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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

As well as to the possibilities of Farsistan and Laristan

The tribes of Pusht-i-kuh are somewhat wild and unreliable. On the mountain sides are capital pasturages. A certain amount of grain, tobacco and fruit are grown, principally for local consumption.

In Luristan, too, we have partly a nomad pastoral population. Being a mountainous region there are extremes of temperature. In the plains the heat is terrific; but higher up the climate is temperate and conducive to good pasturages and even forests. As in the Pusht-i-kuh mountain district, here, too, wheat, rice and barley are grown successfully in huge quantities, and the vine flourishes at certain altitudes as well as fruit trees. The local commerce consists principally in live stock, the horses being quite good, and there is a brisk trade in arms and ammunition.

There remain now the large districts of Khuzistan, better known as Arabistan, Farsistan and Laristan. The heat in these provinces is terrible during the summer, and the latter district is further exposed to the Scirocco winds of the Gulf, carrying with them suffocating sand clouds. If properly developed, and if the barrage of the Karun river at Ahwaz were put in thorough repair, the plains of Arabistan could be made the richest in Persia. Wheat, rice and forage were grown in enormous quantities at one time, and cotton, tobacco, henna, indigo and sugar-cane. But this region, being of special interest to Britain, a special chapter is devoted to it, as well as to the possibilities of Farsistan and Laristan, to which future reference will be made.

The trade in Shiraz wines is fairly developed, and they are renowned all over Persia. Considering the primitive method in which they are made they are really excellent, especially when properly matured. The better ones resemble rich sherries, Madeira and port wine.

Indigo, horses, mules and carpets form the trade of the province which, they say, possesses undeveloped mineral resources such as sulphur, lead, presumed deposits of coal, mercury, antimony and nickel.

Persian Beluchistan is quite undeveloped so far, and mostly inhabited by nomad tribes, somewhat brigand-like in many parts and difficult to deal with. They manufacture rugs and saddle-bags and breed good horses and sheep. Their trade is insignificant, and a good deal of their country is barren. The climate is very hot, and in many parts most unhealthy.


A Persian wedding--Polygamy--Seclusion of women--Match-makers--Subterfuges--The _Nomzad_, or official betrothal day--The wedding ceremony in the harem--For luck--The wedding procession--Festival--Sacrifices of sheep and camels--The last obstacle, the _ruhmah_--The bride's endowment--The bridegroom's settlement--Divorces--A famous well for unfaithful women--Women's influence--Division of property.

The general European idea about Persian matrimonial affairs is about as inaccurate as is nearly every other European popular notion of Eastern customs. We hear a great deal about Harems, and we fancy that every Persian must have dozens of wives, while there are people who seriously believe that the Shah has no less than one wife for each day of the year, or 365 in all! That is all very pretty fiction, but differs considerably from real facts.

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