately, however, towards noon the weather held up, and we were enabled to resume our journey to Yeni Kaleh, where, on account of a calm, we did not arrive till very late. This time, instead of sailing round the point which advances beneath the waters, and divides the bay of Taman from the straits of Azoff, we approached so near that our sailors were enabled to get into the water, and push our boat along, [238] At Yain Kaleh we parted from our cautious and grateful mariners, and set off, not without some trouble, in the direction of Kertch ; for, in order to obtain horses, we were obliged to have recourse to private hiring. There is nothing like having endured a little hardship, to make us put up with all manner of quarters. Just escaped from our frightful lodging at Tainan, Kertch appeared to us a first-class city, fraught with every luxury. We had scarcely installed ourselves in the Hotel Bosphorus, than an invitation from Prince Kherkheoulidzeff sought us out in our retreat. and we hastened to join a family party, to which we were admitted by the worthy governor in a spirit of gracious kindness, in which the princess, a very young woman, of gentle and angelic appearance, fully participated.

We have already mentioned the ancient and har- monious name of Kertch, Panticapceum, the name it first bore when a Greek colony settled upon its site. The Milesians came there under the conduct of Aëtes, king of Colchis, 1230 years before our era. The etymology of the name Panticapaum might seem to be the words, Panti and Kï pos, signifying, in the Dorian dialect, everywhere and garden. Alas ! tell me the Greek for garden nowhere, and you will have named Kertch. We cannot tax our memory with having seen a single plantation of the most meagre description, much less a garden. Pan [239] ticapoeum having become the city of Bosphorus at the time of Mithridates and his Bosphoreans, long preserved this name, the etymology of which seems to us none the more reasonable for being common-place. However the case may be with regard to this Bosphorus, a strait in the vicinity of Panticapeeum, which gave its name to a kingdom and to its capital, Kertch, for a long time a prey to the revolutions which swept over these countries, was several times destroyed ; only in the present day does it seem to have sprung up anew from its ruins. This city contains, it is stated, three thousand inhabitants–a limited population, when compared with the space it occupies. The whole trade of the port is transacted in the quarantine, where all the cargoes proceeding to the sea of Azoff are concentrated. We have already expressed the opinion, shared by competent persons, that the favourable effect of the sanitary regulations at Kertch is one of. the causes tending to the decrease of the commerce of Taganrog. Although the entrance to Kertch is through a narrow and tortuous channel, the anchorage at the lazaretto offers a sufficient shelter to a crowd of vessels from the sea and the winds.

Trade, therefore, can draw considerable advantage from the exceptional position of this port; but up to the present day there is no indication of any very rapid development. The credit transactions in Kertch are of [240] considerable extent, but there is little circulation of money. If you buy of a trader, and ask him to change you a silver piece, he will often refuse to sell, rather than return change. It may be inferred from this, how high must be the rate of exchange. The retail shops of Kertch are in and about the high street, and are all well stocked. Goods manufactured at Moscow are especially sought after. With respect to colonial wares, they are imported by Genoese and Ragusan vessels, which, after performing quarantine, take in cargoes of grain in the sea of Azoff, or are laden beneath the walls of the lazaretto itself with wools, tallow and hides.

Kertch warehouses an immense quantity of salt, derived from the salt lakes in the neighbourhood of Perecop. An extensive depot of coal, imported from abroad for the supply of steamers, has been lately established. The trade in these two articles alone gives employment to a large body of custom-house officers. The fishery in the bay, which is very productive, gives rise to a considerable amount of small trading. The supply of provisions to the market is of the most various description as regards meat and vegetables, the latter being very fine, and continually suggesting the inquiry, whence do they come, and what gardens concealed in the midst of the barren steppe have produced them ?

The number of Jews in Kertch is considerable ; their [241] trade is chiefly carried on in small shops, which the stranger is sometimes delighted to find open on some religious festival, when all the other shops are closed The basis of the population is Russian ; but a good quantity of Tatars, several Italian merchants, and a number of Greek families are met with. Let us not forget either a number of Tsigan tribes, whose handsome mien and proud deportment exhibit less than elsewhere the degrading influence of misery. We have described one of their occupations ; all are not equally useful, and the police have frequently to interfere among these vagrant families.

On the day of our departure we experienced some trouble in obtaining post-horses. After despatching Michael with the baggage to Theodosia, where he was to wait for us, and consigning into the hands of a carrying agent the collections which had so materially increased during our studious sojourn, we proceeded in the direction of Arabat. A continuance of drizzling rain rendered our progress for the first few hours extremely laborious, the slipperiness of the road making it almost impossible to advance. To crown our misfortunes, about four o'clock in the afternoon, in the midst of the desert steppe, our robust Wallachian carriage, which had stood so many rough trials, broke down, past hope of recovery. Ry lashing it together, [242] however, by means of ropes, we succeeded in dragging it to the next post, which was the station of Arghin, that isolated post-house which we remarked on our previous passage. There we met with the number of télegues required by our caravans, and we were even promised (incredible promise) that our carriage should be brought back to Theodosia completely repaired. Distances are nothing in the steppe ; the cartwright's shop was ten versts off, and our carriage was conveyed thither with due precaution, and mended by the time agreed upon.

We proceeded in this way towards Arabat, along a road, desert even for this wilderness. On this side of the steppe we met no other living creatures than huge dromedaries, grazing here and there without tether.

