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204                      JOURNEYS IN PERSIA             LETTER xxv

men were busy at the threshing-floor, and they would
not give me a guide; at the next the ketchuda sent a
young man, but required payment in advance.

After crossing the plain, on which villages occur at
frequent intervals on gravelly islands surrounded by rich,
stiff, black soil, we forded the broad Jagatsu and got into
the environs of, not an insignificant village, as I expected,
but an important town of 5000 people. A wide road,
planted and ditched on both sides, with well-kept irri-
gated gardens, shaded by poplars, willows, and fruit trees,
runs for a mile from the river into the town, which is
surrounded by similar gardens on every side, giving
it the appearance of being densely wooded. The vine-
yards are magnificent, and the size and flavour of the
grapes quite unusual. Melons, opium, tobacco, cotton,
castor oil, sesamum, and bringals all flourish.

Miandab is partly in ruins, but covers a great extent
of ground with its 1000 houses, 100 of which are in-
habited by Jews and twenty by Armenians. People of
five tribes are found there, but unlike Sain Kala, where
Sunnis and Shiahs live peaceably, the Mussulmans are
all Shiahs, no Sunni having been allowed to become a
permanent inhabitant since the Kurdish attack ten years
ago, when Sunnis within the city betrayed it into the
hands of their co-religionists.

It has several mosques, a good bazar with a domed
roof, a part of which displays very fine copper-work
done in the town, and a garrison of 100 men. I saw the
whole of Miandab, for my caravan was lost, and an
hour was spent in hunting for it, inquiring of every one
if he had seen a caravan of four yabus, but vainly, till we
reached the other side, where I found it only just arrived,
and the men busy tent-pitching in a lonely place among
prolific vineyards. Sharban had lost the way, and after
much marching and counter-marching had reached the