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122                       JOURNEYS IN PERSIA             LETTER xx

situation on what is regarded as the best commercial route
from Shuster to Tihran, etc., is the capital of the Feili
Lurs and the residence of the Governor of Luristan.
Picturesque at a distance beyond any Persian town that
I have seen, with its citadel rising in the midst of a
precipitous pass, its houses grouped round the base, its
fine bridge, its wooded gardens, its greenery, and the
rich valley to the south of the gorge in which it
staftds, it successfully rivals any Persian town in its
squalor, dirt, evil odours, and ruinous condition. Two-
thirds of what was "the once famous capital of the
Atabegs" are now " ruinous heaps." The bazars are
small, badly supplied, dark, and rude; and the roads are
nothing but foul alleys, possibly once paved, but now
full of ridges, holes, ruins, rubbish, lean and mangy
dogs, beggarly-looking men, and broken channels of
water, which, dribbling over the soil in the bazars and
everywhere else in green and black slime, gives forth
pestiferous odours in the hot sun.

The people slouch about slowly. They are evidently
very poor, and the merchants have the melancholy
apathetic look which tells that "trade is bad." The
Feili Lurs, who lender the caravan route to Dizful in-
cessantly insecure, paralyse the trade of what should
and might be a prosperous " distributing point/' and the
Persian Government, though it keeps a regiment of
soldiers here, is unsuccessful in checking, far less in
curing the chronic disorder which has produced a nearly
complete stagnation in trade.

I am all the more disappointed with the wretched
condition of Khuramabad because the decayed state of
its walls is concealed by trees, and it is entered by a
handsome bridge 18 feet wide and 900 long, with
twenty-eight pointed arches of solid masonry, with a fine
caravanserai with a tiled entrance on its left side. The