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344                  JOURNEYS IN KUEDISTAN     LETTER xxxn

the exterior is most elaborately ornamented with bas-
reliefs, very much undercut. Three of the roofs rest on
friezes on which birds and beasts in singularly vigorous
action are portrayed, and there are besides two rows of
heads in high relief, and a number of scripture subjects
very boldly treated, in addition to some elaborate scroll-
work, and bands of rich foliage. On this remarkable
rock Dr. Eeynolds and his family took refuge a few
years ago, when it was apprehended that Van would be
sacked by the Kurds.

The vivid colouring of the lake is emphasised by a
line of pure white deposit which runs round its margin,
and vivacity is given to its waters by innumerable wild
fowl, flamingoes, geese, ducks, pelicans, cormorants, etc.
From a reedy swamp near it ducks rose in such numbers
as literally to darken the air. Carbonate of soda and
chloride of sodium are obtained from the lake water
by evaporation, but it is not nearly so salt as that of
the Sea of Urmi. Not very far from the south shore a
powerful fresh-water spring bubbles up in the midst of
the salt water. The only fish known of is a species
said to be like a small herring. These are captured in
enormous quantities in the spring as they come up into
the streams which feed the lake.

On the last two nights at Undzag and Ghazit I had
my first experiences of the Turkish odah or village guest-
house or Mian, of which, as similar abodes will be my lodg-
ings throughout my journey to Erzerum, I will try to give
you an idea. Usually partially excavated in the hillside
and partly imbedded in the earth, the odah is a large
rambling room with an irregular roof supported on rough
tree-stems. In the centre, or some other convenient
place, is a mud platform slightly raised; in the better
class of odahs this has a fireplace in the wall at one end.
Eound this on three sides is a deep manger, and similar