Increasing our pace, we reached Arabat. The moon was up ; but even had it been completely dark, we could have detected the proximity of the town, from the fetid emanations filling the atmosphere. The floor of a wretched room in the post-house received our wearied limbs, while in an adjoining apartment the post-master, an old man with a venerable beard, slept, no better accommodated than ourselves, and evidently under the influence of deep potations. Next morning the rain pattered against the windows of the post-hut; and the master, sufficiently refreshed to pay attention to [243] his travellers, did not require too many entreaties to supply us with the horses we required for our excursion to the promontory of Arabat, which we desired to examine a second time, the plan of our journey, which would henceforward be more rapid, precluding our crossing it. This excursion was made with all possible expedition. A few observations of interest to the natural historian were collected on this curious sandy projection, lying between two seas, and of so low a level, that it seems as though a strong gust of wind would easily drive the waves of one over to the other.

Our worthy host, a practical philosopher in infancy, of whom seclusion had made a drunkard, had pushed his system of consolation so far, that he scarcely remembered what he had done the day before. By nine o'clock, the wretched man had already taken his full dose ; and every time we went to fetch him from the tavern, where, with the barometer at 86, he sat drinking bad brandy, we could never get anything from him but inarticulate sounds and salutations, accompanied by every kind of respectful gesture with which drunkenness would prompt him. We took patience, and visited a Turkish fort, the interior of which is in ruins, but the ditches and ramparts are still in good condition. We had more time than we required to explore throughout the ruins of a spacious mosque, and to take [244] an accurate plan of a bath, the cupola of which is still extant. A Lath in so remote a spot was a piece of luxury the more inexplicable, as it is impossible to conjecture whence the supply of water was derived. The branch conduits of baked clay still exist in the substance of the wall, but we could not discover amidst the ruins the main pipe supplying this fine and spacious bath, containing, besides the principal room, two compartments, to which the steam was also admitted. In the interior of the fort, overgrown with a quantity of tolerably fresh plants, we captured a good number of reptiles for our zoological collection. Hundreds of snakes, with brilliant coloured coats, attracted by the warm rays of the sun, were seen gliding between the stalks of the mallow and a species of fennel. The fortress of Arabat, taken by storm in 1768 by the troops of Prince Dolgorouki, consists of a polygon flanked by six sided works, having in some measure the appearance of bastions. The ruins of a postern gate, opening towards the sea of Azoff, are still visible; the principal entrance faces the south. On the left flank of this place of strength is a line of defences, extended to a sufficient distance to guard the passage as far as where the putrid sea begins to acquire a certain depth. Meanwhile, the night was approaching ; and, moreover, we were threatened with famine, for the [245] wretched village of Arabat could furnish no other refreshment to the traveller than a few withered water melons, and the detestable beverage of which our postmaster was then an interesting victim. We brought with us a few provisions from Kertch, principally water, but all was now exhausted; accordingly, we set out in sepa- rate parties, and it was with great difficulty that we obtained the horses and carriages necessary to convey us back. The last section of our party reached Theodosia at midnight, after crossing the steppe by moonlight, and suffering severely from the cold. Several times during this short journey they had heard the howlings of a pack of wolves. These voracious animals, on the approach of winter, quit their lairs, and, like predatory hordes, overrun the steppe for the purpose of attacking the oxen of the caravans. But the oxen, said our Tatar postillion, know how to defend themselves ; they are protected by good dogs, and the poor devils of wolves have no other larder than such scanty fragments as may happen to be washed on shore.

The transition from Arabat to Theodosia forms one of those contrasts which poetise travelling. Yesterday you were in a frightful region, that seemed accursed, and doomed to desolation; to-day you are in the prett. little Genoese-Tatar-Russian city of Theodosia, though no longer smiling, as but a little while since, with fresh [246] and handsome faces at every window. Winter had made its appearance. and all were drawn round the hearth. We were informed, however, that on the southern coast we should fall in with all the delights of a prolonged autumn, a peculiarity of this part of the Crimea which permits of the vintage being deferred until the beginning of October. We had already, on several occasions, heard of this remarkable difference between the climate of the steppe and that of the southern coast. Although the fact is easily accounted for by the relative position of the two regions, it was difficult to believe the exaggerated accounts we had received in both respects. The existence of a plantation of olive-trees at Aloupka, and the growth of pomegranate and Spanish broom on some portions of the southern coast, were little in accordance with the statements we had heard relative to the extreme coldness of the temperature. On the other hand, we had just felt the rigours of an early winter, in uncomfortable contradiction with the boasted mildness of the climate of the Peninsula. We therefore determined to refer to the experience and knowledge of M. de Steven. With a degree of good nature and graciousness, for which we here express our gratitude, M. de Steven soon supplied us with the following useful notes :

A series of observations on the mean temperature of the Crimea were made at the country residence of the [247] learned professor, near Synlpheropol, during twelve consecutive years (from the 1st of January, 1822, to the 1st of January, 1834), conducted by himself, and in his absence by a person of experience. The calculations were made by Colonel Markevitz, now directing the studies of the second corps of cadets at St. Petersburg. The elevation of the house above the level of the Black Sea is, according to the calculations of Professor Goebel, one hundred and thirty-three toises, two feet, French measure ; or two hundred and fifty-nine metres, eighty-seven centimetres. It is exposed to the easterly winds, but sheltered from those of the north. The observations were made at sun-rise, both in winter and summer ; with but few exceptions this period of the day has always presented the minimum, while the maximum has been observed from two to three in the afternoon, and the mean temperature towards ten at night.

