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Mesopotamia, Persia, and Central Asia 
from the Moslem conquest to the time of Timur 




Publishers Booksellers Since 1873 


IN the following pages an attempt is made to gather 
within a convenient compass the information scattered 
through the works of the medieval Arab, Persian, and 
Turkish geographers, who have described Mesopotamia 
and Persia, with the nearer parts of Central Asia. The 
authorities quoted begin with the earlier Moslem writers, 
and conclude with those who described the settlement of 
these lands which followed after the death of TJmftr, the 
last great Central Asian wars of conquest, for with the 
fifteenth century the medieval period in Asia may be said 
to come to an end. 

The present work is also the complement of Baghddd 
under tfie Abbasid Calipltate published in 1900, and carries 
forward the geographical record which I began in Palestine 
under the Moslems , a work that appeared in 1890. 

To keep the volume within moderate compass, the 
geography of Arabia, with the description of the two Holy 
Cities of Mecca and Medina, though these for the most 
part were under the dominion of the Abbasids, has been 
omitted. Perhaps some other scholar may take up the 
subject, with fuller knowledge than I have, and write the 
historical geography of Arabia with Egypt across the Red 
Sea under the Fatimid Caliphs ; completing the circuit of 
Moslem lands by describing the various provinces of North 
Africa, with the outlying and shortlived, though most 
splendid, western Caliphate of Spain. 


If Moslem history is ever to be made interesting, and in- 
deed to be rightly understood, the historical geography of the 
nearer East during the middle-ages must be thoroughly 
worked out I have made a first attempt, but how much 
more needs to be done, and better done than in the present 
volume, I am the first to recognise. The ground, however, 
for future work is now cleared ; the authorities for each 
statement are given in the footnotes; some mistakes are 
corrected of previous writers, and a beginning made of 
a complete survey for this period of the provinces of the 
Abbasid Caliphate. But my book is only a summary, and 
does not pretend to be exhaustive ; also to keep down the 
size, I have been obliged to omit translating in full the 
Itineraries, which our Moslem authorities give us. In this 
matter a new edition, duly corrected from recently published 
texts, is indeed much needed of Sprenger's Post und Reise 
Routen des Orients, though the translation of the Itineraries 
which Professor De Goeje has appended to his edition of 
Ibn Khurdadbih and Kudamah, goes far to supply the 

With each province I have given such information as 
our authorities afford of the trade and manufactures ; the 
record, however, is very fragmentary, and for a general 
survey of the products of the Moslem east, during the 
middle-ages, the chapter on the subject (Handel und 
Gewcrbe) in A. von Kremer's Cidturgeschichte des Orients 
is still the best that I know. 

A chronological list of the Moslem geographers referred 
to in the notes by initial letters is given at the end of 
the Table of Contents. The fuller titles of other works 
quoted in the notes are given on the first reference to each 
author, and the names of their works will easily be 
recovered, for subsequent references, by consulting the 
index for the first mention made of the book. 

In the introductory chapter a summary description 
will be found of the works of the Arab geographers; 


but this matter has already been more fully discussed in 
Palestine under the Moslems. 

The dates are given according to the years of the 
Hijrah, with the corresponding year A.D. (in brackets). 
The method of transcription adopted needs no comment, 
being that commonly in use ; it may be noted that the 
Arab w is usually pronounced v in Persian ; and that 
besides the emphatic z the Arab dh and d are both 
indifferently pronounced z in modern Persian, while the th 
has the sound of s. 

In a work like the present, almost entirely composed 
from eastern sources, many errors will doubtless be found ; 
also, with the great number of references, mistakes are 
unavoidable, and I shall feel most grateful for any corrections, 
or notice of omissions. 

My hope is that others may be induced to set to work 
in this field of historical geography, and if this essay be 
soon superseded by a more complete survey of the ground, 
it will have served its purpose in having prepared the way 
for better things. 


May, 1905. 




Mesopotamia and Persia, their provinces under the Abbasid Caliphs. The 
outlying provinces to the north-west and the north-east. The high roads 
from Baghdad to the Moslem frontiers. The Moslem geographers, and 
their works. Other authorities. Place-names in the Arabic, Turkish, 
and Persian provinces . i 


The division of Mesopotamia, Northern and Southern. 'Irak or Babylonia. 
Change in the courses of the Euphrates and Tigris. The great irrigation 
canals. Baghdad. Madain and the cities on the Tigris thence down to 
Fam-as-Silh 34 

'IRAK (continued). 

Wash. The Great Swamps. Madhir and Kurnah. The Blind Tigris. 
Basrah and its canals. Ubullah and 'Abbadan. The Tigris above 
Baghdad. Baradan. The Dujayl district. 'Ukbara, Harba, and Kl- 
disiyah 39 

'IRAK (continued). 

Samarra. Takrtt. The Nahrawan canal. Ba*kuba and lother towns. Nahr- 
awan town, and the Khurasan road. JalCila and Khanikfn. Bandanijan 
and Bayat. Towns on the Euphrates from Hadtthah to Anbar. The 
*!si- canal. Muhawwal, Sarsar and the Nahr-al- Malik. The Kutha 
canal 53 


'IRAK (continued). 

The bifurcation of the Euphrates. The Sura channel. Kasr Ibn Hubayrah. 
Nil and its canal. The Nahr Nars. The Badat canal, and Pombedita. 
The Kiifah channel. Kiifah city. Kadisiyah. Mashhad 'All and 
Karbala. The twelve Asians of 'Irak. Trade. The high roads of 
'Irak 70 



The three districts. The district of Diyar Rabi'ah. Mosul, Nineveh, and the 
neighbouring towns. Great Zab, Hadithah, and Irbil. Little Zab, Sinn, 
and Dakiik. The Lesser Khabiir, Hasantyah, and 'Imadiyah. Jazirah 
Ibn 'Omar and Mount Judi. Nasibin and Ras-al-'Ayn. Mardin and 
Dunaysir. The Hirmas and the Khabur. 'Arabin and the Tharthar 
river. Sinjar and Hadr. Balad and Adhramab . . . 86 

jAziRAH (continued). 

The district of Diyar Mudar. Rakkah and Rafikah. The river Baltkh and 
Harran, Edessa and Hisn-Maslamah. Karkisiya. The Nahr Sa'td, 
Kabbah, and Daliyah. Rusafah of Syria. 'Anah. Balis, Jisr Manbij, 
and Sumaysat. Sariij. The district of Diyar Bakr. Amid, Hint, and 
the source of.the Tigris. Mayyafarlktn and Arzan. Hisn Kayfa and Tall 
Fafan. Sa'irt 101 



The Eastern Euphrates or Arsanas. Milasgird and Mush. Shimshat and 
Hisn Ziyad or Kharput. The Western Euphrates. Arzan-ar-Riim or 
Kaltkald. Arzanjan and Kamkh. The castle of Abrlk or Tephrike. 
Malatiyah and Tarandah. Zibatrah and Hadath. Hisn-Mansur, Bahasna, 
and the Sanjah bridge. Products of Upper Mesopotamia. The high 
roads ... 115 




Biiad-ar-Rum or the Greek country. The line of fortresses from Malatiyah 
to Tarsus. The two chief passes across the Taurus. The Constantinople 
high road by the Cilician Gates. Trebizond. Three sieges of Constantinople. 
Moslem raids into Asia Minor. The sack of Amorion by Mu'tasim. 
Invasion of Asia Minor by the Saljuks. The kingdom of Little Armenia. 
The Crusaders. The chief towns of the Saljuk Sultanate of Rum 127 


ROM (continued}. 

The ten Turkoman Amirates. Ibn Batutah and Mustawfi. Kaysariyah and 
Sivas. The Sultan of Mesopotamia. The Amtr of Karaman. KCmiyah. 
The Amir of Tekkeh, 'Alaya, and Antaliyah. The Amir of Hamid, 
Egridur. The Amir of Germiyan, Kutahiyah, and Sivri-Hisar. The 
Amtr of Mentesha, Milas. The Amir of Aydin, Ephesus, and Smyrna. 
The Amir of Sarukhan, Magnesia. The Amir of Karasi, Pergamos. The 
*Othmanli territory, Brusa. The Amir of Kizil Ahmadli, Sinub . 144 



The lake of Urmiyah. Tabriz. Sarav. Maraghah and its rivers. Pasawa 
and Ushnuh. Urmiyah city and Salmas; Khoi and Marand. Nakhchivan. 
Bridges over the Araxes. Mount Sablan. Ardabil and Ahar. The 
Safid Rud and its affluents. Miyanij. Khalkhal and Firuzabad. The 
Shal river and Shah Rud district 159 



The Gilans. Daylam and the Talish districts. Barvan, Dulab, and Khashm. 
Lahijan, Rasht, and other towns of Gilan. The district of MCighan. 
Bajarvan and Barzancl. Mahmiidabad. Warthan. The province of 
Arran. Bardha*ah. Baylakan. Ganjah and Shamkur. The rivers Kur 
and Aras. The province of Shirvan. Shamakhi. Bdkuyah and Bdb-al- 
Abwab. The province of Gurjistan or Georgia. Tiflfs and Kars. The 
province of Armenia. Dabil or Dw\in. The lake of Van. Akhlat, 
Arjish, Van, and Bitlis. Products of the northern provinces 172 



The province of Jibal, or 'Irak 'Ajam, with its four districts. Kirmastn 
or Kirmanshahan. Bisutftn and its sculptures. Kangnvar. Dtnavar. 
Shahrazur. Hulwin. The great KJiurasan road. Kirind. Kurdistan 
under the Saljuks. Bahar. Jamjamal. Alant and Altshtar. Ramadan 
and its districts. Darguzfn. Kharak&nayn and the northern Avah. 
Nihivand. Karaj of Rfidravar, and Karaj of Abu-Dulaf. Farihin 185 

JIBAL (continued}. 

Little Lur. Bur&jird. Khurramabad. Shapdrkhwast. Strawan and Saymarah. 
Isfahin and its districts. Flruzin ; Farifan and the river Zandah Rud. 
Ardistin. Kishan. Kum, Gulpaygan, and the Kum river. Avah and 
Savah. The river Givmalia ....... 200 

JIBAL (continued}. 

Ray. Vardmln and Tihran. Kazvin and the castle of Alamut. Zanjan. 
Sultanlyah. Shtz' or Satfirlk. Kh^naj. The districts of Tilikan and 
Tirum. The castle of Shamtran. The trade and products of the Jibal 
province. The high roads of Jibal, Adharbsiyjan and the frontier pro- 
vinces of the north- west 314 


The Dujayl or Krun river. Khuzistan and Ahwaz. Tustar or Shustar. 
The Great Weir. The Masrukan canal. *Askar Mukram. Junday 
Shipur. Dizful. Sus and the Karkhah river. Basinni and Mattuth. 
Karkiib and Diir-ar-Rasibf. Hawizah and Nahr Tir^. Dawrak and the 
Surrak district. Hisn Mahdf. The Dujayl estuary. Ramhurmuz and 
the Zutt district. Territory of Great Lur. fdhaj or Mal-Amtr. SAsan. 
Lurdagan. Trade and products of Khuzistan. The high roads . 232 




Division of province into five districts or Kiirahs. The district of Ardashtr 
Khurrah. Shiraz. Lake Mahaluyah. The Sakkan river. Juwaym. 
Dasht Arzin lake. Kuvar. Khabr and Simkan. Karzin and the 
Kubad Khurrah district. Jahram. Juwaym of Abu Ahmad. Mandistan. 
Irahistan. Jur or Firuzabad. The coast districts of Firs. Kays island. 
Sfraf. Najiram and Tawwaj. Ghundljan. Kharik and other islands 
of the Persian Gulf 248 


FARS (continued). 

The district of Shapiir Khurrah. Shapur city and cave. The Ratfn river. 
Nawbanjan. The White Castle and Sha'b Bavv&n. The Zamms of the 
Kurds. Kazirun and its lake. The rivers Ikhshfn and Jarshlk. Jirrah 
and the Sabuk budge. The Arrajan district and Arrajan city. The Tib 
river. Bihbahan. The river Shirin. Gunbadh Mallagh&n. Mahrubdn. 
Sinfz and Jannabah. The river Shadhkan 262 

FARS (continued). 

The Istakhr district, and Istakhr city or Persepolis. Rivers Kur ind Pulvar. 
Lake Bakhtigan and the cities round it. The Marvdasht plain. Bayda 
and May in. Kushk-i-Zard. Sarmak and Yazdikhwast. The three roads 
from Shlraz to Isfahan. Abarkiih. Yazd city, district, and towns. The 
Rudhan distiict and its towns. Shahr-i-B4bak and Harat . . 275 

FARS (continued). 

The Darabjird Ktirah or Shabankarah district. Darabjird city. Darkan and 
Ig. Niriz and Istahbanat. Fasa, Runfz, and Khasu. Lar and Furg. 
Tarum and Suru. The trade and manufactures of Fars. The high roads 
across Fars 288 



The five districts of Kirman. The two capitals. Sfrjn, the first capital, its 
position and history. Bardasir, the second capital, now Kirman city. 
Mahan and its saint. Khabis. Zarand and Kuhbinan, Cobinan of 
Marco Polo 299 

KIRMAN (continued} 

The Sirjan district. Bam and Narmasir district*. Rigan. Jiruft and Kama- 
din, Camadi of Marco Polo. Dilfarfd. The Bariz and Kafs mountains. 
Rudhkan and Manujdn. Hurmuz, old and new, and Gombroon. The 
trade of the Kirman province. The high roads . . . 311 


The extent and characteristics of the Great Desert. The three oases at 
Jarmak, Naband and Sanij. The chief roads across the desert. The 
Makran province. Fannazbur and the port of Tfz. Other towns. 
Sind and India. The port of Daybul. Mansurah and Multan. The 
river Indus. The Turin district and Kusdar. The Budahah district 
and Kandabil 322 


Sijistan, or Nimruz, and Zabulistan. Zaranj the capital. The Zarah lake. 
The Helmund river and its canals. The ancient capital at Ram 
Shahristan. Nih. Farah and the Faiah river. The Khash river and 
the Nfshak district. Karntn and other towns. Rudbar and Bust. 
The districts of Zamin Dawar. Rukhkhaj and Balis, or Walishtan. 
Kandahar, Ghaznah, and Kabul. The silver mines. The high roads 
through Sijistan 334 



The province called Tunocain by Marco Polo. Kayin and Tun. Turshiz and the 
Pusht district. The Great Cypress of Zoroaster. Zavah. Buzjan and 
the Zam district. Bakharz district and Malin. Khwaf. Zirkuh. Dasht- 
i-Biyad. Gunabad and Bajistan. Tabas of the dates. Khawst or Khusf. 
Birjand and Muminabad. Tabas Masinan and Duruh . . 352 


The province of Kumis. Damghan. Bistam. Biyar. Samnan and Khuvar. 
The Khurasan road through Kumis. The province of Tabaristan or 
Mazandaran. Amul. Sari yah. Mount Damavand, with the districts of 
Fadusban, Karin and Rubanj. Firuzkuh and other castles. Natil, 
Silus, and the Ruyan district. The fortress of Tak and the Rustamdar 
district. Mamtir and Tamisah. Kabud Jamah and the Bay of Nim 
Murdan. The province of Gurgan or Jurjan. The river Jurjan and the 
river Atrak. Jurjan city and Astarabad. The port of Abaskun. The 
Dihistan district and Akhur. The high roads through Tabaristan and 
Jurjan 364 


The four quarters of Khurasan. The Nishapfir quarter. Nishapur city and 
Shadyakh. The Nishapfir district. Tus and Mashhad, with its 
shrine. Bayhak and Sabzivar. Juwayn, Jajarm, and Isfarayin. Ustuva 
and Kuchan. Radkan, Nisa, and Abivard. Kalat, Khabaran, and 
Sarakhs 382 

KHURASAN (continued}. 

The Marv quarter. The Murghab river. Great Marv and its villages. 
Amul and Zamm, on the Oxus. Marv-ar-Rud, or Little Marv, and Kasr 
Ahnaf 397 


KHURAsAN (continued). 

The Hert quarter. The Herat river, or Hart Rud. The city of Herat. 
Malin and towns on the upper Hart Rud. Bushanj. The Asfuzir district. 
The Badghis district and its towns. Kanj Rustak. Districts of Gharjistin 
andGhur. Bamiyan 407 

KHURAsAN (continued). 

The Baikh quarter of Khurasan. Balkh city and Naw Bahir. The district 
of Juzjan. Talikan and Jurzuwan. Maymanah or Yahudtyah. F&ryab. 
Shuburkan, Anbar and Andakhud. The Tukharistan district. Khulm, 
Siminjan, and Andarabah. Warwalfz and Tayikan. The products of 
Khurasan. The high roads through Khurasan and Kuhistan . 420 


Transoxiana in general. The names Oxus and Jaxartes. The upper affluents 
of the Oxus. Badakhshan and Wakhkhan. Khuttal and Wakhsh. 
Kubadhiyan and Saghaniyan,* with their towns. The Stone Bridge. 
Tirmidh. The Iron Gate. Kilif, Akhsisak, and Firabr. The Aral Sea 
or Lake of Khwarizm. Freezing of the Oxus in winter . . 433 


The province of Khwarizm. The two capitals : Kith and Jurjaniyah. Old 
and new Urganj. Khtvah and Hazarasp. The canals of Khwarizm : towns 
to right and left of Oxus. Lower course of the Oxus to the Caspian. 
Trade and products of Khwarizm 446 


Bukhara, and the five cities within the Great Wall. Baykand. Samarkand. 
The Buttam mountains and the Zarafshan or Sughd .river. Kanntniyah, 
Dabdsiyah and Rabinjan. Kish and Nasaf, with neighbouring towns. 
The products of Sughd. Routes beyond the Oxus as far as Samar- 
kand 460 



The Ushrfisanah province. Bftnjikath the capital. Zamtn and other towns. 
The Farghanah province. The Jaxartes or Sayhdn. Akhstkath and 
Andijin. t)sh, Uzkand, and other cities. The province of Shish. 
Shash city or Binkath. Banakath or Shahnikhtyah, and other towns. 
The tlak district. Tunkath city and the silver mines of Khasht. The 
IsbSjab district. Isbljib city or Say ram. Chimkand and Farab or Utrar. 
Yasst and Sabran. Jand and Yanghikant. Taraz and Mfrkl. Outlying 
towns of the Turks. Products of the Jaxartes countries. Routes to the 
north of Samarkand 474 

INDEX 491 


I. The Provinces of South-western Asia during the Caliphate 

to face p. i 

II. The Provinces of 'Irak and Khuzistan with part of Jazfrah 

to face p. 25 

III. The Provinces of Jazfrah and Adharb&yjan with the North-west 

Frontier ....... to face p. 87 

IV. The Province of Rum ,, p. 127 

V. The Provinces of Jibal and Jflan with Mazandaran, Kumis, and 

Jurjan to face p. 185 

VI. Tne Provinces of Fars and Kirman ... p. 249 

VII. The Province of Makran with part of Sijistan . ,, p. 323 
VIII. The Provinces of Khurasan, Kuhist&n with part of Sijistan 

to face p. 335 

IX. The Provinces of the Oxus and Jaxartes . . p. 433 

X. The Province of Khwarizm .... ,, p. 447 


A. H. A. D. 

I. K. 

Ibn Khurdidbih 











I. S. 

Ibn Serapion 



I. R. 

Ibn Rustah 



I. F. 

Ibn Faklh 











I. H. 

Ibn Hawkal 


r 97 8) 





N. K. ... Nasir-i-Khusraw .. 438 (1047) 

F. N. 

Ffirs N&mah 








Ibn Jubayr 

... 580 




... 623 










A. F. 








I. B. 

Ibn Batutah 




Hafiz Abrti 




'All of Yazd 




Jah&n Nnmd 








p. 63, line 2 

The naphtha spring of Khnik!n is at the modern Naft Khanah. 
(R. Levy.) 

line 1 1 from bottom 

Bandanijfn is the modem Mendeltj or Mendeli ; and Badaraya is modern 
Badrai. Both these names are found on the Survey of India Map, 1914. 
(R. Levy.) 

p. 6$, line 23 

Shafatha is an oasis lying 40 miles west of Karbala: 'Ayn-at-Tamr has 
not been identified. 

p. 74 line 13 

The site of Pombedita is probably to be sought for at Kifl on the Shatt- 
al-Hindiyah where the tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel is shown. 

p. 86, line 7 

The settlement of the tribes of Rabi'ah and Bakr in Upper Mesopotamia, 
according to Baladhurt (p. 178), took place after Sassanian days at the 
time of the Moslem Conquest. (A. A. Bevan.) 

p. Hi, line 24 

For"Maypharkath" read "Mayperkat." See W. Wright, Catalogue 
ofSyriac MSS, p. 1304. (A. A. Bevan.) 

p. 141, line 4 from bottom 

Read " drowned in the river Calycadnus near Salukfyah (Seleucia of 
Cilicia)," and omit next three lines to foot of page. 

p. 144, line 8 from bottom 

For "Bythia" read "Bithynia." 

p. 155, lines 

After "Agiou Theologon" add as a note: " Hence not Loukas as often 
stated wrongly." 

p. 167, line 6 

Delete "cochineal" and insert *' sec below p. 184." 

p. 1 68, line 17 

The mountain called Sarahand lay on the Kiblah (south-west) side of 
Abhar: see below p. ill. Also p. 169, line 3* for "north" read 

p. 175, line 20 

For " east " read west " coast of Caspian. 

p. 182, line ii add as note 

Erivan (at present the chief town of the province) was founded as a 
frontier fortress by Rivan (or Erivan) Khin in the days of Shah Isma'tl I 
(1503 to 1534). See Hammer Purgstall, Getckichtc des osmanischen 
Reichts, IV, 85. 

p. 184, line 12 add as note 

The Kirmiz insect (Kermes ilicis of Linnaeus) feeds on the leaves of the 
oak, and is allied to the American cochineal insect which lives on the 

p. 187, line 9 from bottom 

For "Here" read "Three leagues from here." 

p. 195, line 14 

For "Juhastah" read "Juhastah," and line 21, for "Zablyah" read 

p. 222, line 7 

After " Abhar river " add " (which took its rise in the Saraband mountain 
to the south-west)." 

p. 329 

"Mukran" is the more exact spelling. 

P- 393* Add to footnote 2 

The ruins of Shahr-i-Bilkts have been described and planned by Sir 
Percy Sykes: see 'A sixth Journey in Persia' in the Geographical 
Journal^ 191 1, p. <S. Clavijo visited them in 1404, and writes the name 
of the town Zabrain. 

p. 513, first column line 17 

Read "318" for "317." 

p. 520, first column, as line 3 
Insert "Mukan, 175." 



Mesopotamia and Persia, their provinces under the Abbasid Caliphs. The 
outlying provinces to the north-west and the north-east. The high roads 
from Baghdad to the Moslem frontier. The Moslem geographers, and 
their works. Other authorities. Place-names in the Arabic, Turkish, 
and Persian provinces. 

Mesopotamia and Persia had formed the kingdom of the 
Sassanian Chosroes, which the Arabs utterly overthrew when, 
after the death of Muhammad, they set forth to convert the world 
to Islam. Against the Byzantines, the other great power which 
the Moslems attacked, they achieved only a partial victory, taking 
possession, here and there, of rich provinces, notably of the coast 
lands to the south and east of the Mediterranean ; but elsewhere 
the Emperors successfully withstood the Caliphs, and for many 
centuries continued to do so, the Roman empire in the end 
surviving the Caliphate by over two hundred years. 

The kingdom of the Sassanians, on the other hand, the Arabs 
completely overran and conquered; Yazdajird, the last of the 
Chosroes, was hunted down and slain, and the whole land of 
lrn passed under the rule of Islam. Then further, and to no 
inconsiderable extent, the empire of the Caliphs, which had taken 
over bodily the administration of the older Persian kingdom, 
came itself to be modelled on the pattern in government which 
the Chosroes had established; this more especially under the 
Abbasids, who, rather more than a century after the death of 
the Prophet, overthrew their rivals the Omayyads, and changing 
the seat of the Caliphate from Syria to Mesopotamia, founded 
Baghdid on the Tigris, a few miles above Ctesiphon, the older 
winter capital of the Sassanians. 


Baghdad forthwith became, for the East, the centre of the 
Moslem empire, but from the time of the first Abbasid Caliph 
this empire no longer remained, even nominally, undivided. 
Spain fell off, and before long an Omayyad Caliph at Cordova 
was the rival of the Abbasid Caliph at Baghdad. In rather 
more than a century after their establishment in power, the Abba- 
sids also lost Egypt, which, at about the date when the Omayyad 
prince at Cordova had recently proclaimed himself Commander 
of the Faithful, passed into the power of the Fatimids, who 
likewise took the style of Caliph, and renounced allegiance to 
Baghdad. Syria had for the most part followed the fortunes of 
Egypt ; Arabia was the debateable land between the two ; in the 
Further East many provinces became independent of the Abbasid 
Caliph, but there no permanent rival Caliphate was established ; 
so that in general terms all those broad provinces, which had 
formed the Sassanian kingdom before the days of Islam, remained 
to the last nominally, if not really, subject to the Abbasids. This 
vast stretch of country, bounded to the eastward by the deserts of 
Central Asia, with the mountains of Afghanistan, and westward 
by the Byzantine empire, was divided among the many provinces 
which will be described in detail in the succeeding chapters of the 
present work. The names of the provinces, and their boundaries, 
for the most part (and as far as is known), were under the Arabs 
identical with those that had existed under the Chosroes ; indeed 
the East alters so little that in the majority of cases both names 
and boundaries have remained almost unchanged to the present 
diy, though, as was to be foreseen, the political state, and especially 
the economical or material conditions of the country, have varied 
considerably during the last thirteen hundred years. 

It will be convenient, before proceeding further, to give a brief 
summary of these various provinces, taking them in the order in 
which they are described in the succeeding chapters. 

The great lowland province, which the Greeks called Mesopo- 
tamia, is the gift of its two rivers the Euphrates and the Tigris ; 
and the latter in its lower course (as will be more fully explained 
in Chapter II) did not, in Abbasid times, run in the channel 
wjiich its waters follow at the present day. A glance at the map 
shows that the sterile Arabian desert comes close up to the 


western border of the Euphrates, and this river, therefore, has no 
right bank affluents. With the Tigris, on the other hand, it is 
different ; the highlands of Persia follow a line standing back at 
a considerable distance from the eastern side of this river, and 
many streams flow down from the Persian mountains, these 
forming numerous left bank affluents of the Tigris. The Moslems 
inherited from the Sassanians a system of irrigation for Meso- 
potamia which made this province one of the richest in the 
known world. The system will be more fully explained later ; but 
briefly it may be said that the Arabs effectually watered the 
country lying between the two rivers by draining the surplus of 
the Euphrates through a number of transverse canals flowing to 
the Tigris; while the districts to the eastward of the Tigris, 
extending up to the foot-hills of the Persian highlands, were 
watered in part by the streams which flowed down from these 
mountains, in part by a series of loop canals, taken from the left 
bank of the Tigris, and returning to it again, which in turn 
absorbed the flood-waters of the many small rivers rising in the 
eastern hills. 

The Arabs divided Mesopotamia into two provinces, Lower 
and Upper, of which the Lower comprised the rich alluvial lands 
known anciently as Babylonia. Lower Mesopotamia was called 
Al-'Mfc and its northern limit (which, however, varied at different 
times) was a line going east and west, from points on the Eu- 
phrates and Tigris, respectively, where these two rivers first began 
to flow near each other through the Mesopotamian plain. The 
largest city of 'Irafc, under the Abbasids, was of course Baghdad; 
but already a century before that dynasty had come to power, the 
first Moslems, on conquering this part of Mesopotamia, had 
founded three great towns, Wish, Kftfah, and Basrah, which 
continued to flourish for many centuries ; and these, with Anbar 
(already a city in Sassanian days) lying on the Euphrates in the 
latitude of Baghdad, were the great centres of population in the 
'Irafc province under the Abbasid Caliphs. 

North of the limit of the alluvial lands stretched the hard and 
somewhat stony plains of Upper Mesopotamia, where had been 
the kingdom of Nineveh in ancient times. Upper Mesopotamia 
the Arabs called Al-Jazhah, the island,' or rather ' the peninsula,' 


or partial island, for these great plains were almost enclosed by 
a ring of waters, formed by the upper courses of the Euphrates 
and Tigris, and by streams or canals joining the two to the 
southward of the stony plains. The province of Jazirah extended 
north to the mountains in which the two great rivers had their 
sources ; it was divided into three districts, named after the Arab 
tribes which had settled here in the times of the Chosroes, and its 
chief towns were Mosul near the ruins of Nineveh, Amid on the 
Upper Tigris, and Rakkah at the great bend of the Euphrates, 
near the desert border on the further side of which is Damascus. 

The chapter following deals with the mountainous countries 
in which the twin rivers, which are the head streams of the 
Euphrates, take their rise. This country formed the debateable 
land between the Caliphate and the empire. Time and again its 
towns and fortresses were taken and retaken, by Moslems and 
Christians, as the tide of war ebbed and flowed. The country was 
never permanently settled by the Arabs, and detailed descrip- 
tion of it is for the most part lacking in our earlier authorities. 
The same remark, and in a higher degree, applies to the province 
called Rum (the Roman Territory) which, till the latter part 
of the th (nth) century, remained an integral part of the 
Byzantine empire; for between this province and the Caliphate 
the great rampart of the Taurus chain formed the line of 
demarcation. Almost yearly the Moslems made incursions 
through the Taurus passes into Anatolia; more than once they 
laid ineffectual siege to Constantinople; and at times they 
garrisoned and occupied divers fortress towns up on the great 
plateau of Asia Minor. But beyond such temporary occupation 
the Abbasid Caliphs did not succeed in conquering the upland 
country; they made many raids through Asia Minor, but they 
held no land, and Moslem rule was not established there, until 
in the decline of the Caliphate, the Saljflfc Turks settled in these 
highlands which they wrested from the Byzantines, and then finally 
Asia Minor, or Rtim, came to be counted as Moslem land, in 
which condition it still remains. 

To the east of Jazirah, or Upper Mesopotamia, came the pro- 
vince of Adharbyj4n, the ancient Atropatene, bounded above and 
below, respectively, by the Araxes and the White River, the Safld- 


Rtid, both of which streams flowed into the Caspian. The most 
notable natural feature of this province was the great salt lake, 
now known as the lake of Urmiyah, near which stood Tabriz 
and Marighah, the provincial capitals, while Ardabil, another 
great town, lay to the eastward nearer the shore of the Caspian. 
The chapter following describes a number of smaller provinces of 
the nprth-western border. First Gil&n, or Jilan, on the Caspian, 
where the Safid-Rftd, breaking through the Alburz range, the 
mountain barrier of the Persian highlands, flows through an 
alluvial plain of its own making, pushing out a small delta into 
the Caspian. Next, the province of Mughin at the mouth of the 
combined Araxes and Cyrus rivers; then Arran lying to the 
westward between the courses of these two rivers ; with Shirvin 
to the north of the Cyrus, and Gurjistin (Georgia) at its head 
waters. Lastly we have Moslem Armenia lying at the head 
waters of the Araxes, which is the mountainous province sur- 
rounding the lake of Van. 

