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

348                  JOUKNEYS IN KUEDISTAN     LETTER sxxn

top of which are graves covered with heavy stone slabs
with inscriptions on their sides, and head-stones eight
feet high inscribed with epitaphs in Kufic or early Arabic,
we descended upon the great plain of Bahwan, separated
from the plain of Mush only by a very low ridge, which,
however, is a remarkable water-parting, dividing the
drainage systems of the Tigris and the Euphrates. On
this solitary plain there are the ruins of a magnificent
building, known as " the Persian Khan," built of large
blocks of hewn stone. Parts of it are still available
for shelter during snowstorms. It has courtyards with
stately entrances, domes, arches, and vaulted chambers,
and is a very striking object. Two other khans are
placed as refuges in the valley nearer Bitlis.

Shortly afterwards we reached the meeting-place of
three valleys and three roads, leading respectively to the
plain of Mush, the lake of Van,,and Bitlis. It is in
this neighbourhood that the eastern source of the Tigris
is situated, and here there is also the great interest of
coming upon one of the landmarks on the retreat of the
Ten Thousand. Scholars appear to agree in general that
this gallant band must have come up by these eastern
sources of the Tigris, for then, as now, the only practicable
entrance into Armenia from the Karduchi territory, the
modern Kurdistan, was by this route.1

The march was very long and fatiguing, and as we

1 It does not present any difficulty to me that Xenophon omits all
mention of the lake of Van, for a range of hills lies "between it and the
road. I have travelled over the track twice, and failed to see anything
in the configuration of the country which would have led me to suppose
that the region to the eastward was anything hut a continuity of ranges of
hills and mountains, and if the Ten Thousand took the route from the
eastern head-waters of the Tigris to the Murad-chai at the farther end of
the plain of Mush, directing all their investigations and inquiries in a
westerly direction, there are very many chances against their having been
informed, even by their prisoners, of the existence of the sea of Van.