Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/177
apprehensive lest, by constructing high-wads through all parts of their empire, they should facilitate the enterprises of these officers against the principal cities; whereas, the difficulties of a mountainous, dry, and desert country, by retarding the progress of an army, afford the sovereign time to collect his forces.
The Persians, having no high-roads, are unacquainted with the use of any such. marks of distances as our mile-stones. In practice, they do not even employ the division of distances by farsangs; leaving that measure to the curious traveller and the professed geographer, they reckon the distance from town to town, by days' journeys, or halting-places. These journeys are not governed by the distance travelled, but by the convenience of the spot for passing the night: Kämpfer remarked, that they were never less than six leagues nor more than twelve.
The Persians employ the same term for the station or halting-place, as for the day's journey. This is some spot on the road, where there is in general a caravanserai, and where water fit for drinking is supplied by nature, but more commonly obtained by art. In the deserts, the presence of water alone determines the halting-place. The traveller, overcome with fatigue, reclines under an acacia, a cypress, or a sycamore; his lodging costs him nothing; he sleeps abroad without apprehension; quenches his thirst with limpid rapid water, unadulterated by any mixture; and appeases his hunger with dried fruit, which the tchaharvadar has taken care to provide for the use of the caravan.
The form and number of the caravanserais differ with the climate: they are more frequent in the northern than in the southern provinces, where the purity and dryness of the air allow the traveller to pass the night abroad without danger to his health. Their extent and elegance depend on the fortune of the founder: and in the north of Persia, they are commonly built of brick. Their figure is usually a square, and externally they exhibit nothing but a dead wall. A description of the caravanserai of Guz, will furnish an idea of the general accommodations of them all.
The extent of this building is an exact square, of one hundred yards on every side, flanked by four towers. Within these walls are the buildings which form the accommodations of the caravan. On entering the great gate, the first object that presents itself is a kind of piazza, extending on every side of the interior of the quadrangle, leaving a noble area or. court in the middle. These piazzas are subdivided into lofty arched apartments, open in front, and all neatly paved. At ten feet within each of these is another chamber fifteen feet deep, and containing at its farther end fire-place, besides several little compartments cut out of the thickness of the wall, called topshehs or