South-east of Adharbayjan spreads the rich province of Media, 
which the Arabs very appropriately called Al-Jibal, 'the moun- 
tains/ for its mountains overhang the lowlands of Lower 
Mesopotamia, and, range behind range, stretch across eastward to 
the border of the Great Desert of Central Persia. The western 
part of the Jibal province, in later times, when the Kurds 
attained fame and power, came to be known as Kurdistin ; and 
in the later middle-ages, but by a misnomer, as will be explained 
in due course, the province of Al-Jibal was often called 'Irafc 
'Ajami, or Persian *Mk, in contrast to Arabian 'Irik, which was 
Lower Mesopotamia. The Jibal province included many great 
cities; in the west Kirmanshah and HamadSn (the latter the 
ancient Ecbatana) ; in the north-east Ray (Rhages), and to the 
south-east Ispahan. At a later period the Mongols of Persia 
founded Sult&rityah in its northern plains, which for a time taking 
the place of Baghdad, became the capital of this portion of their 
empire, which included both Mesopotamia and Persia under the 
rule of the tl-Kh&n. In the mountains of the Jibdl province 
many rivers take their rise, among the rest the KirQn, which the 
Arabs called Dujayl or Little Tigris, and which after a long and 
tortuous course flows out at the head of the Persian Gulf, a little 


to the east of the combined mouth of the Euphrates and 

The province of Khftzistin, lying south of Media and east of 
Lower Mesopotamia, occupies the lower course of the Kirtin 
river, or Dujayl, with its numerous affluents. This country was 
extremely rich; Tustar and Ahwiz were its chief towns; and its 
lands being plentifully irrigated were most productive. East of 
KMzistin, and bordering the Gulf, lay the great province of Firs, 
the ancient Persis and the cradle of the Persian monarchy. Under 
the Abbasids it still kept the division into the five Ktirahs, or 
districts, which had been organized under the Sassanians, and 
Firs was closely studded with towns, great and small, the most 
important of which were Shiriz the capital, Istakhr (Persepolis), 
Yazd, Arrajin, and Dirabjird. The islands of the Gulf were 
counted as of Firs, and Kays island was in important commercial 
centre before the rise of Hurmuz. The chief physical feature of 
Firs was the great salt lake of Bakhtigan, which with other smaller 
sheets of water stood in the broad highland valleys, whose 
mountains were offsets of the ranges in the Jibal province, 
already referred to. In Firs, the Darabjird district under the 
Mongols came to be counted as a separate province, and was 
in the ?th (isth) century called Shabinkirah ; the Yazd district 
also, in the later middle-ages, was given to the Jibal province. 

To the east of Firs lay the province of Kirmin, far less fertile, 
almost lacking in rivers, and bordering on the Great Desert. Of 
this province there were two capitals in Abbasid times, Sirjan and 
Kirman city ; and the two other most important towns of the 
province were Hurmuz, on -the coast ; and Jiruft, inland, a centre 
of much commerce. The Great Desert of Central Persia is the 
most remarkable physical feature of the high tableland of trin. 
This immense salt waste stretches south-east diagonally across 
Persia, from Ray, at the base of the mountains which on their 
northern side overlook the Caspian, spreading in a broad band 
or rather, in a dumb-bell-shaped depression the lower end of 
which merges into the hills of Makrin, the province bordering on 
the Indian Ocean. In the Great Desert there are few oases; 
a salt efflorescence covers much of the barren levels, but the 
desert in winter time is not difficult to pass, and many well 


marked tracks connect the towns on either side. But on the 
other hand the Great Desert is a real barrier to any continuous 
intercourse between the provinces of Firs and Kirm&n, which lie 
on its south-western side, and the eastern provinces which are 
beyond its other limit, namely Khurasan with Sfstan to the south- 
east, and this desert barrier has played an important part all 
through the history of Persia. After describing what the Moslem 
geographers have to say of the Great Desert, the same chapter 
deals with the Maknin province, which on the east touched India, 
running up to the highlands overlooking the Indus valley, part of 
which -is now known as BalQchistin. On these regions, however, 
our authorities are not very fully informed. 

North of Makran, and across the narrow part of the desert 
opposite Kirmin, lay the province of Sijistan or Stst&n, to the 
east of the extensive, but very shallow lake of Zarah. Into this 
lake drained the waters of the Helmund, and numerous other 
rivers flowing south-west from the high mountains of Afghanistan 
lying above Klbul and Ghaznah. Here Kandahar stood in a 
plain between two of the affluents of the Helmund, and where 
this great river flowed into the Zarah lake lay Zaranj, the capital 
of Sijistan. North-west of the Zarah lake, and on the border of 
the Great Desert, was the very hilly province aptly called Ktihisdin 
(Land of Mountains), the chief towns of which were Tftn and 
Klyin, well known as the Tunocain of Marco Polo ; Sijistan and 
Kflhistin thus forming the southern border of Khuris^n, the great 
eastern province of Persia. 

Before describing this last, however, the three small provinces 
of Ktimis, Tabaristin and Jurjin, which form the subject of the 
succeeding chapter, require notice. Kfimis, of which the capital 
was Damghln, lay in length along the north border of the Great 
Desert eastward of Ray, comprising the southern foot-hills of the 
mountain chain of Alburz which shuts off the high plateau of 
Persia from the Caspian Sea. These mountains, and more 
particularly their northern flank descending to the Caspian, 
formed the province of Tabarist&n, otherwise called Mzandarin, 
which extended from Gtlin and the delta of the White River 
(Saftd-Rftd), on the west, to the south-eastern corner of the 
Caspian. Here Tabaristin joined JurjfLn, or Gurg&n, the ancient 


Hircania, which included the valleys watered by the rivers Atrak 
and Jurjan, on which last stood Jurjan city. The Jurj&n 
province extended eastward from the Caspian Sea to the desert 
which separated Khurasan from the cultivated lands of the Oxus 
delta, namely the province of Khwarizm. 

The modern province of Khurisan is but a moiety of the 
great tract of country which, from Abbasid times down to the 
later middle-ages, was known under this name ; for Khurdsan of 
those days included what is now become the north-western part 
of Afghanistan. On the east, medieval Khurasan bordered on 
Badakhshan, its northern frontier was the Oxus and the desert 
of Khwarizm. The Moslem geographers divided Khuriisan into 
four quarters, named after its four capital cities; viz. Nishapur, 
Mary, Herat, and Balkh. From a physical point of view the 
remarkable feature of Khurasan consisted in the two great rivers 
of Herat and of Marv, which rising in the mountains of what is 
now Afghanistan, turned north and flowed out to waste in the 
sands of the desert towards Khwarizm, reaching no sea or lake. 

The chapter following deals with the upper waters of the Oxus, 
and a number of small provinces, stretching from Badakhshan 
westwards, which lie to the north, on the right bank affluents of 
the great river. Its delta, forming the province of Khwarizm to 
the south of the Aral Sea, is next described, of which Urganj was 
the older capital, and in this chapter some pages are devoted to 
clearing up the much debated subject of the older course of the 
Oxus to the Caspian. Beyond the great river, and between the 
Oxus and the Jaxartes, lay the province of Sughd, the ancient 
Sogdiana, with its two noble cities, Samarkand and Bukhara, both 
on the Sughd river. This is the penultimate chapter of the 
present work ; and the last chapter deals with the provinces along 
the Jaxartes, from Farghanah near the borders of the Chinese 
deserts, of which the capital was Akhsikath, to Shash, modern 
Tashkand, with the Isbijab province to the north-west, beyond 
which the Jaxartes flowed out, through the bleak wilderness, into 
the upper part of the Aral Sea. Of these northern countries of 
the Further East, however, lying beyond Central Asia, the earlier 
Arab geographers give but a succinct account. They were the 
Turk lands, and it was only after the Mongol invasion that they 


rose to importance; of this period unfortunately there is a lack 
of precise information, the Arab geographers failing us for the 
most part, and their place being but ill-supplied by the later 
Persian and Turkish authorities. 

The Moslems, by the injunction of their Prophet, were bound 
each, once in a lifetime, to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. 
Under the Abbasids, when the Moslem empire reached its fullest 
extent, the pilgrimage was facilitated by the elaborate system of 
high roads, all made to radiate from Baghdad, where the Tigris 
was crossed by those coming from the further east and bound 
for the Hijaz. Of this road system (which the Arabs had in- 
herited from the earlier Persian kingdom) we possess detailed 
contemporary descriptions ; and the chief lines, running through 
the provinces named in the foregoing paragraphs, may here be 
summarily described. 

The most famous of the trunk roads was the great Khurasan 
road, which, going east, united the capital with the frontier towns 
of the Jaxartes on the borders of China. This, too, is perhaps that 
which of all the roads is best described. Leaving East Baghdad by 
the Khurasan gate, it went across the plain, passing over numerous 
streams by well-built bridges, to Hulwan at the foot of the pass 
leading up to the highlands of Persia. Here it entered the Jibal 
province and after a steep ascent reached Kirmanshah, the capital 
of Kurdistan. Crossing the Jibal province diagonally, north- 
east, the road passed through Ramadan to Ray. From Ray 
onwards it went almost due east through Kumis, having the 
Tabaristan mountains on the left, and the^ Great Desert on the 
south, till it entered the province of Khurasan near the town of 
Bistam. Continuing onwards it came to Nishapur, then to Tus, 
and on to Marv, beyond which it crossed the desert to the 
Oxus bank at Amul, thence reaching successively Bukhara and 
Samarkand in the province of Sughd. At Zamin a short 
distance east of Samarkand, the road bifurcated: on the left 
hand one road proceeded to Shash (Tashkand) and ultimately to 
the ford at Utrar on the lower course of the Jaxartes ; the other 
road, leaving Zamin, turned off to the right, towards Farghanah 
and the Upper Jaxartes, coming to Akhsikath the capital, and 
finally to Uzkand on the borders of the Chinese desert. 


This in its full extent was the great Khurasin road ; and to 
the present day the post-roads crossing Persia, but centring in 
Tihrin, near the older Ray, follow the same long track which the 
earlier Arab geographers have described. After the fall of the 
Abbasid Caliphate, the road system was in part altered by the 
building of Sultiniyah, which became the capital of the Mongols. 
But all that this entailed was a branch read north from Hamad&n 
direct to Sultinlyah, which, for a time, took the place of Ray as 
the centre point of the roads in this quarter. 

In earlier days, under the Abbasids, cross-roads had branched 
off, right and left, to various parts of Persia from the chief towns 
along the KhurAsAn high road. Thus from near Kirminshih 
a road went north to Tabriz and other towns on the Urmfyah 
lake, with prolongations to Ardabil and to places on the Araxes. 
From Hamadin, going south-east, there was a high road to 
Isfahan \ and from Ray, going north-west, the distances to 
Zanjin are given, whence a highway led up to Ardabil. Nlshipftr 
in Khurasan was a centre for many branch roads ; southwards one 
went to Jabas on the borders of the Great Desert in Kfihistdn; 
another road went to Klyin ; while south-east was the highway to 
Herat, whence Zaranj in Sijistan was reached. From Marv a 
high road followed up the Marv river to Lesser Marv (Marv- 
ar-Rfld), where, joining a road coming from Herat, it went 
on to Balkh and the eastern frontier lands beyond the Oxus* 
Finally from Bukharit there was direct communication, north-west, 
with Urganj in Khwirizm ; and, south-west, with Tirmid on the 
Oxus opposite Balkh. 

This completes the system of the Khurisin road ; and now 
returning to Baghdad, the central point, the highways going in 
other directions must be sketched. Down the Tigris, the 
distances and stations being given both by land and by water, was 
the highway through Wash to Basrah, the great port for the trade 
of the Persian Gulf. From both Wasit and Basrah, Ahwaz in 
KMzistan was reached, and thence the high road went due east to 
Shiraz in Fars. This was a centre of many roads. North was the 
road to Isfahan and on to Ray; north-east, through Yazd and 
across the Great Desert Tabas was reached, which communicated 
with Nlshdpfir; eastward by more than one route Strjdn and 


Kirmin were in communication, and thence eastward across the 
Great Desert was the way to Zaranj in Sijist&n ; while south-east 
and south from Shiriz two roads branched towards the Persian 
Gulf ports, one passing through DUribjird to Sfirft near Hurmuz, 
the other to Sfrif, at one time the chief harbour of Firs. 

Returning once again to Baghdad, the central point, we find 
that the great Pilgrim road to Mecca and Medina left West 
Baghdad, going south to Ktifah on the border of the Arabian 
desert, which it crossed almost in a direct line to the IJijaz. A 
second Pilgrim road started from Basrah, running at first nearly 
parallel with the other, which it finally joined two stages north of 
Mecca. Then from Baghdad, north-west, a road went to the 
Euphrates at Anbar, and thence up that river to Rafckah, a centre 
point for roads across the Syrian desert to Damascus, and for 
many other highways going north to the Greek frontier towns. 
Finally from Baghdad, north, there were high roads up both banks 
of the Tigris to Mosul, whence Amid was reached on the one 
hand, and Kirlpsiya on the Euphrates to the south-west. From 
Amid there were roads communicating with most of the frontier 
fortresses towards the Greek country. 

This in brief was the road system under the Abbasids, which, 
centring in Baghdad, connected the capital by a system of post- 
stages with the outlying provinces of the empire. The system 
is very carefully described by the Arab geographers, and for pur- 
poses of reference it may be well now to give in chronological 
order a short account of our contemporary authorities, on whose 
works we rely for the facts set down in the following chapters 1 . 

The earlier of our authorities date from the middle of the 3rd 
(9th) century, and the first geographical treatises of the Arabs 
take the form of Road Books. These set forth in detail the various 
itineraries, are interspersed with short accounts of the towns 
passed through, and give the revenues and products, in turn, of 
each province. Of these Road Books we possess four, in par- 
ticular, which are of primary importance, and they complement 

1 For farther particulars of the Arab geographers see Palestine under the 
Moslems (London, 1 890) , the Introductory chapter ; also for more detail, the 
Introduction to the French translation of Abu-1-Fida, by M. Reinaud (Paris, 



each other, for their texts have in many passages come down to 
us in a mutilated condition. The authors of these Road Books of 
the 3rd (9*) century are Ibn Khurdadbih, Kudamah, Ya'ktibf 
and Ibn Rustah. 

The first two are almost identical in substance. Ibn Khur- 
dadbih was post-master of the Jibal province, Kudamah was 
a revenue accountant; their itineraries give stage by stage the 
distances along the great Khurasan road and the other trunk 
roads, as sketched in the preceding paragraphs, which radiated 
irom Baghdad. The work of Ya'ktibi has unfortunately not 
reached us in its entirety ; to it we owe the account of Baghdad 
which, with the description written by Ibn Serapion, has made it 
possible to work out in detail the topography of the Abbasid 
Capital. Ya'kubi gives further a number of valuable notes on 
many other cities, and the details of the high roads traversing the 
'Irak province are found fully set forth only in his work. Of Ibn 
Serapion, his contemporary, only a fragment has reached us ; but 
this, in addition to the account given of Baghdad, is of capital 
importance for the river and canal system of Mesopotamia; he 
gives also shorter descriptions of the rivers in other provinces. 
Ibn Rustah has written a similar work to Ya'kubi, adding many 
notices of towns ; but above all he has given us a most minute 
account of* the great Khurasan road as far as Tus, near Mashhad, 
with some of its branch roads, notably those going to Isfahan, and 
to Herat; also the road from Baghdad south to Ktlfah, and to 
Basrah, with the continuation eastward to Shiraz. On all these 
trunk lines, not only are the distances and stages given, but an 
exact description is added of the nature of the country passed 
through ; whether the way be hilly, ascending or descending, or 
whether the road lies in the plain ; and this description of Ibn 
Rustah is naturally of first-rate importance for the exact identifica- 
tion of the line traversed, and for fixing the position of many lost 
sites. Another authority is Ibn-al-Fak!h, a contemporary of Ibn 
Rustah, who wrote a very curious geographical miscellany, of which 
unfortunately only an abridgment has come down to us. Some 
of his notices of places, however, are of use in completing or 
correcting the earlier accounts 1 . 

1 The texts of Ibn Khurdadbih, Kudamah, Ya'kftbt, Ibn Rustah and 


The systematic geographers begin with the 4th (loth) century. 
They describe fully and in turn each province of the Moslem 
empire, only incidentally giving the high roads, and generally 
piecemeal for each province. Their works are of course a great 
advance on the Road Books; to them we owe such fulness of 
geographical detail as will be found in the following chapters, and 
the three first names on the list, Istakhri, Ibn Hawkal, and 
Mufcaddasi, are those to whose labours we are most materially 
indebted. The work of Ibn Hawfcal is but a new edition, partly 
enlarged and emended, of Istakhri ; on the other hand Istakhri, 
a native of Persepolis, gives the description of his native province, 
Fars, in far greater detail than is to be found in Ibn Hawkal, who 
reduced his chapter on Fars to the due proportion of the remainder 
cJf the book. Mukaddasi, their contemporary, wrote his geography 
entirely on independent lines, and chiefly from his personal 
observations of the divers provinces. His work is probably the 
greatest, it is certainly the most original, of all those which the 
Arab geographers composed; his descriptions of places, of manners 
and customs, of products and manufactures, and his careful 
summaries of the characteristics of each province in turn, are 
indeed some of the best written pages to be found in all the 
range of medieval Arab literature. 

It is further to be remarked that to these last three systematic 
geographers we owe the exact identification of most of the names 
displayed on the accompanying maps. At the close of each 
chapter they give a table of ' the distances,' namely the stages or 
sections of the great high roads, already described, which crossed 
the province in question, and in addition to the high roads an 
immense number of cross-distances ar$ added, going between 

Ibn-al-Fakfh are edited by Professor De Goeje in volumes v, vi, and vn of 
his series Bibliotheca Geograpkorum Arabicorum (Leyden, 1885 1892); 
further in vol. vi he has added a French translation, with many important 
notes, of the first two authorities. Of Ibn Serapion the text, describing Meso- 
potamia, will be found in the your. /?. Asiat. Soc. for 1895, P- 9 ; and the MS. 
referred to is that in the British Museum, numbered Add. 23,379. Ya'kubi, in 
addition to his work on geography, also wrote a history, the text of which 
has been edited by Professor M. T. Houtsma (Ibn~ Wddkih, qui dicitur Al- 
Ja'qttbt, ffistoriaci Leyden, 1883), and this often contains valuable informa- 
tion in matters of geography. 


neighbouring towns. These distances, plotted out and starting 
from known points, enable us to cover the map with a system of 
triangulation, by means of which the positions of some towns, 
long ruined, and the very vestiges of which have in many cases 
disappeared, can be approximately laid "down ; as, for instance, in 
the case of Tawwaj in Fars, the ruins of which have not yet been 
identified, though their situation can now be fixed within narrow 
limits. Another writer of the 4th (loth) century is Mas'ftdS, who 
has left two works ; the first for the most part historical, and well 
known under the title of The Golden Meadows \ the second, a sort 
of commonplace book, full of curious details and notes, which is 
called At-Tanbth, ' The Admonishment' .' 

Coming to the 5th and 6th (nth and i2th) centuries, we have 
the works of two famous travellers, pilgrims, whose descriptions 
of the places they passed through are of considerable importance. 
Nasir, son of Khusraw, the Persian, in the middle of the sth (nth) 
century went from Khurasan to Mecca and back, visiting Egypt 
and Syria on his way out, and crossing Arabia on the homeward 
journey, and his diary, written in Persian, is one of the earliest 
works we possess in that language. Ibn Jubayr, the Spanish 
Arab, a century later made the pilgrimage starting from Granada ; 
and his account of Mesopotamia, particularly of Baghdad, is one 
of the most interesting that has come down to us. Dating from 
the beginning of the 6th ( 1 2th) century is another Persian work, 
called the Pars Ndmah (Book of Fars), describing most minutely 
that province, and invaluable as far as it goes. Also dating from 
the middle of this century we have the systematic geography of 
Idris!, who lived at the court of the Norman king, Roger II of 
Sicily. He wrote in Arabic, and very inconveniently has composed 

1 The texts of Istakhri, Ibn Hawkal, and Mukaddasl form volumes I, n, 
and ill, respectively, of the already- mentioned series of the Bibl. Geogr. Arab. 
{Leyden, 18701877). Of Mas'udi the text of the Tanbth has been edited by 
Professor De Goeje in vol. vm of the same series (Leyden, 1894) ; and a 
translation in French of this has been published (Paris, 1896) by Baron Carra 
de Vaux under the title of Le Livre de ? Avertissement. The history, called 
The Golden Meadows (Muruj-adh-Dhahab), was published (Paris, 1861), 
the Arabic text being given with a French translation, by Messrs Barbier de 
Meynard and Pavet de Courteille ; the two last works under the auspices of 
the French Societe Asiatique. 


his description of the known world in * Climates, 'that is according 
to zones of latitude, whereby the various provinces are often 
divided up arbitrarily, Mesopotamia, for instance, being partly 
described in the 3rd Climate, partly in the 4th. He had, unfortu- 
nately for our purpose, no personal knowledge of Persia or the 
regions east of the Mediterranean, but had visited Asia Minor, 
then still a province of the Roman empire, and his description 
of this region would be invaluable, but for the fact that the place- 
names (by reason of incorrect MSS.) are in many cases illegible, 
or so corrupt as to be at present mostly beyond recognition 1 . 

Coming to the yth (i3th) century, the period of the Mongol 
invasion and the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate, we have the 
voluminous Geographical Dictionary of Yafctit, a compilation it is 
true from earlier writers, but illustrated by the author's own far 
extended travels, which, when it is used with due criticism, is per- 
fectly invaluable. The articles are arranged in alphabetical order, 
and Yalfftl quotes freely from almost all his predecessors in Arab 
geographical literature, some of whose works, as for instance those 
of the traveller Ibn-al-Muhalhal, who wrote in 330 (942), are only 
known to us by his excerpts. This great dictionary was epitomised, 
three-quarters of a century after its appearance, in a work called 
Al-Mardsid, ' the Observatories,' and the author of this epitome, 
a native of Mesopotamia, often gives valuable corrections, of first- 
hand authority, for places in the regions round Baghdad. Of 
about the same date is Kazvini, who wrote a work in two parts 
on cosmography, which gives interesting notes on the products 
and the commerce of divers towns and provinces ; and in the 
earlier part of the 8th (i4th) century we have the systematic 
geography of Abu-1-Fida, a Syrian prince, who, though he com- 
piled largely from the works of his predecessors, in addition gives 

1 The Persian text of Nasir-i-Khusraw, with an annotated French trans- 
lation, has been brought out by C. Sch^fer, in the series of the cole des 
Langues Orientales Vivantes (Paris, 1881). The Arabic text of Ibn Jubayr 
was well edited by W. Wright (Leyden, 1852). The F&rs N&mah exists only 
in manuscript : that quoted is in the British Museum, numbered Or. 5983. 
Idrtst has been translated into French (indifferently well) by A. Jaubert (Paris, 
1836) ; passages quoted I have verified with the Arabic text, preserved in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale, Manuscrits Arabs, Nos. 9121 and 2*42. 


facts from his own observation of the countries which he had 
visited 1 . 

Of the same date, namely the first half of the 8th (i4th) 
century, are the travels of Ibn Battitah the Berber, who rivalled 
the Venetian Marco Polo in the extent of his voyages. His book 
is written in Arabic; his contemporary, Mustawfl, wrote in 
Persian a description of the Mongol kingdom of tr&n (Mesopo- 
tamia with Persia), which shows the condition of the country after 
the Mongol settlement, when this region was governed by the 
ll-KMns. Mustawfi also wrote an historical work called the 
Tarlkh-i-Guzidah, 'the Select History,' which, besides being of 
considerable value for Mongol times, often contains geographical 
notes of great importance * . 

For the time of Timftr we have primarily the notices in the 
historical work of 'Ali of Yazd, then the Geography written by 
IJifiz Abrti ; both are in Persian, and date from the first half of the 
9th (isth) century. Lastly for the -settlement after the conquests 
of Timftr, the works of two Turkish authors, one writing in Eastern 
Turkish, the other in 'Othmanli, have to be mentioned, both being 
of the earlier half of the nth (lyth) century. These are the 
History of the Turks and Mongols by the Khwirizm prince Abu-1- 
Ghizi, and the Universal Geography called the Jahan Numa 

1 The Mitjam-al-Bulddn, the great dictionary of Yakut, has been edited 
in Arabic by F. Wiistenfeld (Leipzig, 1866 1873) 5 tne articles relating to 
places in Persia will be found translated into French, with additions from 
Musiawft and later authorities, in the Dtctionnave de la Perse (Paris, 1861) 
of M. Barbier de Meynard. The Mar&sid-al~ItiilA, which is the epitome 
of Ylkut, has been edited by Juynboll (Leyden, 1852). The two volumes of 
the Cosmography of Kazvini have been edited by Wiistenfeld (Gottingen, 1848). 
The text of the Geography of Abu-1-Fida was edited by Reinaud and De Slane 
(Paris, 1840), and Reinaud also began (Paris, 1848) a translation of this work 
in French, prefixing to it a valuable Introduction on the Arab Geographers, 
which translation S. Guyard afterwards (Paris, 1883) completed. 

2 The Travels of Ibn Batutah, the Arabic text with a French translation, 
have been published (Paris, 1874 1879) by Defr&nery and Sanguinetti. The 
Persian Geography of Hamd Allah Mustawfi (the text of the Nuzhat-al-jful&b) 
was lithographed at Bombay in 1311 (1894), and the Guztdah is quoted from 
the British Museum MS. numbered Add. 22,693, MSS. Add. 7630 and Egerton 
690 having been collated. Part of the Guztdah has now been printed, with a 
French translation, by M. J. Gamin (Paris, 1903). 


(World Displayer) by the celebrated bibliographer 
Khalfah 1 . 

For elucidating points of detail the works of many of the 
Arab historians are of primary importance. By earlier writers 
history and geography were often treated of in one and the same 
work. An instance of this is the Book of the Conquests, written by 
Balidhuri, and dating from the middle of the 3rd (9th) century. 
It describes in turn, east and west, all the conquests of the 
Moslems, and is of great interest as showing the state of the 
country when Islam first became the dominant creed. Ot the 
chronicles, besides the History written by Ya'fcfcbt, already 
mentioned, there is, dating from the 3rd (9th) century, the work 
of Ibn Mashkuwayh, of which the Sixth Section only has been 
printed. The annals of Hamzah of Isfahin, written in the middle 
of the 4th (loth) century, likewise give useful information, and 
though of course composed in Arabic *he work was evidently 
based on many Persian books, now lost, and it relates facts of 
which we should otherwise be ignorant. 

The most complete, however, of the Arabic chronicles, down 
to the beginning of the 4th (loth) century, at which date he 
flourished, is that of Tabart, and his work is for geography a primary 
authority. For later Abbasid history Ibn-al-Athir has to be relied 
upon ; also the entertaining summary of Moslem history generally 
known by the name of Fakhrl. The Universal History of Ibn 
Khaldftn is often of use to supplement the meagre chronicle of 
Ibn-al-Athfr ; and the great Biographical Dictionary of Ibn 
Khallikan occasionally adds details. These authors all wrote in 
Arabic. In Persian the two histories called the awdat-as-$af& and 
the Hab\b-as-Siyar, respectively by Mirkhwind and by Khwandamfr 

1 The Persian text of the history of Ttmur by 'Alt of Yazd, known as the 
Zafar Ndmah, is published in the Bibliotheca Indica (Calcutta, 1887). 
A French translation called Hisioire de Timour Etc was published (Paris, 
1722), by Petis de la Croix. Hafiz Abrft exists only in manuscript; the one 
quoted is that of the British Museum, numbered Or. 1577. The Turkish text 
of theJaAdn Numd was printed in Constantinople in 1145 (1731) by Ibrahim 
Efendt, and a Latin translation of pan of this work was published by 
M. Norberg (Lund, 1818). The Turk! text, with a French translation, of the 
History of the Mongols, by Abu-l-Gh&zl, has been published by Baron 
Desmaisons (St Petersburg, 1871). 


his grandson, must be mentioned, for especially in the Persian 
provinces both these works give valuable geographical information. 
Two other Persian chronicles, relating to the Saljftfc dynasties in 
Asia Minor and in Kirmin, are likewise of importance, and are 
more than once quoted in the following pages, being referred to 
under the names of the chroniclers Ibn Bibi, and Ibn Ibrahim 1 . 

To complete our survey, a few pages in conclusion of this 
preliminary chapter may be devoted to some general remarks 
on the place-names which occur in the following chapters, and are 
set down on the maps. In the two provinces of Mesopotamia 
the great majority of the place-names are notably either Arabic or 
Aramaic, this last having been the common language of the 
people here, prior to the Moslem conquest. The Arabic names 
of towns generally have, or had, a meaning, as for instance 
Al-Ktifah, Al-Basrah, and Wash. The Aramaic names, as a rule, 
are easily recognisable by their form, and by the termination in 
long a, for example Jabulti; and the meaning of these too is 
generally not far to seek : e.g. 'Abarta, * the passage, or crossing 
place/ marking a bridge of boats ; and Bajisra, which is equivalent 

1 The text of Balidhurl has been edited by Professor De Goeje (Leyden, 
1866). He has also given us Ibn Mashkuwayh, forming the latter part of his 
Fragmenta Historicorum Arabtcorum (Leyden, 1871). The History by 
Hamzah of Isfahan has been edited (with a Latin translation) by I. M. . 
Gottwaldt (Leipzig, 1844). The numerous volumes of the gieat Chronicle of 
Tabarf have been published, in three series, under the editorship of Professor 
De Goeje (Leyden, 1879 1901). The Chronicle of Ibn-al-Athir is edited by 
Tornberg (Leyden, 1867 1876). Fakhrl, more correctly named Ibn-at- 
Tiktaka, has been edited by Ahlwardt (Gotha, 1860). Of Ibn Khaldfln, 
the text quoted is that printed at Bulak in 1284 (1867): the text of Ibn 
Khallikan has been edited by Wustenfeld (Gottingen, 1837), and an English 
translation was made by De Slane, for the Oriental Translation Fund (London, 
1843). The references to the Persian texts of the histories by Mfrkhwand (or 
Amlrkhwand) and by Khwandamtr are to the lithographed editions, published 
in Bombay, of the Rawdat-as-Safd in 1266 (1850), and of 'the Habtb-ns-Siy&r 
in 1273 (1857). The two Saljuk chronicles are edited by Professor Houtsma 
in vols. I and IV of his Rccuetl de Textes rclatifs & PHistoirt des Seljoucides 
(Leyden, 18861902). The first of these is by Ibn Ibrahim (otherwise called 
Muhammad Ibrahim, or Muhammad ibn Ibrahim), who flourished about the 
year 1025 ('6*6) ? ^d the second chronicle is by Ibn Bib!, who wrote about 
680 (i8i). See also an article by Professor Houtsma in the Zeit. Dcutsch. 
Morg. GeselL 1885, p. 362. 


to the Arabic Bayt-al-Jisr, meaning 'bridge-house/ Older Persian 
names like Baghdad, 'the god-given place,' are rare; and here 
and there a Greek name survives, as for instance Al-Ubuilah, 
representing Apologos. 

The Greek province of Asia Minor, as already said, only 
became Moslem land after the Saljuk conquest, in the latter half 
of the 5th (nth) century ; and hence the Greek names are often 
known to us in two forms, an earlier (Arabic) and a later 
(Turkish); as, for example, Seleucia given first as Salufctyah, 
later as Selef keh ; and Heraclia which we find at first as Hiraklah, 
and in more modern times as Arikliyah. After the Saljuk 
occupation of the country and the subsequent Ottoman supremacy, 
Turkish names naturally come to supplant the earlier Greek 
nomenclature; but in the matter of orthography it must be 
remembered that the Arabic alphabet is quite as foreign to 
Turkish as it is to Greek, hence Turkish words (as every Turkish 
dictionary shows) often have alternative spellings, and the place- 
names are in like case. Thus we find both Kari Hisdr and 
Karah Hisar; Karah-si and Karasi; Karaman and Karaman, 
with many other examples. 

Looking over the maps of the Persian provinces, it is striking 
how few names there are of Arabic origin. With the exception 
of Maraghah in Adharb^yjan, and the hamlet of Bayza (Al-Bayda, 
'the white town') in Fars, there is hardly an Arabic town name 
to be met with. The Moslems indeed changed little or nothing 
when they took over the Sassanian kingdom 1 . Very often villages 
and post-stations had names taken from some natural and notable 
object; as for example Myrtle village, Camel village, and Salt 
village ; which in Persian were called Dih Murd, Dih Ushturin, 
and Dih Namak. These names the Arab geographers constantly 

1 It has been remarked that in all Moslem Spain, where rich cities 
abounded, there is only one that bears an Arabic name, to wit the port of 
Almena, for Al-Maityah, the Watch Tower.* A place-name like Calatayud, 
which might be taken for another instance, is not primarily the name given 
to the town, but was only the fortress Kal'at Ayy&b, Job's Castle below 
which a town afterwards sprang up. In many cases the original Iberian, 
Roman, or Visigothic name is for lack of documents unknown ; as for instance 
in the case of Granada. Mutatis mutandis^ the same remarks apply to Persia. 


translate, and in their pages we find the above, for instance, given 
as Karyat-al-As, Karyat-al-Jamal, and Karyat-al-Milh, but there is 
every reason to believe that in Persia, at all times, the Persian 
name was in use ; in other words it is here, as with us, when we 
speak of the Black Forest (Schwarz-Wald) or the Cape of Good 
Hope, such names likewise commonly varying on the maps, and 
in books, according to the language of the speaker. 

