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castle which commanded the neighbouring country. It would farther appear that the same Almansor, desirous to avoid as much as possible all contact with the rabble of his new capital, built on the western side of the Tigris a suburb named Karkh, joined to the eastern part by a bridge, and in which were the bazars and public markets. This city rose to its highest pitch of grandeur during the reigns of the celebrated Haroun al Raschid and his immediate successors; but, in the fourth century of the Hejira, the power of the caliphs having declined, we find Bagdad taken from them, first by Ali Buiyah, the second of the Dilemee dynasty, in A.D. 945, and afterward by Togrul Beg, the first of the Seljuk sovereigns. But these were comparatively slight calamities; for, though the glory of the house of Abbas had departed, their capital remained rich and populous until the Mogul invasion, under Zinghis Khan, swept like a deluge over Asia, and overwhelmed the prosperity of every town on its fair plains in a torrent of human blood. In A.D. 1253, the stern Hoolaku, grandson of Zinghis, marched against the devoted city, which was defended by Mostasem, when, not only was it taken, and the caliph and his two sons put to death, but the inhabitants also were subjected to a general massacre, which by some historians has been swelled to an incredible amount.*

The ruined city remained in the hands of the Moguls until A.D. 1392, when it was taken from Sultan Ahmed Ben Avis, of the race of Hoolaku, by the great Tamerlane. The former prince, however, having succeeded in repossessing himself of the capital, it was again attacked and reduced by the enraged Timur, who punished the inhabitants by putting the most of them to the sword. In the contest between the Turkomans of the White and Black Sheep, which distracted the Persian empire during the ninth century of the Hejira, it passed more than once from hand to hand until A.D. 1508, when Shah Ismael, of the Suffaveans, made himself master of it. During upward of a hundred years it continued to be an object of contention between the Turks and Persians, till at length, in A.D. 1637, it was finally taken by Amurath IV., who

Some say 17,000,000; others are contented with 800,000: either amount implies exaggeration.

annexed it to the Ottoman empire, and in the possession of that power it has ever since remained.

In the course of these revolutions, the position, shape, and extent of Bagdad were so greatly changed, that it is scarcely possible to point out the original site. The palace of the celebrated Haroun is supposed to have stood on the western side of the Tigris; but from the fact that the Turks under Tamerlane swam the river from its eastern shore to reach the city, we arc led to presume that the chief portion of it was then to be found on the opposite bank.

Such, however, has not been the case in more recent times. The present city is still intersected by the Tigris, though by far the larger and most important part is that which occupies its left, or northeastern side; the shape being nearly that of an oblong square, and the circuit about five miles. It is surrounded by a high wall built of bricks and mud, and flanked with towers of different ages, some of which owe their origin to the successive caliphs. There are six gates and entrances, three on each side of the river; seventeen large and 100 small towers on the eastern bank, and thirteen on the other. On several of these are cannon mounted, but chiefly unserviceable; and, besides several large breaches in the wall, occasioned by the effects of the inundation of 1831, it is altogether in bad repair. Outside there is a dry ditch, but which cannot be considered available as a defence.*

Besides the six gates of entrance towards the land, there is one on each side opening to the river, and one also which is called the Gate of the Talisman, the handsomest of all, originally built by Caliph al Naser. It was by this approach that Amurath entered when he took the city, but it was built up, and has remained closed ever since. Within the walls there are said to be 200 mosques, six colleges, and twenty-four baths. Of the first, many of which are attached to the shrines of saints, those of Sheik Abdul Kader, Sheik Shehab-u-deen, Sheik aboo Yacoob Mohammed, Sheik Maroof Kerkhee Habeebi-ajamee, Biskir e Haafee, Hooksam ibn Mansoor, Sheik Junaeed e Bagdadee, are the most important. The cathedral mosque of the caliphs, Jamah el Sook el Gazel, has been destroyed,

Kinneir's Memoir, p. 248, 249

with the exception of a curious but rather clumsy minaret. The Jamah el Merjameeah, though chiefly modern, has some remains of rich old arabesque work, and its gate is fine. The Jamah el Vizier, on the bank of the Tigris, near the bridge, has a grand dome and lofty tower, and the great mosque in the square of El Maidan is still an imposing building. But, on the whole, there are few structures deserving of notice; and it may be remarked as singular in so celebrated a capital, that not above twenty-four minarets and about a dozen domes, none of them remarkable for beauty or great size, are to be counted within the precincts of the western division. The college of Caliph Mostanser is now the custom-house. The palace of the pacha, on the river-bank, at the northwest end of the western division, never magnificent, is now in utter ruins; and his highness lives in the citadel, which, though containing the arsenal, the mint, and public offices, is hardly in better order. Beyond the walls and near the Hillah gate is seen a singular hexagonal edifice, with a still more strangely formed tower, which covers the tomb of the beautiful Zobeide; and there is another ancient structure, said to have been erected by the celebrated Alp Arslan, one of the bravest of the Seljuk monarchs. It is constructed like a kibleh, and is supported on four pillars; on one side is fixed a black stone, around which are Cufic inscriptions nearly illegible.

Such are nearly all the buildings or objects that arrest the attention of a stranger in modern Bagdad; but the following sketch of first impressions as made upon the author when entering the town, may possibly be useful in conveying to his readers some idea of the place.

To those who come from Persia, especially when they have been sickened with a succession of ruins and other tokens of desolation such as had met our eyes, the first sight of Bagdad is certainly calculated to make a favourable impression, which does not immediately wear off. The walls in the first place present a more imposing aspect, constructed as they are of furnace-baked bricks, strengthened with round towers, and pierced for guns at each angle, instead of the mean-looking, crumbling enclosures which surround the cities of Iran. Upon entering the town, the traveller is moreover gratified by the appearance of the houses, which, like the walls, are all built of

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