The following table exhibits the mean temperature during this period of twelve years, for each month and for every year, that of the twenty-four hours being deduced from the maximum and minimum of each day : the observations were made according to the systems of Schouv and Ciminello.

N.B.—All the dates are those used in the Russian Empire, and denominated Old Style. They are, as is known, twelve days later than those used in other European countries.

[248]
MEAN TEMPERATURE, REAUMUR'S THERMOMETER OF 80°.
Sun-rise.
Minimum.
From
2 to 3, p.m.
At 10, p.m. Mean for
24 hours.
Difference
between
Max. and Min.
January - 1, 55 + 1, 86 - 1, 02 + 0 3, 41
February - 1, 20 + 3, 36 - 0, 06 - 4, 03 4, 56
March + 1, 76 + 7, 51 + 3, 14 + 4, 74 5, 75
April + 5, 25 + 12, 73 + 6, 97 + 9, 02 7, 48
May + 8, 69 + 17, 21 + 10, 67 + 13, 07 8, 52
June + 11, 71 + 20, 30 + 13, 72 + 16, 04 8, 59
July + 12, 52 + 21, 17 + 14, 69 + 16, 87 8, 65
August + 10, 33 + 19, 51 + 12, 92 + 14, 73 9, 18
September + 7, 60 + 14, 54 + 9, 09 + 11, 50 6, 94
October + 3, 94 + 8, 94 + 4, 99 + 6, 16 5, 00
November + 1, 38 + 5, 17 + 2, 02 + 2, 65 3, 79
December - 0, 70 + 2, 99 + 0, 37 + 0, 65 3, 69
Mean for the Year + 4, 98 + 11, 27 + 6, 30 + 8, 03 6, 99

The month of July is generally the warmest in the year ; but in 1828, 1830 and 1833, the month of June presented the highest temperature.

In like manner, January is commonly the coldest month ; but in the years 1822, 1825, 1826 and 1832, the coldest month was February.

With the exception of the winter of 1832, which was cold throughout Europe, the mean temperature of the year has varied but little. The year 1831, the coldest next, to that of 1832, presented only 0, 62 less than the mean of 8, 03 (10, 04 centigrade).

[249]
From the 1st of December to the
1st of March—Mean Temperature of Winter, + 0, 56
From the 1st of March to the
1st of June—Mean Temperature of Spring, + 8, 94
From the 1st of June to the
1st of September—Mean Temperature of Summer, + 15, 88
From the 1st of Sptember to
the 1st of December—Mean Temperature of Autumn, + 6, 77

This temperature is subject to much variation.

Mean Temperature. Maximum.Minimum.Difference.
Winter (1824) + 2, 70 - 1, 39 4,09
Spring (1828) + 9, 86 (1825)+ 7, 51 4,09
Summer (1827) + 17, 08 (1832)+ 13, 60 3, 48
Autumn (1825) + 8, 86 (1832)+ 4, 63 4, 23

The mean maximum of the year is + 26, 55 ; it has varied from + 23 (1831) to + 28, 05 (1852).

The minimum is — 14, 21 ; it has varied from — 10 (1824), to — 23 (1828).

The greatest heat is observed between the 20th of June and the 10th of August.

The greatest cold between the 6th of January and the 15th of February.

The average date of the latest frost is the 6th of April ; in the years 1828 and 1829 it was on the 18th of March, and in 1833 on the 29th of April.

The average date of the earliest frost is the 8th of October.

In 1829 it was on the 23rd of October, and in 1833 on the 25th of September.

[250] At Nikita, on the southern coast, the mean temperature of the years 1826, 1827 and 1830, was + 10, 04, and at Sympheropol + 8, 35, exhibiting a difference of 1, 69.

It is evident, therefore, from these calculations, the accuracy of which is unquestionable, how much even the best informed persons appear to exaggerate the variability of the climate of the Crimea, and how trifling a difference there exists in the mean temperature on either side of the Crimean chain.

The day had arrived for our departure from Theodosia. Our journey was now retrogressive, and every step we took would be a farewell to some familiar scene, Farewell, then, to Theodosia the fair Milesian, so fair that her founders called her the Gift of God; after this name, so replete with Greek poetry, this city received that of Ardanda, which signifies the Seven Gods. It was towards the 13th century that the Tatars gave it the name of Kaffa, the Infidel, at the time when the Genoese brought thither their religion and their industry. After the fall of the Genoese power in the 15th century, Kaffa soon rose to the zenith of its greatness, and even obtained from the Turks the appellation of Koutchouk Stemboei, the little Constantinople. And what city, at that time, better deserved so proud a distinction than the wealthy Kaffa? Within its vast walls, the [251] work of Christian hands, the Mussulman city contained a hundred thousand inhabitants ; Tatars, Greeks, Armenians, Karaïm Jews, and probably a few Genoese families, who had escaped the doom of exile. One hundred and seventy-one fountains dispensed a wholesome coolness over the soil, constantly exposed to the ardour of the sun. Fifty Christian churches, fifty-one mosques, three thousand six hundred houses, nine public baths, two large public squares, and four cemeteries, consecrated according to the rites of each religion : such were the principal features of this great city. Six or eight hundred vessels anchored during the year in the waters of its bay : the entire life of the Crimea was centred there. Such was Kaffa ; but iu the present day, Theodosia, or rather Feodocia according to the Russian language, scarcely preserves the memory of its former magnificence. All that has survived the ravages of civil war and foreign invasion we have described at the commencement of this chapter ; and it should be observed, that considering its impoverished and degraded condition in the last century, Feodocia is, in the present day, comparatively a progressing city.

