LETTEE xxxin KOCK CHAMBERS 361
table of rock scarped so as to be nearly perpendicular, at
the base of which is a stone village. On the other side
is a fine stream* I had purposed to spend the night at
Akhlat, but on riding up the village street, which has
several shops, there was a manifest unfriendliness about
its Turkish inhabitants, and they went so far as to refuse
both lodgings and supplies, so I only halted for a few hours.
Few things have pleased me more than Akhlat, and the
dreamy loveliness of the day was altogether propitious.
I first visited the ELharaba-shahr or "ruined city."
The table rock is honeycombed with a number of artificial
chambers, some of which are inhabited. Several of these
are carefully arched. A very fine one consists of a
chamber with an arched recess like a small chancel; and
a niche so resembling a piscina at one side that one
involuntarily looks for the altar. These dwellings are
carefully excavated, and chisel marks are visible in many
places. Outlining this remarkable rock, and above these
chambers, are the remains of what must have been a
very fine fortress, with two towers like those of the castle
of Bitlis springing from below the rock. The whole of it
has been built of hewn red sandstone. The walls have
been double, with the centre filled up with rough stones
and mortar, but not much of the stone facing remains,
the villages above and below having been built of it.
Detached pieces of masonry, such as great masses of
walls, solitary arches, and partially-embedded carved frag-
ments extend over a very large area, and it is evident
that investigators with time and money might yet reap a
rich reward. Excavators have been recently at workó
who or what they were I could not make out, and have
unearthed, among other objects of interest, a temple with
the remains of a dome having a cornice and frieze, and
two small circular chambers, much decorated, the whole
about twenty-five feet long.