It will be observed that we have sometimes in the Arabic lists 
the name of a post-stage, in Arabic, of which the Persian equivalent 
has not come down to us; e.g. in the rase of Ras-al-Kalb, 
'Dog's Head,' possibly the place later called Samnn. Also 
occasionally the Arabs gave a nickname to a Persian town, and 
both names continued simultaneously in use; as for instance 
Kanguvar, which from the stealing of their mules here the early 
Moslems had called Kasr-al-Lusfts, * Robber Castle ' ; but Persian 
Kanguvar has in the end survived the Arab nickname. Even 
when the Moslem conquerors founded a new provincial capital, as 
was the case with Shfraz, which soon came to eclipse the older 
Istakhr (Persepolis), they seem to have taken and perpetuated in 
the new town the name of the original Persian village. The 
origin and etymology of the name Shfraz, like many others, 
appears to be unattainable, for unfortunately the geography of the 
old Sassanian kingdom is almost entirely unknown to us. 

The pronunciation of names, as is natural, varied with the 
lapse of time; Turaythith becomes Turshiz: Hamadhan is in 
later books spelt Hamad&n 1 ; further there was evidently an 
Arabic and a Persian pronunciation (or spelling) of the same 
name contemporaneously current, thus Arabic Kishdn is written 
Kishin in Persian, S4hik appears later as Chahik, and 
Saghaniyan is Chaghiniyan. Then again, as the Arabic grammar 
demanded tri-consonantal roots, the Persian Bam had to be 
written in Arabic amm y and Kum Kumm ; but this was merely 
to suit the rules of Arabic orthography, and the doubled final 

1 It is to be remarked that the dh, which the modern Persians pronounce * 
(e.g. Azarbayjan, written Adharbayjan), was apparently sometimes not given 
the z sound ; thus Hamadhan is now called Hamadan, and never pronounced 
Hamazan. In Persian the Arabic w is generally, but not always, pronounced 
v t e.g. Kazwin x>r Kazvin. 


consonant was never in use in the Persian. In some cases a 
name would fall into disuse for some unknown reason, to be 
replaced by another name, but Persian like the first ; an instance 
occurs in Kirmisfn or Kirmlstn, later known as KirmUnsh&han, 
shortened to Kirminshah at the present day. But we are alike 
ignorant of the true import of these names, and the cause of the 

In the matter of the prefixing of the Arabic article A! to 
place-names, the usage appears to be extremely arbitrary. The 
strict grammatical rule appears to be that the article is only 
prefixed to Arabic, not to foreign names. This rule, however, 
never was kept \ for instance in Mesopotamia, where most of the 
names were of course of Semitic origin, the Tigris is always named 
Dijlah (without the article), but the Euphrates is Al-Fur&t, though 
this last is like the first a foreign word *. In the Persian provinces, 
the tendency was, with the lapse of time, to drop the Arabic 
article, e.g. (Arabic) As-Sirajdn becomes (Persian) Sirjan. The 
usage however is quite arbitrary, for no explanation can be given 
why the ancient Rhages- should be invariably called by the Arabs 
Ar-Ray, while Jay, the old name for one part of Isfahan, is always 
given without the article*. 

The Arabs were somewhat poverty-stricken in the matter of 
their nomenclature, and the lack is cause of much confusion. 
With them the capital of a province, as a rule, may be called 
by the name of the province, even when it has a name of 
its own; thus Damascus still is commonly known as Ash-Shim, 
<(the capital of) Syria '; and Zaranj, the chief town of Sijistan, was 

1 Thus we have Al-Ubullah (an original Greek name) with the article, and 
a number of other instances occur. Purely Arab towns sometimes took the 
article, sometimes not; e.g. Al-Kufah, said to mean 'the (city of the) Reed- 
huts'; but on the other hand, Wish, 'the Middle-town,' is always written 
without the article, though here too it would have seemed equally appropriate. 

8 How little any rule holds is shown by the case of Jiddah, the port of 
Mecca, given both as Juddah, and as Al-Juddah by all the earlier writers. 
In the following pages where a place-name commonly occurs in the Arabic 
authors preceded by the article, this is, on first mention, so given. Sub- 
sequently, however, when the name is repeated, for the sake of brevity, and 
in the maps for distinctness, the article as a general rule is omitted. The use 
or disuse of the article varies with the different Arab geographers, and like 
their spelling of foreign names is the reverse of consistent. 


more often known simply as Sijistin, for Madtnat-Sijistln, 'the 
City' of that province, From this usage much contusion 
naturally arises when the province had two capitals. This for 
example is the case with the Kirman province, where the name 
Kirmin (scilicet city) in the earlier books stands for the first 
capital Slrjan, and in later times for the present city of Kirmn, a 
totally different town, which only became the capital when Slrjin 
had gone to ruin. Also, on comparing together the maps, as 
deduced from the statements of the medieval geographers, with 
the map of the present day, it will often be found that the name 
of a lost city has been preserved in the modern district ; thus of 
the lost Sfrjan city, for example, the name is still met with in the 
modern Sirjan district; the same is the case with both Bardasir 
and Jlruft, formerly each the name of an important town, now 
only preserved in the district. In short the district and its chief 
city being always, possibly, known by the same name, either one 
or the other with the lapse of time might become obsolete. 
Hence, and conversely to the foregoing examples, the name 
of the older Aradtin district is now given to the little town 
known as Aradun, which of old was called Khuv&r (of Ray). 

In physical geography the Arab nomenclature was not rich. 
Single and notable mountain peaks generally had proper names 
(e.g. Damavand, Alvand), but as a rule no chain of mountains 
had any particular designation. The great Taurus range shutting 
off the Byzantine lands was often (and incorrectly) referred to 
as the Jabal Lukkam, but this is properly only one moun- 
tain group of the Anti-Taurus; and the very notable range of 
the Alburz, dividing off the high Persian plateau from the 
Caspian, has, with the Arab geographers, no common term for its 
long chain of peaks. The great lakes generally had each its 
special name (e.g. MahMft, Zarah, and Chtchast), but more 
commonly the lake was known by the name of the principal 
town on its shores ; as for example the Urmfyah lake, and the lake 
of Vin also called after Arjtsh. Seas were even less distinctively 
named, being referred to by a variety of appellations, taken from 
the provinces or chief towns on their coasts. Thus the Caspian 
was indifferently termed the Sea of Tabaristin, or of Gtldn, or of 
Jurjin, also of BikQ, and it was latterly known as the Khazar 


Sea, from the kingdom of the Khazars which in the earlier 
middle-ages lay to the northward of it. In a similar way the Aral 
was known as the Sea of Khwarizm, and the Persian Gulf as the 
Sea of F&rs. 

In conclusion it is to be understood that only a selection from 
our authorities is given in the following chapters ; the number of 
towns and villages, the names of which are reported as being 
situated in this or that province, is very great, certainly more 
than double the sum catalogued in the index of the present work. 
But where the site could not even approximately be fixed, the 
mere name, one in a list, has been omitted. In regard to the 
maps, these, it will be noted, are simply diagrams to illustrate the 
text, and they do not show the country as it was at any one 
particular epoch. Thus towns, which in fact succeeded one another, 
are often marked as though existing at one and the same time, but 
the text will duly explain whether this was, or was not the case 1 . 

1 Perhaps some apology is due for the inordinate number of references 
which crowd the footnotes of the following pages ; though doubtless by the 
student, wishing to verify a fact, this will not be counted as a fault. All, or 
none, seemed the only course. The Moslem writers, Arabs, Persians and 
Turks, as is well known, are the greatest plagiarists in all literature, and seldom 
acknowledge their indebtedness. On the other hand, each geographer or 
historian generally adds something of his own to what he copies (unacknow- 
ledged) from a predecessor, and often by combining many authorities sufficient 
scraps of information are obtained definitely to substantiate a fact or fix 
a position. As an instance I may quote the case of the not very important 
town of Khurkan, in the Kumis province. Nothing much is known of it. but 
it seemed not unimportant to mark that this Khurkin of Kfimis, though now 
disappeared from the map, was to be kept separate from the like- written name 
(in Arabic) of Kharrakan in the Jibal province. All that is known of the 
Kumis town is its position; but to fix this, (i) Kazvtnt has to be cited, who 
says the town stood four leagues from Bistam ; to which information (2) Y&kut 
adds the fact that it stood on the road going to Astarabid ; while (3) Mustawf! 
further tells us that in his day Khurkan was an important village with a saint's 
tomb, and plentiful water supply, hence it was not a mere post-station. Yet to 
record all this, which amounts to so little, three authors have to be quoted, 
with references to their works, in the footnote. 



The division of Mesopotamia, Northern and Southern. 'Irak or Babylonia, 
Change in the courses of the Euphrates and Tigris. The great irrigation 
canals. Baghdad. Madin and the cities on the Tigris thence down to 

The great plain of Mesopotamia, through which the Euphrates 
and the Tigris take their course, is divided by nature into two 
parts. The northern half (the ancient kingdom of Assyria) con- 
sists mostly of pasture lands covering a stony plain; the southern 
half (the ancient Babylonia) is a rich alluvial country, where the 
date palm flourishes and the land is watered artificially by irri- 
gation channels, and this for its exceeding fertility was accounted, 
throughout the East, as one of the four earthly paradises. The 
Arabs called the northern half of Mesopotamia Al-Jazirah, ' the 
Island,' the southern half was known as Al-'Irafc, meaning 'the 
Cliff* or 'Shore/ but it is doubtful how this term came originally 
to be applied; possibly it represents an older name, now lost, or it 
was used originally in a different sense. The alluvial plain was also 
commonly known to the Arabs under the name of As-Sawid, ' the 
Black Ground,' and by extension As-Saw&d is frequently used as 
synonymous with Al-'Irifc thus coming to mean the whole province 
of Babylonia 1 . 

The frontier between 'Irafc and Jazirah varied at different 
epochs. By the earlier Arab geographers the limit generally 

1 In its secondary sense Saivdd means ' the District ' round a city, hence we 
have the Sawad of Baghdad, of K&fah, and of Basrah frequently employed to 
designate respectively the environs of these cities. 

CHAP. II] 'IRA*. 25 

coincided with a line going north from Anbar on the Euphrates to 
Takrit on the Tigris, both cities being reckoned as of 'Irlfe. 
Later authorities make the line go almost due west from Takrit, 
so as to include in 'Irafc many of the towns on the Euphrates to 
the north of Anbar ; this, physically, is the more natural division 
between the two provinces, and it crosses the Euphrates below 
'Anah, where the river makes a great bend to the southward. The 
Euphrates was known to the Arabs as Al-Furat ; the Tigris they 
called Dijlah (without the article), a name which occurs in the 
Targums as Diglath^ corresponding to the latter part of Hiddekel, 
the form under which the Tigris is mentioned in the book of 
Genesis. When the Moslems conquered 'Mfc in the middle of 
the ist (yth) century Ctesiphon, which they called Madiin, on' the 
Tigris, was the chief city of the province, and the winter capital 
of the Sassanian kings. The Arabs, however, required cities for 
their own people, also to serve as standing camps, and three were 
before long founded, namely, Ktifah, Basrah, and Wasit, which 
rapidly grew to be the chief towns of the new Moslem province, 
Kftfah and Basrah more particularly being the twin capitals of 
'Irak during the Omayyad Caliphate 1 . 

With the change of dynasty from the Omayyads to the 
Abbasids a new capital of the empire was required, and the 
second Abbasid Caliph founded Baghdad on the Tigris some 
miles above Ctesiphon (Madain). Baghdad soon eclipsed all the 
recent glories of Damascus under the Omayyads, becoming the 
metropolis of the Abbasid Caliphate, and naturally also the 
capital city of 'Irafc, which province now rose to be the heart 
and centre of the Moslem empire in the east 

During the middle-ages the physical conditions in 'Irak were 
entirely different from what they are now, by reason of the 
great changes which have come to pass in the courses of the 

1 As such Kufah and Basrah were known as Al-*Irakan (vulgarly Al- 
'Irakayn), meaning * the two capitals of Al-'Irak.' At a later date, however, 
when Kufah and Basrah had lost their pre-eminence, the name Al-'Irakayn 
or *the two 'Iraks' came to be used incorrectly, as though meaning the two 
provinces of 'Irik, namely Arabian and Persian 'Iralt, the latter standing for 
the province of Al-Jibal, but this will be more particularly explained in 
Chapter XIII. 

26 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

Euphrates and Tigris, and the consequent ruin of the numerous 
irrigation canals which, under the earlier Caliphs, made 'Irifc a 
very Garden of Eden for fertility. At the present day, the Tigris, 
following a winding course in a direction mainly south-east, is 
joined at a point about 250 miles (as the crow flies) below Baghdad 
by the waters of the Euphrates at Kurnah. The combined rivers, 
now known as the Shatt-al-'Arab (the Arab Stream), thence flow 
out to the Persian Gulf by a broad channel or tidal estuary 
measuring in length about a hundred miles in a direct line. This 
is what the modern map shows ; but in early Mosletn times, and, 
as will be demonstrated, in all probability as late as the middle 
of the loth (i6th) century, the Tigris, when it came about a hundred 
miles below BaghdM, turned off south, from what is its present bed, 
flowing down by the channel now known as the Shatt-al-Hayy (the 
Snake Stream) to Wasit. This city occupied both banks of the 
river, and the Tigris some 60 miles below Wasit, after expending 
most of its waters by irrigation channels, finally spread out and 
became lost in the Great Swamp. 

Throughout the middle-ages the Great Swamp, which covered 
an area 50 miles across, and very nearly 200 miles in length, 
came down to the immediate neighbourhood of Basrah. At 
its north-western end the swamp received the waters of the 
Euphrates a few miles to the south of Ktifah; for the main channel 
of the Euphrates was in those days the Kftfah arm of the river, that 
which flows by Hillah (now the main stream) being then only a 
great irrigation canal, called the Nahr Stir! Along the northern 
edge of the lower part of the Great Swamp a line of lagoons, 
connected by open channels, made navigation possible; boats 
passing where the Tigris entered the swamp at Al-Katr, to where 
(near modern Kurnah) the swamp surcharged by the waters of 
both Euphrates and Tigris drained out by the Abu-1-Asad canal 
into the head of the estuary of the Shatt-al-'Arab. By this water- 
way cargo-boats went down without difficulty from Baghdad to 
Basrah, which last, the seaport of Baghdad, lay at the end of 
a short canal, leading west out of the tidal estuary the Blind 
Tigris as the Shatt-al-'Arab was then more commonly called. 

The present course of the Tigris, as shown on the modern 
map, keeps to the eastward of the Shatt-al-IJayy channel, turning 

JI] 'IRAK. 27 

off at the village now known as Ktit-al-'Amarah, which stands for 
the medieval Madharaya; and this, the present channel down 
to Kurnah, was also apparently that occupied by the river 
during the period of the Sassanian monarchy, when the Great 
Swamp, described by the Arab geographers, did not as yet 
exist. The historian Baladhuri dates the origin of the swamp as 
far back as the reign of Kubadh I, the Sassanian king who reigned 
near the end of the sth century A.D. In his day the dykes 
existing along the Tigris channel, as it then ran, having been 
for many years neglected, the waters suddenly rose, and pouring 
through a number of breaches, flooded all the low-lying lands to 
the south and south-west. During the reign of Antisbirw&n the 
Just, son and successor of Kubadh, the dykes were partially 
repaired and the lands brought back under cultivation; but 
under Khusraw Parwiz, the contemporary of the prophet 
Mubammad, and in about the year 7 or 8 after the Flight 
(A.D. 629) the Euphrates and the Tigris again rose, and in 
such flood as had never before been seen. Both rivers burst 
their dykes in innumerable places, and finally laid all the sur- 
rounding country under, water. According to Baladhurt King 
ParwSz himself, when too late, superintended the re-setting of 
the dykes, sparing neither treasure nor men's lives, 'indeed he 
crucified in one day forty dyke-men, at a certain breach (Baladhuri 
reports), and yet was unable to master the flood.' The waters 
could in no wise be got back, and the swamps thus formed 
became permanent ; for during the succeeding years of anarchy 
and when the Moslem armies began to overrun Mesopotamia 
and the Sassanian monarchy perished, the dykes, such as still 
existed, naturally remained uncared for, 'and breaches came 
in all the embankments, for none gave heed, and the Dihlpins 
(namely the Persian nobles, who were the landlords) were power- 
less to repair the dykes, so that the swamps every way lengthened 
and widened.' 

The above well accounts for the formation of the Great 
Swamp, and Ibn Rustah refers to this epoch, under the last 
Sassaniarfs, the first great shifting of the Tigris from the 
eastern channel, beyond Midhariya, to the western channel 
(the Shatt-al-IJayy) which passed down through the site sub- 

28 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

sequently occupied by the Moslem city of WSsit This change, 
says Ibn Rustah, had turned all the country bordering the older 
eastern course into a desert, and so it remained in the 3rd (9th) 
century when he wrote. He then describes the back-water, six 
leagues long (above Kurnah), which ran up north to 'Abdasi and 
Madhir, where the channel was stopped by a dam; this being 
evidently the last reach of the former, and present, eastern course 
of 'the Tigris. Ibn Rustah states that the dam, which in his time 
stopped all navigation above this point, had not existed in 
Sassanian days, when the channel was still open north of 'Abdasf 
and Madhar right up to where this rejoined the Tigris course (of 
his day) in the district north of Wasit (at MidhariyA), whence up 
stream the river was clear to Mad&in. He continues : * and of 
old, sea-going ships sailing in from India came up the Tigris 
(estuary, of the later) Basrah, and thence could attain to Madain 
(Ctesiphon), for sailing on they came out above (the present) 
Fam-as-Silh into the Tigris reach of (the river below where, in 
later times, was) Baghdad.' 

The lower Tigris at the present day, therefore, flows in the 
bed which, in the main, it had followed during Sassanian times. 
But during all the centuries of the Abbasid Caliphate it poured 
into the swamps down the western channel past Wasit, and the 
question arises when did the change back to the present eastern 
channel take place? The answer is that doubtless the change 
was brought about gradually, and from the silting up of the 
western arm ; in any case, all our Moslem authorities, down to 
the age of Timftr and the beginning of the gth (isth) century, 
describe the lower Tigris as still passing through Wasit, this fact 
being confirmed by Hafiz Abru writing in 820 (1417). One of the 
first travellers to speak of the eastern arm as the navigable channel, 
was John Newberie, who in 1581, after visiting Baghdad, went down 
by boat in six days to Basrah, passing on the fifth day Kurnah, ' a 
castle which standeth upon the point where the river Furro 
(Euphrates) and the river of Bagdet (the Tigris) doe meet/ In 
the following century the Frenchman Tavernier made the same 
journey down the Tigris. He left Baghdad in February 1652, 
and he states that at some considerable distance below this city 
the Tigris divided into two branches. The western channel (that 

II] 'IRAK. 29 

by Wisit) was in his time no more navigable, but it ran as he 
expresses it <vers la pointe de la Mesopotamia ' The French 
traveller followed in his boat the present eastern channel, which 
took its course 'le long de Tancienne Chaldee,' after leaving 
(Kut-al-)'Am&rah; and just before coming to Basrah he passed 
Kurnah where, he says, the Tigris and Euphrates joined their 
streams 1 . 

'The existence of the Great Swamp, and the consequent change 
in the courses of both Euphrates and Tigris, is the chief matter 
of note in the physical condition of Lower Mesopotamia during the 
Caliphate; but of almost equal importance was the system of canalisa- 
tion inherited by the Arabs when, after the conquest, they took over 
the country from the Persians. Briefly, as already stated, we find 
that all 'Irak north of the swamp, and between the two rivers, was 
then traversed, like the bars of a gridiron, by a succession of canals 
which drained eastward into the Tigris ; while east of the Tigris a 
canal, 200 miles in length, called the Nahrawan, starting from below 
Takrft and re-entering the river fifty miles north of Wish, effected 
the irrigation of the lands on the further or Persian side of the Tigris. 
The details of this great system of waterways will be explained more 
fully in due course, but a glance at the accompanying map, drawn 

1 Baladhuri, 292. I. R. 94. Yak. i. 669. In 1583 John Eldredwent down 
from Baghdad to Basrah, and also describes how one day's journey before 
the latter place ( the two rivers of Tigris and Euphrates meet, and there 
standeth a castle called Curna': see his voyage in Hakluyt, Principal 
Navigations (Glasgow, 1904), vi. 6; also v. 371, for in 1563 Caesar Frederick 
had made the same journey and speaks of * the castle of Coma ' in similar 
terms. For the voyage of John Newberie, see Purchas> His Pilgrimes (folio, 
1625 26), v. 1411, 1412; Six Voyages en TurquiedeJ. B. Tavemier (Utrecht, 
1712), i. 240. Other travellers do not afford any detailed information. The 
earliest mention of the western (present) Tigris arm as navigable appears to be 
the anonymous Portuguese traveller, a copy of whose manuscript is in the 
possession of Major M. Hume (see The Athenaum for March 23rd, 1901, 
p. 373), who speaks of the castle (of Kurnah) six leagues above Basrah where 
the Euphrates and Tigris flowed together. His voyage from internal evidence 
must have been made in about the year 1555. The conclusion therefore 
appears to be that, from the time of Muhammad, and during the nine follow- 
ing centuries, the Tigris took the western arm down to the swamps ; afterwards, 
in the early part of the i6th century A.D., changing back into the eastern 
channel, which it had followed in Sassanian times before the rise of Islam, and 
which its main stream now follows at the present day. 

30 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

up from the accounts of contemporary authorities, shows how the 
marvellous fertility of 'Irafe during Abbasid times was due to a 
strict economy of the water supply; and that while nearly all the land 
between the Euphrates and the Tigris was irrigated by the waters of 
the Euphrates led off through canals flowing eastward, the lands 
along the left bank of the Tigris, and towards the foot-hills of 
the Persian highlands, were made fertile by the canals of the 
Nahrawan, which economically distributed the surplus waters of 
the Tigris to the eastward, and caught the flood of the numerous 
streams flowing down from the mountains of Kurdistan. 

The topography of Baghdad has been dealt with in a previous 
volume 1 , and all that is necessary in this place is to summarise the 
most important facts, in order to make clear the position of the 
Abbasid capital among the other cities of Irak, and explain the 
details of the road system (already referred to in Chapter I) of 
which Baghdad was the central point. 

The first of the great canals which ran from the Euphrates to 
the Tigris was the Nahr *ls& 2 , and just above where its waters 
flowed out into the latter river, the Caliph Mansfir about the year 
145 (762) built the Round city, which became the nucleus of 
Baghdad. The Round city had four equidistant gates lying one 
Arab mile apart each from the other, and from every gate went 
a high road. Great suburbs were in time built on these four roads, 
and these before long came to be incorporated in the circuit of 
the great metropolis. The four gates of the Round city were 
(i) the Basrah Gate to the S.E. opening on the suburbs along the 
Tigris bank where the various branches of the 'isa canal flowed 
out ; (2) the Ktifah Gate to the S.W. opening on the high road 

1 Baghdad during the Abbasid Caliphate (Oxford, 1900). It is to be noted 
that the number of districts, towns, and villages in 'Irak of which information 
has come down is very great, and a volume would be needed to report all that 
is known of this, the capital province of the Abbasids. The map constructed 
for the paper on Ibn Serapion (Jour. Roy. Asiat. Sac. 1895, p. 3*) gives 
all the places lying on the rivers and canals, but this does not exhaust the list, 
and the reader may be referred to the work of Professor M. Streck, Die alte 
Landschaft Babylmien (Leyden, 1901), for fuller details, which it is impossible 
to find place for in the present chapter. 

* Nahr means both 'canal' and 'river' in Arabic; *ls was the name of 
the Abbasid prince who dug the canal. 

II] 'IRAK. 31 

going south, which was the Pilgrim road to Mecca; (3) the Syrian 
Gate to the N.W. where the high road branched left to Anbir on 
the Euphrates, and right to the towns on the western Tigris bank 
north of Baghdad; and (4) the Khunbin Gate leading to the 
main bridge of boats for crossing the river. By this bridge East 
Baghdad was reached, at first known as the Camp of Mahdt, son 
and successor of the Caliph Mansftr, and Mahd! built his palace 
here, also founding the great Friday Mosque of East Baghdad. 
The settlement on the east side was divided into three quarters, 
that near the bridge head was known as the Rusdfah quarter, the 
Shammasiyah quarter lay above it along the river bank, and the 
Mukharrim quarter below it. These three quarters of East 
Baghdad were surrounded by a semicircular wall, going from the 
river bank above the Shammisiyah to the river again below the 
Mukharrim ; and across the middle and narrow part of East 
Baghdad went the beginning of the great Khurasin road, starting 
from the Khurasan Gate of the Round city, and crossing the 
main bridge to the (second) Khurasan Gate of East Baghdad, 
whence, as explained in the previous chapter, the trunk road went 
east to the limits of the Moslem empire. 

From the Ktifah Gate of the Round city, as already stated, led 
the Kftfah or Pilgrim road, going south, and the great suburb 
which here stretched to a point nearly a league distant from the 
walls of the Round city was known as Karkh. The suburb of 
the Muhawwal Gate lay to the westward of the Round city, being 
reached from both the Ktifah Gate and the Syrian Gate, where 
the roads converging fell into the great western high road going 
through the town of Mufcawwal to Anbar. North of the Syrian 
Gate was the Harbiyah quarter (balancing Karkh on the south of 
the Round city), and beyond the Harbiyah and surrounded on 
two sides by a bend in the river were the northern cemeteries of 
West Baghdad, at a later time famous as the Kizimayn, and so 
named from the tombs of two of the Shi 'ah Imams. 

The city of Baghdid occupied the central point of four 
districts, two being on either bank of the Tigris. On the western 
side the Katrabbul district was north of the 'Isa canal, and 
Bidurayi lay to the south of the same; while on the eastern bank 
the Nahr Bftfc district was to the north of the line of the Khurasan 

32 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

road, and Kalwidha district to the southward; the town of 
Kalwidhi standing on the river bank a short distance below the 
southernmost gate of East Baghdad. From Baghdad, as the central 
point of the road system of the empire, two roads (as already said), 
going south and west, bifurcated at the Ktifah Gate of the Round 
city; and two, going north and east, passed through East Baghdid, 
having their starting-point at the further end of the main bridge 
of boats. The southern road, to Ktifah (and Mecca), after leaving 
the suburb of Karkh, came before long to the town of Sarsar, on the 
Nahr Sarsar, the second of the great canals from the Euphrates 
to the Tigris, which flowed parallel with the Nahr 'Isa on the 
south. The western or AnMr road turning off at the Kflfah 
Gate, and passing through the suburb of Barath&, came after 
about a league to the town of Muhawwal which stood on the 
'Isa canal. The eastern or Khurasin road left East Baghdad 
(as already said) at the Khurasan Gate, north of the Mukharrim 
quarter, and the first town reached was Nahrawdn Bridge at the 
crossing of the great canal of this name. Finally, the northern 
road passed through the Shammasiyah quarter to the Baradan Gate 
of East Baghdad, and shortly came to the town of Baradan lying 
on the east bank of the Tigris ; whence, keeping along the left 
bank of the river, the high road reached Samarra and the towns 
of northern Mesopotamia. 

During the five centuries of the Abbasid Caliphate the plan 
of Baghdad with its suburbs changed considerably as the city grew 
and in parts fell to ruin. What has -been sketched in the fore- 
going paragraphs was the city as it existed in the time of 
Harun-ar-Rashid. The civil war which broke out after his death 
brought about the ruin of the Round city. In 221 (836) the seat 
of the Caliphate was removed to Samarra, and during the reigns 
of seven Caliphs Baghdad was reduced to the condition of 
a provincial town. When finally in 279 (892) Samarra was 
abandoned and the Caliph re-established his court in the old 
capital, it was East Baghdad, where many new palaces came to be 
built, which succeeded to the glories of the Round city, now 
falling more and more to ruin ; and for the next four centuries, 
down to the invasion of the Mongols, the Caliphs permanently 
established their residence on the east bank. 

II] 'IRAK. 33 

These palaces of the later Caliphs were built on the land to 
the south of Mukharrim, the lowest of the three quarters included 
within the wall of East Baghdad as it had existed in the time of 
H&rftn-aj-Rashid. These three quarters, at the date in question, 
had fallen to ruin, but the new palaces quickly came to be 
surrounded by new suburbs, which in their turn were before long en- 
closed by a great semicircular wall. The new wall of East Baghdad, 
including in its circuit a part of the older Mukharrim, went from 
the river bank above the palaces to the river bank below (adjacent 
to Kalwidhi), and it was built by the Caliph Mustazhir in 488 
(1095). This was the wall, more than once repaired, which finally 
in 656 (1258) proved impotent to withstand the Mongol attack, 
and the Abbasid Caliphate fell. At the present day this ruined 
wall remains, enclosing within its wide circuit the few relics that 
time has left of the city of the Caliphs, and still protecting modern 
Baghdad, which is as heretofore the capital of 'Irak, and the 
residence of its Turkish Governor. 

Seven leagues below Baghdad, and occupying both banks of 
the Tigris, lay Al-Madain, 'the Cities/ as the Arabs called the 
ruins of the twin capitals, Ctesiphon and Seleucia, which had been 
founded under the earlier Seleucids three centuries before Christ. 
Seleucia of the west bank had received its name from Seleucus 
Nicator. The name of Ctesiphon, which the Arabs give under 
the shortened form of Taysaflin, is of uncertain etymology; though 
in appearance it is Greek, it probably is a corruption of the 
old Persian name of the city, for it is not known to us how 
the Sassanians called this capital of their empire 1 . In 540 A.D. 
Antishirwan the Just had taken Antioch of Syria, with Seleucia 
on the Orontes, and after the fashion of Persian monarchs had 
transported the inhabitants of this Seleucia to his capital at 
Ctesiphon. Here he settled them in a new suburb on the east 
side of the Tigris, opposite therefore to the site of Seleucia of 

1 It has been plausibly suggested that Ctesiphon is to be identified with 
Casiphia of the book of Ezra (viii. 17), which lay between Babylon and 
Jerusalem, and which in the Septuagint version is named 'the Silver City.' 
Maddin is merely the Arabic plural of Madtnah, 'a city 1 ; and Casiphia 
would be the Chaldee form of the Persian name, now lost, of the capital of 
the Chosroes. 

34 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

Mesopotamia ; and this suburb existed when the Arabs conquered 
the country in the following century, being still known as Rftmiyah, 
the Roman (or Greek) town, which some report to have been built 
on the plan of Antioch. 

Al-Madain, according to the Moslem authors, consisted of 
seven cities, whose names, with divers readings, are duly chronicled; 
but five cities only appear to have been in existence and 
inhabited when Ya'ktibi wrote in the 3rd (9th) century. .These 
were, on the east bank, Al-Madinah-al-'Atikah,*'the Old Town,' 
corresponding with Ctesiphon, and one mile south of it Asbanbur, 
adjacent to which lay Rumiyah. On the opposite bank of the 
Tigris was Bahurasir, a corruption of Bih-Ardashir 'the good 
town of King Ardashir' and one league below it was Sabat, which 
according to Ya^ut was called by the Persians Balasabad. 

The great Sassanian palace, of which the ruins still exist, on the 
eastern bank of the Tigris, was known to the Arabs under the name 
of the Ay wan-Kisra, * the Hall of tjie Chosroes,' and this, accord- 
ing to Ya'fctibi, stood in Asbanbur;, while another great building 
known as Al-Kasr-al-Abyad, 'the White Palace,' was to be seen 
in the Old Town a mile distant to the north. This last, however, 
must have disappeared by the beginning of the 4th (loth) century, 
for all later authorities give the names of 'the White Palace,' and 
'the Hall of the Chosroes' indifferently to the great arched 
building which to the present day exists here as the sole relic of 
the Sassanian kings. This building had a narrow escape from 
complete destruction in the middle of the 2nd (8th) century, when 
Mansur was founding Baghdad; for the Caliph expressed his 
intention of demolishing the Sassanian palace, and using the 
materials for his new city. His Persian Wazir, Khalid the 
Barmecide, in vain attempted to dissuade him from this act of 
barbarity, but the Caliph was obstinate; the Wazir, however, 
gained his point for, when the order came to be carried into effect 
the demolition was found to be more costly than the materials 
were worth for the new buildings, and the Arch of the Chosroes, 
as Yakdt calls it, was left to stand. At a later period much of its 
stone work was carried off for the battlements of the new palace 
of the Taj in East Baghdad, which the Caliph 'All.Muktafi finished 
building in the year 290 (903). 

