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PARTHIA.

SUSIANA.

dotus, but he enumerates the Arii with others, as the northern districts. That portion of the tableconstituting the sixteenth satrapy into which land which lies southward is less mountainous, Darius divided the Persian empire. See page 3. and contains several salt lakes. For the most

part, this province, though containing many well

cultivated districts, is nearly a desert, especially It is difficult to define the boundaries of towards the north. Near the boundary line of Parthia proper, as they differed at various times. Khusistan is an extensive and highly-cultivated In the days of Strabo, however, it extended plain. Ainsworth says of the plain of Shiraz, on the west as far as Rhagæ and the Tapuri, that it is chiefly formed of silt and mud, deposited to the Caspian passes, and included the districts by waters of inundation. of Komisene (Kumis) and Choarene (Khuar.) According to Pliny, it was bounded on the east by the Arii, on the south by the Carmanii

This province was bounded on the north by and Ariani, on the west by the Pratitæ Medi, Assyria, on the west by Chaldea, on the east by and on the north by the Hyrcanii

. In this latter Persia, and on the south by the Persian Gulf. statement Ptolemy agrees. But the original Thus defined, Susiana nearly corresponds with Parthia, as described by Herodotus, was much the modern Khuzistan, which comprehends the less than that described by Pliny and Ptolemy. southern part of the mountains of Kurdistan, It contained, indeed, nothing more than the and that part of the plain of the Tigris belonging mountainous tract that lay south of Chorasmia to Persia, and which is, therefore, naturally and Margiana, east of Hyrcania, and north of divided into two portions. The plain, which is the districts of Meschid and Naisabour. After- | in the possession of the wandering Arab, conwards it included the district of Comisene, tains good pasturage in the northern and western mentioned by Ptolemy, in which district Heca- districts, on which the Bedouin feeds his cattle. tompylos, its capital, was built, and which is The southern and eastern portion of the district supposed to be the modern Damghan. Nasr is a sandy desert, occasionally intersected by oddin-al-Tossi, and other Persian writers as extensive morasses, and only cultivated in some cited by Golius in his notes on Al-Fargan, state, places on the banks of the rivers, where rice, that this is a vast plain encompassed by moun- wheat, and barley are raised. There are also tains, and watered by a multitude of brooks of some plantations of date trees. The mountainous clear salubrious water, which issue from these part of the country contains several plains and mountains. These streams were called the waters

extensive valleys, among which the valley of of Khosru, because that monarch caused them Ram Hormuz, which is forty miles long, and to be conveyed by aqueducts into the city, and from six to eight miles in breadth, is distinguished would drink no other water in any part of his for its fertility and picturesque beauty. All empire. In the orchards and gardens of Dam- these valleys and plains are fertile, but they are ghan apples are produced, which, from their only partially cultivated. Between the higher beauty, size, fragrance, and taste, were placed on

ranges of the mountains and the level plain there the tables of the Parthian sovereigns.

is a hilly tract several miles wide, which contains It is supposed by some writers that the ancient the most fertile soil in the province; only the Parthia corresponds to the modern Irak Ajemi. borders of the river, however, are under cultiBut this is erroneous. Irak Ajemi corresponds vation. The high mountain ranges in the eastern to the ancient Media Magna, and is at present the part of Khuzistan are in the possession of Lurish most western province of the Persian empire, tribes, which cultivate the ground very extenAderbigan and Persian Armenia excepted. It sively, growing large quantities of tobacco. is a larger province than the ancient Parthia, occupying the middle space between the Caspian There were two other provinces of ancient Sea and the Persian Gulf. Orosius says that the Persia, namely, Curdistan and Schirwan ; but as Media of Scripture was that country generally the former corresponds to the ancient Assyria, called Parthia.

