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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Who visited them during the Perso Afghan Frontier Mission


The

ruins at Peshawaran I was not able to visit, they being in Afghan territory--now forbidden to Englishmen--and, being the guest of the British Consul, I did not wish to cause trouble. Sir F. Goldsmid, who visited them during the Perso-Afghan Frontier Mission, describes them as covering a great area and being strongly built of alternate layers of sun-burnt and baked brick. The ruins of a madrassah, with a mosque and a _mihrab_, were most extensive, and had traces of ornamentations, and an inscription, said to be Kufic. The walls of the citadel were (in 1872) in fairly good repair. "The citadel," Sir F. Goldsmid relates, "was of a circular form, somewhat irregular in shape, with a diameter of from two to three hundred yards. The walls are about fifty feet high, built strongly of baked brick, with a species of arched covered gallery, five feet high and five feet wide, running round the summit of the ramparts."

A very similar arrangement was to be seen on the Zaidan fort, as can be noticed in the photograph which I took and which is reproduced in the full page illustration (facing page 206).

"Two massive round towers guard the gateway approached by a narrow steep ascent. In the centre of the fort on a mound stood a superior house, probably the residence of the Governor. To the south,[6] dense drifts of sand run to the summits of the ramparts."

If these drifts can rise so high on

the high wall of the citadel, it is certain that a great many of the smaller buildings must be rather deep under the sand level by now, but that they are there, there can be little doubt, for fragments of tiles, bricks, vases, &c., strew the ground. No doubt the usual critic will wonder how it is that, if the houses are buried, these fragments are not buried also. The wind principally is responsible for their keeping on the surface of the sand. They are constantly shifted and are blown from place to place, until arrested by some obstacle such as a wall, where a great number of these fragments can generally be found collected by the wind.

"The great characteristic of these ruins"--continues Sir F. Goldsmid--"is the number of accurately constructed arches which still remain, and which are seen in almost every house, and the remains of strongly built windmills, with a vertical axis, as is usually the case in Sistan."

This again, as we have seen, is also one of the characteristics of the Zaidan buildings.

The ruins of Peshawaran are subdivided into several groups, such as the Kol Marut, Saliyan, three miles east of the fort, Khushabad, Kalah-i-Mallahun, Nikara-Khanah, &c.

Bellew, who camped at Saliyan, describes this section of the ruins "which cover many square miles of country, with readily distinguishable mosques and colleges (madrassahs), and the Arabic inscriptions traceable on the facades of some of the principal buildings clearly refer their date to the period of the Arab conquest, and further, as is evidenced by the domes and arches forming the roofs of the houses, that then, as now, the country was devoid of timber fit for building purposes. The most remarkable characteristic of these ruins is their vast extent and excellent preservation."


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