II] 'IRAK. 35 

In the 4th (loth) century Madain, which is at the present day 
a complete ruin, was a small and populous town, with a fine 
Friday Mosque dating from the days of the Moslem conquest; 
near which stood the tomb of Salmon the Persian, one of the best 
known Companions of the prophet Muhammad. The markets of 
Madain were built of burnt brick and were well provided. In 
the neighbouring RAmfyah, the Caliph Mansfir had for a time 
held his court, while at Sabat on the opposite bank Mamtin 
had also resided. The grandeur of the ancient palace of the 
Chosroes is a theme on which the Arab geographers relate many 
details. Ya'ktibi says that the summit of the great arch is 80 ells 
in height ; Yakut refers to the magnificent kiln-burnt bricks, each 
near an ell in length by somewhat less than a span in width. 
Mustawfi, who gives the legendary account of Madain and its 
palace, reports that in the 8th (i4th) century both Madain and 
Rtimiyah had come to be uninhabited ruins, though the villages 
opposite, on the western bank, still retained their inhabitants. Of 
these, he adds, the most important was Bahurasir, already men- 
tioned, which Yaktit, who had been there, calls Ar-Rtimakan. To 
the south of it lay Zariran, a stage on the Pilgrim road, and to the 
west Sarsar, already mentioned, on the Sarsar canal, which last 
fell into the Tigris a short distance above Madain. The district 
round Madain, which stretched eastward from the Tigris to the 
Nahrawan canal, was known as Radhan (Upper and Lower), of 
which Yakftt names numerous villages, and Mustawfi praises the 
magnificent crops harvested here 1 . 

Dayr-al-'Aktil, 'the Convent of the (river) Loop,' is still marked 
on the map, situate on the east bank 10 leagues below Madain, 
and the name is descriptive of the Tigris course at this point. It 
was a Christian monastery, surrounded by a town of considerable 
size, the latter being counted as the chief city of the district of 
Middle Nahrawin. In the town was a Friday Mosque 8 , standing 

1 Ykb. 320, 321. I. S. 9. I. H. 167. Muk. 122. Yak. i. 425, 426, 
768, 809; ii. 729, 929; Hi. 3. Mst. 139, 140. 

2 This convenient, but of course incorrect term translates the Arabic 
Masjid+al-J&mi', otherwise rendered a Great Mosque. The Moslems have two 
categories of mosques. Small mosques (Mas/id) where any one could pray at 
any time, often equivalent to a Makdm or Mashhad, the * shrine ' or ' place of 

36 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

at some distance from the market place. Ibn Rustah at the close 
of the 3rd (Qth) century describes the toll-barrier which was set 
across the Tigris here, and kept closed by the officer of the 
customs. He writes: 'the toll-bar (Al-Afaasir) is the name 
given to the places on the Tigris where two boats have been 
moored on the one bank of the river, opposite two other boats on 
the further bank, which two likewise are firmly moored. Then 
across the stream they have carried cables, the ends being fastened 
on either bank to these boats, and thus ships are prevented from 
passing at night without paying toll.' Mukaddasi in the 4th (roth) 
century refers to l)ayr-al-'Akftl as one of the finest cities of this 
region of the river bank, but afterwards the bed of the Tigris 
changed and Yaktit in the yth (i3th) century says that the great 
convent then lay a mile distant from the Tigris, standing solitary 
in the midst of the plain. Mustawfi, however, in the following 
century still counts Dayr-al-'Aktil as a large town, having, he adds, 
a damp climate on account of its surrounding palm-groves. 

Also on the east bank, but lying three leagues above Dayr-al- 
'Akftl, was the small town of As- Sib, for distinction called Sib of 
the Bani Kuma, which was noted for its olive-groves, and famous 
in history for the battle which took place here in 262 (876), when 
Ya/kftb the Saffarid was defeated by the troops of the Caliph 
Mu'tamid. A short distance below Dayr-al-'Aktil stood the 
monastery of Marmari, surnamed the Disciple, otherwise called 
Dayr Kunna (or Kunnah), which lay a mile to the east of the 
Tigris, and 16 leagues from Baghdad. The historian Shabusti in 

martyrdom ' of a saint. The Musalld or * praying-place ' was more especially 
that used at the services of the great festivals. The Great Mosque, on the 
other hand, was where weekly the Friday prayers were said, and the sermon 
(Khutbali) preached , and it was called Masjid-al-Jami', * the Mosque of the 
Congregation 'terms often translated by ' the Cathedral/ or * Congregational 
Mosque. 1 '1 he possession of a JAmi 1 * or Mimbar (pulpit, for the Friday 
Sermon) generally is a criterion of the size of a town, or village ; and the fact 
is often mentioned as such by the Arab geographers ; Istakhri for instance 
gives a long list of places in Fars which had, or had not a Mimbar ; and this 
conies to much the same as if it were said that in such and such a village, 
in a Christian land, stood the parish church. At a later date the term Masjid- 
al-Jami* became changed to Masjid-al-Jum'ah, meaning *the Friday Mosque,' 
but this is not the classical usage. 

II] 'IRAK, 37 

the 4th (icth) century (quoted by Yafcftt) describes it as a great 
monastery surrounded by so high and strong a wall as to be like 
a fortress and impregnable. Within the wall were a hundred cells 
for the monks, and the right to a cell was only fo be bought for a 
price ranging from two hundred to a thousand dinars (;ioo to 
^500). Each cell stood in its own garden, watered by a small 
canal and planted with fruit trees which produced a crop that 
yearly might be sold for from 50 to 200 dinars (2$ to ^100). 

Over against Dayr Kunna, but on the Tigris bank, was the 
small town of As-Safiyah, which Yakftt writes was in his day 
already a ruin ; and opposite this on the western side lay 
Hum&niyah (or Humayniyah) which is still found on the map, 
two leagues S.E. of Dayr-al-'Aktil. In the beginning of the 3rd 
(pth) century Humaniyah was a place of some importance, for 
after the death of the Caliph Amin, his two sons and his mother, 
Zubaydah, widow of Harun-ar-Rashid, were for a time sent to be 
kept in prison here by Mamun; and Yaktit in the 7th (isth) 
century describes Humaniyah as a large village surrounded by 
well cultivated lands 1 . 

Jarjariya, or Jarjaray, which still exists, lay four leagues S.E. 
of Dayr-al-'Afefll. It is described by Mukaddasi in the 4th (loth) 
century as having been a large town, and its Friday Mosque stood 
close to the Tigris, which surrounded the town on two sides. 
Ya'kubi writing in the previous century states that its population 
chiefly consisted of Persian nobles, and it was the capital of the 
district of Lower Nahrawan. In the 7th (i3th) century, according 
to Yakut, it was, like most of the towns of the Nahrawan districts, 
in a state of complete ruin. On the western bank of the Tigris, 
four leagues below Jarjaraya, at the rums now called Tall-Nu'man 
stood the town of An-Nu'maniyah, which Yakut counts as the 
half-way stage between Baghdad and Wasit An-Nu'maniyah was 
the capital of the Upper Zab district, its Friday Mosque standing 
in the market place, and Ya'ktibi adds that near by stood the 
monastery called Dayr Hizkil, where mad people were looked 
after by the monks. Nu'maniyah was celebrated according to 
Ibn Rustah for its looms, where carpets like those of IJirah were 

1 I. R. 185, 186. Ykb. 321. Kud. 193. Muk. 122. Mas. Tanbih 149. 
Yak. ii. 676, 687; iii. 362; iv. 980. Mst. 139. Ibn-al-Athir, vi. 207. 

38 'IRA*. [CHAP, n 

manufactured. In the 8th (i4th) century Mustawfl still speaks 
of Nu*mnfyah as a flourishing town surrounded by date-groves. 
The small town of Jabbul ky on the eastern bank, nine leagues 
below Jarjariyi, where Ibn Rustah in the 3rd (9th) century says 
that there were government bake-houses. It was then a large 
hamlet, having a Friday Mosque standing in the market place, 
and Mufcaddasi describes it as of the size of Dayr-al-'Afcftl ; but 
when Yafctit wrote, Jabbul had sunk to the size of a big village 1 . 

The town of Midhariya occupied the position where at the 
present day Kfit-al-'Am&rah stands, namely at the bifurcation of 
the Shatt-al-JJayy from the eastern, and modern bed of the Tigris, 
which now goes thence south-eastward down to Kurnah. Madh- 
araya was on the east bank, and in the 3rd (pth) century it was 
inhabited by Persian nobles. Here the great Nahrawan canal flowed 
back into the Tigris; and immediately below Madharaya came Al- 
Mubirak, a town which lay opposite Nahr Sbus on the western 
bank of the Tigris. The town of Nahr S4bus was at the mouth 
of the canal of this name, which will be spoken of later, and this 
was the chief town of the Lower Zab district ; it was counted as 
five leagues distant from Jabbul. On the opposite bank, and 
five leagues down stream, was the Silh canal with the town called 
Fam-as-Silh at its 'mouth' (Fam), or point of origin, which latter 
lay seven leagues above Wasit. Fam-as-Silh town stood on the 
Tigris bank, it had fine markets and a Friday Mosque, according 
to Ibn Rustah. This place was famous in Moslem history for the 
magnificent palace built here by Hasan ibn Sahl, the Wazir of 
Mamun, in which he celebrated the marriage of his daughter 
Btiran with the Caliph, spending fabulous sums in banquets and 
gifts, as will be found chronicled in the pages of Mas'fidL 
Fam-as-Silh afterwards fell to ruin, and Yakfit who visited it in 
the yth (i3th) century, found the town and neighbouring villages 
along the canal for the most part uninhabited*. From the town 
of Fam-as-Silb the buildings of the Great Mosque in Wish were 
visible on the southern horizon. 

1 Kud. 193. Ykb. 321. I. R. 186, 187. Muk. i*. Yak. ii. 23, 54; 
iv. 796. A. F. 305. Mst. 141. 

2 Ykb. 321. Kud. 194. I. R. 187. Yak. ii. 903; iii. 917; iv. 381. Mas. 
viL 65. 


'IRAK (continued}. 

Wasit. The Great Swamps. Madhar and Kurnah. The Blind Tigris. 
Basrah and its canals. Ubullah and 'Abbadan. The Tigris above 
Baghdad. Baradan. The Dujayl district. 'Ukbara, Harba, and K- 

Wish, the 'middle city/ was so called because it lay equi- 
distant (about 50 leagues) from Kufah, Basrah, and Ahwiz. 
It was the chief town of the Kaskar district, and before the 
foundation of Baghdad, as already said, was one of the three 
chief Moslem cities of 'Irak. 

Wasit was founded about the year 84 (703) by Hajjaj, the 
famous viceroy of Mesopotamia in the reign of the Omayyad 
Caliph 'Abd-al-Malik. The city occupied both banks of the 
Tigris, the two halves being connected by a bridge of boats, and 
there were two Friday Mosques, one for each half of the city. 
Ya'kubi states that eastern Wasit had been a town before the 
days of Hajjaj, and here in the 3rd (9th) century the population 
was still for the most part Persian. In the western half of the 
city stood the Green Palace, built by Hajjaj, and called Al-Kubbat 
Al-Khadra, celebrated for its great dome, from the summit of 
which Fam-as-Silh seven leagues distant to the north could be 
seen. The lands round Wasit were extremely fertile, and their 
crops provisioned Baghdad in time of scarcity; also paying yearly 
into the treasury a million of dirhams (,40,000) from taxes, as 
reported by Ibn Hawfcal, who was at Wisit in 358 (969). 
Mukaddasl states that the mosque in the eastern half of Wisit 
likewise was built by tlajjaj. The town markets were magnificent 

40 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

and well stocked, also at either end of the bridge of boats were 
two small harbours where boats moored for convenience of 
discharging cargo. 

During the whole period of the Caliphate Wisi{ continued to 
be one of the most important cities of 'Irifc, and apparently the 
eastern quarter was the first to fall to ruin, for Kazwfnl, who was 
Judge at Wish in the latter half of the 7th (i3th) century, speaks 
of the town as lying solely on the western Tigris bank. Ibn 
Batfitah, who was here in the early part of the following century, 
praises the fine buildings of the city, especially a great Madrasah, 
or college, with 300 rooms for students, and Mustawfi his 
contemporary speaks of the immense palm-groves lying round the 
town which made its climate very damp. At the close of the 8th 
(i4th) century Wisit is frequently mentioned as a place of 
importance during the various campaigns of Timtir, who kept a 
strong garrison here; but about a century after this, as already 
described in the beginning of the last chapter, the Tigris ceased 
to flow past Wish, taking the eastern course down by Kurnah, 
and the city fell to complete ruin. Hdjjf Khalfah, writing in the 
beginning of the nth (i7th) century, speaks of it as then standing 
in the desert, but the canal was famous for its reeds from which 
pens were made 1 . 

Below Wisit, according to Yaktit, the Tigris flowed out into 
the Great Swamp by five navigable waterways, the names of which 
he gives, and this statement is corroborated by the accounts of 
earlier writers. Ibn Serapion mentions a number of towns lying on 
the main arm of the river below Wash, and above Al-Katr, where 
in the 4th (loth) century the swamp began. The first of these 
towns was Ar-Rusafah, 'the Causeway/ lying on the left bank, ten 
leagues from Wisit, and near it flowing eastward into the swamp 
was the canal called Nahr Ban, with the town of the same name, 

1 Ykb. 322. I. R. 187. 1st. 82. I. H. 162. Muk. 118. Kaz. ii. 320. 
I. B. ii. 2. Mst. 141. A. Y. i. 640, 657; ii. 517. J. N. 463. The ruins of 
Wasit do not appear to have been examined by any recent explorer. Their 
position on the Shatt-al-Hayy is fixed within narrow limits by the Arab 
itineraries. Chesney (Report of the Euphrates and Tigris Expedition, i. 37) 
states that these ruins were visited by Ormsby and Elliott in 1831 2, but he 
does not mark their position. 

Ill] 'IRAK. 41 

also spelt Nahr AMn, at its exit. Below this came Al-Firuth and 
then Dayr-al-'UmrnM, 'the Convent of the Governors.' These 
were on the eastern bank, opposite to which and flowing west 
into the swamp were three canals, first the Nahr Kuraysh with a 
great village on it of the same name ; then Nahr-as-Sib, on which 
stood the towns of Al-Jawmid, 'the Dried-lands,' and Al-'Ukr; 
finally, the Nahr Barduda on which lay the town of Ash-Shadidiyah. 
All these were important towns lying in the swamp, round and 
about Al-Jimidah, otherwise called (in the plural) Al-Jawamid; 
further, Mufcaddasi describes a large town in this region called 
As-Salik, standing on an open lagoon which was surrounded by 
farmsteads and well cultivated lands. Over against these places 
and on the eastern bank of the main arm of the Tigris was 
Al-Hawanit, 'the Taverns,' where there was a toll-bar moored 
across the river, like the one already described at Dayr-al-'Akul 
(p. 36), and this was close to Al-Katr, 12 leagues below Rusafah, 
where, according to Ibn Rustah, the Tigris in the 3rd (9th) century 
dividing into three arms finally entered the swamp 1 . 

The Swamps were called Al-Bataih (the plural form of Al- 
Batihah^ signifying a ' lagoon ') and their history has been already 
described (p. 26). The whole area covered by them was dotted 
with towns and villages, each standing on its canal, and though 
the climate was very feverish the soil, when drained, was most 
fertile. Ibn Rustah writing at the close of the 3rd (9th) century 
describes the Great Swamp as everywhere covered by reed-beds, 
intersected by water channels, where immense quantities of fish 
were caught, which, after being salted, were despatched to all the 
neighbouring provinces. In regard to the Tigris waters, it appears 
that from Katr eastward and probably following, approximately, 
the line of the present channel of the Euphrates the waterway 
led through a succession of open lagoons to the Abu-1-Asad canal, 
by which the waters of the swamp drained out to the Basrah 
estuary. These lagoons of open water, clear of reeds, were called 
Hawr or Hawl by the Arabs, and the lagoons were connected 
by channels navigable for small boats. The great river barges, 

1 I. S. 9, 20. Kud. 194. I. R. 184, 185. Muk. 119. Yak. ii. 10, 553; 
iii. 109, 415, 840; iv. 217, 758. 


42 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

according to Ibn Rustah, did not pass below Katr, but here 
transferred their cargoes to wherries, so light of draught as to pass 
through the channels threading the lagoons. All along these 
channels, stations on platforms had been made, where in huts 
built of reeds, and thus raised above the plague of gnats, guards 
were posted to keep the course clear and to protect wayfarers, for 
the recesses of the Great Swamp were the natural hiding-place of 

Ibn Serapion gives the names of four of the great lagoons 
(Hawr, or Hawl) through which the waterway went towards Basrah. 
The first was called Bahassa, the second was the Bakamsi lagoon, 
then the Basrayatha, and the fourth was the Hawr-al-Muham- 
madiyah, the largest of all, on which stood the tower called 
Minarah Hassan, after Hassan the Nabathaean who had been 
employed by the Omayyad viceroy Hajjaj to drain and reclaim 
lands in the Great Swamp. Beyond this last lagoon came the 
channel passing the villages of Al-Halah and Al-Kawanin, and 
ending in the canal of Abu-1-Asad, which finally carried the waters 
of the swamp to the head of the Tigris estuary. This Abu-1-Asad, 
whose canal roughly corresponds with the last reach of the present 
course of the Euphrates above Kurnah, had been a freedman of 
the Caliph Mansur, and when in command of troops at Basrah 
he dug, or more probably widened, the boat channel which, 
as Yaktit remarks, had doubtless existed here from Sassanian 
times. Kurnah, at the present point of junction of the Euphrates 
and Tigris, is not mentioned by any of the Arab geographers, and 
the first notice of this castle appears in the Turkish Jahan Numa 
at the beginning of the nth (lyth) century. 

The last reach of the eastern course of the Tigris that of 
Sassanian times, as also of the present day existed, as already 
said, in the middle-ages as a back-water, stopped at its northern 
end by a dam. This back-water, called the Nahr-al-Madhar, was 
six leagues in length, and led to the two cities of 'Abdasi (or 
'Abdasi) and Al-Madhar ; the exact sites of which are unknown. 
The surrounding district along the then desiccated eastern bed 
of the Tigris was called JOkha, and it stretched north-westward 
to Kaskar, the district of Wasit. Madhar had been a city of much 
importance at the time of the Moslem conquest, and was then 

Ill] 'IRAK. 43 

the capital of the district of Maysin, otherwise called Dasti- 
Maysdn. Madhar is described as lying four days' journey from 
Basrah, and was celebrated for its beautiful mosque and the much 
venerated tomb of 'Abd-Allah, son of the Caliph 'Alt. The 
neighbouring town of 'Abdasf, according to Yakut, was of Persian 
origin, that name being the Arabic form of the older Afdasahi, 
which had been a hamlet of the Kaskar district befoie the 
conquest. Kaskar and Maysan were the two districts of the 
eastern part of the Great Swamp, and Kaskar, according to 
Kazwini, produced much excellent rice which was exported. On 
its pastures buffaloes, oxen, and goats were fattened ; the reed- 
beds sheltered ducks and water-fowl that were snared and sent 
in to the markets of the surrounding towns, while in its canals 
the shad-fish (called Shabbuf) was caught in great numbers, salted 
and exported. Further, in Maysan might be seen the tomb of the 
prophet 'Uzayr, otherwise Ezra, which Kazwini says was at a 
place settled entirely by Jews, who served the shrine. This was 
renowned throughout the countryside as a spot where prayers 
were answered, and in consequence the shrine was made rich by 
votive offerings 1 . 

The broad estuary formed by the combined Tigris and 
Euphrates waters, nearly a hundred miles in length, began at the 
exit of the Abu-1-Asad canal, and flowed out to the Persian Gulf 
at 'Abbadan. This estuary was variously known as the Blind 
Tigris (Dijlah-al-'Awra), or the Fayd (the estuary) of Basrah, and 
the Persians named it Bahmanshir; at the present day it is 
generally known as the Shatt-al-'Arab, * the Arab River.' The tide 
from the Persian Gulf came up it, reaching as far north as the 
head of the channel at Madhar and 'Abdasi, also filling and 
emptying the numerous canals of Basrah, and those irrigating the 
lands east and west of the estuary. Basrah, the great commercial 
port of 'Irak, lay close to the border of the desert, at some distance 
to the west of the estuary, with which it was in water communica- 
tion by means of two canals. Both north and south of Basrah 
numerous canals drained the lower waters of the Great Swamp 

1 I. R. 94, 185. I. S. 28. Kud. 240. Baladhuri, 293, 349. Kaz. ii. 
197, 310. Yak. i. 669 ; iii. 603 ; iv. 468, 830. J. N. 455. 

44 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

into the Blind Tigris, and on the east side of the estuary several 
other canals came in, while a broad artificial channel called the 
Nahr Bayan, at a point about 30 miles above ' Abbadan, joined the 
estuary of the Tigris with that of the Dujayl (the Kirftn river), 
which flows down from the Khtizistin province into the Persian 
Gulf at Sulayminan 1 . 

Al-Basrah the name is said to mean * the Black Pebbles ' 
was founded in the reign of 'Omar in the year 17 (638), and its 
lands were divided among the Arab tribes who were then in 
garrison here after the conquest of the Sassanian empire. The city 
grew quickly to be, with Ktifah, one of the new capitals of 'Ml: ; 
and in the year 36 (656) near Basrah 4 Ali gained the barren 
victory, the famous Battle of the Camel, over those who were 
responsible for the death of the Caliph 'Qthman ; in which battle 
Talhah and Zubayr, two well-known Companions of the Prophet, 
were slain. Basrah lay about 12 miles in a direct line from the 
Tigris estuary, being reached by two great canals, the Nahr 
Ma%il from the N.E. down which ships came from Baghdad, 
and the Nahr-al-Ubullah by which the traffic passed from 
Basrah going S.E. to the Persian Gulf at 'Abbadan. These two 
canals, with the waters of the estuary to the east for the third side, 
formed the Great Island as it was called ; and the city of Ubullah 
stood at its S.E. angle, above where the Ubullah canal joined the 

Basrah city had its greatest length along the junction canal, of 
the two arms just named, and its houses extending westward in 
a semicircle reached the border of the desert, where a single gate 
called Bab-al-Badiyah (the Desert Gate) gave egress. The width 
of the city, from the canal bank to this gate, was in the 4th (loth) 
century three miles, but its length greatly exceeded this measure- 
ment. The houses of the town were for the most part of kiln- 
burnt bricks, the walls were surrounded by rich pasture lands, 

1 I. S. 28. The word 'Awrd, meaning * blind of an eye,' is applied to 
rivers that have silted up, and to roads along which there is no thoroughfare. 
At first the name of the Blind Tigris appears to have been given to the 'Abdast 
channel ; and only at a later date to the lower estuary. Mas. Tanbih 52. 
Yak. i. 770. J. N. 454. This last gives the Tigris estuary under the name 
of the Shatt-al-'Arab. 

Ill] 'IRAK. 45 

watered by numerous minor canals, and beyond these lay 
extensive palm-groves. Mukaddasi states that Basrah had three 
Friday Mosques, one at the western gate, close on the desert, 
and this was the oldest ; a second mosque, the finest, built with 
beautiful columns, stood in the chief market place, and it was 
'unequalled among the mosques of all 'Irak'; the third was 
situated among the houses of the town. There were also three 
great market streets, full of shops and warehouses, and these 
equalled the Baghdad markets in extent. The Mirbad (the 
Kneeling-place for Camels) was the famous quarter at the western 
gate, where the desert caravans halted, and this was one of the 
busiest parts of the city. Near here were the shrines at the tombs 
of Talhah and Zubayr, but even when Mukaddasi wrote many 
quarters of the city had already gone to ruin 1 . Among other 
institutions, Mukaddasi mentioned a public library, which existed 
in Basrah during the 4th (loth) century, having been founded and 
endowed by a certain Ibn Sawwar, who had also provided the town 
of Ramhurmuz in Khtizistan with a similar institution. In both 
a stipend provided for the entertainment of students, and for the 
copying of books ; and the number of these stored in the Basrah 
library was considerable. 

During the many wars and insurrections recorded in the history 
of the Abbasids Basrah suffered much. In 257 (871) when the 
great rebellion of the Zanj was at its height, their leader who 
gave himself out as a descendant of the Caliph 'Alt stormed 
Basrah, burnt the greater part of the town including the Great 
Mosque, and for three days his troops plundered the city. Then 
in 311 (923) Basrah was again sacked, and this time during 
17 days, by the chief of the Carmathians. But the place in time 
partly regained its former opulence. In 443 (1052) it was visited 
by the Persian traveller Nasir-i-Khusraw, who describes it as most 
populous, the city wall being in good repair though many 
quarters of the town were still in ruin. The palace of the Caliph 
4 Ali near the Great Mosque still existed, and there were thirteen 
shrines recalling divers events of the days when 'Ali was in 

1 The tomb of Zubayr is still marked by the ruins of that name which stand 
on the site of medieval Basrah. Modern Basrah, lying on the Tigris estuary, 
occupies the position of Ubullah at the exit of the canal. 

46 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

residence here. Nisir also carefully enumerates the twenty 
districts surrounding the city. 

In 517 (1123) the city wall, running half a league within the 
old line, was rebuilt by the Kadi 'Abd-as-Salam, and in the 8th 
(i4th) century, after the Mongol invasion, when Ibn Battitah was 
here, Basrah was still a very populous city. He speaks of the 
mosque of 'Alt, a fine tall edifice with seven minarets, which 
however was only opened for the Friday prayers and already stood 
two miles distant from the inhabited quarters of the town, being 
surrounded by ruins. The older city wall, lying two miles 
beyond this mosque, could still be traced, near which were the 
shrines of Tal^ah and Zubayr ; but the town proper then con- 
sisted of only three inhabited quarters. Mustawfi, writing in the 
same century, gives a long account of Basrah. Its mosque, which 
he reports had only been rebuilt by the Caliph 'Alt, was the 
largest in Islam and any mosque planned larger it was 
impossible ever to complete and of -this mosque 'Ali had set the 
Kiblah (or Mecca point) quite exactly in its right direction. 
Here, too, there was a minaret which shook or remained still 
according as an oath sworn to before it was true or false : a 
perpetual miracle established by the Caliph 'Ali who had built it 
Mustawfi gives some further account of the Basrah shrines, and 
then speaks in high praise of the beautiful gardens and palm- 
groves surrounding the city, ' so thickly planted that you cannot 
see a hundred paces distant,' and the dates of so fine a quality 
that they were profitably exported to India and to China. 

Basrah had at all times been famous for its canals, which 
according to Ibn Hawkal, in the 4th (loth) century, exceeded 
100,000 in number, and of these 20,000 were navigable for boats. 
The Nahr Ma'kil, already mentioned as the main channel from 
the direction of Baghdad, had been dug during the reign of 
'Omar by Ma'kil ibn Yasar, a Companion of the Prophet. This 
and the Ubullah canal, going from Basrah towards the south-east, 
were each four leagues in length, and the gardens of the Ubullah 
canal along the south side of the Great Island were held to be 
one of the four earthly paradises ! . 

1 As generally reported (but different authorities give different lists) the 
other three were, the Ghawtah, or Garden Lands, of Damascus ; the Sha'b 

in] 'IRAK. 47 

Al-Ubullah, the Arab form of the Greek Apologos, dated from 
Sassanian or even earlier times, but it lay on the estuary and 
was feverish, and the Moslems when they founded -their new city, 
Basrah, built this further inland near the desert border. Ubullah, 
as already said, was to the north at the mouth of its canal, and on 
the Great Island. Opposite, on the south side of the canal, was 
the town called Shikk 'Othman, ' Othman's breach ' in the dyke 
(he is said to have been a grandson of his namesake the third 
Caliph) ; and over against the canal mouth, but on the east side 
of the estuary, was the station whence those who had crossed 
the Tigris took the road for Khftzistan. This was called 'Askar 
Abu Ja'far * the Camp of Abu Ja'far,' in other words, of the 
Caliph Mansflr. Ubullah was in the 4th (loth) century a town of 
considerable size, having its own Friday Mosque, and the like was 
the case with Shikk 'Othman, both according to Mukaddasi being 
fine buildings. Nasir-i-Khusraw, who was here half a century later, 
speaks of the palaces, markets, and mosques of both towns as then 
in excellent state, but the Mongol inroad a couple of centuries 
later affected all this countryside, and Kazwini writing in the yth 
(i3th) century describes these places as gone to ruin, though 
Shikk 'Othman was held famous for its great Sidr or lotus trees. 
In the next century Ibn Batutah describes Ubullah as a mere 
village, from which condition it has arisen in modern times by the 
building, on the older site, of New Basrah. 

Where the Nahr-al-Ubullah flowed into the Tigris estuary 
there had been a dangerous whirlpool, ships being often wrecked 
here in earlier times. According to Ibn Hawkal this peril to all 
mariners was done away with by a certain Abbasid princess 
some say Zubaydah who, loading many ships with stones, sunk 
them at this spot, and thus blocked the whirlpool. Ibn Serapion 
carefully enumerates the nine canals which came into the Tigris 
estuary on the western side; namely, three above the Nahr Ma'kil, 
and four south of Basrah, between the Ubullah canal and the 

Bavvan, or Vale of Bavvan, in Fars, which will be described in Chapter XVIII ; 
and lastly the Widi-as-Sughd, or Valley of Soghdiana, lying between Samar- 
kand and Bukhidi, which will be mentioned in Chapter XXXIII. 1st. So. 
I. H. 159, 160, noter. Muk. 117, 130, 413. N. K. 8589. Yak. i. 636; 
iv. 845. I. B. ii. 8, 13, 14. Mst. 137. 

48 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

mouth of the estuary. The only one of these canals which is of 
importance is the Nahr Abu-1-Khasib so called after a certain 
freedman of the Caliph Mans&r on which in the middle years 
of the 3rd (9th) century the great stronghold of the Zanj rebels 
was built. This city, which they named Al-Mukhtllrah, was so 
strongly fortified as to resist for a considerable time the armies 
sent against it by the Abbasid Caliph, and it was only after fifteen 
years of continuous warfare that the rebellion of the Zanj was 
finally crushed 1 . 

The chief canals on the eastern side of the Tigris estuary, 
according to Ibn Serapion, were the following. First the Rayyin, 
on or near which lay the two towns of Al-Maftah and Ad-Daskarah 
(the Flat-land) ; the exact position of these is unknown, though 
the first-named town was of sufficient importance for the estuary 
to be often named the Tigris of Al-Maftah. Below this was the 
Nahr Bayan, with the town of Bavin lying at its mouth five leagues 
distant from Ubullah on the opposite side of the estuary. The 
port of Muhammarah on the Haffar channel occupies its site at 
the present day, this channel connecting the upper reach of the 
Tigris estuary with that of the Dujayl (Karftn). Mukaddast, 
writing three-quarters of a century later than Ibn Serapion, says 
that this channel, four leagues in length, was widened and dug out 
by the order of 'Adud-ad-Dawlah the Buyid. Already in the 
previous century it is spoken of by Kudamah under the name of 
the New Canal (An-Nahr-al-Jadid), and it was navigable for cargo- 
boats coming to Basrah from Ahwaz, which before the widening 
of the 'Adudi channel (as Mukaddasl calls it) had had to pass 
down the Dujayl estuary, out to sea, and then up the Tigris 
estuary past Bayan to Ubullah 2 . 