and the latter to Media, the reader is referred to

those histories for their geographical details. This province, which is the modern Fars or Farsistan, comprehends almost one half of the Dushtistan, or “stony district,” a low, hot, sandy There is no country more mountainous than strip extending along the shores of the Persian that of Persia. From the one end of it to the Gulf, the northern portion of the mountain other, these stupendous monuments of the omregion of Faristan and Kerman, and the billy nipotence of Jehovah point their summits toward plain which extends north-eastward to the lake the skies. Some of these have passed under of Bakhtegan and the great desert. According to notice in the description of the several proPtolemy, it was anciently bounded on the north vinces; for the rest we refer the reader to by Media, on the west by Susiana, and on the the map, whereon they are distinctly delineated. south by the Persian Gulf, now called Phars. It will be sufficient to state here, that many The mountain ranges, which separate the table of them are situated on the frontiers, and serve land of Iran from the Persian Gulf, are little as natural ramparts to this vast region, and that more than thirty or forty miles wide, but they it is very probable they may contribute in the are exceedingly steep towards the sea. Between interior to make the country wholesome, by Kazerun and Shiraz, the Kotuls Dokhter and sheltering the valleys under them from excesPirazun are to be traversed ; for though Kazerun sive heat. At the same time, they are far from is situated on this table-land, several ridges of being advantageous; for many of them yield considerable elevation intervene, especially in neither springs of water nor metals, and but a

PERSIS.

MOUNTAINS.

66

few are shaded with trees. Besides, they make , idea of the great altitude of Persia. Pottinger travelling a most laborious and difficult task. says that it is here 8000 feet, but there are other This may be seen by the following passage from geographers who think his estimate too low, and Pottinger's Journal, which refers to a branch of add 2000 more, making it 10,000 feet above the the Brahooick mountains. Being unprovided level of the sea. Nor does this appear to be with a barometer,” he says, “or other instrument exaggeration, for 500 feet of descent, at least, calculated to mark the perpendicular height of should be allowed for each of the six passes, and Kelat, as the most elevated spot of the Brahooick that number is by far too low an estimate for the mountains, it is only by a comparison of facts level of the desert. that I am prepared to offer my sentiments on this Another passage from Pottinger's Journal head. Although the obliquity be not visible in offers itself as still more illustrative of the mounthe immediate vicinity of that capital, yet to the tainous features of Persia. “ After quitting southward we found a very marked one in places Gurruck,” says he, seven miles north-west of amounting to steep defiles and hills for a day's Kelat, our road lay through a mountainous and journey at a time, (after ascending the Kohunwat, barren country, and we ascended two lukhs, or or southern pass from Luz to Kelat, passing by defiles, one of them particularly hazardous, the Khosdar and Soheraub,) until we reached Rodinjo, rugged path not exceeding two feet wide, and, twenty-five miles south of Kelat. Hence to on the left, an abyss at least a quarter of a mile Gurruck, seven miles north of Kelat, the slope deep. Next day, we passed a miserable night is undistinguishable. But in travelling from from the cold, which was so intense, that, unproGurruck to Nooshky north-west, we crossed six vided as we were with warm clothing or beds, it lofty lukhs, or passes, whose descent to the north- was impossible to sleep; and we were unable ward was invariably double, and, on one or two to make the least attempt to move, until nine occasions, fourfold the ascent on the southern o'clock, when the sunbeams began to operate, face. The accumulated differences of these and, literally speaking, renovated us. We then alone would be equal to a very great declension; mounted, and by five o'clock had proceeded and yet after we had got to the bottom of them, thirty-one miles, the intermediate country and came in sight of the great sandy desert, we being, if possible, more bleak and barren than found ourselves prodigiously elevated above its that we had passed yesterday, and the path surface, and a seventh lukh, or pass, remained to equally winding. We had several lukhs, or be descended, the declivity of which was appa- passes, to surmount, the last of which I conceive rently double to that of all the others. Even worthy of a minute detail, as it would seem, then we were on an elevated plain, (when arrived from its situation, on the edge of the desert, to at the foot of this last pass,) the waters of which have been intended by nature as an insurmountwhen augmented by the rains or melted snows able barrier to these elevated regions, and is, amongst the neighbouring mountains, escape to- beyond all comparison, the most difficult defile I wards the sea by various outlets in the province have ever seen in any country. It is separated of Mekran (the ancient Gedrosia) with exces- on the south-east side from Kelat, or from the sive velocity. The temperature of Kelat, also, other mountains, by a deep and narrow ravine, serves to prove its amazing elevation. That the sides of which are solid black rock, and city, and the neighbouring district, though nearly perpendicular. Emerging from this part scarcely more than five degrees and a half re- by a rugged path, we ascended the south-west moved from the summer solstice, or the torrid face of the pass, from the top of which the desert

