Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/168

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Morocco.

pacing the animal rapidly to and fro, and vociferating the last price named.

Tan-yard.—Visited, and thoroughly examined a large one, said to employ one thousand five hundred persons! Great want of order and arrangement; the process of dyeing was gone through for our satisfaction, and, in spite of dirt and slovenliness, a bright yellow colour was produced which is considered inimitable in Europe. The

Millāh, or Jews' quarter, is a walled enclosure of about a mile and a half in circuit, at the south-eastern angle of the city; populous but filthily dirty; all the Jews pay a capitation tax to the sultan, and are treated with the greatest contempt; we were offered for sale by the Scheik of the Jews and a Rabbi, the only copy of the New Testament in Hebrew and Spanish, the last relic of the Spanish hospicio that once existed within these walls. Mohammedanism, with its withering influence, reigns undisturbed. Population cannot exceed one hundred thousand, perhaps not above eighty thousand, including five thousand Jews; the women rarely showing themselves in the streets makes it difficult to estimate, but here are traces of a much greater population. The dreadful plague, and more dreadful famine, that visited this country a few years since, have committed fearful ravages; not half the space within the gates is now inhabited; mined walls and tenantless houses meet one at every turn; nothing flourishes but vegetation, which, even in the months of December and January, is rife and luxuriant—its springing freshness forming a striking contrast to the mouldering walls around.

Aqueducts.—Extensive under-ground aqueducts surround the town; some ten or twelve feet deep, but chiefly in ruins; they reach across the plain to the foot of Atlas, in many cases twenty miles in extent; evident signs of a more numerous population, and far greater cultivation of the arts.

Cemeteries.—Several large cemeteries outside the walls, both to the north and south, but especially to the east of the city is one upwards of a hundred acres in extent; war, plague, and famine, have thickly tenanted them.

Gardens.—The sultan has three large gardens, of about fifteen acres in extent, within the city, and two of about twenty acres each two miles distant from the walls, through all which we rode.

Jenān en Nīl, so called from the abundance of water with which it is supplied, certainly not on account of containing the productions of the country of the Nile, as it has no exotics whatever[1].

Jenān el Afia (or prosperity), destined to the use of the sultanas.

Janān el 'Hassīra, remarkable for its ripe grapes, about two miles east of the city.