The great island between the two estuaries which Yafctit names 
(in Persian) Miyin Rftdan (Betwixt the Rivers) is described by 
Mufcaddasi as a Sabkhah or salt-marsh, with the town of 'Abbadan 
on the seaboard at one angle, and Sulayminin at the other angle 
on the Dujayl estuary. 'Abbidan still exists, but now lies up the 

1 1st. 81. Baladhun, 362. I. H. 160, 161. Muk. 118, 135. I. S. 29, 
30. N. K. 89. Kaz. ii. 190. Yak. ii. 675. I. B. ii. 17. Tabari, iii. 1982. 

2 1. S. 30. I. K. 12. Kud. 194. 1st. 95. I. H. 171. Muk. 419. 
Mas. Tanbih 52. Yak. iv. 586. 

Ill] 'IRAK. 49 

estuary more than twenty miles from the present coast-line of the 
Persian Gulf, for the sea has been pushed back thus far by the 
delta of the great river. Mufcaddast in the 4th (loth) century, 
however, describes 'Abb&lan as having only the open sea beyond 
it. It was inhabited by mat-weavers, who used the IJalfa grass 
of the island for their trade; and there were great guard-houses 
round the town for the protection of the mouth of the estuary. 
Nisir-i-Khusraw, who was here in 438 (1047), says that in his 
day the low tide left a couple of leagues dry between 'Abbadan 
and the sea, and to serve as a lighthouse to warn mariners 
they had built a scaffolding with great beams of teak-wood, very 
broad below and narrowing above, 40 yards in height, which was 
known as the Khashab (Wood-works). On its summit was the 
watchman's cabin, and the platform being stone-flagged and 
supported on arches was used at night for a brasier where a 
beacon-fire was lighted. 'Abbadan was still a flourishing town in 
the yth (i3th) century with many mosques and Rubats (guard- 
houses), but in the next century when Ibn Batfitah passed through, 
it had sunk to the size of a village and already was three miles 
distant from the coast-line. Mustawfi, however, the contem- 
porary of Ibn Batdtah, speaks of 'Abbadan as a considerable port, 
and states that its revenues, which amounted to 441,000 dinars 
in the currency of his day, were paid in to the Basrah treasury. 
The harbour of Sulaymanin, a few leagues east of 'Abb&dan, 
was often counted as of the KMzistin province, and all that is 
recorded of it appears to be the fact that it was founded by a 
certain Sulayman ibn Jibir, surnamed 'the Ascetic 1 .' 

Returning to the latitude of Baghdad the towns lying along 
the Tigris to the north of the capital as far as the limits of 'Irafc 
have now to be described, with those which stood near the bank 
of the great Nahrawin canal. As already said (see p. 32) the 

1 Baladhuri, 364. 1st. 90. I. H. 173. Muk. 118. Kaz. ii. 280. N. K. 
89, 90. Yak. iv. 708. I. B. ii. 18. Mst. 137. Mas. i. 230. Yikut (i. 645) 
notes that the people of Basrah had the habit of turning proper-names into 
place-names by the terminal syllable An : e.g. Talhatdn, * the Talhah canal.' 
This explains the forms Sulaymanan and 'Abbadan, the latter being called 
after a certain 'Abbld. The shore line at the mouth of the Tigris estuary 
advances at the rate of about 71 feet in the year, or a mile and a half in the 
century ; hence the present inland position of ' Abb&d&n. 

50 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

chief high road from Baghdad to Mosul and the northern towns 
went along the left or eastern bank of the Tigris. It left East 
Baghdad by the Baradan Gate of the Shammasiyah quarter, and 
in about four leagues reached the small town of Al-Baradan, 
which still exists under the slightly altered form of Badrin. 
Close to Baradan were two other important villages; Baztigha 
and Al-Mazrafah, the latter lying three leagues above Baghdad. 
At Ar-Rashidfyah near Baradan the Khalis canal joined the 
Tigris, as will be explained presently; and immediately above 
this, at the present day, ends a great bend of the Tigris to the 
eastward, which bend begins at Kadisiyah 60 miles north of 
Baghdad. The river bed, however, during the middle-ages took 
an almost straight line from Kadisiyah to Baradan, and the ruins 
still exist on the eastern side of the dry channel, the names being 
marked on the map, of towns mentioned by Ibn Serapion and 
other early authorities. 

The bed of the Tigris would indeed appear to have changed 
here more than once. What is the present (eastern) channel 
of the river the author of the Marsid, writing about the year 700 
(1300), speaks of as the Shutaytah or * Lesser Stream'; and one 
of the great alterations must have taken place during the reign of 
the Caliph Mustansir, namely between the years 623 and 640 
(1226 to 1242), for it is chronicled that he dug many canals to 
irrigate the lands left dry by the shifting of the main stream. As 
early as the 4th (loth) century also, Mas'fidi speaks of law-suits, 
to which this changing of the Tigris bed had given rise, between 
the landowners on the eastern and western banks above Baghdad. 
Of these towns then lying on the east bank of the Tigris (their ruins 
being now found on the dry channel far to the westward of the 
present river) one of the best known was 'Ukbara, close to which 
lay Awana, and then Busr further down stream, the three places 
standing some 10 leagues from Baghd&d. They lay surrounded by 
.gardens, to which pleasure-seekers from the capital resorted, and 
Mu^addasf especially praises the grapes of 'Ukbara, which he says 
was a large and populous town. A short distance above 'Ukbari 
was 'Alth or Al-'Alth, which is still marked on our maps, but now 
of the western bank, and Mufcaddasi describes this as a large 
and very populous city, lying on a branch canal from the Tigris. 

Ill] 'IRAK. 51 

North-west of 'Alth, where the river at the present day turns off 
eastward for the great bend, stands Kadislyah of the Tigris not 
to be confused with the place of the same name to the west 
of the Euphrates. It was famous for its glass-works, and opposite 
to it the Dujayl canal branched from the Tigris going south 1 . 

The Dujayl canal (this also not to be confounded with the 

Dujayl river, the Karfin), as will be explained in the next chapter, 

had originally been a channel from the Euphrates to the Tigris, 

but by the beginning of the 4th (loth) century its western part 

had become silted up, and its eastern and lower course was then 

kept clear by a new channel, taken from the Tigris immediately 

below Kidisiyah. The Dujayl meaning 'the Little Tigris' 

watered all the rich district of Maskin lying to the north of West 

Baghdad beyond Katrabbul. The later Dujayl was therefore 

a loop-canal of the Tigris, which it rejoined opposite 'Ukbara 

after throwing off a number of branches, some of which ran so far 

south as to bring water to the Harbiyah, the great northern 

suburb of West Baghdad (see above, p. 31). The district of 

the Dujayl, otherwise called Maskin, included a great number of 

villages and towns, lying westward of 'Ukbani and the Tigris 

channel, the chief of which was Harba, which was visited by 

Ibn Jubayr in 580 (1184) and still exists. Here may be seen 

at the present day the ruins of a great stone bridge across 

the canal which, as the historian Fakhri records and the extant 

inscription still testifies, was built by the Caliph Mustansir in 629 

(1232). Near Harba was Al-IJazirah (the Enclosure), where the 

cotton stuffs called Kirbas were manufactured, being largely 

exported. Yaktit further names a considerable number of villages 

there were over a hundred in all which were of this district, 

and many of these, as for example Al-Balad (the Hamlet) near 

IJazirah, are still to be found on the map. As late as the 

8th (i4th) century the Dujayl district, with Harba for its chief 

town, is described by Mustawfi as of amazing fertility, and its 

pomegranates were the best to be found in the markets of 


1 Kud. 214. Muk. 122, 123. Mas. i. 223. Yak. i. 395, 551, 606, 654; 
iii. 705 ; iv. 9, 520. Mar. ii. 270, 429. 

$2 'IRAK. [CHAP. Ill 

Many other towns were ot this district. About ten miles 
above KUdisiyah is Simarri, which will be described in the next 
chapter, and Matirah lay half-way between the two, immediately 
above where three small canals branched from the left (east) 
bank of the Tigris. Midway between Matirah and Kidisiyah, 
below the exit of these canals, stood Barkuwiri, otherwise 
Balkuwira, or Bazkuwir. The village of Al-Matirah, according 
to Yakut, had derived its name from a certain Matar of the 
Shayban tribe, who was a notable man of the Khirijite sect, and 
it had been originally called Al-Matariyah, this in time becoming 
corrupted to Al-Matirah 1 . Ten miles north again of Samarri 
was Karkh Firuz, also called Karkh of Samarra, to distinguish 
it from Karkh the southern quarter of West Baghdad, and further 
to the north lay Dtir, where the great Nahrawan canal branched 
from the left bank of the Tigris. At this point, but from the right 
or western bank of the Tigris, began the Ishaki canal which 
making a short loop rejoined the river again opposite Matirah. 
The positions of all these places are fixed by the canals, some of 
them, in ruin, also still exist, but nothing is known of them 
beyond their names. 

1 Ykb. 265. I. S. 14. I. J. 233. Yak. i. 178, 605; ii. 235, 292, 555; 
iv. 529, 568. Mst. 138. Fakhn, 380. Commander J. F. Jones in the Records 
of the Bombay Government (new series, number XLIII, 1857, p. 252) gives 
a drawing of the Harba bridge. He gives (p. 47) Barkuwara under the form 


'IRAK (continued}. 

Simarra. Takrtt. The Nahrawan canal. Ba'kftba and other towns. Nahr- 
avvan town, and the Khurasan road. Jalftla and Khanikin. Bandantjan 
and Bayat. Towns on the Euphrates from Hadithah to Anbar. The 
'Isa canal. Muhawwal, Sarsar and the Nahr-al- Malik. The Kfitha 

Simarra, which for more than half a century and during the reigns 
of seven Caliphs, from 221 to 2/9 (836 to 892), became the 
Abbasid capital, had existed as a town before the Arab conquest, 
and long after it had fallen from its temporary pre-eminence 
continued to be an important city. The name in Aramaean is 
written Simarri, which the Caliph Mu'tasim when he took up his 
residence here changed, officially, to Surra-man-raa, 'for good 
augury,' these words in Arabic signifying ' Who sees it, rejoices.' 
Under this form it is a mint city on Abbasid coins ; but the name 
was pronounced in many different ways, six forms are cited by 
Ibn Khallikan, Samarri being that most commonly used, and 
the one selected by Yifcftt as the heading to his article on 
this city. 

Ya%ftb! writing at the close of the 3rd (9th) century has left 
us a long and detailed account of Simarra and its palaces, for the 
seven Caliphs who lived here, mostly as the prisoners of their 
Turk bodyguard, occupied their enforced leisure in building, and 
in laying out pleasure-grounds. The city proper stood on the 
eastern bank of the Tigris and extended with its palaces for a 
distance of seven leagues along the river. On the western bank 
also many palaces were built, each Caliph in succession spending 
fabulous sums on new pleasure-grounds. The land where the 

54 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

Caliph Mutasim (a younger son of Hrfin-ar-Rashid) built his first 
palace when he came to settle at Samarra in 221 (836) belonged 
to a Christian monastery (Dayr) which was bought for 4000 
dinars (^2000) and it was known as At-Tirhan. His Turk body- 
guard were granted fiefs at Karkh, and further up stream to Dftr, 
some also lay south of Samaria towards Matirah ; and the Caliph 
proceeded to build the first Friday Mosque near the east bank of 
the Tigris, and lay the foundations of his palace. Artificers were 
brought together from all parts of the empire, and immense 
quantities of teak-wood (S&j) were imported, also palm beams 
from Basrah and divers marbles from Antioch and Laodicea. 
A thoroughfare called the Great Road (Ash-Shari'-al-A'zam) was 
laid out along the Tigris bank, being bordered by the new palaces 
and the fiefs, and this road went from Matirah right up to Karkh, 
many by-roads and market streets branching from it. The new 
Treasury and Government Offices also were built, and the Great 
Hall called Dar-al-'Ammah (the Public Audience Chamber) where 
the Caliph sat in state on Mondays and Thursdays. 

Besides his palace in Samarra, Mu'tasim laid out a pleasance 
on the west side of the Tigris opposite the new capital, with which 
it was connected by a bridge of boats, and the gardens were 
planted with palms brought up from Basrah, and with exotics 
sent for from provinces as far distant as Syria and Khurasan. 
.These lands on the western side were irrigated by branch canals 
from the Nahr-al-Ishaki, already mentioned, which was dug by 
Isfrak ibn Ibrahim, Chief of Police to Mu'tasim, and this was 
more especially the district called Tirhan, which Ya'kfibi speaks 
of as 'the plain ' of Samarra. When the Caliph Mu'tasim died in 
227 (842) Samarra was in a fair way to rival Baghdad in the 
grandeur of its palaces and public buildings. His two sons 
Wathifc and Mutawakkil, who became Caliphs in turn, completed 
the work of their father. Hirtin-al-Withik built the palace, called 
after his name the Kasr-al-Hirfini, on the Tigris bank, and at 
either end of this, east and west, was a great platform. Wathifc 
also dug a harbour from the river, where cargo-boats coming up 
from Baghdad might conveniently unload. He was succeeded by 
his brother Ja'far-al-Mutawakkil in 232 (847) who at first lived in 
the HirOn! palace, but in 245 (859) he began to build himself a 

iv] 'IRAK. 55 

new palace three leagues north of Karkh, to which he extended 
the Great Road, and this with the new town which sprang up 
round it was called Al-Mutawakkiliyah or the Kasr-al-Ja'fari. The 
ruins of the Ja'fari palace still exist in the angle formed by the 
branching of the Nahrawan canal, and the older town of Al- 
Mlihftzah came to be incorporated with it. 

Mutawakkil also built a new and more magnificent Friday 
Mosque to replace that of his father, which had become too 
small for the population of the new capital, for the houses now 
extended in a continuous line with palaces and gardens from 
Matirah to Dfir. In his palace of the MutawakkilSyah, otherwise 
called the Jafariyah, Mutawakkil was murdered by his son 
Muntasir in 247 (86 1), and, during the troublous times that 
followed, the four next Caliphs had their abode at the Kasr-al- 
Jawsafc (the Palace of the Kiosque) on the western side of the 
Tigris opposite Samarra, this being one of those built by Mu'tasim. 
Mu'tamid, son of Mutawakkil, and the last of the Caliphs to reside 
at Samarra, lived first at the Jawsafc, but afterwards built himself 
a new palace on the eastern bank, known as Kasr-al-Ma'shufc 
(the Palace of the Beloved), from whence he finally removed the 
seat of Government to Baghdad a short time before his death in 
279 (892). The names of many other palaces are given by our 
authorities. Ibn Serapion for instance mentions the celebrated 
Kasr-al-Jiss (the Gypsum Palace) built by Mu'tasim on the Ishdfci 
canal ; and Yifctit, who names a great number of palaces, adds 
a long account of the almost fabulous prices which each had cost 
its builder, and the total he makes to be 204 million dirhams, 
equivalent to about eight million sterling. 

The glory of Samarra, however, naturally came to an end with 
the return of the Caliphs to Baghdid, and its many palaces 
rapidly fell to ruin. In the 4th (loth) century Ibn IJawfcal 
praises its magnificent gardens, especially those on the western 
side of the Tigris, but Mufcaddas! says that Karkh on the north 
was, in his day, become the more populous quarter of the town. 
The great Friday Mosque of Samarra, however, still remained, 
which Mukaddasf says was the equal of that of Damascus in 
magnificence. Its walls were covered with enamelled tiles 
(min&\ it was paved with marble, and its roof was supported on 

56 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

marble columns. The minaret was remarkable for its great 
height, and, Y^kftt asserts, it had been the minaret of the 
first mosque, having been built by Mutasim, who wished 
the Call to Prayer to be audible over all the city. It was 
visible from a league distance all round. It is apparently this 
ancient minaret which still exists as the well-known Malwtyah 
tower, having a spiral outside stairway going to the top, which 
stands about half a mile to the north of modern Simarra ; such 
was in any case the belief of Mustawff who, in the early part of 
the 8th (i4th) century, says that the minaret then existing of the 
Friday Mosque was 170 ells (Get) in height, 'with the gangway 
going up outside, the like of which was to be seen nowhere else/ 
and he adds that the Caliph Mu*tasim had been its builder. 

Later authorities add little to our knowledge of Samarra, and 
in after years it came chiefly to be inhabited by Shi'ahs ; for here 
were the tombs of the tenth and eleventh Im&ms, 'Ali-al-'Askart 
and his son Al-IJasan, and here above all, said they, was the 
mosque with the underground chamber where the twelfth Imam 
had disappeared in 264 (878), he being Al-Kaim, the promised 
Mahdf, who was to reappear in the fulness of time. The 
shrines where these Alids were buried stood in that part of 
Samarra called 'Askar Mu'tasim, 'the Camp of Mu'tasim,' and it 
is from this that the tenth Imam had his title of Al-'Askarl. 
Writing in the early part of the 8th (i4th) century Mustawfi, the 
Shi'ah, especially mentions these shrines, and adds that the 
Friday Mosque near by these tombs, besides its great minaret 
already referred to, was possessed of a famous stone basin called 
Kas-i-Fir'awn (Pharaoh's Cup) measuring 23 paces in circum- 
ference by 7 ells high, and half an ell in thickness, which stood 
in the mosque court for the Ablution, and which the Caliph 
Mu'tasim had caused to be made. Mustawfi, however, adds 
that, in his day, Simarra was for the most part a ruin, only in 
part inhabited, and this statement is confirmed by the description 
left us by his contemporary Ibn Ba^tah, who was here in the 
year 730 (i33o) 1 . 

1 Baladhuri, 297, 198. Ykb. 255268. I. K. 94. L S. 18. 1st. 85. 
I. H. 166. Muk. 122, 123. A. F. 289. Yak. Hi. 14-22, 82, 675; iv. no. 
Ibn KhaUikan, No. 8, p. 15. Mst. 139. I. B. ii. 131. 

iv] 'IRAK. 57 

Takrlt, lying thirty miles north of Samarra on the west bank 
of the Tigris, was commonly counted as the last town of 'Irak 
and was famous for its strong castle which overlooked the river. 
Ibn Hawaii in the 4th (loth) century states that the majority of 
its population were Christians, and that they possessed a great 
monastery here. Mu^addasi says the wool-workers of this town 
were famous, and in its neighbourhood much sesame was grown ; 
Mustawfi adds, also water melons, of which three crops a year 
were produced in spite of the somewhat raw climate of Takrit 
Ibn Jubayr states that the city wall was 6000 paces in circuit, 
with towers in good repair, when he passed through Takrit in 580 
(1184), and Ibn Batfttah gives praise to both its markets and its 
numerous mosques l . 

The great Nahrawan canal left the Tigris a short distance 
below Dftr, as already said, and in its upper course was known as 
Al-Katftl-al-Kisrawi, 'the Cut of the Chosroes,' for it owed its 
origin to the Sassanian kings. It served to irrigate all the lands 
along the east bank of the Tigris from above Simarra to about a 
hundred miles south of Baghdad, and Ibn Serapion mentions a 
great number of towns along its banks with bridges and weirs, 
but most of these have now disappeared, though the line of the 
canal is still marked on the map. Leaving Dur 8 , which, for 
distinction among the many towns of this name, was called 
Dftr-al-'Arabayi or of Al-Harith, the canal passed to the back 
of the Mutawakkiliyah and other outlying quarters north of 
Samarra, and here it was crossed by a stone bridge. It next 
came to f takhiyah, a village and fief called after Itakh the Turk, 
sometime captain of the guard to the Caliph Mu'tasim ; this had 
originally been a monastery called Dayr Abu-Sufrah, and here 
stood the bridge of the Chosroes (Kantarah Kisrawiyah). The 
monastery took its name from Abu Sufrah the Kharijite. Next 
the Nahrawan came to Al-Muhammadiyah, a small town, where it 
was crossed by a bridge of skiffs (Jisr Zawrffc) a , and according to 

1 1st. 77. I. H. 156. Muk. 123. I. J. 234. Mst. 138. I. B. ii. 133. 

9 D&r means the 'Houses' or 'Habitations/ and is a common place-name, 
being the plural form of Ddrah, a homestead.' 

8 It is to be noted that in the classical usage Jisr stands for ' a bridge of 
boats,' while Kantarah is ' a masonry bridge of arches.' Shddkurwdn, trans- 

58 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

Yiktit this Muhammadiyah was but a later name of Itikhfyah, the 
change having been effected by Mutawakkil in honour of his son 
Muhammad-al-Muntasir, who afterwards became Caliph by the 
murder of his father. At some distance below these places the 
Nahrawan was joined successively by the three lesser Katfils, 
namely the Yahftdi, the Mamftni, and the canal of Abu-1-Jund, 
which were all three taken from the left bank of the Tigris near 
Matirah below Samarra, and which irrigated the fertile districts 
south of that city. Above their inflow, the Nahrawan was 
dammed back by the first of its many weirs (Ash-Shadhurwin), 
and where the first canal came in stood the large village of 
Al-Mamtiniyah. This, the Yahtidi (or Jews') canal, was crossed 
between Matirah and Mamfiniyah by a stone bridge called 
Kantarah Wasif, after Wasif, one of the captains of the Turk 
bodyguard, in the reign of Mu'tasim. The second canal, called 
Al-Mamftni, fell into the Nahrawin below the village of Al- 
Kanatir, 'the Bridges/ The third canal was called Abu-1-Jund 
' Father, or Supplier, of the Army ' from the fact that the crops 
raised on the lands watered by it were used as rations for the 
troops. It was the largest canal of the three, and had been dug by 
Hirun-ar-Rashid, who built a palace there while superintending 
its construction. On its banks stood the town of Taffir, and here 
it was crossed by a bridge of boats. YUfcftt, who had himself 
visited Taffir, describes it as occupying in the yth (i3th) century 
a waterless and pastureless plain, where wild animals dwelt, lying 
between Ba'kOba and DafcQfca. He passed through this going 
from Baghdad to Irbil ; no habitations were to be met with, and 
Yakftt says that his guide, when the caravan travelled by night 
over this plain, 'was wont to take his direction by the Pole-star, 
until, with the day, the plain had been crossed.' 

lated by ' weir,' more properly designates a portion of a canal, or river bed, 
that has been paved and embanked to confine the stream. It should, however, 
be added that Jisr undoubtedly sometimes also designated a stone bridge of 
arches, as in the celebrated Jisr-al-Walfd, the name given to the bridge over 
the river Sarus, between Adana and Mopsuestia, which was built by Justinian. 
The word Kantarah also designates any arched structure, as a viaduct or 
aqueduct, being borrowed from the Byzantines, who used the word Ktrrpov 
(the Latin centrum) to denote the central arch of a bridge, and by extension 
applied it to mean the whole structure. 

iv] 'IRAK. 59 

Four leagues below where the last of these three canals 
joined the Nahrawan lay the town of SftlS. or Salwa, otherwise 
called Bib Salwa or Basalwa. Below this again was the town 
of Ba'kQba, some ten leagues north of Baghdad, and the capital of 
the Upper Nahrawan district. At Ba'kftbi the Great Katul canal 
changed its name, and became the Tamarra, under which name it 
passed on to Bajisra and thence to the city called Jisr Nahrawan, 
beyond which the main waterway was more especially known as 
the Nahrawin canal. Near Bajisri (the Aramaic form of 
Bayt-al-Jisr, * the bridge-house ') which stood in a well cultivated 
district, surrounded by palm-trees, the Tamarra sent off a 
branch from its right bank known as the Nahr-al-Khalis, which 
flowed out into the Tigris at Baradan to the north of Baghdad, 
and from the Khalis many of the canals of East Baghdad derived 
their water. 

Jisr Nahrawan, the Bridge- town, where the Khurasan road 
from Baghdad crossed, will be described presently ; and here a 
canal called the Nahr Bin branched from the right bank of the 
Nahrawan, flowing ultimately into the Tigris at Kalwadha. From 
this the water channels of the lower quarters of East Baghdad 
derived their supply. One mile below Jisr Nahrawan the Diyala 
canal branched south from the main stream, and after irrigating 
the outer gardens of East Baghdad, reached the Tigris three miles 
below the capital. 

South of Jisr Nahrawan the great canal took the name of 
the Nahrawan exclusively, and after passing the Upper Weir 
(Shidhurwin) it came to Jisr Btiran, the bridge named after the 
wife of the Caliph Mamftn. Below this stood Yarzatiyah (or 
possibly Barzatiya), and then the town of 'Abarta, which Yikftt 
describes as of Persian origin, having important markets. . Beyond 
'Abarta lay, the Lower Weir and next Iskif (or Uskaf ) of the 
Bant Junayd, a city lying on both banks of the canal, and 
the Bant Junayd, Yaktit reports, had been chiefs of this district 
and famous for their hospitality. Yaktit adds that by the ?th 
(i3th) century, when he wrote, the lands round here had entirely 
gone out of cultivation, for the Nahrawan had gradually silted up 
during the previous two centuries, the Saljftk Sultans having ever 

60 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

been too much occupied with their wars to attend to the needful 
dredging, and the mending of dykes: 'further,' he adds, * their 
armies had made a roadway of this same canal, whereby both 
district and canal have now gone to ruin.' 

Beyond Uskaf the Nahrawan flowed on for nearly 60 miles, 
between a continuous line of villages and farmsteads, down to 
Madharaya where its waters finally rejoined the Tigris. Madha- 
raya, as already said, stood to the south of Jabbul and above 
Al-Mubarak, which lay opposite the town of Nahr Sabus. When 
Ya^tit wrote it was in ruin, and its name is now no longer marked 
on the map, but it must have stood just below the present 
K6t-al-'Amirah where, as already explained, the Tigris now 
divides off from the Shatt-al-IJayy channel 1 . 

This triple division of the Nahrawan canal (namely the Katftl, 
the Tamarra, and the Nahrawan proper), with the three branch 
canals (the Khdlis, the Nahr Bin, and the Diyila) which flowed 
back to the Tigris after watering the* East Baghdad region, is the 
explanation which Ibn Serapion has given of a very complicated 
skein of waterways. In later times the names were not always 
applied as he gives them. A glance at the present map shows 
that the Nahrawan, two hundred miles in length, must have taken 
up all the streams from the Persian highlands which, had it not 
been dug, would have flowed (at flood time) down to the left 
bank of the Tigris. The Timarra section was originally one of 
these streams, and Yaktit describes bow its bed had been 
artificially paved for a length of seven leagues to prevent the 
sands absorbing its waters, which were divided up to irrigate 
the several districts of East Baghdad. The Khalis and the 
DiySli were according to his account branches of the Tamarra 
(in any case the -. Khalis of the Arab geographers cannot be 
the river known by this name at the present day, for this now 
flows at some distance to the north-west of Ba%tiba), and Khalis 
in the time of Yifcftt was the name of the district, to the north of 
the Khurasan road, which on one side came right up to the walls 

1 Yarzatiyah is possibly the present Razatiyah or Zatariyah lying above 
'Abarti. Ykb. 321. I. S. 19, 20. Baladhuri, 297. I. R. 90. I. K. 175. 
Mas. Tanbih 53. Yak. L 252, 454; iii. 539, 604 ; iv. 16, 381, 430. 

IV] 'IRAK. 6l 

of East Baghdad. In the 3rd (9*) century Ibn Rustah and 
Ibn Khurdidbih give Nahrawin as the name of the mountain 
stream, which came into the Great K&tftl at Salwi; in the 8th 
(i4th) century Mustawff writes that the Nahrawin was the name 
of the Diyili river, which rose in the mountains of Kurdistin, 
and which was formed by the junction of two streams, one the 
Shirwlln river which lower down was called the Taymarrf, the 
other the IJulwan river, which flowed down past Kasr Shirin and 
Khinifcin; and these two streams united above Ba'fcftM where 
they flowed into the Nahrawin canal. 

In regard to Nahrawan town, otherwise called Jisr Nahrawan 
(Nahrawan Bridge), this was the first stage out of Baghdad along 
the great Khurasan road, and it was of old a place of much 
importance, though now represented by the insignificant hamlet 
of Sifwah. Ibn Rustah in the 3rd (9th) century describes 
Nahrawan town as lying on both banks of the canal; in the 
western half were the chief markets, a Friday Mosque, and many 
waterwheels for irrigation purposes ; while on the eastern side 
there was a second Friday Mosque, and other markets, with many 
hostelries round the mosque where the Mecca pilgrims and 
travellers were wont to put up. Ibn IJawkal in the following 
century speaks of the fertile lands lying round the town, and 
Mukaddast adds that the eastern part in his day was the most 
populous, its Friday Mosque being then the only one in use. In 
the 8th (i4th) century, when Mustawfl wrote, Nahrawan town was 
in ruin, for the Khurisan road no longer passed through it, but 
went north by Ba'kftbl The fertile district about here was still 
called the Tarik-i-Khurasan (the District of the Khurasan road) of 
which Ba'fctibi, Mustawfi states, was the chief town, and it was 
formed by a continuous line of gardens and palm-groves from 
which magnificent crops of oranges and shaddocks were 
harvested 1 . 

The town of Baraz-ar-Rflz (the Rice Field), now known as 
Biiad-ar-Rftz, lay north-east of Nahrawin town, and is frequently 
mentioned by Yaktit. The Caliph Mutadid had built a palace 
here ; it was counted as of the Tamarri district, and lay eastward 

1 I. R. 90, 163. I. K. 175. 1st. 86. I. H. 167. Muk. 121. Yak. i. 
812; ii. 390, 638. Mst. 139, 141, 216. 

62 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

off the Khurasan high road, being also noticed by MustawfL 
Leaving Nahrawan town the next stage of the Khurasan road 
was Daskarah-al-Malik, 'of the King/ which Ibn Rustah describes 
as a considerable city, possessing a great walled castle of 
Sassanian times, to which a single gateway on the west side gave 
access. From its position this 'Daskarah of the King' appears to 
be identical with the celebrated Dastagird, where Khusraw Parwiz 
had his great palace, which history relates was plundered and 
burnt to the ground by Heraclius in 628 A D. This palace, the 
ruins of which it would seem were in the 4th (loth) century still 
known as Dastagird Kisrawiyah (of the Chosroes), was seen by the 
traveller Ibn Muhalhal (quoted by Yakftt) who says that it then 
consisted of a wonderful edifice containing many halls and domes, 
so finely built as to appear carved, each wall in a single block 
of stone. In regard to the Arab town, Ibn Hawkal in the 4th 
(loth) century describes Daskarah as possessing a strong castle, 
doubtless of Moslem foundation, and Mukaddasi speaks of the 
place as a small market town, with a Friday Mosque that had a 
finely vaulted roof. Not far distant from Daskarah was the 
village of Shahrabin, mentioned by both Yaktit and Mustawft, 
the latter adding that eighty villages belonged to this town, which 
had been founded by Princess Gulban, a daughter of one of the 

The town of Jalftia was the next stage on the Khurasan road, 
surrounded by many trees but unfortified. Not far from the town, 
standing in the village of Hartiniyah, was an ancient bridge 
of stone wrought with leaden joints, which had been built 
by one of the Chosroes, and this crossed the river by which, 
according to Yakdt, boats went down to Ba'ktibi and Bajisra. 
In history Jaltila was famous for the great victory gained over the 
Persians by the Moslems here in the year 16 (637), which 
resulted in the final overthrow and flight of King Yazdajird. 
At a later date Mustawf! names the place Rubat: Jaltila, from 
the guard-house which had been built here by Malik Shah the 
Saljftk ; and the position of Jalftld corresponds with the modern 
station of Kizil Rubat, 'the Red Guard-house.' East of Jamii 
was the town of Khanifcin, which is noticed by Mukaddasi as 
a city on the road to Hulwan. Here Ibn Rustah says there 

IV] 'IRAK. 63 

was a great bridge of many arches over the river, built of well- 
mortared kiln-bricks. Near Khanifcin was a naphtha spring that 
produced a large revenue, and Yafctit describes the bridge afore- 
said as having 24 arches in his day, the ?th (i3th) century, across 
which passed the Khurasan road. When Mustawfi wrote in the 
next century Khanildn had fallen to ruin, and was merely a large 
village, but its district was still extremely productive. 