are subjected to a most rigorous winter, burst upon our view, extending as far as the eye and snow lies, even in the vales, from the end of could reach, with the resemblance of a smooth November till the beginning of February. Snow ocean, from the reflection of the sun on the sand. has been known to fall fifteen days successively The emotions of my fellow-traveller and myself in the month of March at this place. Rice, and were, at this instant, of the most enviable nature. certain other vegetable productions that require On descending the north-western side of the warmth of climate, will not thrive here; and lukh, which cost us nearly five hours, it being wheat and barley do not ripen so soon as in the eleven miles long, and extremely steep, we enBritish isles. From a philosophical estimation tered the bed of a river between the mountains, of all these concurrent particulars, it is inferible and on a level with their bases, which led us out that the extreme altitude of the Brahooick into the desert by innumerable mazes. The last mountains is not inferior to that of some ranges half mile of our route was through the bed of the esteemed the highest in Europe. Recent dis- river Kyser, which, though deep and rapid during. coveries teach us to look to Asia as the seat of the rains, is often quite dry in the hot months of the most sublime and stupendous piles on the face May, June, and July. At this time, when we of the globe. Judging from the eye of the lukh, crossed it, it was from two to three feet deep, and or pass, nearest the sandy desert, and comparing six or seven yards across. The only shrubs we its apparent altitude, length, and steepness, with saw to-day were some scraggy bushes of the Farsome of the ghauts, or passes of India, of whose nesian mimosa, here called the babool tree, and ascertained height I am apprised, I should pro- in the river great quantities of tamarisk. One nounce its height to be 5000 feet above the sandy of the mountains which we crossed was literally desert. If we add to this one half for the other studded with bulbous roots, similar to those of six passes between that spot and the city of tulips, that were beginning to bud, whose fraKelat, and grant the desert, as the base of the grance, as I was assured, would, in another whole, to be elevated of itself 500 feet above the month, be perceptible to a great distance. The level of the sea, it will produce an aggregate of grass called by the natives kusheput, or desert 8000 feet." From this the reader will gather an grass, also abounds here, and is collected by the

zone,

RIVERS.

water.

Brahooes, as winter food for their cattle. It grows | purposes of irrigation. Besides this river, the in bunches, or tufts, with thick coarse stalks, Aji and the Jaghatu demand a passing notice. leaves long and serrated, and is very sweet and These rivers, each running about one hundred nutritious. The camel-thorn, called by the Per- miles, fall into the lake of Urumiyeh. Both of siaps khare shootoor, is also to be seen here, but them are extensively used in the irrigation of the not so plentifully as in the lower tracts.”

valleys through which they flow, and also the Ainsworth, speaking of the general geological plain of Urumiyeh. There are many rivers features of the rocks in Persia, says: "The most which drain the mountains of Kurdistan, and its remarkable feature in the rocks of Kurdistan is, numerous valleys. Three of these, the Diayalah, the invariable compactness and hard texture of which joins the Tigris below Bagdad, the Kerkthe limestone rocks; but this only obtains in the hah, which falls into the Shat-el-Arab, and the mountain districts ; for, as the indurated lime- Karoon or Kuran, flowing into the same, run stone of Rum-Kalah, on Euphrates, becomes a between two and four hundred miles. “The soft chalk, with many fossils, so the limestone of rivers,” says Ainsworth, “which may be conthe westerly ranges of the Persian Apennines sidered as forming the hydrographical basin of becomes, on the plain of Musul, soft, pliable, and Khusistan are, the Kerah, the Ab-i-zal, the redolent with the shells of Trachelopodous Mol- Kuran, the Jerahi, and the Indigan. These lusca, and Menomyairous, and Dimyairus Conch- rivers, however, are, like most of the rivers of ifera.”

Persia, insignificant when compared with the
Tigris, or Euphrates. They were but as pools

of water, thinly scattered over the landscape.” Persia, it has been said, is subject to two To remedy this defect, as necessity is the great inconveniences, which more than coun- mother of invention, extraordinary efforts were terbalance the excellence of its climate, and the made in ancient times to irrigate the lands by fertility of its soil; namely, the want of trees and artificial means. Wheels were so constructed as

