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SYRIA, THE HOLY LAND, ASIA MINOR,
/fC. IfC. $C.
SIDON, ON THE APPROACH FROM BEIROUT. Near to Sidon begin the precincts of the Holy Land, and of that part in particular which was allotted unto Asher, the borders of which tribe extended to Carmel. In ancient times this city often awakened the jealousy of Tyre by her wealth and commerce, which she owed to the convenience of her fine harbour, rendered capable, by art and skill, of containing a great number of vessels. The Christians lost this city in the year 1111: they afterwards retook it from the Saracens, and St. Louis repaired it in 1250, but the Saracens became 'masters of it a second time in 1289, and subsequently the celebrated Emir Faccardine, prince of the Druses, destroyed in a great measure the harbour, to keep his enemies, the Turks, at a distance. The ride from Beirout to Sidon, a distance of seven hours, is very pleasant; yet the transition from the varied and beautiful neighbourhood of the former, to the rich monotony around Sidon, is greatly for the worse; for Beirout is the only habitable place in Syria for an Englishman.—Within a couple of hours of Sidon is a miserable khan, desolately standing near a sandy tract, over which is the path to the town: the welcome cup of coffee is not to be had here; the poor Arab does not stand in its door, offering it to the lips of the traveller and pilgrim, as in the lonely hovel between Sidon and Tyre. It was evening when we entered the gates; the weather was beautiful, but there was not a breeze even from the sea. The caravanserai, if so it could be called, was a dreary place; in one of its waste rooms we were compelled to take up our abode, and thought how quickly our lot was changed—from the hospitable home of a friend, its marble stairs, comfortable rooms, and tried companionship—to this dull hold in Sidon. We had no letter of introduction, as was sometimes the case, to the wealthy or the powerful: it was somewhat melancholy to look around; even the pan of charcoal, that now would have been welcome, was missing: the night-breeze from the sea began to come chill through the long passages and broken casements. In the evening we paid a visit to a merchant's family in Sidon: the contrast was vivid and delightful: we sat on soft carpets and cushions, the pipe and coffee was presented, and some light Oriental dishes, with some excellent wine, were soon served. The lady of the house, a pretty woman and well dressed, presided at the supper,