Dr. Graperon, the studious antiquary, who has taken Theodosia under the protection of his science, has had the happy idea of making a plan of ancient Kaffa. His acquaintance with the extent and situation of the ruins has [252] enabled him to retrace the ancient boundaries of the city, with its fine ramparts, its numerous edifices, and now dried-up fountains. It is a creditable work, and one of undoubted interest to the archeologist.

Our line of route led us to Otouz, this being the only road from Theodosia to Sou-dagh which does not diverge too much from the sea-shore. After passing through the picturesque village of Koktebel, which we had already explored, we beheld the beautiful valley of Otouz unfolded before us, and once more rejoiced at the sight of the grand and picturesque mountains. Otouz, in the Tatar language, signifies thirty. This was the number of villages said to have once existed within the valley : one alone remains-half Tatar, half Russian, scattered over a vast space, and doubtless as large in itself as the thirty hamlets of former days. The sides of the valley of Otouz are covered with rich vineyards, and immediately above these fertile slopes rise the stately crests of the mountains. All this valley and its environs are celebrated for the natural curiosities they present : grottoes, cascades, rocks of fantastic shapes, all interesting objects to be visited by the traveller. We remained an entire day in this charming valley, at the invitation of an amiable Greek family, whom we had known in Theodosia, and who received us with cordial hospitality. The next day, on the 6-18th of October, we resumed, [253] to our great delight, our equestrian mode of travelling, decidedly the best to be adopted in this country.

Although the days, brightened by the mild but transient rays of an autumnal sun', were tolerably fine, the nights were already becoming cold. At Otouz, for the first time, we met with ice of some thickness. Proceeding from this beautiful valley to the village of Koz, we had to travel through a delightful path across the woods, now rising to the summit of lofty heights, and then sinking into the depths of narrow ravines, amidst the most enchanting spots, enveloped in silence and solitude. The autumnal tints of the foliage added to the charm of the landscape, and the southern coast seemed, during our excursion to the eastern steppes, to have clothed itself in a new dress, expressly that it might appear more beautiful in our eyes. Koz is only celebrated for its rich vineyards. The village itself is gloomy, burned up, and partly uninhabited during half the year. Koz is a wine press; when wine is not making, then nothing is going on.

Why should we not mention here one of the petty miseries of our journey (for what journey is without them) ? During the whole of this day's rather toilsome travelling we never broke our fast. Having started from Otouz before our kind hosts were up, we had reckoned upon Koz ; but at Koz we found a village itself half [254] famished_ A Tatar village called Toklouk stands not far from thence, with its pretty minaret surrounded by orchards ; but the orchards were stripped and the houses closed, every one being out working in the fields ; a fountain with icy water, alone represented that pious hospitality which the Tatars impose on themselves as a duty. Meanwhile, we passed over a tract of hilly ground, barren enough in appearance, stretching between the sea and the mountains ; immense vineyards lay spread out before us, but, fortunately for the repose of our conscience, the vintage was over in this part of the country. At length, towards evening, we descended into the valley of Sou-dagh, and before we had reached the village, which lies out at the very extremity of the rich vale, we were enabled to obtain a few bunches of grapes, which in some degree restored our strength.

The locality which is called Sou-dagh is, properly speaking, a small tract of country, over which are dis- seminated, here and there, a multitude of country seats, the head-quarters of numerous vine-growing establish- ments. The village, consisting of a pretty church, several houses, and a sort of khan, in which the dealers lodge at the time of the vintage, occupies the northern extremity of this spacious valley. From this point to the sea-shore there is a gentle inclination, favouring the current of the Soouq-son, in the Tatar language [255] " cold water." The waters of this cool streamlet irrigate the whole surrounding country, and subsequently flow into the sea at the base of the mountain, on which stand the stately ruins of the ancient Genoese settlement.

The translation of Sou-dagh, a picturesque name, composed, according to the custom of the people of this country, of two significant monosyllables, is Water- mountain, and conveys in two words the characteristics of the prospect presented to the eye. The name must unquestionably be of ancient date, as it was already known in the days of the Greek colonies. though under some variations of form, being sometimes called Soldaïa, and sometimes Sougdaia. Towards the ninth century, the prosperity of Sou-dagh was such, that the name of that city was applied to all the Greek possessions iii the Crimea, which were included under the common designation of Sogdaia. At a later period, under the Genoese, Sou-dagh was again raised to a high degree of power, and at the present day an immense promontory is covered with its ruined walls, still erect, the boundary of the city being marked out by a number of solid towers. At the foot of the mountain may be seen a miserable Tatar hamlet ; proceeding upwards, towards the demolished city, the traveller will meet with a Turkish fountain, elegantly sculptured, into which a figure of St. Michael, rudely designed, has been incrusted.