There is not a navigable river in the to draw up the water from such streams as lay wide range of country between the Tigris and nearest, and conveyed it over the fields : and an the Indus, and, in many parts, even a well is a ingenious contrivance was formed of connecting rare and valuable possession. The table-land of successive wells by subterranean conduits, called Iran, with the mountain ranges which surround khanats in Persia, and cauraizees in Affghanisit on the north and south, is very sparingly tan. Polybius says of such, as constructed in watered. The southern mountain ranges are too Media : “ There are rivulets and springs underbare and low to attract sufficient moisture to form ground ; but no one except those that know the perennial streams, except in a few places. The country can find them.” But the frequent revonorthern mountains give rise to a great number lutions to which Persia has been subjected, have of water courses; but as soon as they enter the from time to time demolished these useful con. plain, the small volume of water which they trivances; and these water courses, of which pour down is absorbed in irrigation, and only a there were not less than 15,000 in the inner disfew streams reach the desert, where they are trict of Nishapoor, are now in a state of compaquickly lost in the dry and thirsty soil. It is rative neglect. Zoroaster's precepts to plant only in the table-land of Azerbigan, and in the “useful trees,” and to “convey water to the dry mountains of Kurdistan, that there is a good lands,” have long been unheeded, though he ansupply of water. The rivers of Ghilan and Ma- nexed salvation to the pursuit. “ He,” says this zanderan are very limited in their courses. The founder of the Magian faith, “who sows the most considerable river in Azerbigan is the Sefi ground with care and diligence acquires a greater Rud, or White River, which is also known by stock of religious merit than he could gain by the Turkish name of Kizil Ozien. This river repeating ten thousand prayers." This it was rises within the mountains of Kurdistan, south of that inspired the ancient Persians, under the 36° n. lat., and traverses the most mountainous Sassanian dynasty, to perform these great works, district of Azerbigan ; running a circuitous the result of which was a flourishing state of course, first east-north-east for about one hundred agriculture, and great national prosperity, as remiles, and then about the same distance north- corded by Curtius, Ammianus Marcellinus, and ward. When near 37°30' n. lat., it breaks through other ancient writers. But the Mohammedan the western chain of the mountains of Massula, faith, under which the Persians now live, inculand turns to the south-east for about eighty cates far different principles to these. Under its miles, draining the valley between the two ranges withering influence, the Persians, like other Moof the Massula mountains. At the western ex- hammedans, are satisfied with what good things tremity of the Elburz range, it is joined by the they find, and care not to labour for posterity. river Shahrud, which drains the valleys in the They look upon life, it has been said, as a great western portion of the Elburz mountains, and road, wherein men ought to be contented with flows onward about one hundred miles. After such things as fall in their way, Reposing in its junction with this river, the Kizil Ozien flows carnal ease, they forget the duties of life: and about thirty miles in the narrow valley separating hence it is, that the tourishing state of agriculthe Elburz mountains from the Massula ranges ture which once existed in Persia is nowhere to on the east, and enters the plain of Ghilan, be traced at the present day; so much depends, through which it passes to the Caspian sea. On even in temporal matters, upon the principles of the table-land of Azerbigan, the bed of the Kizil | the religion a nation professes. Chardin thinks, Ozien is generally many hundred feet, and some- that if the Turks were to inhabit this country, it times a thousand feet below the adjacent country: would soon be more impoverished than it is ; hence its streams can nowhere be used for the whereas, if the Armenians or Parsees were to

rees.

become its masters, it would be restored to its extreme breadth. The water, in the deepest ancient fertility.

part, is four fathoms, but the average depth is The manner in which these subterraneous only two fathoms. The shores of this lake water courses were constructed, may be dis- shelve so gradually, that this depth is rarely atcerned in the following account which Elphin- tained within two miles of the land. The water stone gives of those in Affghanistan, which are is much salter than that of the ocean, and its precisely the same as in Persia : “ The next con- specific gravity is such, that a vessel of 100 tons trivance for obtaining water," he says, “ is the burden is said not to draw more than from three sort of conduit which is called a cauraiz, or cah- to four feet. A gale of wind, moreover, raises

