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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

With two high quadrangular towers


In

the southern portion of the city, where exposed to the wind, the dwellings were deep-buried in sand, and hardly more than the domes remained above ground. There were, however, one or two higher buildings, presumably some of the better dwellings inhabited by Rustam's officers. A portion of the south walls, which, curiously enough, had quadrangular towers instead of tapering circular ones, had collapsed, and so had the corresponding portion of the north wall.

The city wall was of great interest, and even on the west side, where it was of less strength, was constructed in successive tiers, each of less than a man's height, and each with a path extending all along so that it could be remanned continuously in time of attack. When one man of the higher platform fell another could replace him immediately from the platform directly below. The towers were much higher than the wall.

The city gate was of great strength, the two front towers being strengthened inwardly by a third quadrangular tower. A raised block under the gateway was said to be the execution place.

This city, historians declare, was destroyed by Bahram, who caused it to be burnt, but there is no evidence whatever in the buildings to show that a conflagration ever occurred in this place at all. In fact, it is rather difficult to understand how buildings entirely of mud could be burned. The city, it is said, was abandoned

only about a century ago, when the Sarbandi entered it by treachery and drove out the Rais tribe.

[Illustration: Rustam's City, showing Rustam's House in Citadel, also domed roofs blown in from the North.]

A few hundred feet to the south outside the city wall are the remains of the stable of Rustam's legendary gigantic horse. Part of the high wall still stands up on the top of the section of a vault, but the greater portion of the building, which was evidently of great proportions, is now buried in sand. The exact spot is pointed out where the manger stood, and so is the point where the heel ropes of this famous horse were tied. This circumstance misled one traveller into stating in 1872 that "two hills, one mile apart to the south-west, denoted the places where the manger and the spot where the head of this famous horse were tied." This error has been copied faithfully by subsequent travellers, including very recent ones (see _Journal of the Royal Geographical Society_, February, 1902, page 142).

There seemed little doubt that the huge building, of which the wall reproduced in the illustration made part, was a stable, and that it must have been of special importance could be seen by the elaborate cross pattern decorations on its outer face. The fragment of the wall stands over 50 feet high, and to all appearance some twenty more feet of it are underground, buried by the sand. It had strong supports at its base.

[Illustration]

The stable was most peculiarly shaped, ending in a sharp point at one end.

Another dry canal was noticeable to the west of the ruins which went from south to north, with a branch canal going due west. North-west and west were to be seen other ruined cities, one of which, with two high quadrangular towers, was approximately three miles distant. To the west on two hills were fortresses, but between these and Rustam's city lay an immense graveyard (about one mile from Sher-i-Rustam), with graves above ground--mainly single ones, but also a few family ones in adjoining compartments.


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