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

LETTER xxxm   THE TURBEHS OF AKHLAT                  363

form is circular. The sepulchre is a closed chamber,
with another above it open half-way round on the lake
side, and a colonnade of very beautiful pillars supports
round arches, above which are five exquisitely-carved
friezes. The whole is covered with a conical roof of
carved slabs of red stone, under which runs an Arabic
inscription. Each of these buildings is decorated with
ornament in the Saracenic style, of a richness and beauty
of which only photography could give any adequate
representation. Close to the finest of these turbehs is an
old mosque with a deeply-arched entrance, over which is
a recess, panelled and carved like one in the finest of
the rock chambers. The lintels of the door are deco-
rated with stone cables. Mirza counted more than 900
monoliths.

As I sketched the finest of these beautiful mausoleums
some mollahs came up and objected to the proceeding,
and Moussa urged me to desist, as the remainder of the
march was " very dangerous," he said, and must be " got
over " in full daylight. This phrase " very dangerous,"
as used in Armenia, means that there is a serious risk
of having the baggage and horses driven off, and the
men stripped to a single garment. Such things are
happening constantly, and even Moussa ceases his joking
when he speaks of them.1 The remaining march was
over great solitary sweeps of breezy upland to Pikhruz,
an Armenian village of 100 houses, which has an in-
telligent Protestant teacher with sixty boys in his school.

1 Akhlat was a place of immense importance in ancient days, and its his-
tory epitomises the vicissitudes of Armenia; Abnlfeda, Bakani, Deguignes,
Ritter, and Pinlay in his History of Gfreece are among the best-known
authorities on its history, and Mr. Tozer in his work on Turkish Armenia,
p. 318, etc., gives an interesting popular sketch of the way in. which it
was conquered and reconquered by Saracens, Greeks, Kurds, Turks,
Khoarasmians and Georgians, till eventually, the Turks reconquered it
from the Kurds. Its ancient Armenian name of Khelat is altogether un-
known to its present inhabitants.