[256] The fortress was formerly surrounded by a ditch, which time has filled up, and exactly, as in the case of Balaklava, the ground on which the ancient citadel stood, forms an inconvenient declivity ; towards the lower part, however, near the walls, may be seen several large buildings : two dilapidated barracks, the ruins of ruins, having been constructed from the materials of former buildings, spacious cisterns and water conduits laid out with skill and intelligence, a mosque, and a few modern but deserted houses, constitute all that now remains of the wealthy Sou-dagh, long favoured by the situation of its port, the protection of its fortress, and the admirable fertility of the surrounding country. Let the reader picture to himself in those remote times this delightful valley, clothed with a vigorous vegetation, and large forests, beneath whose vaulted shade flowed a limpid river, and behold close to this spot, so simple and poetical in its beauty, an active and stirring city, with its port filled with vessels ! He will then have an idea of the valley of Sou-dagh, so long and widely renowned. In the present day all this breadth of colouring has made room for the more utilitarian beauties of an immense wine country, interspersed with fruitful orchards. It is especially in spring, we were told, that Sou-dagh should be seen, when the almond and peach trees cover with their rich blossoms the [257] smiling valley favoured of nature ! With each century comes a new dress, and a new form of poetry.

The gloomy shelter of a miserable room, a plentiful litter, distant trips to the environs, productive shooting excursions, interesting visits to the ruins, to the sulphurous springs of the vicinity, so renowned for certain cutaneous diseases, and to the schistous ravines which pass, in the opinion of the inhabitants, for coal mines ; such is a summary of our mode of life, and the manner in which our time was employed during our stay at Sou-dagh. We took leave of this beautiful country, resounding with the hammering of cask heads, and the rack of the wine press, and our numerous cavalcade directed its course towards the village of Koutlak, situated to the north of the valley, in a country of remarkable fertility. From Koutlak we descended again towards the coast, along an immense ravine filled with large stones, rolled along by the mountain torrents, and at night we arrived at Kapskhor.

This is a fine Tatar village, and lacks no room for its development. It is skilfully laid out in the form of a vast amphitheatre, the houses being ranged in rows one above the other, so that each row of terraces overlooks all those beneath it. A mosque, recently built, occupies one of the sides of the mountain. There we alighted, and were received with [258] the most refined and dignified grace by a moullah, just leaving the mosque, whose countenance was of the most charming character, presenting a perfect type of a study by Raphael. We were soon consigned to the care of the ombaclli, who, from the top of his terrace, convoked with loud shouts all those whose skill or presence were necessary to the hospitality he was preparing for us : it was the hour when each family was assembled for the evening meal. At this signal from the chief of the village the entire multitude issued forth, and in the twinkling of an eye covered every terrace, in order to learn the cause of this supreme summons. It was one of those extraordinary spectacles which remain for ever engraven on the memory. The lodging assigned to us was an extremely clean apartment, entirely hung with tapestry. The paper used in winter by the Tatars, instead of window panes, already appeared pasted across the bars of the narrow windows. A supper, quite patriarchal in its simplicity, but skilfully prepared and good naturedly offered, terminated the day's proceedings, and made us feel disposed for sleep.

On the 9th of October, we resumed our journey towards the coast. Our kind hosts of Kapskhor had appointed as our principal guide a holy personage, a hadji, whose white turban marked him as one who had [259] performed the pilgrimage to Mecca. Our departure was a little retarded, from philanthropic motives. A young Tatar had come the night before to inquire whether we had a doctor among us, and expressed extreme joy on finding Dr. Léveillé quite ready to remove a troublesome wen on his eyebrow, which threatened to invade his eyelid. An appointment was made for the next morning, but the young man, who appeared so resolute the day before, was not forthcoming. We did not quit the village, however, without a search for him, from which he no doubt congratulated himself on escaping.

The mountains we were journeying over, although very lofty, and from that circumstance imposing, are mean in shape, and impart no peculiar character to the landscape. Immense ravines and precipitous acclivities, presented themselves incessantly on our road throughout the morning When we had caught sight of an ancient tower in the distance, ascribed to the Roman period, and called by the Tatars, Tchoban-Kaleh, the Tower of the Shepherds, it was not long before we discovered the village of Ouskout, buried in the bosom of a deep valley, where we had some difficulty in obtaining horses. The worthy ombachi, who little anticipated at this season of the year so numerous a party of travellers, had allowed all the animals to roam at liberty in the direction of the mountains, and [260] it was a long and fatiguing task to collect from far around a sufficient number of steeds for our cavalcade. As evening drew on, the country at our feet assumed a more smiling aspect. After a long journey down hill, to reach the bottom of a narrow valley, in which we had to cross two brooks, we caught sight of Touak, a village agreeably situated near the sea, and overlooking a number of orchards filled with fine trees. While our horses were being saddled, we stretched ourselves on a soft carpet which the ombachi of the village had ordered to be laid down on a terrace, where some grapes and new wine were served us for supper. At the end of this frugal repast, our travelling cohort resumed its journey, and having soon left behind us Koutchouk-Ouzen and Kourou-Ouzen (Little Brook and Dry Brook), pretty villages with descriptive names, we were overtaken by the night just as we were leaving all beaten track, and were about to try the chances of skirting the irregular shore as far as Alouchta.