Six leagues beyond Khanifcin, and half-way to IJulw&i the 
first town of the Jibil province, lay Kasr Shirin, 'the Palace of 
Shirin,' the mistress of King Khusraw Parwiz. There was a large 
walled village here, and the ruins of the Sassanian palace, which Ibn 
Rustah describes as consisting in the 3rd (9th) century of a mighty 
arched hall, built of burnt brick, rising in the midst of chambers, 
the walls of which were of solid masonry. Further there was a 
great platform before the arched hall, paved with marble slabs. 
Yifctit and Mustawfi give long descriptions of Kasr Shirtn, the 
ruins of which still exist ; and it is to be noted that the legends of 
Farhid the lover of Queen Shirin, and of Pahlabadh the musician, 
and of Shabdlz the famous horse of King Parwiz, are found 
localised in many places of the surrounding district 1 . Over- 
hanging Kasr Shirin is the great mountain wall forming the 
outpost of the Persian plateau, and Hulwin, the next stage on 
the Khurdsin road, though often counted as of 'Irak, being in the 
mountain pass, will be described in a later chapter. 

South of the line of the Khurasdn road, and on the Khtizistan 
frontier, two important towns remain to be noticed Bandanijfn 
and Bayit. Bandanijin, a name no longer found on the map, 
was the chief town of the districts of BidariyS and B^kus&ya, and 
the village of Bakusdy& still exists near which the town of 
Bandanijin must have been situated. The two districts lay 
beyond and north-east of the Nahrawin canal, and comprised a 
great number of fertile villages. Bandanijin the capital, according 
to Yaktit, was called in Persian Wandanigan, and Mustawfi says 
in his day the name was pronounced Bandanigan, being of 
the Lifef district, the 'Foot-hills' of the Kurdistin mountains, 
and its river came down from Ariwajan. According to Ibn 

1 I. R. 164. 1st. 87. I. H. 168. Muk. 1*1. Kaz. ii. 295. Yak. i. 534 ; 
& 107, 393, 573 575. 8*3 ; iv. ua. Mst. 137, 138, 139, 193. 

64 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

Khurdadbih Bandanljln was counted as of the same district as 
Bariz-ar-Rftz. Bayit, the ruins of which still exist, is mentioned 
by Mustawf 1 ; he adds that its river, which rose in the Kurdistin 
mountains, became lost in the plains before reaching the Tigris, 
and though its water was brackish, many fertile districts were 
irrigated by it. Bayit appears to be practically the same place as 
the town of At-Jfb, mentioned by Ibn IJawkal, where excellent 
belts, like the Armenian belts, were made. It was a city of some 
importance under the Abbasids, and its ruins lie close to those 
of the later town of Bay&t. YSktit says that in his day the 
inhabitants of Tib were Nabathseans, and still spoke their 
Aramaic dialect, tracing their descent direct from Seth, son of 
Adam 1 . 

The cities of 'Inik which lay on the Euphrates, and between 
the two rivers along the transverse canals, must now be described. 
As already said, a line carried west from the Tigris at Takrtt to 
the Euphrates would cross that river* a little below 'Anah, where 
its course makes a great bend south, and this is the natural 
frontier between Jazfrah and 'Mfc, as marked by Mustawfi. To 
the south of this line begins the Sawad, or alluvial land, of 
Babylonia; to the north lie the more stony plains of Upper 
Mesopotamia. The city of Al-IJadithah on the Euphrates, about 
35 miles below 'Anah, is the northernmost town on this side. 
The name signifies * the New Town,' and to distinguish it from 
Al-IJadithah on the Tigris, it was called Hadithah-an-N6rah, * of 
Jhe Chalk' pit. Y&fctit describes it as possessing a strong castle 
surrounded by the waters of the Euphrates, and it was founded 
during the Caliphate of 'Omar, not long after the Moslem 
conquest. Mustawfi describes it as in every way the opposite of 
Takrit, both in situation and climate. Between Hadithah and 
Hit, down stream, came the two towns of AWsah and An-Nawtisah, 
lying on the Euphrates seven leagues distant one from the other, 
and Alftsah, which Yfcfct refers to as a small town, still exists. Both 
are frequently mentioned in the records of the Moslem conquest ; 

1 I.K. 6. 1st 94. I. H. 176. Yak. i. 130, 459, 477, 745; in. 566; 
fr- 353- Mst. 137, 138, MO. The Bidariyi district of Bandantjtn must not 
be confused with Bd<lraya, the name of the southern district of West 

IV] 'IRAK. 65 

further, An-Nawftsah was counted as a village of Hit, which last 
was a walled town with a strong castle, celebrated for its palm- 
groves and lying on the western side of the Euphrates. Ibn 
Hawkal speaks of Hit as very populous, and Mustawff in the 
8th (i4th) century describes more than 30 villages, among the 
rest Jibbah, as of its dependencies. Immense quantities of fruit, 
both of the cold and the hot regions, were grown here; nuts, 
dates, oranges and egg-plants all ripening freely, but the town was 
unpleasant to live in on account of the overpowering stench of 
the neighbouring bitumen springs. 

At the time of the Moslem conquest the famous Trench of 
King Sapor II (Khandak Sabftr) still existed. This had been 
dug by Sabftr Dhti-1-Aktaf, as the Arabs called him, in the fcarth 
century A.D. It began at Hit and ran down to Ubullah (near 
the later Basrah) where it reached the Gulf. Originally it carried 
water, being intended as a line of defence for the rich lands of 
Lower Mesopotamia against the desert tribes; and its dry bed may 
still, in part, be traced. 'Ayn-at-Tamr, ' the Spring of the Date 
Palm/ due south of Hit in the desert, is described by Mukaddasi 
as a small fortress, and a stream running from here entered the 
Euphrates below Hit. Dates and sugar-cane were exported from 
its district, the latter more especially from a neighbouring town 
called Shafatha ; but the exact site of these two places is unknown 1 . 

Twelve leagues below Hit was the village of Ar-Rabb, where 
previous to the 4th (loth) century the (earlier) Dujayl canal left 
the Euphrates ; and taking its course due east, after watering the 
Maskin and Katrabbul districts, reached the northern suburbs of 
West Baghdad. As already mentioned, this western portion of 
the Dujayl soon became silted up; and by the time when 
Istakhrl wrote in 340 (951) the Dujayl already took its waters 
from the Tigris opposite Kadislyah, as described in the paragraphs 
on the Maskin district. Al-Anbar, 'the Granaries,' standing on 
the left bank of the Euphrates, was one of the great cities of 'Irafc 
in Abbasid times. It dated from before the Moslem conquest, 
and by the Persians was called FirAz SaMr (or Fayrflz Sdbftr, in 

1 I. S. 10, 13. I. R. 107. Kud. 117. Baladhuri, 179. 1st. 77. 
I. H. 155. Muk. 117, 123, 135. Yak. i. 352; iL 223; iii. 759; *v. 734, 997. 
Mst. 135, 141. 

66 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

Greek Perisabor) from its founder King Shdptir 1 ; and under the 
Arabs Ffrtiz Sabtir became the name of the surrounding district. 
It is said that the town was called 'the Granaries' because of 
old the Persian kings had stored the wheat, barley, and straw for 
the rations of their troops in this city. The first Abbasid Caliph, 
Saffah, had for a time made Anbar his residence, and he died in 
the palace which he had built here. His brother Mansflr also for 
a time lived at Anbdr, and from here went to Baghd&d, where the 
new Abbasid capital had begun to be built. Mustawfi gives the 
tradition that the Jews whom Nebuchadnezzar brought from 
Jerusalem to Babylonia were interned at Anbar. In the 8th 
(i4th) century the town walls, he says, were 5000 paces in 

The importance of Anbar lay in its position at the head of 
the first great navigable canal which flowed from the Euphrates 
to the Tigris, which it entered at the harbour (Al-Fardah) to the 
south of the Round City of West Baghdad. This canal, the 
Nahr 'Isa, took its name from an Abbasid prince 'tsa who was 
either <fsa ibn Mftsa, nephew of Manser, or 'Isa ibn 'Ali (the 
more usual ascription), the uncle of that Caliph. In either case 
Prince 'Isa gave the canal its name, he having re-dug it, making 
thus a navigable channel from the Euphrates into Baghdad. 
Where the canal left the Euphrates, a little below Anbar, it was 
crossed by a magnificent bridge, called Kantarah Dimimma, from 
the village of Dimimma which was on the Euphrates bank close 
to the hamlet of Al-Falltijah. The Nahr 'tsa, passing by many 
villages and farms of the Firftz Sabtir district, at length came to 
the town of Al-Muhawwal, one league distant from the suburbs of 
West Baghdad. Just before reaching this town the Sarat canal 
branched from the left bank of the Nahr 'Isi, and this canal 
formed the dividing line between the Katrabbul district to the 
north and Badftraya to the south of West Baghdid. The Sarito 
canal, following an almost parallel curve to the Nahr 'tsa, poured 
its waters into the Tigris immediately below the Basrah Gate of 
the Round City, and from these two streams all the watercourses 

1 Sabur is the Arab form of the Persian Shapfir or Shah-pdr, which the 
Greeks wrote Sapor. 

IV] 'IRAK. 67 

of West Baghdad were derived, with the exception of the few 
coming from the Dujayl canal. 

Al-Muhawwal means * the place of unloading/ and the town 
took its name from the fact that the river barges going from the 
Euphrates towns to Baghdad, had here to unload into small boats 
that could pass under the numerous bridges which below Muhaw- 
wal spanned the 'fsa canal where this traversed the suburb of 
Karkh. Muhawwal was a fine town, famous for its markets and 
its gardens, and as late as the 8th (i4th) century possessed some 
magnificent buildings, among which Mustawfi counts a palace built 
by the Caliph Mu'tasim which stood on the summit of a mound, 
and which, by the spell of a powerful incantation, had been freed 
from the plague of mosquitoes. The exact site of Muhawwal is 
not now known, but it must lie to the north-east of the ancient 
Babylonian mound called the Hill of 'Akarktif, which is frequently 
mentioned by the Arab geographers, and which Mustawfi connects 
with the legends of the tyrant Nimrod who threw Abraham into 
the fiery furnace ! . 

Three leagues below the village of Dimimma the second of the 
great transverse canals, the Nahr Sarsar, flowed off towards the 
Tigris, which it entered four leagues above Madain. This canal, in 
its lower reaches, traversed the Badftraya district, which lay south 
of West Baghdad, and Ibn Serapion describes how along its banks 
numerous waterwheels (ddliyaJi) and levers (s/iatfuf) were set up 
for irrigating the fields. Some way above where, near Zariran, the 
canal flowed into the Tigris, and almost in sight of the White 
Palace of the Chosroes at Madain, was the flourishing town of 
Sarsar, where a great bridge of boats carrying the Kilfah road 
crossed the canal. Sarsar town lay a couple of leagues only from 
Karkh, the great southern suburb of West Baghdad ; the Sarsar 
canal, Ibn Hawkal writes, was navigable for boats, and Sarsar 

1 I. S. 10, 14. I. K. 7, 72, 74. Kud. 117. 1st. 77. I. H. 155, 166. 
Muk. 123, 134. Yak. i. 367 ; h. 600 ; lii. 697 ; iv. 432. Mst. 136, 138, 140, 
141. The lower courses of the Nahr 4 Isa and of the Sarat canal belong to the 
topography of Baghdad, and have been fully described in a former work. The 
site of Anbar appears to be that marked by the rums at Sufayrah, or possibly 
those to the north of this village of which Mr J. P. Peters has given a plan in 
Nippur, i. 177. 

68 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

town stood in a forest of date-palms. Mukaddasi likens it to the 
towns of Palestine for the manner of its building; and Sarsar 
continued to be a place of importance down to the close of the 
8th (i4th) century when Timtir took possession of Baghdad and 
garrisoned the surrounding districts. 

The third transverse canal was the Nahr-al-Malik, which began 
at the village of Al-Fallfljah ! five leagues below the head of the 
Nahr Sarsar, and flowed into the Tigris three leagues below 
Madiin. This, ' the King's Canal,' dated from ancient times, and 
is mentioned by the Greeks as the Nahar Malcha. Yaktit reports 
that tradition gave it as having been dug either by King Solomon 
or by Alexander the Great. On its banks was the town called 
Nahr-al-Malik, with a bridge of boats on the Ktifah road, this 
lying seven miles south of Sarsar. According to Ibn liawkal 
Nahr-al-Malik town was larger by a half than the latter town, 
being likewise famous for its corn lands and palm-groves; 
Mustawii adding that over 300 villages were of its district. 

The fourth transverse canal was the Nahr Kflth&, its point of 
origin on the Euphrates being three leagues below that of the 
Nahr-al-Malik, and its outflow 10 leagues below Madain. The 
Kfltha canal watered the district of this name, which was also 
known as the Ardashir Babgan district (after the first Sassanian 
king), though part of it was counted as the Nahr Jawbar district 
on a branch canal. The city of Ktitha Rabba, with its bridge of 
boats, stood on the banks of the main channel, and is said to be 
identical with the Biblical Cuthah, mentioned in 2 Kings xvii. 
24, an important town of the neighbourhood of Babylon. Ac- 
cording to Moslem tradition Ktithzi was the place where Abraham 
was thrown into the fire by the tyrant Nimrod, and the town took 
its name from Kfttha, the grandfather of Abraham, according to 
the Moslem tradition. In the 4th (xoth) century Ibn Hawkal 
describes the place as a double city, Ktith-at-Tarik 'of the 
Road,' and Kfttha Rabba, which last was a city larger than 
Babil (Babylon), and near here, he says, were great mounds of 

1 This is the Feluchia (Feluge or Felugia) of Caesar Frederick, and other 
Elizabethan merchants, where coming down the Euphrates they left their boats 
and went by land across to Baghdad: as narrated in Hakluyt, Principal 
Navigations (Glasgow, 1904), v. 367, 455, 466; vi. 4. 

IV] 'IRAK. 69 

ashes said to mark the place of Nimrod's fiery furnace ; Mufcaddast 
adding that 'near the high road might be seen an ancient tower, 
about which many legends were told. The Itineraries state that 
Ktitha town, the site of which appears to be that marked on the 
map as Tall Ibrahim, ' the Hill of Abraham/ was four miles south 
of Nahr Malik town. 

Some few miles to the north of the Ktith& canal stood the large 
village of Al-Farashah, the half-way stage between Baghdad and 
Hillah, on the high road followed at the close of the 6th (i2th) 
century by the Mecca pilgrims going down to Kftfah. Ibn 
Jubayr, who was here in 580 (1184), describes it as a populous 
well-watered village, where there was a great caravanserai for 
travellers, defended by battlemented walls; and Mustawfi also 
gives Farashah in his itinerary, placing it seven leagues south 
of Sarsar 1 . 

i I. S. 15. I. R. 182. 1st. 85, 86. I. H. 166, 168. Muk. in. 
I. J. 217. Yak. i. 768; iv. 317, 846. Mar. ii. 363. A. Y. i. 633. Mst. 141, 
193. The course of the Nahr 'Isa is more or less that of the modern 
Saklawfyah canal : the Sarsar appears to have followed the line of the Abu 
Ghurayb canal ; the Nahr-al-Malik is the Radhwantyah, and the Nahr Kuthi 
is the Habl Ibrahim, * Abraham's rope,' of the modern maps. These identifi- 
cations, however, are only approximate, for naturally in over a thousand years 
the face of the alluvial Sawad is entirely changed from what it was in Abbasid 


'IRAK (continued). 

The bifurcation of the Euphrates. The Sura channel. Kasr Ibn Hubayrah. 
Nil and its canal. The Nahr Nars. The Badat canal, and Pombedita. 
The Kufah channel. Kiifah city. Kadisiyah. Mashhad 'All, and 
Karbala. The twelve Asians of 'Irak. m Trade. The high roads of 'Irak. 

The river Euphrates in the 4th (loth) century bifurcated at a 
point some six leagues below where the Kfitha canal was led off. 
The western branch, to the right, which was then considered the 
main stream of the Euphrates, passed down by Ktifah and thence 
to the Great Swamp ; while the eastern branch, to the left, which 
now is the main stream of the river, is by Ibn Serapion and the 
other Arab geographers called the Nahr Stira, or As-Siiran , and 
this by many channels likewise poured its waters finally into the 
swamp. Taking the Sura branch first (the present Euphrates 
channel) we find that Ibn Serapion admits this was greater even 
in his day than the Kufah branch and more broad. Where the 
bifurcation took place, the Upper SOra canal watered the three sub- 
districts of Stira, Barbisama, and Bartisma, which formed part of 
the middle Bih Kubadh district ; then bearing south the channel 
passed a couple of miles to the westward of the city called Kasr 
Ibn Hubayrah, and here it was crossed by the great bridge of 
boats known as the Jisr Sura (or Sfiran) by which the Pilgrim 
road went down from Kasr Ibn Hubayrah to Ktifah. 

The town of Al-Kasr, as it was called for short, the Castle or 
Palace of Ibn Hubayrah, took the name from its founder, who had 
been governor of 'Irafc under Marwan II, the last Omayyad 

CHAP. V] 'IRAK. 71 

Caliph. Ibn Hubayrah had not lived tc complete his work, but 
after the fall of the Omayyads, the first Abbasid Caliph, Saffab, 
took up his residence here, finished the palace, and called it 
Hashimfyah in honour of his own ancestor Hashim. The town 
which rapidly sprung up round the palace of the Caliph none the 
less continued to be called after the Omayyad governor, and even 
though Mansur made Hishimiyah for a time his residence, before 
the foundation of Baghdad, Kasr Ibn Hubayrah, or Madinah (the 
City of) Ibn Hubayrah, was always the name of the place in 
common use. In the 4th (loth) century Kasr Ibn Hubayrah was 
the largest town between Baghdad and Kufah, and it stood on 
a loop canal from the Stira, called the Nahr Abu Raha, "the 
Canal of the Mill.' The city was extremely populous, it had fine 
markets, many Jews residing here, as Mukaddasi writes, and the 
Friday Mosque was in the market place. By the early part of the 
6th (i2th) century, however, it appears to have fallen to decay, 
being eclipsed by the rising importance of Hillah; and at the 
present day even the site of it is unknown, though it is doubtless 
marked by one of the numerous ruins which lie a few miles north 
of the great mounds of ancient Babylon, or Babil as the Arabs 
name these. 

The city of Hillah, lying a few miles below the Babil ruins, on 
the Euphrates, otherwise the Stira canal as it was called in the 
4th (loth) century, was at this date known as Al-Jami'an, 'the 
Two Mosques/ and the town at first stood mostly on the eastern 
bank. It was a populous place, and its lands were extremely 
fertile. Then Al-Hillah, 'the Settlement,' was built on the 
opposite right .bank, by Sayf-ad-Dawlah, chief of the Ban! Mazyad, 
in about the year 495 (1102); and this quickly grew to importance, 
for its bridge of boats became the new Euphrates crossing for the 
Pilgrim road from Baghdad to Kufah, the high road no longer 
passing down by Kasr Ibn Hubayrah (then a ruin) and the Sfira 
bridge. By the 6th (i2th) century, also, the Sura arm comes to 
be considered the main stream of the Euphrates, as at the present 
day, and the name Nahr Stira gradually goes out of use. In 580 
(1184) Ibn Jubayr crossed the Euphrates by 'a great bridge of 
boats, bound by iron chains,' at Hillah, then already a large town 
stretching along the western side of the Euphrates. Ibn Batutah, 

72 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

who followed in his footsteps in the early part of the 8th (i4th) 
century, gives a long account of this famous bridge of boats at 
Hillah, the double iron chains of which were secured at either end 
to immense wooden piles. He praises the town markets, and his 
account is fully borne out by Mustawfi, his contemporary, who 
speaks of Hillah as beginning to occupy the east as well as the 
west bank of the Euphrates. It was surrounded by date-groves 
and hence had a damp climate. Mustawfi adds that the popula- 
tion of Hillah were all bigoted Shi'ahs, and they possessed a 
shrine (Mafcam) here, where they believed that, in the fulness of 
time, the promised Mahdf, who had disappeared at Samarra in 
264 (87$), would reappear and convert all mankind to their faith 
(see above, p. 56)'. 

Returning once more to the account given by Ibn Serapion 
in the 4th (loth) century of the Stira canal, this, as already 
said, passed to the west of the great ruins of Babylon, or 
Babil. These ruins Mufcaddasi describes as then occupied by 
the site of a village near a bridge of boats, and Mustawfi gives 
a long account of the great magicians who had lived in Bdbil, and 
of the well at the summit of the hill in which the fallen angels 
Hliriit and Mar&t were imprisoned until the day of judgment. 

Above Babil, the last of the many canals flowing from the 
Euphrates to the Tigris branched from the Stira. This waterway, 
now known as the Shatt-an-Nil 'the Nile Stream' Ibn Sera- 
pion calls the Great Sar&t, the name is the same as that of the 
more famous canal of West Baghdad (see p. 66) in the upper 
reach lying to the west of the city of Nil. From its point of origin 
the Great Sarit flowed eastward past many rich villages, throwing 
off numerous water channels, and shortly before reaching the city 
of Nil a loop canal, the Sarat Jamasp, branched left and rejoined 
the main stream below the city. This loop canal had been re-dug 
by liajjaj, the famous governor of 'Irik under the Omayyad 
Caliphs, but took its name, as was reported, from Jamasp, the 
chief Mobed, or Fire-priest, who in ancient days had aided King 
Gushtasp to establish the religion of Zoroaster in Persia. The 

1 I. S. 10, 16. Ykb. 309. 1st. 85, 86. I. H. 166, 168. Muk. lai. 
Yak. h. 322; iii. 861 ; iv. 123. I. J. 214. I. B. ii. 07. Mst. 138. 

vj 'IRAK. 73 

city of An-Nil likewise was founded by Hajjij ; it became the 
chief town of all this district, its ruins being still marked on the 
map under the name of Niliyah ; and the Nil canal was reported 
to have taken its name from the Nile of Egypt which it was said 
to recall. The main canal here, opposite Nil city, was spanned 
by a great masonry bridge named the Kantarah-al-Masi. In the 
time of Abu-1-Fida that portion of the canal which lay west of the 
town, namely the Great Sarit of Ibn Serapion, was also known as 
the Nahr-an-Nil, but Ibn Serapion gives this name exclusively to 
the reach beyond, east of Nil city. 

This reach, therefore, passing on, watered the surrounding 
districts till it came to a place called Al-Hawl 'the Lagoon' 
near the Tigris, and opposite Nu'maniyah (see p. 37), whence 
a branch, called the Upper Zab canal, communicated directly with 
the river. The main channel of the Nil, here turning off south, 
flowed for some distance parallel to the Tigris, down to a point 
one league below the town of Nahr Sabus which lay one day's 
march above Wash, where the canal finally discharged its waters 
into the Tigris, probably in part by the Lower Zab canal. It is 
to be added that this last reach of the Nil, below the Lagoon, was 
known as the Nahr Sabus, 'the Canal of Sabus/ and this gave its 
name to the town on the right bank of the Tigris, already 
mentioned (see p. 38). The nomenclature of these channels 
changed at different epochs ; in the yth (i3th) century Yalcut says 
that all the reach from Nil city to Nu'maniyah was called the 
Upper Zb canal, while his Lower Zab canal is apparently 
identical with the Nahr Sabus of Ibn Serapion ; both canals in 
the yth (i3th) century had, however, gone much to ruin, though 
still bordered by fertile lands. 

Returning now to the ruins of Babylon on the Euphrates, the 
Sura below here was crossed by a masonry bridge called the 
Kantarah-al-K&rnighan, 'through which its waters pour with a 
mighty rush' as Ibn Serapion reports. Six leagues below this 
bridge, and near Jami'an, the later liillah, the Sura canal bifur- 
cated, the right arm going south past that city, and the left arm, 
called the Nahr-an-Nars, turning off to the south-east, and after 
watering IJammam 'Omar with other villages reached the town 
of Niffar. This canal took its name from Nars (or Narses), the 

74 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

Sassanian king who came to the throne in 292 A.D. ; he having 
caused it to be dug. After running south for some distance both 
th' ahr Nars and the Stirf, channel poured their waters finally 
*o the Badat canal, which traversed the northern limit of the 
Great Swamp; and this Nahr-al-Badat (or Budat) was a long 
drainage channel taken from the left bank of the Kftfah arm of the 
Euphrates, at a point a day's journey to the north of Ktifah city, 
probably near the town of Kantarah-al-Ktifah, otherwise called 
Al-Kanatir, 'the Bridges,' which doubtless carried the high road 
across the Badat This city of 'the Bridges' lay 27 iniles south 
of the great Sftra bridge of boats, and 28 miles north of Ktifah; 
and it probably lay adjacent to, or possibly was identical with, the 
Hebrew IPombedita (Arabic Fam-al-Badat, 'mouth of the Badat 
canal'), mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela in the 6th (i2th) 
century as a great centre of Jewish learning in Babylonia. The 
Badat canal after a course of over 50 miles, and after receiving 
on its left bank the drainage of the Lower Stir and Nars canals, 
discharged itself finally into the Great Swamp near the town 
of Niffar*. 

The districts lying between the bifurcation of the Lower 
Euphrates, having the Sftra canal to the east and the main stream 
to the west, were known as the Upper and Lower Al-Falltijah. 
Below these the main stream passed down by the town of Al- 
Kantarah and the outflow of the Badat canal to the city of Ktifah, 
which lay on the western bank of the Euphrates over against the 
bridge of boats, and south of this its waters were discharged by 
various channels into the Great Swamp. This older arm of the river 
is named by Kudamah and Mas'tidi the channel of Al-'Alkami, 
and it appears to be identical with the modern Nahr Hindiyah 
which branches from the present Euphrates stream below 
Musayyib and, flowing past the ruins of Ktifah, rejoins the present 
main stream of the Euphrates by a winding course through 
marshes that are a part of the Great Swamp of Abbasid times. 
The city of Al-Ktifah was founded immediately after the 

1 I. S. 16. Baladhuri, 254, 290. I. R. 182. I. H. 167. Muk. 121. 
A. F. 53. Yak. i. 770; ii. 31, 903; hi. 4, 379; iv. 773, 798, 840, 861. 
Mst. 136. The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela (Asher), i. 112. See also 
De Goeje in Zeit. Deutsek. Morg. Gesell. for 1885, p. 10. 

V] 'IRAK. 75 

Moslem conquest of Mesopotamia, at the same time as Basrah 

was being built, namely, about the year 17 (638), in the Caliphate 

of 'Omar. It was intended to serve as a permanent camp on the 

Arab, or desert, side of the Euphrates, and occupied an extensive 

plain lying above the river bank, being close to the older Persian 

city of Al-IJfrah. Kftfah rapidly increased in population, and 

when in the year 36 (657) 'Alt came to reside here the city during 

four years was the capital of that half of Islam which recognised 

'Alt as Caliph. In the mosque at Ktifah 'Ali was assassinated in 

the year 40 (66 1). Istakhri describes Kftfah as the equal in size 

of Basrah in the 4th (loth) century, but the former had the better 

climate, and its buildings were more spacious; also its markets 

were excellent, though in this point it stood second to Basrah. 

The Great Mosque, where 'Ali received his death-wound, was on 

the eastern side of the city, and had tall columns brought from 

the neighbouring town of Hirah, which fell to ruin as Ktifah 

became more populous. One of the chief quarters of Kftfah was 

Al-Kunasah 'the place of the Sweepings' which lay on the desert 

side of the town, and all round stood palm-groves which produced 

excellent dates. When Ibn Jubayr passed through Kftfah in 580 

(1184) it was an un walled town mostly in ruins, but its Friday 

Mosque still existed, and Ibn Batfttah, in the 8th (i4th) century, 

describes its roof as supported by pillars, formed of stone drums 

joined with lead. A Mihrab or niche marked the place where 'Alt 

had been assassinated. Mustawfi, who gives a long account of 

Ktlfah, says that its walls, 18,000 paces in circuit, had been built 

by the Caliph Manstir. The sugar-cane grew here better than 

anywhere else in 'Irak, and cotton crops yielded abundantly. In 

the mosque, on a column, was the mark % of 'All's hand ; and they 

also preserved here the oven (tamiur) from the mouth of which 

the waters had poured forth at the time of the Deluge of Noah. 

Less than a league south of Ktifah are the ruins of Hirah, 
which had been a great city under the Sassanians. Near by stood 
the famous palaces of As-Sadir and Al-Khawarnak, the latter built, 
according to tradition, by Nu'man, prince of IJirah, for King 
Bahrim Gtir, the great hunter. The palace of Khawarnak with 
its magnificent halls had mightily astonished the early Moslems 
when they first took possession of IJirah on the conquest of 

76 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

Mesopotamia. In later times Khawarnak was sometimes used as 
a hunting lodge by the Caliphs, and apparently, though nothing 
now remains of it, some walls and domes were still standing, 
though in ruin, when Ibn Battitah passed by here in the beginning 
of the 8th (i4th) century. 

On the actual desert border, five leagues west of Ktifah, and 
the first stage on the road to Mecca, was the large hamlet of Al- 
Kidisiyah surrounded by palm-groves, near which, in the year 14 
(635), the Moslems had won their first great battle against the 
Persians, which led almost immediately to the subjugation of 
Mesopotamia. Mukaddasi describes Kadisiyah called Kadisiyah 
of Kfifah to distinguish it from the city of the same name on 
the Tigris (see p. 51) as a town much frequented during the 
season of the Pilgrimage. It was defended by a small fort, and 
had two gates. Its lands were watered by a canal from the 
Euphrates which entered the town at the Baghdad Gate ; and at 
the Desert Gate (Bab-al-Badiyah) was the Friday Mosque, before 
which, when the Pilgrims came, a great market was held. In the 
8th (i4th) century when Ibn Battitah travelled through Kadisiyah 
it had sunk to the size of a large village, and Mustawfi describes 
it as for the most part in ruin l . 

Najaf, where the tomb of 'AH (Mashhad 'Alt 2 ) is to the Shi'ahs 
a most venerated shrine, lies about four miles to the westward of the 
ruins of Ktifah, and is a populous town to the present day. The 
Shi'ah tradition, as given by Mustawfl, is that on receiving the fatal 
stab in the Kflfah mosque, 'AM, knowing his death to be imminent, 
had immediately given orders that when the breath was out of his 
body, it was to be put on a camel and the beast turned loose; 
where the camel knelt, there his corpse was to be buried. All 
this was forthwith done, but during the time of the Omayyads no 

1 I. S. 10, 16. Kud. 233. Mas. Tanbih 52. 1st. 82. I. H 162, 163. 
Muk. 116, 117. Yak. ii. 492 ; iii. 59 ; iv. 322. I. J. 213. I. B. i. 414; ii. i, 94. 
Ms>t. 133, 138, 140. The broad shallow lake known as the Bahr Najaf 
which now extends to the westward of the ruins of Kiifah and the Najaf shrine, 
did not exist in the middle-ages, and the Pilgrim road from Kufah to Mecca 
passed across what is now its bed. 

2 Mashhad means the place of Martyrdom,' hence equivalent to Shrine ; 
Al-Makam, ' the Place,' is used in the same sense. 

v] 'IRAK. 77 

tomb was erected at Mashhad 'Alf, for the place was kept hidden 
for security. Subsequently, however, in the year 175 (791), the 
holy site was discovered by the Abbasid Caliph Hirfln-ar-Rashid. 
For, when hunting one day near Ktifah, he chased his quarry into 
a thicket, but on attempting to follow the Caliph discovered that 
no force could prevail on his horse to enter the place. On 
enquiring of the peasants they informed him that this spot was 
known as the burial-place of the Caliph 'Ali, an inviolate sanctuary, 
where even wild beasts were safe from harm. Orders were given 
by Hartin to dig, and the body of 'All being discovered, a 
Mashhad or shrine was, according to Mustawff, forthwith built 
over the spot, which soon became a holy place of visitation. The 
early history of the shrine is obscure, the foregoing is the usual 
Sht'ah account, but though Hartin-ar-Rash!d at one period of his 
reign favoured the Alids, the Arab chronicles certainly do not 
relate that he invented the tomb of 'Alt. 

