LETTER xxv A KURDISH CAPITAL 207
disturbed there is the sad spectacle of human skulls and
bones lying about, being gnawed by dogs.
The graveyard side of Sujbulak is fouler and filthier
than anything I have seen, and the odours, even in this
beautiful weather, are appalling. The centre of each alley
is a broken channel with a broken pavement on each side.
These channels were obviously constructed for water,
but now contain only a black and stagnant horror, hardly
to be called a fluid, choked with every kind of refuse.
The bazars are narrow, dark, and busy, full of Eussian
commodities, leather goods, ready-made clothing, melons,
grapes, and pop-corn. The crowds of men mostly wore
the Kurdish or Turkish costume, but black-robed and
white-turbaned Seyyids and mollalis were not wanting.
Sujbulak, the capital of Northern Persian Kurdistan,
and the residence of a governor, is quite an important
entrepdt for furs, in which it carries on a large trade
with Eussia, and a French firm, it is said, buys up fur
rugs to the value of several hundred thousand francs
annually. It also does a large business with the Kurdish
tribes of the adjacent mountains and the Turkish nomads
of the plains, and a considerable trade in gall-nuts. It
has twenty small mosques, three hammams, some very
inferior caravanserais, and a few coffee-houses. Its meat
bazar and its grain and pulse bazars are capacious and
It has a reputed population of 5000 souls. Kurds
largely predominate, but there are so many Turks that
the Turkish Government has lately built a very conspicuous
consulate, with the aspect of a fortress, and has appointed
a consul to protect the interests of its subjects. There
are 120 Armenians, who make wine and arak, and are
usurers, and gold and silver smiths. The Jews get their
living by money-lending, peddling drugs, dyeing cotton
goods, selling groceries, and making gold and silver lace.