It is known by the same name in Persia, the waves only a few feet, and they subside but is there most frequently called a kaunat, or into a calm as soon as the storm has passed. khanat. It is thus made:- The spot where the This lake receives many streams, but it has no water is to issue must be always at the foot of a outlet. slope extending to a hill, and the ground must be Besides the lake of Urumiyeh, there is another examined, to ascertain whether there are springs, of great note, namely, that of Bakhtegan. By and in what direction they lie. When the spot some geographers, the lake of Bakhtegan is conis fixed, a very shallow well is sunk, and another founded with the salt lake of Shiraz, whereas the of greater depth is made at some distance up the western extremity of the Bakhtegan lake is full slope. A succession of wells is made in this thirty-six miles north-east of the south-east exmanner, and connected by a subterraneous pas- tremity of that of Shiraz. The lake of Bakhtesage from well to well. The wells increase in gan is the reservoir of all the streams of Hollow depth as the ground ascends, but are so managed, Persia, or those that irrigate the vales of Morthat the passage which connects them, has a de- gaub, Istaker, and Kurbal. At the present day, clivity towards the plain. Many springs are it is generally called Deria Niriz, or Lake of discovered during this process, but the workman Niriz : by ancient geographers it was called the stops them up, that they may not interrupt his lake of Bakhtegan, from a ruined village east of operations, until he has finished the last well, Kheir. Ebn Haukel says of it: “ Among these when he opens the springs, and the water rushes is the lake of Bakhtegan. Into this flows the through the channel, rises in the wells to the river Kur, which is near Hhekan, or Khefan, and height of its source, and is poured out from the it reaches nearly to Zahek in Kirman (Carmalowest into a water course, which conducts it nia.) The extent of this lake is twenty farover the fields. When the cauraiz, or conduit sangs, nearly eight miles, in length; and the is completed, the wells are of no further use ex- water of it is bitter, and on the borders are wild cept to allow a man to descend occasionally to beasts of various kinds, such as lions, leopards, clear out the channel. The distance between or tigers, and others; and the region of this lake, the wells varies from ten yards to 100. It is which belongs to the kuveh (district) of Istakr, usually about fifty. The dimensions of the (Persepolis,) comprises several villages.” Hamchannel are generally no more than necessary to dallah Mastowfi says, that in its vicinity are allow the water to work, but some are much tracts of soil impregnated with salt; that its larger. I have heard of one near Subzewaur, length is twelve, its breadth seven, and its cirin Persian Khorassan, through which a horseman cumference thirty-four farsangs.

These acmight ride with a lance over his shoulder. The counts were written about A. D. 950. To the number of wells, and, consequently, the length of ancient writers the lake seems to have been unthe cauraiz, depend on the number of springs known, for it is neither mentioned by Strabo nor met with, as the chain is generally continued, Curtius, nor others who mention the expedition either till water enough has been obtained, or of Cyrus ; nor is it spoken of by the Greek or till the wells become so deep as to render it in- Roman geographers. On this account it is convenient to proceed. I have heard of various marked on some of the maps of ancient counlengths, from two miles to thirty-six, but I tries as “ unknown to the ancients.” The same should suppose the usual length was under the may be said of the lake of Shiraz, or, as it is shortest of these measures. It may be supposed called by Hamdallah Cazvini, Mahluiah. This that the expense of so laborious a structure must latter lake, it may be added, extends to within six be great; but the rich are fond of laying out miles south-east of Shiraz, being from twenty to their money on these means of bringing waste twenty-five miles long, and twelve parasangs, land into cultivation, and it is by no means un- or nearly forty-eight miles in circumference. common for the poor to associate to make a cauraiz, and to divide the land which it irrigates amongst them. Cauraizees are common in all As might be expected, in so vast an extent of the west of the country, and their numbers are country as Persia, the climate is very varied : on the increase. I know but of one on the east some parts, indeed, are wintry cold, while others of the range of Solimaun, which is at Tuttore, in are parched with heat at the same time of the Damaun. They are in use over all Persia, as year. The plain of Ghilan and Mazanderan they have been in Toorkistaun; but they are now possesses a climate peculiar to itself. This arises neglected in the latter country, even their name from the circumstances that it is below the sea is not known in India.”

level; that it has a vast expanse of water to the north ; and that it is enclosed on the south by a

high range of mountains. The plain has a rainy The most considerable of the lakes of Persia and dry season. In the month of September, is that of Urumiyeh, or Shahee, which is more heavy gales commence, which impel the clouds than eighty miles long, and about twenty-six in against the mountain wall of Elburz, and the rain

CLIMATE.

LAKES.