At the spot where the beaten path terminates, we had met two Tatar shepherds, with their faces turned to the setting sun, fervently engaged in their evening devotions, and prostrating themselves on a little carpet laid out before them. The way to Alouchta ? inquired we. Which is the way to Alouchta ? The pious shep- herds both together pointed to the sea shore, but we [261] required to be told a second time, ere we could be convinced that this was really the way. As soon, however, as we clearly understood what we had to look forward to, our cavalcade drew up in close order, and proceeded along the beach covered with rolling pebbles. Our guides, impeded by the frequent breaking down of the baggage, which was not very solidly built up, had considerably relaxed in speed, and a wide interval separated them from us. Meanwhile, it seemed a strange road that we were following, for we were entirely ignorant of the fact that this was the only portion of the coast which, from want of time, had not been included in the useful system of smooth and convenient roads, with which this beautiful garden of the south has been intersected under the administration of Count Woronzoff. Accordingly, we advanced as well as we could over the yielding surface, the effect of which was suddenly to extinguish the ardour of our horses. In a short time the darkness became absolute ; the wind rose, and the chafed and swollen sea washed the very feet of our steeds, while a slanting and icy rain lashed our faces. Our situation was now beginning to define itself clearly, as Raffet expressed it. The darkness was so impenetrable that not nne of us could see his horse's head, and in this way we advanced, as through the depths of a gulf, with no other guide than the sound [262] of the waves driving up the shingle. Every step presented some fresh obstacle : here a number of trees had been blown over across the path ; there lay an invisible quagmire, but which the instinct of our horses never failed to discover. These intelligent animals thus scrambled blindly, now over rocks toppled down towards the sea, now along narrow paths over the downs, incessantly giving way beneath them. Perishing with cold, soaked with rain, and encountering at least twenty falls, the danger of which we were, owing to the darkness, fortunately prevented from seeing, we took three long and tedious hours to perform the distance of a few versts, which separated us from Alouchta. At length a light appeared as a cheering signal, through the deep gloom of night. Our horses feeling themselves on firmer ground, resumed their accustomed steadiness and confidence. We crossed a small stream which we were unable to see, and drew up beneath the spacious galleries of a handsome dwelling in the Turkish style : this was the post-house of Alouchta. An hour after, all our troubles were forgotten. Two of our companions, however, wishing to make sure of our return by the steamboat, the next departure of which would be the last, though at what precise date it would take place we knew not, prudently made up their minds, after an hour's halt at midnight, to set off in advance of the [263] rest of our caravan, and proceed to Yalta : nor was there any difficulty in carrying out this design, for we were at the post-house, and a mere signal to that effect would suffice. A télégue was soon got ready, and our travellers, seated side by side in the narrow car, set off amidst clouds of snow, while we, like perfect Sybarites, returned in doors to stretch ourselves, wrapped in large cloaks, round a blazing stove. Sleep had descended upon the weary travellers, while still the little bell of the télègue whirling away with our two companions, could be heard in the neighbouring mountains.

The next morning, at eight o'clock, what should awaken our party of sleepers but the same tinkling sound, and evidently from the same little bell. Great was our surprise, and all were eager to learn what had happened : fortunately nothing serious. Our two companions, in the confusion of departure, had simply forgotten to tell the postillion which road to take. As soon as they were installed in the light car, they had pronounced the usual expression, pacholl ! ` drive on !' and .the postillion had driven on. But in what direction ? Alas ! due north, towards Tchadir-Dagh and Sympheropol ; whereas, the road our adventurous travellers should have taken was southward, and towards the sea. The snow drifted so violently, and the wind was so loud, that our unfortunate friends proceeded [264] thus, without knowing whither, like the leaf driven by the storm. At last they came to a post-station, Taochan-Bazar, the hare market, which stands on the road-side to the east of Tchadir-Dagh, and resembles one of those fantastic structures seen in English gardens. Here our explorers awoke, and jointly possessing just sufficient acquaintance with the Russian language to construct a phrase of three words, inquired of the postmaster, " How many versts to Yalta ?" " Fifty-four," replied the official. " Fifty-four? Impossible 1 the man must certainly be asleep." Calling for pen and ink, they made the post-master write down the number. Everything was now explained, to the vexation and astonishment of our comrades, who immediately returned, like white phantoms, from their disastrous adventure.

The road leading to Yalta we found almost totally unprovided with horses, the greater part being bespoken for the government service. In order to reach the general rendezvous, we were obliged to have recourse to any means that presented themselves, and we proceeded along this splendid road, broken up into separate parties, and at various intervals from each other, some on horseback, and some in carriages, in the best way we could.

We have elsewhere described the picturesque situation of Alouchta. This little town stands at the lower end [265] of a gigantic ravine, and seems posted there like a sentinel, to guard over this enormous defile. Alouchta and Sou-dagh are the only two points on the coast where the first series of the Tauric range is interrupted. It would seem as though the second series of mountains, which completes the rampart, were placed there for the sole purpose of protecting the coast against the disastrous effects of the north wind. At Alouchta, the protecting mountain is no other than the majestic Tchadir-Dagh. The town of Alouchta, thanks to the stratagetic advantages of its position, has acquired some historical renown. In the fifth century, when Rome ruled over these regions, and protected them against the barbarians, the Emperor Justinian caused a fort to be built at the entrance of the valley of Alouchta ; this fort was called Phrourion. Three lofty towers, forming part of this citadel, are still left standing among the huts of the Tatars. Subsequently to this remote period, Alouchta, whose Sclavonic name is said to be an endearing diminutive of the beautiful name of Helene, the most popular in Greece, became a great, and even an episcopal city. In the present day it has lost somewhat of its importance, but still remains justly proud of its beautiful situation, and its two-fold valley covered with gardens and vineyards, and watered by two streams, whereof the Korbekoïou is the most considerable. Its [266] official importance consists simply in its being a posttown, both as regards letters and post-horses, and a principal customs station. A handsome hotel, built in the Asiatic style, a mosque quite recently erected, and several shops, complete the architectural statistics of the place, which cannot fail greatly increasing in importance, as soon as all the roads intended to centre there are completed.