The earliest notice in detail of Mashhad 'Ali is of the middle 
of the 4th (loth) century by Ibn IJawkal. He says that the 
Ilamdinid prince Abu-1-Hayja who was governor of Mosul in 
292 (904) and died in 317 (929) had built a dome on four 
columns over the tomb at Mashhad 'Ali, which shrine he orna- 
mented with rich carpets and hangings : also he surrounded the 
adjacent town with a wall. Istakhri and Ibn Hawfcal, however, 
add that in their day the burial-place of 'Ali was shown in the 
corner of the Great Mosque at Kftfah, and this was credited 
by many persons of note, as is affirmed by other authorities. 
Mustawfi says, further, that in the year 366 (977) 'Adud-ad-Dawlah 
the Buyid erected the mausoleum which in his (Mustawfi's) day 
still existed, and the place then became a little town, 2500 paces in 
circuit. In the chronicle of Ibn-al-Athir it is recorded that 
'Adud-ad-Dawlah, at his own wish, was buried here, likewise his 
sons Sharaf and Baha-ad-Dawlah ; and in subsequent times 
various other notable persons followed the example. In the year 
443 ( I0 5 I ) the shrine was burnt to the ground by the Baghdid 
populace, who were zealous in persecuting the Shi'ahs. It must 
however have been quickly rebuilt, for Malik Shin and his Wazlr, 
the Nizam-al-Mulk, made their visitation here in 479 (1086). 

Writing in the early part of the 8th (i4th) century Mustawfi 

78 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

adds that Ghaz^n, the ll-Khin of his day, had recently erected at 
Mashhad 'Alt a home for Sayyids (descendants of the Prophet) 
called the Dar-as-Siyadah, also a Khinkah or Darvish monastery. 
Yifcut in the previous century describes the dyke at Najaf which 
kept back the waters of the Euphrates from overflowing the town, 
but he gives no account of the shrine. The traveller Ibn Batutah 
was here in the year 726 (1326) and speaks of Mashhad 'All as a 
fine city, which he entered by the Bab-al-Hadrat ' the Gate of 
the Presence' leading direct to the shrine. He gives a long 
description of its great markets and colleges, also of the mosque 
where 'All's tomb was shown, the walls of which were covered 
with enamelled tiles of Kashani work. He reports that at the tomb 
cripples were frequently healed of their infirmities, and he gives a 
long account of the many gold and silver lamps hung up as offer- 
ings, as well as the magnificent carpets, and describes the actual 
tomb as enclosed in a railing of chiselled gold plates, secured by 
silver nails. Four gates gave access 'to the shrine, each curtained, 
and having a silver doorstep, the walls also being hung with silk 
embroideries ; and his account closes with the enumeration of the 
miracles vouchsafed here to all true believers 1 . 

Karbala, or Mashhad Husayn, lies eight leagues to the north- 
west of Ktifah, and marks the site of the battlefield where in the 
year 61 (680) Husayn, son of 'Ali, and grandson of the Prophet, 
was slain, with nearly all his family. The place of martyrdom of 
Husayn is to Shi'ahs of the present day a more venerated place 
than Mashhad 'Ali. By whom the shrine was first built is not 
mentioned, but in the 3rd (9th) century some monument must 
have existed here, for in the year 236 (850) the Caliph Mutaw- 
akkil earned the lasting hatred of all good Shi'ahs by ordering the 
shrine of Husayn to be destroyed by flooding the place with water, 
also he forbade the visitation of the sacred spot under heavy 
penalties. Mustawfi adds, when describing the palaces at 
Samarra, that this iniquity on the part of Mutawakkil was requited 
to him, in that none of the buildings he began at Samarri could 
ever be completed, but soon fell to the same state of ruin in which 

1 1st. St. I. H. 163. Muk. 130. Ibn-al-Athir, ix. 13, 42, 169, 394; 
x. 103. Mst. 134. Yak. iv. 760. I. B. i. 414416. 

v] 'IRAK. 79 

the wicked Caliph had left the tomb of Husayn. How long the 
place remained a ruin is not stated, but 'Adud-ad-Dawlah the 
Buyid in 368 (979) built a magnificent shrine here, doubtless an 
enlargement of the building noticed incidentally by the geographers 
Istakhri and Ibn Flawkal who wrote a little before this date. 

In 407 (1016) the dome at Mashhad Husayn was burnt 
down, but must have been shortly afterwards restored, for the 
place was visited by Malik Shah in 479 (1086), when he went 
hunting in these districts. Yakilt unfortunately gives no descrip- 
tion of the shrines at Karbala, merely mentioning incidentally that 
the name Al-IJir, meaning ' a garden pool,' was commonly given 
to the enclosure round the tomb of Husayn Mustawfi in the 
8th (J4th) century speaks of the little town that had grown 
up round the shrine as being some 2400 paces in circuit, and his 
contemporary Ibn Battitah describes the fine college (Madrasah) 
which he visited here. The Holy Theshold of the actual tomb, 
which the pilgrims kissed on entry, was he says of solid silver; the 
shrine was lighted by numerous gold and silver lamps, and the 
doorways were closed by silken curtains. Ibn Batfttah adds that the 
little town was then mostly a ruin, from the ceaseless fighting of rival 
factions among its inhabitants, but it stood among many groves of 
date palms, well watered by canals coming from the Euphrates ! . 

When describing 'Irak in the 3rd (9th) century, Ibn Khur- 
dadbih and Kudamah state that the province was then divided 
into twelve districts called Asian, each containing a varying 
number of sub-districts, called Tbsstij, and of these latter the 
total number was sixty. This division, which probably in its 
origin was made for fiscal purposes, is repeated in part by 
Mukaddasi in the following century, and it will be worth while to 
enumerate the twelve Astans, giving at the same time the best 
known of their sub-districts or Tasstij. The list is divided into 
three groups according to the irrigation channels, and whence the 
water was taken. 

The first group of four districts consists of those lying on the 
east side of the Tigris, and watered from that river and from the 
Tamarra. These were (i) the Astan of Shdd Firftz or tfulwin 

1 1st. 85. I. H. 166. Muk. 130. Yak. ii. 189. Mst. 134, 139. I. b. 
ii. 99. Ibn-al-Athir, vii. 36; viii. 518; ix. 309; x. 103. 

80 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

(otherwise Shadh Fayrflz) comprising the sub-districts of 
and Khamsin, with three others; five in all: (2) the Shid Hurmuz 
district, round Baghdad, with the sub-districts of Nahr Btll^, of 
Kalwidha and Nahr Bin, of Al-Madinah-al-'Atifcah (otherwise 
Madiin), of Upper and of Lower Radhin, with two others; seven 
in all : (3) the Shadh Kubadh district, with the sub-districts of 
Jalftla, of Bandanijin, of Bariz-ar-Riiz, and of Daskarah, with four 
others, making a total of eight. Of these two last districts this is 
the nomenclature given by Ibn Khurdidbih ; Kudimah on the 
contrary transposes the names, making the Ast&n of Shadh 
Kubadh the Baghdad district, and giving Khusraw Shidh 
Hurmuz as the name of the Jalfili Tasstij with its seven neigh- 
bours. The last Astan to the east of the Tigris was (4) the 
district of Bazijan Khusraw, otherwise of Nahrawan, which 
Kudamah names Arandin Kird, and this comprised five sub- 
districts, to wit : Upper, Middle, and Lower Nahrawin (with Iskaf 
of the Bani Junayd and Jarjarayi), next the Badaraya Tasstij, and 
lastly Bakus^ya. 

The next group of two districts was of those watered partly 
from the Tigris, partly from the Euphrates; it consisted of 
(5) the Astan of Kaskar, otherwise called Shadh Sabtir, with four 
sub-districts lying round Wasit; and (6) the Astan of Shadh 
Bahman, or the Kflrah Dijlah, on the Lower Tigris, with four 
sub-districts, Maysan and Dasti-Maysan being two of them, the 
latter lying round Ubullah. 

The remaining six districts all lay to the west of the Tigris, 
and were watered by the old Dujayl canal previously mentioned 
and by the great canals flowing eastward from the Euphrates to 
the Tigris. The first of these was 1(7) Astan-al-A'li, * the Upper 
District,' with the four sub-districts lying along the Nahr 'Is, 
namely Firtiz Sabftr or Al-Anbir, Maskin, Katrabbul, and 
Badtiraya. Next below came: (8) the Astin of Ardashir 
Babgan, lying along the Kfttha canal and the Nil, with the sub- 
districts of Bahurasir and Rtimafcan opposite Madain, of Ktitha, 
and of the two canals called Nahr Jawbar and Nahr Durfcft. To 
the east of this was : (9) the district of the Zab canals, called the 
Astan of Bih Dhivmisufin, comprising the sub-districts of the 
Upper, Middle, and Lower Zib canals. 

V] IRAK. 8 1 

The last three districts were those respectively of Upper, 
Middle, and Lower Bih Kubidh, and of these the first (10) Upper 
Bih Kubadh comprised six sub-districts, namely, Bibil (the ruins 
round Babylon), Upper and Lower Al-Falltijah, with two others, 
and the Tassftj of 'Ayn-at-Tamr some distance to the west of 
the Euphrates. The Astin (n) of Middle Bih Kubadh included 
four sub-districts, to wit, those of the Badat canal, of Stiri 
with Barbisama, of Bartisama, and of Nahr-al-Malik. Finally 
(12) Lower Bih Kubadh comprised five sub-districts, all of which 
apparently lay adjacent to the lower course of the Euphrates 
where it entered the Great Swamp. The names in these lists 
show clearly that we have here the division of the country which 
the Arabs took over from the Sassanians; Ardashtr Babgan was 
the founder of the dynasty : Shid Firftz or Shadh Fayrftz means 
'glorious fortune* in Persian. Bih Kubadh is 'the Goodness, 
or good land, of King Kubadh/ and the 'Glory' (Shadh) of 
Hurmuz. of Kubadh, of Shapftr, and of Bahman recall the names 
of four of the most famous kings of Persia 1 . 

The trade of 'Irak consisted of imports rather than of exports, 
the capital province consuming the products of the outlying 
regions. Mukaddasi, however, gives a list of commodities and 
manufactures for which several cities were famous, and this 
though not very full is worth examining. 

The markets of Baghdad were noted for all kinds of curious 
wares brought together here from foreign lands. Its manufac- 
tures were coloured silks the famous 'Attabi or ' Tabby ' silk in 
particular, named after one of its quarters fine strong cloth, 
curtains and veils, stuffs for turbans, napkins of all sorts, and mats 
woven of reeds. In Basrah many stuffs were manufactured of raw 
silk and its markets were famous for the jewellers, who sold all 
manner of curiosities ; further Basrah was the chief emporium for 
various ores and minerals, antimony, cinnabar, Mars-saffron, litharge 
and many others being mentioned. There were also exported 
dates, fcenna-dye and raw silk, as well as rose-water and essence of 
violets : while at Ubullah excellent linen was woven. Ktifah was 
famous for its dates, for its essence of violets, and for raw-silk 
stuffs of which turbans were made ; Wisit exported lupins and 
1 I. K. 58. Kud. 355, 336. Muk. 133. 

82 IRAK. [CHAP. 

dried fish called Shim; finally Nu'minfyah manufactured much 
cloth, and was famous for all sorts of woollen stuffs 1 . 

As explained in the introductory chapter, the central point of 
the system of high roads during the Abbasid Caliphate naturally 
was Baghdad; whence five main roads to Basrah, Ktifah, An bar, 
Takrit and Hulwan set forth, communicating ultimately with 
the outposts of the empire. 

The easiest route to Basrah from Baghdad was naturally by 
boat down the Tigris, and this, noting all the towns passed to 
right and left on the river bank, is given in much detail by both 
Ibn Rustah and Ya%tibi. Down as far as Al-Katr the Tigris 
main channel was followed, then came the Great Swamp through 
which boats passed threading the lagoons (Hawl, see above, p. 42). 
The Abu-1-Asad canal led out to the head of the Tigris estuary, 
and from this Basrah was reached by the Nahr Ma'feil. The 
Ubullah canal led back to the estuary, and was followed by those 
bound for 'Abbadin and the Persian Gulf. The way by land 
from Baghdad to Wasit, which went down the eastern side of the 
Tigris through Madam, is also given by Ibn Rustah, and this 
enables the towns on the river bank to be set down on the map, 
for the distances are stated in farsakhs (leagues) ; Kudimah also 
gives this route in detail, and in one or two cases where lacunae 
occur they can generally be filled up from Abu-1-Fida. The road 
from Wasit to Basrah by land, along the northern edge of the 
Great Swamp, is given by Kudamah, and this too is the way by 
which Ibn Battitah travelled in the 8th (i4th) century. Ibn Rustah 
and Kudamah likewise give the road from Wasit, eastward, to 
Ahwaz the capital of Khftzisdn ; and from the stage at Badhbin, 
one march east of Wasit on this road, a bifurcation went 
north-east to Tib, from which Sds (Susa) in Khtizistan was 
reached *. 

The Pilgrim road, going south from Baghdad to Ktifah, left 
the Round City by the Kflfah Gate and passed through the Karkh 
quarter to Sarsar, and thence on to Kasr Ibn Hubayrah. Beyond 
this it crossed the eastern arm of the Euphrates (the present main 

1 Muk. 128. 

2 I. R. 184, 186188. Ykb. 320. Kud. 193, 225, 226. Mst. 195. A. F. 
305. I. B. ii. 8. 

V] 'IRAK. 83 

channel) called in the 4th (loth) century the Nahr Sftra, at the Sftrit 
bridge of boats, and thence came down to Kftfah, opposite to which 
the western arm of the Euphrates was crossed by the bridge of boats 
which led to the eastern suburbs of the city. From Kftfah the 
Pilgrim road went south-west to Kadisiyah, where it entered the 
Arabian desert. This road is given by all the earlier geographers, 
and in much detail by Ibn Rustah, who for some parts of the 
way from Baghdad to Kftfah gives alternative routes, with the 
distances in miles and in leagues. After the beginning of the 6th 
(i2th) century Kasr Ibn Hubayrah, the half-way stage between 
Baghdad and KMah, fell to ruin; Hillah taking its place (see 
p. 71) to which the high road went down from Sarsar by 
Farishah. At Ililiah the eastern arm of the Euphrates was 
crossed by a great bridge of boats similar to that which had 
formerly existed at Stira. This is the route followed by Ibn 
Jubayr and all later travellers. From Kftfah to Basrah along the 
southern border of the Great Swamp was reckoned as 80 or 85 
leagues, and this road, which branches to the left at the second 
desert stage south of Kadisfyah, is described by Ibn Rustah and 
Ibn Khurdadbih 1 . 

As already said, two Pilgrim roads crossed the deserts of 
Arabia going from Mesopotamia to the Hijaz, one starting from 
Kftfah, the other from Basrah, and they came together at the 
stage of Dhat 'Irk, which was two days march north-east of 
Mecca. These two famous Pilgrim ways are described stage by 
stage, and the half-stage is also given, where the caravan halted for 
supper (Al-Muta'ashshd), with the number of miles between each 
halt carefully noted, in the Road Books of the 3rd (9th) century 
and by Mukaddasi. The road from Kiifah passed through Fayd, 

1 I. R. 174, 175, 180, 182. Ykb. 308. I. K. 125, 145. Kud. 185. 
A. F. 303. I. J. 214219. Mst. 193. Mukaddasi (p. 252) estimates the 
distance from Basrah to Kufah along the edge of the desert at ten long marches 
(Marhalah), and at the shortest reckoning it is over 250 miles. It is famous in 
history for having been traversed in a night and a day by a certain Bilal ibn 
Abi Burdah, riding swift dromedaries (Jammdzah), he having an urgent affair 
with Khahd-al-Kasri at Kufah, in the year 120 (738), during the reign of the 
Omayyad Caliph Hisham. Tabari, ii. 1627. (It will be remembered how 
Dick Turpin rode from London to York, 200 odd miles, in 18 hours : the rate 
is about the same.) 

84 'IRAK. [CHAP. 

which lay a short distance south of Sdyil, the present chief town of 
Jabal Shammar. The Basrah road went by Danyah, the older 
capital of what later became the Wahhibi kingdom, the ruins of 
which town still exist a few miles to the west of Ar-Riyid, the 
present chief town of Najd. From both the KAfah and the 
Basrah Pilgrim ways there were branch roads, bifurcating to the 
right, leading direct to Medina 1 . 

From Baghdad at the Ktifah Gate of the Round City a second 
high road branched westward, and going first to Muliawwal kept 
along the bank of the *ts& canal to Anbir on the Euphrates, 
whence following up stream it passed Hadithah, the last town in 
'Irak, and reached 'Anah in Jaztrah. This is the first part of one 
of the roads (namely, by the Euphrates) going from Baghdad to 
Syria, and it is given by Ibn Khurdadbih and Kudimah. The 
other road to Syria goes north along the Tigris by Mosul, and 
as far as Takrit lies in the 'Irak province. This, which was the 
p jsfc-road, left the Baradan Gate of East Baghdad and keeping up 
the left bank of the river through 'Ukbara and Samarni came to 
Takrit. It was here joined by the caravan road which, leaving the 

1 The Kiifah road to Mecca and Medina is given in I. K. 125. Kud. 185. 

I. R. 175. Ykb. 311. Muk. 107, 251. The Basrah road is given in I. K. 

146. Kud. 190. I. R. 180, 182. Muk. 109, 251. It is worth noting that 
the older chief town of Ntjd is invariably written Darfyah (with initial Ddtf) 
by the Arab geographers. Hajji Khalfah is the first (J. N. 527) to give the 
modern pronunciation and spelling Dara'iyah (with initial Ddl and an *Ayn) 
though once or twice and in the Itinerary (J. N. 527, 543) he writes Dariyah 
or Hisn Dariyah. The geography of the Hijaz, and of Arabia in general lying 
north of the Dahna or Great Desert, has l>een fully worked out (from Arabic 
sources) by Professor F. Wiistenfeld, in a series of articles published in the 
Abhandlungen der Koniglichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaft zu Gottingen. 
These papers are provided with maps by Kiepert, and are well indexed ; they 
include the following, of which I give the names in full, as they do not appear 
to be well known to English geographers. Die von Medina anslanfenden 
Hauptstrassen (vol. XI, 1862) : Die Wohnsitze und Wanderungen der Arabi- 
schen Stamme (vol. Xiv, 1869) : Die Strasse von Basra nach Mekka mit der 
Landschaft Dharija (vol. XVI, 1871): Das Gebtet von Medma (vol. xvm, 
1873), which gives the. Kflfah-Mecca Pilgrim road : Bahrein und Jemama 
(vol. xix, 1874): lastly, Geschtchte der Stadt Medina (vol. ix, 1860, and 
published separately), also vol. IV of Chroniken der Stadt Mekka (Leipzig, 
1861) which contains a summary (in German) of the history of Mecca, with 
topographical notes. 

V] 'IRAK. 85 

Uarbfyah quarter in West Baghdad, went up the Dujayl canal to 
IJarbi, and thence by the palace grounds opposite Simarri passed 
along the Isbiki canal to Takrit. This last is the road followed 
by Ibn Jubayr and Ibn Battitah 1 . 

Finally from the Khurasan Gate of East Baghdid started the 
great Khurisan road which, crossing Persia, went, as already said, 
through Transoxiana, ultimately reaching the borders of China. 
This road is described in great detail, stage by stage, by Ibn Rustah ; 
and almost all the other geographers give the distances along the 
various portions of this great highway, which is thus one of the 
best known to us of all the trunk roads 2 . 

1 I. K. 72, 93. Kud. 214, 216, 217. Muk. 134. I. J. 232. I. B. ii. 132. 
Mst. 195. 

2 I. R. 163. Ykb. 269. I. K. 18. Kud. 197. Muk. 135. Mst. 193. 



The three districts. The district of Piyar Rabi'ah. Mosul, Nineveh, and the 
neighbouring towns. Great Zab, Hadlthah, and Irbil. Little Zib, Sinn, 
and Dakuk. The Lesser KhabOr, Hasaniyah, and *Im&diyah. Jazirah 
Ibn 'Omar and Mount Judt. Nasfbfn and Ris-al-'Ayn. Mirdin and 
Dunaysir. The Hirmas and the Khabur. 'Araban and the ThartlwUr 
river. Sinjar and Hadr. Balad and Adhramah. 

As already explained the Arabs named Upper Mesopotamia 
Al- Jazirah, ' the Island ' or * Peninsula,' for its plains lay encom- 
passed by the upper courses of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. 
The province was generally divided into three districts called 
Diyar Rabi'ah, Diyar Mudar, and Diyar Bakr, after the Arab 
tribes of Rabi'ah, Mudar, and Bakr respectively, who, in pre- 
Islamic days, had settled here under Sassanian rule, each receiving 
its appointed Ddr (plural Diyar) or ' Habitation ' to which the 
tribe had subsequently given its name. Of Diyar Rabi'ah, Mosul 
on the Tigris was the chief town ; of the district Diyar Mudar, 
Rakkah on the Euphrates was the capital ; while Amid on the upper 
course of the Tigris was the chief city of Diyar Bakr, the northern- 
most of the three districts. Mukaddasi, on the other hand, 
describes the Jazirah province under the name of Iklim Akur, 'the 
Afcur Region'; the origin of the name is not clear, but Aktir would 
appear to have been the proper name at one time of the great 
plain of northern Mesopotamia. 

A reference to the map shows that in Upper Mesopotamia the 
rivers Tigris and Euphrates receive their affluents almost 
exclusively on their left bank, that is flowing from the north- 
east or north. During the period of the middle-ages an exception 


occurs to this rule, namely in the drainage of the affluent of the 
(greater) Khabtir, the Hirmis river from Nasibin. Just above 
its point of junction, the Hirmas was dammed back at Sukayr-al- 
'AbMs, and while a moiety passed on to join the Khabflr which 
went to the Euphrates at Karkisiya, the main stream of the Hirmas 
flowed into the Tigris on its right bank at Takrit by the channel 
called the Nahr-ath-Tharthar. Further, it will be seen that the 
limits of the three districts are determined by the water parting. 
Diyar Bakr was the country watered by the Tigris from its source 
to the great bend south made by the river below Tall (the Hill of) 
Fdfin, with the land to the northward traversed by the numerous 
affluents of the Tigris which join its left bank west of Tall Fafan. 
To the south-west, Diyar Mudar comprised all the lands along the 
Euphrates from Sumaysat, where it left the mountain gorges, down 
to 'Anah, with the plains watered by its affluent the river Balikh, 
coming from IJarran. Lastly Diyar Rabi'ah was the district 
east of Mudar; namely, of the (greater) Khabtir coming from 
Rds-al-'Ayn, with the Hirmas which, as we have seen, flowed 
eastward by the Tharthar to the Tigris, also the lands on both 
banks of the Tigris from Tall Fafan down to Takrit, namely those 
westward to Nasibin, and those eastward which included the 
plains watered by the Lower and Upper Zab and the Lesser 
Khabtir river. 

Mosul (Al-Mawsil), the chief city of Diyar Rabi'ah, stands on 
the western bank of the Tigris at the point where a series of loops 
in the river coalesce to form a single main stream, and Al-Mawsil, 
meaning 'the confluence,' is said to take its name from this fact. 
In Sassanian times the city which existed here was called BOdh 
Ardashir. Under the Omayyads Mosul rose to importance, a 
bridge of boats was set across the Tigris, connecting the city on 
the western side with the ruins of Nineveh on the east bank, 
and Mosul became the capital of the Jazirah province under 
Marwan II, the last of the Omayyad Caliphs, who also built 
here what afterwards came to be known as the Old Mosque 1 . 
Ibn Hawkal who was at Mosul in 358 (969) describes it as a 

1 Muk. 136 138. I. K. 17. Yak. iv. 682684. Mar. i. 84. Yakfit 
gives the old Persian name of Mosul as Bawardashir or Nawardashir, but the 
latter form is undoubtedly a clerical error. 


88 jAzlRAH. [CHAP. 

fine town with excellent markets, surrounded by fertile districts of 
which the most celebrated was that round Ninaway (Nineveh) 
where the prophet Yfinis (Jonah) was buried. In the 4th (loth) 
century the population consisted chiefly of Kurds, and the 
numerous districts round Mosul, occupying all Diyir Rabi'ah, 
are carefully enumerated by Ibn Hawkal. Mukaddasi praises the 
numerous excellent hostelries of Mosul, and the town, he says, was 
extraordinarily well built, being in plan a semicircle, and about a 
third the size of Basrah. Its castle was named Al-Murabba'ah 
(the Square) and it stood on the affluent called the Nahr 
Zubaydah ; within its precincts was held the Wednesday Market 
(Sftk-al-Arba'a) by which name also the castle was sometimes 
known. The Friday Mosque (that of Marwan II) stood a bow- 
shot from the Tigris, on a height to which steps led up. The 
roof of this building was vaulted in stone, and it had no doors to 
close the doorways going from the main building of the mosque 
into its court. The market streets of Mosul were for the most 
part roofed over, eight of the chief thoroughfares are named by 
Mufcaddasi, and the houses of the town stretched for a considerable 
distance along the Tigris bank. Mukaddasi adds that formerly 
Mosul had borne the name of Khawlan : and that the Kasr-al- 
Khalifah, ' the Palace of the Caliph,' stood on the opposite bank 
of the river, half a league from the town, overlooking Nineveh. 
This palace had of old been protected by strong ramparts, which 
the winds had overthrown, and the ruins, through which flowed 
the stream called the Nahr-al-Khawsar, were when Mukaddasi 
wrote occupied by fields. 

In the year 580 (1184) Mosul was visited and described by 
Ibn Jubayr. Shortly before this date the famous Ntir-ad-Din, 
under whose banner Saladin began his career, had built the new 
Friday Mosque in the market place, but the old mosque of 
Marwan II still stood on the river bank, with its beautifully 
ornamented oratory and iron window-gratings. In the upper town 
was the great fortress, and the town walls with towers at intervals 
extended down to and along the river bank, a broad street 
connecting upper with lower Mosul. Beyond the walls were 
extensive suburbs with many small mosques, hostelries, and bath 
houses. The Maristan (or hospital) was famous, also the great 

VI] JAZlRAH. 89 

market buildings called the Kaysariyah 1 , and there were also 
numerous colleges here. Kazwini gives a list of the various Dayrs 
or Christian convents which were found in the vicinity of Mosul, 
and he notes especially the deep ditch and high walls of the 
Mosul fortress. All round the town were numerous gardens 
irrigated, he says, by waterwheels. 

In regard to the Nineveh mounds, these were known from the 
time of Mukaddasi as the Tall-at-Tawbah, 'the Hill of Repent- 
ance/ where the prophet Ytinis, Jonah, had sought to convert 
the people of Nineveh. The spot was marked by a mosque, 
round which, Mukaddasi adds, were houses for pilgrims, built by 
Nasir-ad-Dawlah the Ilamdanid prince, and half a league distant 
was a celebrated healing spring called 'Ayn Yftnis after the 
prophet Jonah, with a mosque adjacent, and here might be seen 
the Shajarah-al-Yaktin, namely ' the Tree of the Gourd ' planted by 
the prophet himself. Yakflt adds that most of the houses of Mosul 
were built of limestone or marble, with vaulted roofs, and that in 
the city might be seen the tomb of the prophet Jurjis, or St George. 
In the 8th (i4th) century Ibn Batfttah passed through Mosul, which 
he describes as protected by a double wall and many high towers, 
Mike those of Dehli.'" The fortress was then known as Al-Hadba, 
'the Hump-backed,' and in the new Friday Mosque (that of 
Nftr-ad-Din) was an octagonal marble basin with a fountain in its 
midst throwing up a jet of water a fathom high. A third Friday 
Mosque had recently been built overlooking the Tigris, and this 
is probably the building praised by Mustawfi, who says that the 
stone sculptured ornamentation of its oratory was so intricate 
that it might stand for wood-carving. In his day the circuit of 
Mosul measured a thousand paces, and he refers to the famous 
shrine of Jonah (Mashhad Yflnis) on the opposite bank of the 
Tigris, lying among the ruins of Nineveh 2 . 

1 The Arabs, more especially those of the west, called the great buildings 
of a market, often used as a hostelry or caravanserai, Al-Kaysariyah, or 
Kaysariyah, a term which they must have derived from the Greeks, though 
Kcnvapeia does not occur, apparently, in the Byzantine historians, as applied to 
the Caesarian, or royal market of a town. In any cae the word seems hardly 
likely to have been taken by the Moslems from th<" name of the Csesarion, the 
famous quarter of Alexandria ; though this expla? tion is the one often given. 

2 I. H. 143145. Muk. 138, 139, 146. I. j. 236238. Yak. iv. 684. 
I. B. ii. 135. Kaz. ii. 247, 309. Mst. 165, 167. 


A few miles to the east of Mosul lie the two small towns 
of Bartalla and Karmalis, which are mentioned by Yalftit and 
Mustawfi, and Ba'ashika is somewhat to the north of these, all 
three being of the dependencies of Mosul. Mukaddasi mentions 
Bi'ashifca as noted for yielding a plant that cured scrofula 
and haemorrhoids. It was a small town, Yifctit adds, with a 
stream that worked many mills and irrigated its orchards, where 
olives, dates, and oranges grew abundantly. There was a large 
market here or Kaysariyah, with excellent bath houses. The 
Friday Mosque had a fine minaret, though in the yth (13*) 
century most of the population were Christians. Bartalli lying 
a few miles south of Ba'ashfka was likewise counted as of the 
Nineveh district. It was, Yakflt says, a place of great trade, 
mostly inhabited by Christians, though there was a fine mosque 
here, and many Moslems made the town their abode. The 
lettuces and greens of Bartalla were proverbial for their excellence, 
and Mustawfi praises its cotton crops. Karmalfs, some miles 
further to the south again, had also a fine market according to 
Yiktit, being a large village almost the size of a town, and much 
frequented by merchants. Mar Juhaynah, or Marj (the meadow 
of) Juhaynah, was also near these places, but on the Tigris bank, 
being the first stage on the road from Mosul south to Baghdad. 
Mukaddast describes it as having many pigeon towers. Its castle 
was strongly built of mortared stone, and a Friday Mosque stood 
in the midst of the town. 

Between Mosul and Takrit the Tigris received, on its eastern 
bank, the waters of the two Zabs, the one flowing in about a 
hundred miles above the other; and Ibn Hawkal praises the 
magnificent fields occupying the broad lands lying between the 
two rivers. The upper or Greater Zab rose in the mountains 
between Armenia and Adharbayjan, and joined the Tigris at 
liadithah. The lower or Lesser Zab, called also Majntin, 'the 
Mad River,' from its impetuous current, flowed down from the 
ShahraziV country, and came into the Tigris at Sinn. The 
country from which the Great Zab flows is that known as Mush- 
takahar and Babghish according to Yaktit, and its waters at first 
were red in colour, but afterwards ran clear. Al-Hadithah, 'the 
New Town/ which stood a league above its junction with the 
Tigris (called Hadithah of Mosul, to distinguish it from Hadfthah 

VI] JAZfRAH. 91 

on the Euphrates already mentioned, p. 64), had been rebuilt by 
the last Omayyad Caliph, Marwin II, on a height overlooking 
the swampy plain ; it was surrounded by famous hunting grounds, 
and had many gardens. The town was built in a semicircle, 
steps led up to it from the Tigris, and the Friday Mosque 
which was constructed of stone overlooked the river. Under the 
Sassanians the town was known as Nawkird, meaning in Persian 
likewise * new town/ and before the rise of Mosul this had been 
the capital of the province 1 . 

The town of As-Sinn (the Tooth) lying one mile below the 
junction of the Lower Zib according to Mas'tidf, but above it 
with the Lesser Zab flowing to the east according to Mukaddasi, 
was in the middle-ages chiefly inhabited by Christians, and Yifctit 
says there were many churches here. It was known as Sinn of 
Barimma, to distinguish it from other towns % of this name, the 
Brimma chain of hills being cut through by the Tigris near this 
point. Sinn had in its market place a Friday Mosque, built of 
stone, and was surrounded by a wall. To the east of it, four 
leagues higher up the bank of the Lesser Zab, stood the town 
of Bawizij (Madinat-al-Bawazij as Ibn Hawkal gives the name) 
which however appears at the present day to have left no trace on 
the map. This also is the case with both Sinn and Hadithah, 
and may be explained by the lower courses of both the Zibs 
having much changed since the 4th (loth) century. Yifcftt refers 
to the town as Bawazij-al-Malik, 'of the King/ and in the 8th 
(i4th) century it still existed, for Mustawfi describes it as paying 
14,000 dinars to the treasury of the ll-Khans. 

