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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

In Julfa the Europeans of whom


But

in Julfa such is not the case, and the ancient style of dress is so far maintained. One is struck by the great number of women in the streets of Julfa and the comparative lack of men. This is because all able-bodied men migrate to India or Europe, leaving their women behind until sufficient wealth is accumulated to export them also to foreign lands.

The education of the Armenian women of the middle and lower classes consists principally in knitting socks--one sees rows of matrons and girls sitting on the doorsteps busily employed thus,--and in various forms of culinary instruction. But the better class woman is well educated in European fashion, and is bright and intelligent.

The Armenian woman, in her ample and speckless white robes, her semi-covered face, and beautiful soft black eyes, is occasionally captivating. The men, on the other hand, although handsome, have something indescribable about them that does not make them particularly attractive.

The Armenian man--the true type of the Levantine--has great business capacities, wonderful facility for picking up languages, and a persuasive flow of words ever at his command. Sceptical, ironical and humorous--with a bright, amusing manner alike in times of plenty or distress--a born philosopher, but uninspiring of confidence,--with eyes that never look straight into yours, but are ever roaming all over the place,--with religious

notions adaptable to business prospects,--very hospitable and good-hearted, given to occasional orgies,--such is the Persian-Armenian of to-day.

The more intelligent members of the male community migrate to better pastures, where they succeed, by steady hard work and really practical brains, in amassing considerable fortunes. The less enterprising remain at home to make and sell wine. Personally, I found Armenians surprisingly honest.

In Julfa the Europeans--of whom, except in business, there are few--have comfortable, almost luxurious residences. The principal streets of the Settlement are extremely clean and nice for Persia. The Indo-European Telegraph Office is also here. But the best part of Julfa--from a pictorial point of view--is the extensive Armenian cemetery, near a picturesque background of hills and directly on the slopes of Mount Sofia. There are hundreds of rectangular tombstones, many with neatly bevelled edges, and epitaphs of four or five lines. A cross is engraved on each grave, and some have a little urn at the head for flowers.

From the roof of a house situated at the highest point of the inclined plane, one obtains a magnificent bird's-eye view of Isfahan, its ancient grandeur being evinced by the great expanse of ruins all round it. The walls of Isfahan were said at one time to measure twenty-four miles in circumference. Like all other cities of Persia, Isfahan does not improve by too distant a view. The mud roofs are so alike in colour to the dried mud of the streets that a deadly monotony must follow, as a matter of course; but the many beautiful green gardens round about and in Isfahan itself are a great relief to the eye, and add much attraction to the landscape.

Most prominent of all buildings in the city are the great semi-spherical dome of the Mesjid-i-Shah, with its gracefully ornamented tiles; the Madrassah; the multi-columned, flat-roofed Palace, and the high minarets in couples, dotted all over the city. Then round about, further away, stand any number of curious circular towers, the pigeon towers.


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