Moreover, the introduction of the vine, that fortunate speculation for the southern Crimea, has already made so much progress, that the deciatine of land has risen within the last ten years from 50 roubles to the enormous rate of 800, and even at this price there is no lack of purchasers.

But return we towards Yalta. If you would admire a series of beautiful landscapes, and contemplate nature by turns, in all her majestic wildness, and in her most seductive details, travel along this pretty road, which is like a ride in some fine park, skilfully laid out, so as to embrace a variety of picturesque effects, truly enchanting. But here, as with the road from Yalta to Aloupka, we will not attempt to describe, and will simply confine ourselves to an enumeration of the places through which we passed.

The deplorable weather which tracked us through this teeming labyrinth of rocks and forests could not prevent, [267] however, our descrying Bouyouk-Lampat, the Great Lampat, a faded relic of ancient Lampas, which stood by the sea's edge in the time of the Greek colonies, and attracted beneath its walls, well known to the merchant, vessels which it could but ill shelter against the storm. A little further on we beheld Parthenites. This ancient name is now employed to designate a fertile wine estate and a rich village, whose inhabitants successfully cultivate flax, and grow the best tobacco in the whole Crimea, so celebrated in this respect. Along the whole of this coast may be observed the traces of some great convulsion of the earth's crust. Leaving Parthenites behind, you advance amidst scenery of a mysterious character, and are now far from the sea, for Aiou-Dagh, the Bear Mountain, rises like an immense flattened cone, while its base is plunged in the sea. Between this rock and the Taurie mountains lies a sheltered valley; and how beautiful is the road along the slopes of this secondary range ! The traveller will there be reminded of Switzerland. Nothing is wanting to complete the resemblance : rocks, mills, bridges of daring architecture, and turbulent cascades. Like all mountain passes, these roads have their legends and poetical traditions. If you listen to the post-masters, the Tatar drivers, or even the feld-jagers themselves, the armed couriers of the government, it will be your fault if you [268] are not persuaded that some unknown brigand, some Tatar Schubry, is sometimes encountered amidst these lonely ambuscades, and that he buries the plunder resulting from his mysterious expeditions on the summit of Aiou-Dagh. These traditions, however, more poetical than terrible, do not interfere with the perfect safety of the road, which may be travelled over without fear night and day.

Another happily situated spot is the estate of Artek, for which a former proprietor, as romantic as he was fond of Greek, invented the name of Kardiatricon, or cure for the heart ; a name which seems fresh plucked from the Garden of Greek Roots of the Rev. Father Lancelot. Next comes Oursouf, another of Justinian's forts, which, in the time of the Sclavonian invasion, was called Gorzabita, the shattered mountain. Oursouf has, in its turn, belonged to the Genoese. A mass of ruins, dating from the period of the Genoese occupation, and built, perhaps, on Roman foundations, commands this little town, which rises in the form of an amphitheatre on the banks of a streamlet. Passing this spot, you leave Aï-Danil on your left, a wine estate, under the protection of St. Daniel. Similar names are frequent in this part of the coast. Cape Aï-Todor is dedicated to St. Theodore. Aï-Petri, the rock which overhangs Aloupka like an embattled tower, Ai-Vassilli, the large black mountain [269] towards which we were now journeying, are so many instances in which the ancient nomenclature of the Lower Empire has been preserved. The word agios (holy) has been corrupted into Aï. Thus does the elliptical character of the oriental languages disfigure the names which it appropriates.

Within a short distance of Aï-Danil appears Nikita, a fine village, overshadowed by walnut trees. We need scarcely state, that living springs of fresh water, in which the Crimea is so rich, abundantly irrigate these fertile ravines. Below Nikita, between that village and the sea, stretches the celebrated botanical garden belonging to the crown, established in 1812. This valuable garden contains an immense collection of plants, cultivated with a degree of care which the beauty of the climate and the vigour of the soil have rendered effective beyond all hope. To the verdant temple of science a sanctuary was required ; to this end a simple edifice, supported on pillars, has been erected, in a position commanding the most attractive prospects, and from a pedestal within it a bust of Linnaeus, the learned and ingenious inventor of botany, extends its protection over the whole of this learnedly classified vegetation. So short a visit as ours, and one so crossed by the bad weather, was little fitted to satisfy our botanical zeal. Accordingly, the following day Dr. Léveillé returned to the garden, to spend an [270] entire day, wrapped in that happy state of scientific contemplation, of which only the initiated can appreciate the delights.

