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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

LETTER sxiii     THE ALLEYS OF HAMAD AN                  149

but the sun is blazing hot, and the mercury only varies
from 88 in the day to 84 at night. Brown dust-
storms career wildly over the plain, or hang heavily over
it in dust clouds, and the sand-flies are abundant
and merciless. In the winter the cold is intense, and
the roads are usually blocked with snow for several
weeks.

Water is abundant, and is led through open channels
in the streets. The plain too is well supplied, and the
brown villages, which otherwise would be invisible on the
brown plain, are denoted by dark green stains of willow,
poplar, and fruit trees. The town itself has fine gardens,
belonging to the upper classes, but these are only indi-
cated by branches straying over the top of very high
walls.

My first impressions have received abundant confirma-
tion. Important as a commercial centre as Hainadan
doubtless is, it is as ruinous, filthy, decayed, and un-
prosperous-looking a city as any I have seen in Persia.
"Kuinous heaps/' jagged weather-worn walls, houses
in ruins, or partly ruined and deserted, roofs broken
through, domes from which the glazed tiles have dropped
off, roadways not easy by daylight and dangerous at
night, water-channels leaking into -the roads and often
black with slime, and an unusual number of very poor
and badly-dressed people going about, are not evidences
of the prosperity which, in spite of these untoward
appearances, really exists.

The high weather-worn mud walls along the alleys
have no windows, in order that the women may not see
or be seen by men. A doorway with a mounting-block
outside it, in " well-to-do " houses, admits into a vaulted
recess, from which a passage, dimly lighted, conducts into
the courtyard, round which the house is built, or into the
house itself. These courtyards are planted with trees