Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/169

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139
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Marocco.
 

Semelalīa, about two miles to the north-west of the Ducaila gate; fine olive plantations; and the residence of Don Juan Badia during his stay in this country in 1804.

The quarters allotted to the British .mission during its residence of a month in Marocco was one of the sultan's gardens, at tho south-west angle of the city, called

Sebt el Mahmōnīa, covering an extent of fifteen acres, planted in the wilderness style, with every variety of fruit-tree—olive, orange, pomegranate, citron, mulberry, walnut, peach, apple, pear, vine, &c.; with cedar, poplar, acacia, rose, myrtle, jasmin—forming a luxuriant and dense mass of foliage only broken by the solemn cypress and more stately palm, and through which nothing was to be seen but the snowy peaks of Atlas rising almost immediately above our heads, and the tall tower of the principal mosque distant about a quarter of a mile. Nought but the playfulness of gazelles, and the abundant trickling of water in every direction, to break the stillness of this delightful spot, combining everything to be desired in a burning clime.—silence, shade, verdure, and fragrance. But, as a contrast to the bounded view of our garden, the terraced roof of our house commanded a view over the city, the extensive plain boundless to the east and west, and the whole dahir, or belt, of the Atlas, girding, as it were, the country from the south-west to the north-east with a band of snow; and few days passed during our stay in Marocco that we did not spend the hours of sunrise and sunset gazing on this striking and beautiful object[1], noting its masses and peaks of snow, and deploring that this mighty range, combining, within one day's journey, every variety of climate, from the torrid to the frigid zone, and offering such a field to the naturalist, the geologist, and the botanist, should still remain unexplored, and present an impassable barrier to civilization.

Viewed from Marocco, the snowy range of Atlas bounds the horizon from east to south-west. At this season of the year, (January, 1830) the transition immediate from the wooded to the snowy zone;—the formation inclines more towards sharp ridges and points than to Alpine peaks. The highest of these points, visible from the city, bore south-south-east, distant twenty-seven miles; two other remarkable masses, forming sugar-loaves, south-east by east and south-east, called by the Moors Glaoui—a high ridge from south to south-east. It is remarkable that neither Moor nor Arabs have any distinguishing name for the Atlas. It is

 


  1. But description ts not sufficient. Happily, a very correct outline of Atlas, a panoramic view of the city of Marocco, with many other characteristic and spirited sketches of scenery in that country, were made during our journey by a friend and intelligent fellow-traveller, Mr. W. H. Smith. R.A., and which sketches, it is hoped, will soon be made public.