Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/153

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X.—Geographical Notice of the Empire of Marocco. By Lieutenant Washington, R.N.Read 11th and 25th April, 1831.

Of the empire of Marocco, the principal cities and the manners and customs of its inhabitants have been often described; but of the geography of the country, of the positions of the different towns, of the line of sea=coast, of the course of its rivers, of the height of its mountains and elevated plains, and of its geological structure and general features, our knowledge is very imperfect.

A brief but accurate notice of such information as was obtained in n journey to and from the city of Marocco and the Atlas mountains, and during a residence of one moth in the capital in the winter of 1829–30, is contained in the following pages.

The party destined to form the mission to Marocco assembled, in the beginning of November, at the hospitable British consulate at Tangier, which town, situated on a steep acclivity rising at once from the beach, presents its eastern and not unpleasing aspect to a bay about three miles wide. It is surrounded by mouldering walls, round and square towers every sixty paces, and three strong gates. Its defenses towards the sea are two batteries, one above the other, on the south side of the sea-gate. Directly in front of the landing place, high on the wall, are about twelve guns; to north, in a circular battery commanding the bay, about twenty guns of all calibres, mounted on clumsy Moorish carriages, which would not stand fire for ten minutes; crowning all, to the north, is an old and extensive castle, L'Kassbah, and the residence of the governor. On the land side, ruined walls and a ditch are the only defences. The gates are shut at sunset, and a watch is kept by night.

El Jamāa Kibeer, or principal mosque, is large and rather handsome. Its smā or tower, placed at the north-west angle, lofty, and wrought in coloured tesselated work; as is also the pavement of the mosque, round which stands a colonnade of low pillars, with a fountain in the centre.

The streets, except the main street which crosses the town irregularly from the sea to the land gate, are narrow and crooked. The houses low, with fiat tops, except those of the European consuls, which are many of them good.

In an open space about the middle of the main street there is a vegetable and fruit market. But the principal one, Sōk el Wāhad, is held on Sunday, outside the western gate, and well supplied with poultry, game, vegetables, dates, fruits. &c. Meat is good and cheap.

This town is the residence of a bashaw, whose territory extends about twenty-five miles to the southward.

Outside the walls are some productive gardens belonging to the