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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Seventeen farsakhs sixty eight miles from Kum


Sin

Sin itself is renowned for its water-melons, and I, too, can humbly certify to their excellence. I took a load of them away for the journey.

From here we began to see the wonderful effects of deceitful mirage, extremely common all over Persia. One sees beautiful lakes of silvery water, with clusters of trees and islands and rocks duly reflected upside down in their steady waters, but it is all an optical deception, caused by the action of the heated soil on the expanding air immediately in contact with it, which, seen from above and at a distance, is of a bluish white tint with exactly the appearance and the mirror-like qualities of still water.

Although in Central Persia one sees many of these effects every day, they are sometimes so marvellous that even the most experienced would be deceived.

The country is barren and desolate. Kasimabad has but two buildings, both caravanserais; but Nassirabad, further on, is quite a large village, with domed roofs and a couple of minarets. On the road is a large caravanserai, with the usual alcoves all round its massive walls. Except the nice avenue of trees along a refreshing brook of limpid water, there was nothing to detain us here but the collision between one of my pack-horses and a mule of a passing caravan, with disastrous results to both animals' loads. But, with the assistance of one or two natives commandeered by Sadek, the luggage

scattered upon the road was replaced high on the saddles, the fastening ropes were pulled tight by Sadek with his teeth and hands, while I took this opportunity to sit on the roadside to partake of my lunch--four boiled eggs, a cold roast chicken, Persian bread, some cake, and half a water-melon, the whole washed down with a long drink of clear water. Riding at the rate I did, the whole day and the greater part of the night, in the hot sun and the cold winds at night, gave one a healthy appetite.

As we got nearer Kashan city, the villages got more numerous; Aliabad and the Yaze (mosque) and Nushabad to my left (east), with its blue tiled roof of the mosque. But the villages were so very much alike and uninteresting in colour and in architecture, that a description of each would be unimportant and most tedious, so that I will only limit myself to describing the more typical and striking ones with special features that may interest the reader.

In the morning of October 9th I had reached the city of Kashan, seventeen farsakhs (sixty-eight miles) from Kum, and forty-one farsakhs or 164 miles from Teheran, in two days and a half including halts.

CHAPTER XXV

Kashan--Silk manufactories--Indo-European Telegraph--The Zein-ed-din tower--The Meh-rab shrine--The Madrassah Shah--The Panja Shah--The hand of Nazareth Abbas--The Fin Palace--Hot springs--The tragic end of an honest Prime Minister--Ice store-houses--Cultivation--In the bazaar--Brass work--Silk--The Mullahs and places of worship--Wretched post-horses--The Gyabrabad caravanserai--An imposing dam--Fruit-tree groves--Picturesque Kohrut village.

Kashan, 3,260 feet above sea level, is famous for its gigantic and poisonous scorpions, for its unbearable heat, its capital silk works, and its copper utensils, which, if not always ornamental, are proclaimed everlasting. The silk manufactories are said to number over three hundred, including some that make silk carpets, of world-wide renown. The population is 75,000 souls or thereabouts. Nothing is ever certain in Persia. There are no hotels in the city, and it is considered undignified for Europeans to go to a caravanserai--of which there are some three dozen in Kashan--or to the Chappar Khana.


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