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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Illustration receptacle for light


Rustam's

"compound," to use the handy word of the east, occupied about one-quarter of the area of the town and filled the entire south-east corner. Besides the higher building it contained a great many side structures, with domes, unfortunately, only half-standing, and showing the same peculiarity as all the other domes in the city, _i.e._, they had all collapsed on the north side while the southern part was preserved. In the photograph facing page 268 this is shown very clearly. This was, of course, due to the potent northerly winds. Rustam's tall house and high walled enclosures can be seen in this photograph, some semi-collapsed domes of great proportions showing just above the high enclosing wall.

A spacious court commanded by a raised passage from north to south--evidently for soldiers to patrol upon--was within the enclosure, and, in fact, Rustam's premises formed a regular strong citadel within the city.

On the ground floor, now considerably below the level of the street outside, was a long room, like a store-room. In the north wall it had a most wonderful arrangement of ventilating chambers, which made the room deliciously cool. These contrivances were like slits in the wall, with boxed-in channels, where a great draught was set up by the natural inflow and outflow of cooler and hotter air from above and under ground, and from in and out of the sun. A great many receptacles could be noticed in the lower portion

of the wall, and also some low mangers, as if sheep had been kept here to supply meat for the inmates of the citadel in time of siege.

Next to this, with an entrance on the main street, was Rustam's reception hall--a great big room with domes no less than 18 feet high inside, but now fallen through in two places. There were doors on the south and north, and eleven receptacles specially constructed for lamps. These receptacles were rather quaint in their simple design.

[Illustration: receptacle for light.]

All round Rustam's palace the city wall was double, and strengthened with outside battlements. The same thing was noticeable in two portions of the city wall to the west and south sides. The city wall was irregular in shape, and impressed one as having been built at various epochs, and the city had the appearance of having been enlarged in comparatively recent times. There was a moat outside the wall, but in many places it had got filled up with sand. A glance at the plan which I drew of the city will give an idea of its shape.

[Illustration: The Remains of the Two Upper Storeys of Rustam's House.]

On the north side of the main street, opposite Rustam's house, was a large stable, unroofed, and showing in the wall a number of mangers, which appeared as if a large number of horses had been kept.

Besides these there were in the western portion of the city quantities of domed roofs, very small, a few still perfect, but mostly fallen in on the northern side. The houses directly under the shelter of the northern wall were in the best preservation, and many of them were still almost entirely above ground. They were quadrangular or rectangular in shape, made of mud, and with a low door on the south side. The larger ones had ventilating channels with perforated slits in the north wall, like those in Rustam's store-room, but all the houses were extremely small--an average of 12 feet by 12 feet.


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