descends in torrents, accompanied by appalling greater, which is supposed to occasion the suthunder-storms. The rain continues in the perior fertility of those districts, especially where plain to the middle of January, but on the slopes the vegetation can be promoted by irrigation. of the mountains it is converted into snow about The lack of this moisture renders the central the beginning of November, and the quantity part of the table-land of Persia a desert, and that falls is enormous. It is said to rise in many from this cause, the oases within the desert are places from one to two fathoms, and to carry more fit for plantations of fruit trees, than for away houses and even villages. In summer, the cultivation of grain.* The plain surroundthough rains are not so frequent, the air is very ing Teheran, which is near the northern edge of moist, and the plain is generally enveloped in the table-land, and not far from the foot of the vapour and fogs, which engender fevers and other Elburz range, was, when Frazer visited it in diseases. The heat at this season is oppressive. November, covered with snow; and when MoOne very remarkable feature in the climate of rier was there in March, ice was still to be seen. this plain is, that sometimes in winter a hot The mild weather does not commence before southerly wind springs up, which changes the April, when the transition from cold to heat is temperature in an instant to such a degree, that very sudden. At sunrise the thermometer wood and other inflammable substances are dried stands between 61° and 64°, but at noon it rises up, so as to render them liable to ignite from the to 75°, and in the afternoon a hot south-eastern smallest spark. Sometimes this wind lasts only wind generally blows, which renders the heat a quarter of an hour, but, generally, twenty-four oppressive. hours. It is followed by a gale from the north- The great dryness of the air in this part of east, which brings snow and rain; by the natives Persia exempts it from thunder and earthit is called the Bagdad wind. It is probably to quakes. In the spring, indeed, occasionally this air that Tavernier alludes, when he asserts showers of hail fall, but they do not appear to that the Persians are sometimes destroyed in- be common, or of a severe nature. The rainstantly by a hot burning south wind.

bow, that grand ethereal object, that But notwithstanding this climate is so extraordinary, it produces a luxuriance of vegetation, “Shoots up immense, and every hue unfolds, rarely met with even between the tropics. The In fair proportion, running from the red

To where the violet fades into the sky," swampy tracts along the shores of the Caspian

THOMSON, sea abound with saline plants and canes, which are employed in building and for domestic pur- is rarely seen in Persia, because there are not poses. Not far from the shores begin the fo

vapours sufficient to form it. By night, howrests, which cover the whole plain, and extend ever, there are seen the phenomena of rays of to a considerable elevation up the slopes of the light shooting through the firmament, and folhills. These forests are surrounded by orchards, lowed by apparent trains of smoke. The winds, plantations of mulberry trees, and fields of rice. though frequently brisk, seldom swell into The orchards produce figs, peaches, apricots, storms, but they are sometimes extremely infecpears, apples, plums, and cherries. The vine is tious on the shores of the Gulf. also cultivated here, and the pomegranate tree grows wild. The principal occupations of the peasants of Ghilan are the raising of silk, and the

PRODUCTIONS. cultivation of rice. The climate of the low sandy tract along the

Much may be gathered from the foregoing Persian Gulf is distinguished for its great heat pages concerning the productions of Persia : as, and aridity. On this account it abounds with however, many have not yet been mentioned, it

is deemed desirable to enumerate the whole, as date trees, which only bear eatable fruit where these circumstances concur. During the sum

far as our information extends, under their dif

ferent kinds. mer heat, it is extremely unhealthy. So oppressive is the heat, indeed, that the inhabitants ge- with considerable skill, and in many places they

Trees. The fruit trees of Persia are managed nerally retire to the adjacent mountains, leaving only a few poor creatures to watch their effects, furnishes no mean article of internal trade.

are distinguished for their excellent fruit, which who do so at the expense of their health. In the interior of the table-land of Persia, the

These fruits are apricots, peaches, apples, plums, climate is hot in summer, and cold in winter. pears, nectarines, quinces, figs, pomegranates, In this part 'however, the air is dry, and the sky and pistachio nuts. Vine plantations are exten

mulberries, currants, cherries, almonds, walnuts, cloudless. This produces great purity of element, which is the chief blessing the Persians sive, but wine is only made by the Christian enjoy in this part of the country. They derive population. Dates ripen only in Gurmsir, and from thence a clear and florid complexion, and

some of the lower valleys in the mountains of

Kerman. Forest trees do not occur, except on an excellent habit of body. In the summer,

it seldom rains; but the heat is mitigated by a

the northern declivity of the Elburz mountains. brisk wind, which blows during the night, so

The oak covers large tracts of the mountains of that the traveller may proceed on his journey by the light of the glittering stars without inconve

• Tavernier remarks, that the Persians are so sensible nience. In the winter, the air is not so dry in

of the fertilizing influence of the snow, that they examine

very curiously how high it rises every year. This is done these parts. A considerable quantity of snow by setting a stone on the top of a mountain four leagues falls; and yet not so much as to render the soil from Spauhawn, between two and three feet high, over fit for maintaining constant vegetation. Near

which if the snow rises it causes much joy. The peasant

who first brings the news of such an event to court, is the mountain ranges the fall of snow is much rewarded for his pains by a considerable present.

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