As Yalta is approached, the steep sides of the mountains appear clothed with a vegetation similar to that which spreads over the vast area of Stille-Bogas. Our readers may, perhaps, remember that we remarked at starting the beauty of these pines and twisted junipers. We were proceeding at a gallop along the road leading to Yalta, when, close to Massandra, a fine estate belonging to Count Woronzoff, we descried a nuniber of men on horseback, wrapped in their bourkas. These are capital Circassian cloaks, perfectly imperméables, as they say in Paris. The leader of this cavalcade was no other than Count Woronzoff himself. On seeing us, the features of the noble Count betrayed an expression of serious displeasure, and lie severely took to task the postillion driving the first télégue of our caravan ; and, indeed, the man was greatly to blame. In the face of the most precise regulations to the contrary, he had harnessed three horses to his fragile vehicle, when, from the dangerous nature of the road, which is hedged with precipices, only two are allowed. Let us add, that this imprudent driver, a mutilated old soldier, had but one arm to guide three fiery horses, galloping all the way, and rushing round the windings of the road with terrific rapidity. [271] The reprimand was accordingly severe ; and we, who were ignorant of the regulations and of the fault committed, looked on in some amazement : as to the culprit, he knew perfectly well the punishment that awaited him. When all was over, the governor-general laid aside his severe looks, and appeared as full as ever of kindness and interest towards his proteges, who, thanks to him, had accomplished, with unequalled success, their long excursion, so rife with new emotions and fresh sources of interest. This rencontre, however, under such untoward circumstances, caused us some distress. We called to mind the expression of an inhabitant of the Crimea, of whom we inquired how it was, that with so kind a heart, and such paternal and engaging manners, Count Woronzoff enforced such rigid respect of his authority. " Gentlemen," was the answer, " in the same degree as the general is kind and affable on all ordinary occasions, is he strict when duty is in question ; ` he is a steel blade in a velvet scabbard.' " What could we add to this eulogium? and yet, two (lays afterwards, the noble Count's hospitable kindness towards us extended so far, as to pardon the old postillion, and remit the fine he had incurred.

It is impossible to describe how softly the first words of Signor Bartolucci fell on our ears. " Slate benvenuti, signori!" In this good hostelry at Yalta, where all [272] are so attentive, and hospitable services are rendered with such ready good nature as to make one forget the tariff, we found all that could be desired by travellers wet, weary, and covered with a thick crust of mud. On alighting at the cittáâ di Odessa, we exactly resembled those rough shaped clay models on which the sculptor's fancy has not yet impressed any definite form.

The next day all the neighbouring mountains were covered with snow ; it was a magnificent spectacle, but of short duration, for the sun soon converted all this snow into torrents.

Before the departure of the Peter the Great, we had but one duty to fulfil, and one visit to pay. Both were enjoined us by a proper feeling .of gratitude, and we proceeded to Aloupka to acquit ourselves of the obligation. Since our last visit the palace of Aloupka had been completed, and it now appeared in all its majesty from the top of a broad terrace commanding the magnificent scenery around. We have already described the situation of this royal residence upon which Aï-Petri, a lightning- jagged rock, frowns from a height of a thousand feet. The palace, or rather to speak with- the noble modesty of its masters, the mansion of Aloupka, stands in the midst of thick masses of foliage, and stands out against the grey back-ground of the mountain. The material of [273] which it is built is a rich green granite, the grünstein of German mineralogists. The form of the building is a massive square, and its style a skilful combination of the Byzantine and Saracen architecture, except that, by a privilege peculiar to Aloupka, the blocks of granite were procured at so short a distance that they have been left in their original large dimensions. The structure of the house, accordingly, is like that of a Roman monument : a succession of gigantic layers of stone. With such materials the architect has been enabled to introduce the most delicate sculptured ornaments, carved in a solid block from these large stones. The balustrades of the palace, its elegant chimneys, disguised in ornamental forms, and all the delicate tracery carved out of the solid granite, will consequently endure as long as the neighbouring peaks from which their material has been hewn.

We have scarcely more than alluded to the gardens of Aloupka, and yet where shall we find any more deserving an elaborate description ? Nothing is wanting in this spot, favoured by every natural resource, to constitute an unrivalled garden ; grottoes, cascades, limpid basins, yawning craters, wild retreats. Nor has nature required more than the slightest assistance from the hand of man. All that was necessary, was to lay out a path, adroitly winding along the slopes, beside [274] the waters, by the edge of the precipices, and leading the visitor unconsciously to every spot on the grounds. The boundary of this portion of the gardens, is formed by the solid sides of Ai-Petri; and it would be difficult, through all these ravines, to reach the base of this formidable mountain in less than two hours. Returning towards the Count's residence, a Tatar village is encountered, concealed in a hollow, and overshadowed by a thick forest. The presence of this village, thus shrouded from view, is only betrayed by its glittering minaret rising above the mass of foliage, from whose summit the calls of the Muslem are daily heard and endured with all patience at the principal residence. On the slope descending towards the sea, are exhibited all the artificial beauties of an English garden, with its capriciously winding paths, and its expanse of turf, in the midst of which is heard the murmur of a hidden rivulet. Here stands a tower, there a guard-house, for the Arnaouts, higher up, a conservatory, and a hostelry besides, the design of which, in harmony with the surrounding scenery, is in the Italian style. Immediately at the foot of the mountain a little harbour, protected by rocks, affords a shelter to fishing and pleasure boats. But this is only a frigid and incomplete sketch of this admirable garden. What more shall we say of this magnificent abode ? or how describe the scene of our [275] farewell, which left us so filled with emotion and gratitude. To have heard the Count Woronzoff at this last interview, it would seem we had no thanks to return. We took leave of this nobleman, bearing away with us a promise most dearly prized by us, viz., that of speedy advancement for our devoted companion and faithful guide, Michael.

On Saturday, October 28th, the Peter the Great received us on board for the last time, together with our collections, our scientific acquisitions, and our notes, filled with such sincere expressions of admiration. Michael, who was as attached to us as if we were his oldest friends, pressed us all in his arms with tears, which the old Arnaout vainly endeavoured to repress. The next day, after a splendid passage, we arrived at Odessa.

Local Women with Water Jugs

[276]

[Page 276 is a Blank Page.]




Text Archive Home | Book Details | Table of Contents