South of Sinn the post-road to Samarra and Baghdad kept 
along the left bank of the Tigris, passing first Barimma, a hamlet 
lying under the hills of this name otherwise known as the Jabal 
IJumrin, then coming to As-Stidakaniyah, and finally reaching 
Jabilta (or Jabulta) which appears to have been a mint city in 
304 (916) lying on the east bank of the Tigris a little to the 
northward of Takrit. None of these small towns now appear 
on the map, but their positions are given very exactly in the 

1 1st. 75. I. H. 147, 155. Muk. 139, 146. Yak. i. 446, 472, 567; ii. 168, 
222 > 552, 902; iv. 267. Mst. 165, 1 66, 214. 


Rather more than a hundred miles due east of Sinn lies the town 
of Dakufci or Dakuk the name is generally written Tiuk or 
Tawuk in 'Alt of Yazd, as at the present day which is frequently 
mentioned by Yifcut and the later geographers. Mustawf! speaks 
of the river of Dakuk (as he spells the name) which, rising in the 
Kurdistim mountains near Darband-i-Khalifah (the Caliph's Pass), 
flowed out below the town of Dakuk into the sandy plain, where, 
according to Mustawfi, there were most dangerous quicksands 
which swallowed up those who attempted to cross over. In flood 
time, he says, the Dakuk river reached the Tigris, and its lower 
course is the stream now known as the Nahr-al-A'zam (the Great 
River) : but in early times when the Nahrawan canal existed in 
its entirety, the spring floods of the Dakuk river must have flowed 
into this. Mustawfi describes the town of Dakufc as of medium 
size ; it had a more healthy climate than that of Baghdad, and 
near it were found naphtha springs. It is to be remarked that 
the place is not mentioned by the earlier Arab geographers 1 . 

Irbil, the ancient Arbela, lay in the plain between the Greater 
and Lesser Zab, and is described by Yakut as a town much 
frequented by merchants. The castle, which crowned a hill, had 
a deep ditch and was in part enclosed by the town wall. A great 
market was held here, and the mosque, called Masjid-al-Kaff, 
'of the Hand/ was celebrated for the mark of a man's palm on 
one of its stones. In the yth (i3th) century the market buildings 
had recently been restored, and great suburbs stretched beyond 
the city wall. Mustawfi praises the excellent crops, especially of 
cotton, that were produced by its lands. To the north of Mosul 
the city of 'Imdtyah, near the head waters of the Upper Zab, 
according to Mustawfi derived its name from its founder the 
Daylamite prince 'Imid-ad-Dawlah who died in 338 (949). Other 

1 1st. 75. I. H. 153. Mas. Tanbih 52. Kud. 214. Muk. 123. Yak. 
i- 464* 750; ii.58i; iii. 169. Mst. 139, 165, 220. A. Y. 1. 660. Karkiik, 
not given by Yikdt or the earlier geographers, is mentioned by 'All of Yazd 
(i. 661) as near Taftk. In regard to Jabilta, or Jabulta, on the Tigris opposite 
Takrit, it is to be remarked that this name has often been misread Habilta 
(e.g. Muk. 135: the letters H and J being identical in Arabic script except for 
a diacritical point). The initial letter however is certainly J, for in Syriac the 
name frequently occurs under the form Gebhiltd, and in this script G and H do 
not resemble one another. 

VI] JAZfRAH. 93 

authorities, however, ascribe Imidiyah, or at any rate the 
restoration of that town in 537 (1142), to 'Imid-ad-Din Zangi, 
father of that famous prince of Upper Mesopotamia, Ntir-ad-Din, 
under whom Saladin began his careen Yafcut reports that of old 
a castle had existed here held by the Kurds, and known under 
the name of Ashib. Mustawfi in the 8th (i4th) century describes 
'Imadiyah as a town of considerable size. 

In the neighbouring mountains were the head waters of the 
river Khabftr-al-Hasaniyah, which flowed into the Tigris just 
north of the town of Faysabur, about 150 miles above Mosul. 
This river (not to be confounded with the Khabur of Ras-al-'Ayn) 
rose according to Yakut in the district of Az-Zawzin, and at the 
town of Al-Hasaniyah it was spanned by a magnificent stone 
bridge, the remains of which still exist near the hamlet of Hasan 
Aghi, which probably represents the older town. Hasaniyah, where 
there was a Friday Mosque, is described by Mukaddasi as a place 
of some importance, and one stage to the south of it on the road 
to Mosul was the small town of Ma'alathaya, where there was a 
Friday Mosque on a hill, the place being completely surrounded 
by gardens 1 . 

To the north of Faysabur is the important town of the Jazirah 
(the Island), called Jazirah Ibn 'Omar for distinction, after a certain 
Al-Hasan Ibn 'Omar of the tribe of Taghlib, its founder; and the 
Tigris, as Yakut explains, went half round the city in a semicircle, 
while a ditch filled with water on the land side made it an island. 
Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (loth) century describes Jazirah as a walled 
town, whither the products of Armenia were brought for sale : its 
cheese and honey were famous. Its houses were of stone, and 
Mukaddasi adds that the mud at Jazirah in winter time was pheno- 
menal. Ibn Batiltah who was here in the 8th (i4th) century found 
it much ruined. The old mosque, however, stood in the market 
place, and the town wall, built of stone, still existed. Mustawfi 
adds that over a hundred villages were of its dependencies. 
Opposite Jazirah Ibn 'Omar, on the west bank of the Tigris, was 
Bazabda of the Bakirda district, this representing the well-known 

1 Muk. 139. Kaz. ii. 192. Yak. i. 186; ii. 384; iii. 717, 931. Mst. 165, 
1 66. 


Roman fortress of Bezabda, but no description is given of the 

From Jazirah Ibn 'Omar Jabal Jftdi was visible to the east- 
ward, with the Mosque of Noah on its summit, and Kariyat-ath- 
Thamanin (the Village of the Eighty) at the foot of the mountain. 
The Kuran (ch. xi. v. 46) states that 'the Ark rested upon Al-Jftdi,' 
which Moslem tradition identifies with this mountain in Upper 
Mesopotamia, and eighty of the companions of Noah are said to 
have built the village of Thamanin named after their number. 
Mukaddasi describes Thamanin in the 4th (loth) century as a fair- 
sized city, and it lay one march to the north of Al-Hasaniyah ; 
Mustawfi who calls it SiU-Thamanin 'the Market of the Eighty ' 
says that in his day it had fallen to ruin. Various affluents 
entered the Tigris on its left bank near Jazirah Ibn 'Omar, and 
these are enumerated by Yakilt, namely, the Yarna (or Yarni) and 
the Ba'aynatha (or Basanfa as Ibn Serapion calls it), with a large 
village of the same name, above Jazirah. Below this town, but 
to the north of the Kh&btir-al-Hasaniyah, ind flowing down from 
the country of Az-Zawzan were the Al-Bftyar and Dtisha rivers 1 . 

On the western side of the Tigris, in the latitude of Jazirah Ibn 
'Omar, is the hilly district of Ttlr 'Abdin, 'the Mountain of (God's) 
Servants,' peopled by the Jacobites, in which the rivers Hirmas 
and the Khabilr of Nasibin have their source. 

Nasibin, the Roman Nisibis, which Yaktit describes as cele- 
brated for its white roses and its forty thousand gardens, stood 
on the upper waters of the Hirmas river, called by the Greek 
geographers the Saocoras or Mygdonius, and it is still one of the 
most important towns of Upper Mesopotamia. Ibn Hawkal who 
was there in 358 (969) describes Nasibin as the finest town of the 
Jazirah province, and its neighbourhood produced the best barley 
and wheat crops. The hill above, from which its water came, 
was called the Jabal Balftsa, the town was most pleasant to live in, 
and the only drawback was the fear of scorpions. It was more 
spacious than Mo ul, and Mukaddasi praises both its fine baths, 
and the private houses. The market extended right across from 
gate to gate, a Friday Mosque stood in its midst, and a strong 

1 1st. 78. I. H. 152, 153, 157. Muk. 139. I. S. 18. A. F. 55, 275. 
Yak. i. 466, 472; ii. 79, 144, 552, 957; iv. 1017. I. B. ii. 139. Mst. 165, 166. 

VI] JAZlRAH. 95 

fortress built of mortared stone protected the town. Nasibin was 
visited by Ibn Jubayr in 580 (1184), who praises its gardens; in 
its Friday Mosque were two tanks, and a bridge crossed the river 
Hirmas where it flowed by the town ; also there was the hospital 
(Maristan) and several colleges among other notable buildings. 
Ibn Battitah who was here in the 8th (i4th) century describes 
Nasibin as then for the most part in ruins, but its Friday Mosaue 
was still standing with the two great tanks, and the gardens 
round the city produced the rose-water for which it was so 
celebrated. Mustawfl, who gives the circuit of the walls as 6500 
paces, praises the grapes and other fruits grown here, and its wine, 
but the dampness of the climate, he says, made Nasibin an 
unhealthy place. He, too, speaks of the excellence of its roses, 
also the abomination of the scorpions, which were equalled in 
virulence by the plague of gnats 1 . 

Ras-al-'Ayn, 'the Spring-head/ near the sources of the Khabftr 
(the Roman Resaina, on the river Chaboras), was famous for its 
numerous springs, said to number 360 in all, and their waters 
made the surrounding country a great garden. Of these springs 
the 'Ayn-az-Zahiriyah was supposed to be fathomless, and the 
stream flowing from this ran into the Khabflr, by which pleasure- 
boats are described as travelling down from garden to garden 
from Ras-al-'Ayn to Karkisiya on the Euphrates. Ras-al-'Ayn is 
described by Ibn Hawkal as a walled town, having gardens and 
many mills within its circuit ; and the arable fields stretched for 
20 leagues beyond the houses. Mukaddasi describes a small lake 
at the chief spring, two fathoms deep, but the water so clear that 
a silver piece could clearly be seen at the bottom. The buildings 
of Ras-al-'Ayn were of stone, well mortared, and Ibn Jubayr who 
passed through the town in 580 (1184) mentions its two Friday 
Mosques and the fine colleges and bath houses which stood along 
the banks of the Khabtir. In his time the city apparently had no 
wall, though in the 8th (i4th) century this must have been 
rebuilt, for Mustawfi describes it as 5000 paces in circuit. He 
adds that cotton, corn, and grapes were grown here abundantly. 

1 I. H. 140, 142, 143- I- s - '* Muk - HO- I- J- HO- Yak. iii. 559; 
iv. 787. I. B. ii. 140. Mst. 167. 


About half-way between Ras-al-'Ayn and Nasibin, but more to 
the north, stood the great rock fortress of Mirdin, overlooking the 
city of Dunaysir 'in the plain below, some three leagues to the south. 
In the 4th (loth) century the castle of Mirdin, called Al-Biz 
(the Falcon), was the stronghold of the Hamdinid princes. The 
fortress crowned the hill-top, and on the southern side a suburb 
was built which by the 6th (i2th) century had become very 
populous. Here there were many markets, some hostelries, and 
a few colleges, but all the buildings rose one above the other in 
steps, and the roads were stairs, each house having its cistern for 
storing rain water. Ibn Batfltah, who visited Mirdin in the 8th 
(i4th) century, describes it as a fine town where much woollen stuff 
was woven. At that time the great fortress was known as Kal'at- 
ash-Shahbi, 'the Grey Castle/ or Kal'at-i-Kfih, 'the Castle of the 
Hill.' Mustawfi describes Mirdin as amply irrigated by the waters 
of the Sawr river, which flowed down from a hill of the same name 
in Ttir 'Abdin, and this river ultimately joined the Khabtir; he 
adds that corn, cotton, and abundant fruit was grown in all the 

Dunaysir, a few leagues distant (variously given as from 2 to 
4, but its actual site appears to be unknown), was in the yth (i3th) 
century a great market town, and it was also known as Kflch 
liisar. Yifctit writes that when he was a boy, that is to say at the 
close of the 6th (i2th) century, Dunaysir had been merely a large 
village, but in 623 (1225) it was become a great city, with extensive 
markets. Ibn Jubayr who had passed through it in 580 (1184) 
describes it as unwalled, but it was then a meeting place for 
caravans, and a college had recently been built with numerous 
bath houses. Diri, lying a few miles to the eastward, which had 
been a great fortress in Roman days, is mentioned as a small 
town by Ibn Hawkal, and Mukaddast describes how each house 
was supplied with water by an underground channel, these 
channels ultimately flowing into the tank of the Friday Mosque. 
The houses were all built, he says, of black stone, and well 
mortared. The town stood on a hill side, and Yikflt states that 
it was famous for its Afahlab or cherry-stone preserve, the gardens 
being most fruitful. When Ibn Battitah passed Dira in the 8th 
(i4th) century, however, its fortress had already become an 

VI] JAZtRAH. 97 

uninhabited ruin. Kafartfithi, to the S.W. of Mirdin and on its 
own small river, is described by Ibn Hawkal as already a town of 
some importance in the 4th (loth) century, being at the junction 
of the high road coming down from Amid. It was at that time 
a larger place than Dira, but in the 7th (i3th) century Yakftt 
refers to it as merely a large village 1 . 

The Greater Khabftr from Ras-al-*Ayn received on its left 
bank the waters of the Mardin river, and below this again was 
joined by the Hirmas coming from Nasibin ; but the major part of 
this latter stream, as already said, was diverted at the dam of 
Sukayr-al-'Abbas, a short distance above the junction with the 
KMbflr, into the Tharthar channel. The KMbtir now bearing 
the waters of three considerable streams, and Mustawfi adds 
further swelled by the confluence of 300 rivulets, flowed down 
south to Karfcisiyi on the Euphrates, which is the chief town of 
the Diyir Mudar district and will be described presently. Before 
coming to this the river ran by the towns of 'Araban and 
Makisin, which were of the Khabftr lands and counted of Diyir 
Rabi'ah province. 'Arban or 'Arabia, the ruins of which still 
exist, was in the 4th (roth) century a walled town where cotton 
stuffs were largely manufactured, cotton being grown in the 
surrounding country along the banks of the Khabftr. Mukaddasf 
speaks of 'Araban as standing on a high hill and surrounded by 
gardens. To the south of it, half-way to Karkisiyi, was the town 
of Makisin (or Maykasin) where a bridge of boats crossed the 
Khabftr. Much cotton also was grown here, and near it lay the 
small lake of deep blue water called Al-Munkharik, about a third 
of an acre in extent and said to be unfathomable. 

The source of the Hirmis river is described as at a spring six 
leagues north of Nasibin, where the water was dammed back by a 
masonry wall, clamped and with leaden joints. This, it was said, the 
Greeks had built, to preserve Nasibin from being flooded, and the 
Caliph Mutawakkil at one time had commanded that it should be 
demolished, but finding the water beginning to overflow the city 
had promptly ordered the restoration of the wall. A hundred 

1 Baladhuri, 176. 1st. 73, 74. I. H. 143, 149, 152. Muk. 140. I. J. 
242, 244. Kaz. ii. 172. Yak. ii. 516, 612, 733, 911; iii. 435; iv. 287, 390. 
Mst. 166, 205, 219. I. B. ii. 142. A. Y. i. 677. 


miles or more south of Nasibin was the dam or weir called 
Sukayr-al-' Abbas, where in the 4th (loth) century there was a con- 
siderable town with a Friday Mosque and markets. This was at 
the head of the Tharthar river, which, as already stated, flowed to 
the Tigris. At the present day its stream is so shrunken in volume 
that it no longer forms a waterway, and this shrinkage had 
already begun in the yth (i3th) century when Yakftt wrote, for he 
reports that though when the rains were plentiful the flood still 
passed down its channel, in summer the bed was only marked by 
pools of water and brackish springs. Yaktit had himself travelled 
along its course, and adds it was reported that in old times boats 
used to pass down this stream from the Khabtir to the Tigris; 
and in those days a succession of villages lined its banks, where, 
when he wrote, there was only a desert to be seen. 

In the plain of Sinjar the river Tharthar cut through the line 
of hills called the Jabal Humrin, otherwise the Jabal Barimma, 
and received from the north a small -stream which flowed down 
from the city of Sinjar. This in the 4th. (loth) century was 
a walled town, surrounded by a most fertile district. Mukaddasi 
describes it as famous for its carpenters; oranges, lemons, and 
the date palm flourished abundantly here, and a large Friday 
Mosque stood in the midst of the town. Moslem tradition 
stated that the Ark first rested on the hill above Sinjar during 
the Flood ; but afterwards, continuing on its course, came 
finally to rest on Jabal Judi on the east side of the Tigris. 
Further, Yakftt adds that Sinjar was also famous as the birth- 
place of Sultan Sinjar or Sanjar, the last of the great Saljtifcs, 
son of Malik Shah. According to Kazwini Sinjar in the yth 
(i3th) century was remarkable for its bath houses, which had 
beautiful mosaic floors, and Ibn Battitah who passed through the 
place in the 8th (i4th) century refers to its fine mosque. The 
town wall, 3200 paces in circuit, was built according to Mustawfi 
of mortared stone ; most of the houses went step-fashion up tne 
hill slope, and its gardens produced great quantities of grapes, 
olives, and sumach. Al-Hadr, the Roman Hatra, mentioned by 
Ibn Serapion, stood lower down the Tharthar, about half-way 
between Sinjar and where that river joined the Tigris near Takrit. 
At Hadr are still to be seen the remains of a great Parthian 


palace which Yaktit reports to have been built by a certain 
As-Satirfln of squared stones, and there were many of its 
chambers whose ceilings and doors were likewise of stone slabs. 
Originally, he says, there had been sixty great towers, with nine 
turrets between each tower and its neighbour, while a palace 
stood over against each tower outside the walls 1 . 

The high road from Mosul to Nasibtn went up the right bank 
of the Tigris, and at Balad (corresponding with the place now 
known as Eski, or Old, Mosul), seven leagues from Mosbl, the 
road bifurcated, the branch to the left hand going to Sinjar by way 
of Tall A 'far. Yakilt writes that Balad, where there was an Alid 
shrine, occupied the site of the old Persian town of Shahrabadh, 
and that the name of Balad was often written Balat. Ibn Hawkal 
in the 4th (loth) century refers to Balad as a considerable city, and 
Mukaddasi tells us of its houses built of stone, well mortared, its 
good markets, and its Friday Mosque standing in the centre of 
the town. The neighbourhood produced sugar-cane and was very 
fertile. On the solitary hill of Tall A 'far, one stage to the west, 
stood a castle, dominating a large suburb through which ran a 
stream. The castle was strongly fortified, Yakitt says, and the 
date palm grew in the surrounding district, which was known under 
the name of Al-Mahlabiyah, from the Mahlab perfume, or preserve, 
of cherry-stones chiefly made here. 

The right-hand road at the bifurcation beyond Balad led to 
the town of Ba'aynatha which Mukaddasi describes as lying in the 
midst of twenty-five fertile districts, the richest and pleasantest of 
all Mesopotamia, as he adds ; and this Ba'aynatha must not be 
confounded with * the great village like a city ' of the same name 
on the river which joins the Tigris to the north of Jazirah Ibn 
'Omar as mentioned on p. 94- Beyond Ba'aynatha on the road 
to Nasibln came Barkald, a place evilly proverbial for the thieving 
ways of its people, practised against all strangers and their 
caravans. In the 3rd (Qth) century it was a town of considerable 
size, with three gates, more than two hundred shops, and many 

1 The name of the town is written Sinjar, with the last a long; the name of 
the Sultan is generally written Sanjar, with both vowels short. I. S. 12, 18. 
Ist - 73 74- I- H. 139, 148, 150. Muk. 140, 141. Yak. i. 464, 921 ; ii. 281 ; 
iii. 109, 158; iv. 962. Mst. 166, 219. I. B. ii. 141. Kaz. ii. 263. 


springs of excellent water. By the yth (i3th) century, however, 
though some traffic still passed through it, the evil reputation of 
its people had caused the place to be avoided by respectable 
travellers and it had fallen to the size of a village. 

Adhramah, rather less than half-way between Barka'id and 
Nasibin, was a place of about the same size as Barka'id ; and its 
district was called Bayn-an-Nahrayn, ' Betwixt the Streams/ In 
the 3rd (9th) century it is stated that there had been a fine palace 
here, and a stone arched bridge crossed its stream. The little 
town then had double walls, surrounded by a deep ditch. Such 
at any rate is the description of the place left by the physician of 
the Caliph Mu'tadid, who passed through it, when in attendance 
on the latter. In the 4th (loth) century Mukaddasi describes 
Adhramah as a small place standing in the desert near some 
wells, and there were vaulted buildings round about these 1 . 

1 Kud. 214. 1st. 73. I. H. 148, 149. Muk. 139, 140. Yak. i. 177, 472, 
57 f 7'5 863 v. 428. Kaz. ii. 204. 


JAZiRAH (continued). 

The district of Diyar Mudar. Rakkah and Rafikah. The river Balikh and 
Harran, Edessa and Hisn-Maslamah. Karklsiya. The Nahr Sa'id, 
Rahbah and Daliyah. Rusafah of Syria. 'Anah. Balis, Jisr Manbij, 
and Sumaysat. Sarftj. The district of Diyar Bakr. Amid, Hint, and 
the source of the Tigris. Mayyafarlkin and Arzan. Hisn Kayfa and Tall 
Fafan. Sa'irt. 

The district of Diyar Mudar, as already explained, lay along 
the banks of the Euphrates, and the chief town was Ar-Ral&ah 
situated just above where the river Balikh, coming down from the 
north, flows into the Euphrates. The site is that of the old Greek 
city of Callinicus or Nicephorium, for the Arab name Ar-Rafcfcah 
is merely descriptive; Rakkah being the term for the swampy 
land beside a river subject to periodical inundation, and as such 
Ar-Rakkah, 'the Morass/ is found elsewhere as a place-name, this 
particular Rafcfcah receiving the surname of As-Sawda, 'the Black/ 
for distinction. 

In the 2nd (8th) century when the Abbasids had succeeded to 
the Caliphate, Rakfcah, one of the chief cities of Upper Mesopotamia 
commanding the Syrian frontier, had to be secured, and for this 
purpose the Caliph Mansur in 155 (772) proceeded to build some 
300 ells distant from Rafcfcah the town of Ar-Rifilcah (the Com- 
panion or Fellow), which was garrisoned by Khurasan troops 
entirely devoted to the new dynasty. Rlfikah is said to have 
been laid out on the plan of Baghdad, and was a round city. 
HdrCtn-ar-Rashid added to the town and built himself a palace 
here called the Kasr-as-Salam (the Palace of Peace), for he at 
times resided in Rafcfcah, or Rafifcah, when the climate of 

102 JAZfRAH. [CHAP. 

Baghdad was too hot. Soon the older town of Rakkah fell to 
ruin, new buildings covered all the intervening space, enclosing 
'the Morass,' now a shallow lake, lying between Rakkah and 
Rafikah, and the name of Rakkah passed to Rafikah, which last, 
once the suburb, took the place of the older city, and lost its 
name in the process. Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (loth) century, 
however, speaks of the twin cities of Rakkah and Rafikah, each with 
its own Friday Mosque, and he especially mentions the magnifi- 
cent trees which surrounded the towns. Mukaddasi describes only 
one town, namely Rakkah, as strongly fortified and having two 
gates; its markets were excellent and well supplied from the 
neighbouring villages; much traffic also centred here, and from 
the olive oil produced in the neighbourhood soap was manu- 
factured. The Friday Mosque was, he says, a fine building 
standing in the Clothiers' market, and each of the great houses at 
Rakkah had its terraced roof. There were also excellent baths. 
Near by were the ruins of the old -town, then known as Ar- 
Rakkah-al-Muhtarikah, 'Burnt Rakkah.' Mustawfi on the other 
hand speaks of Rafikah as still the name of a suburb, with its 
Friday Mosque standing in the Goldsmiths' market. Round this 
suburb grew mulberry and jujube trees, and a mosque stood near, 
overhanging the Euphrates bank. 

On the right bank of the Euphrates opposite and above 
Rakkah was the celebrated plain of Siffin, which had been the 
battlefield between the partizans of the two Caliphs Mu'awiyah 
and 'Ali. 'The Martyrs,' as the Shi'ahs called those who had 
fallen in the cause of 4 Ali, had their shrines here, and Ibn Hawkal, 
whose narrative is extended by Mustawfi, relates how miracu- 
lously, from afar off, each buried martyr was quite visible lying in 
his shroud underground, though, on coming up to the actual 
spot, no body could be perceived. Opposite the battlefield of 
Siffin on the north (left) bank of the Euphrates stands the fortress 
known as Kal'at Ja'bar, after its early possessor, an Arab of the 
Ban! Numayr. Originally this castle had been called Dawsar. 
It is frequently mentioned in the later history of the Caliphate, 
and in the year 497 (1104) was taken possession of by the Franks 
from Edessa, during the time of the first Crusade. On its left 
bank below Ral^kah the Euphrates receives the river Al-Balikh, 

VII] JAZfRAH. 103 

which the Greeks knew as the Bilecha. Its source was at a 
spring called the 'Ayn-adh-Dhahbaniyah lying to the north of 
Irjarran. The name of this spring is given variously by our 
authorities as Ad-Dahmanah or Adh-Dhahbanah, and Mustawfi 
(in Persian) writes of the Chashmah Dahanah 1 . 

The Balikh took its course south and joined the Euphrates 
below Rakkah, passing by a number of important towns which 
were irrigated from it or from its tributaries. Harran (the ancient 
Carrhae) near its source was famous as the home of the Sabians 
(not identical with the Sabaeans, but often confounded with them) 
who professed to hold the religion of Abraham, and tradition 
stated that Harran was the first city to be built after the Flood. 
Mukaddasi describes Harran as a pleasant town protected by a 
fortress, built of stones so finely set as to recall the masonry of 
the walls of Jerusalem. It possessed a Friday Mosque. According 
to Ibn Jubayr, who passed through Harran in 580 (1184), the city 
itself was also surrounded by a stone wall, and he describes the 
mosque as having a large court with nineteen doors, while its 
cupola was supported on marble columns. The markets were 
roofed over with beams of wood, and the city possessed both a 
hospital and a college. Mustawfi adds that the circuit of the 
castle wall was 1350 paces. Three leagues to the south was to 
be seen the shrine (Mashhad) of Abraham, and the surrounding 
territory was fully irrigated by innumerable small canals 

Edessa, which the Arabs call Ar-Ruha (a corruption of the 
Greek name Callirrhoe), lay on the head-waters of one of the 
tributaries of the Balikh. The city is not held of much account by 
the Moslem geographers, for the majority of its population con- 
tinued to be Christians, and the town was chiefly remarkable for 
its numerous churches, which Ibn Hawkal estimates at more than 
300 in number. Here originally had been preserved the famous 
relic known as ' the napkin of Jesus,' which had been given up by 
Moslem authorities to the Byzantines in 332 (944)* * n order to 
save Ruha from being stormed and plundered. Mukaddasi in 
the latter part of the 4th (loth) century, after speaking of the 

1 Baladhuri, 179, 297. 1st. 75, 76. I. H. 153, 154. Muk. 141. I. S. 12. 
I. R. 90. I. K. 175. Yak. i. 734; ii. 621, 734; iv. 112, 164. Mst. 166, 
Ibn-al-Athir, x. 2-53. 



Friday Mosque, describes the magnificent cathedral of Edessa, 
celebrated as one of the four wonders of the world, whose 
vaulted ceiling was covered with mosaics. The Great Mosque 
of Al-Aksa at Jerusalem had been built, he says, on its plan. 
Mufcaddasi adds that the city was well fortified. Notwithstanding 
its Arab garrison at the time of the first Crusade in 492 (1098), 
Edessa was taken by Baldwin, and during half-a-century remained 
a Latin principality. In 540 (1145), however, Zangi retook the 
city from Jocelin II, and after that date Ruha was in the hands 
of the Moslems. The ruins of its many handsome buildings 
might still be seen in the 8th (i4th) century, and Mustawf! 
describes a great cupola of finely worked stone, rising beyond a 
court that was over TOO yards square. Ruha is more than once 
mentioned by 'All of Yazd in his account of the campaigns of 
Timtir, and it kept this name down to the beginning of the 9th 
(i5th) century. After it passed into the possession of the 
Ottoman Turks its name was commonly pronounced Urfah, said 
to be a corruption of the Arabic Ar-Ruha, and as Urfah Edessa 
is known at the present day 1 . 

To the south of Harran, and lying some distance to the east 

1 1st. 76. I. H. 154. Muk. 141, 147. I. J. 246. Yak. ii. 231, 591. 
A. Y. i. 662. Mst. 166. J. N. 443. In the matter of the famous napkin 
(MandH) of Christ once preserved at Edessa, this is one of the many Veronicas, 
but competent authorities are not agreed as to whether the Edessa Veronica is 
that now preserved in Rome, or the one shown at Genoa, and there are others. 
Our earliest Moslem authority, Mas'udi, who wrote in the very year when this 
famous relic had been delivered up to the Greek Emperor, calls it *the napkin 
of Jesus of Nazareth, wherewith He had dried Himself after His baptism,' and 
Mas'udi mentions the year 332 (944) as that when the Byzantines got possession 
of it, to their great joy. Ibn Hawkal, writing in the same century, merely calls 
it 'the napkin of *Isa, son of Manyam, on whom be peace.' Ibn-al-Athir in 
his chronicle under the year 331 (943) describes it as * the napkin with which 
it was said the Messiah had wiped His face, whereby the likeness of His face 
was come thereon/ and he proceeds to relate how the Caliph Muttakt had been 
induced to give up this napkin to the Emperor of the Greeks in return for the 
release of many Moslem captives, and to save Ar-Ruha from assault and pillage. 
The Christian legend concerning the Edessa napkin, as given by Moses of 
Chorene, is that this relic was a portrait of Christ, wonderfully impressed on 
a cloth, which He had sent to Abgarus, King of Edessa. Mas. ii. 331. Ibn- 
al-Athir, viii. 302. 


of the Balikh river, was the small town of Bajadda on the road to 
Ras-al-'Ayn. Its gardens were famous, and it was a dependency 
of Hisn Maslamah, which lay nearer to the Balikh river. This 
great castle took its name from Maslamah, son of the'Omayyad 
Caliph 'Abd-al-Malik, and it stood nine leagues south of Harrin, 
lying about a mile and a half back from the actual river bank. 
From this point a canal brought water to the fortress to fill a 
cistern which Maslamah had caused to be dug here, 200 ells 
square by 20 deep, and lined throughout with stone. The cistern 
needed only to be filled once a year, and the canal served for 
irrigating the lands round Hisn Maslamah. The fortress buildings 
covered an area of a Jarib (equivalent to a third of an acre), and 
its walls were fifty ells in height. To the south of Hisn Maslamah 
on the road to Rakkah, from which it was three leagues distant, 
stood Bajarwan, which Ibn Hawkal describes as having been 
a fine town, though in the 4th (roth) century already falling to 
rum. Yaktit, whose description of Hisn Maslamah has been given 
above, merely mentions Bajarwan as a village of the Diyar Muclar 
district l . 

Some two hundred miles below Rakkah stands Karkisiya, the 
ancient Circesium, on the left bank of the Tigris where, as already 
explained (p. 97), the moiety of the Khabtir river flows in. Ibn 
Hawkal describes it as a fine town surrounded by gardens; but 
Yakftt and Mustawfi both refer to it as a smaller place than the 
neighbouring Rahbah, which lay six leagues distant, standing back 
from the western side of the Euphrates. This Rahbah the name 
means the Square or Plain was called for distinction Rahbah- 
ash-Sham, *of Syria/ or Rahbah Malik ibn Tawk after its founder, 
who had flourished during the reign of the Caliph Mamiln. Near 
it stood the small town of Ad- Daliyah (the Waterwheel) and both 
places lay near the bank of a great loop canal, called the Nahr 
Sa'id, which branched from the right bank of the Euphrates some 
distance above Karkisiya and flowed back to it again above 
Daliyah, which, like Rahbah, was also known for distinction as 
Daliyah of Malik ibn Tawk. The canal had been dug by Prince 
Said, son of the Omayyad Caliph 'Abd-al-Malik ; he was a man 
of great piety, being known as Sa'id-al-Khayr, 'the Good/ and was 

1 I. H. 156. Kud. 215. Yak. i. 453, 454, 734; ii. 278. 

106 JAZlRAH. [CHAP. 

for some time Governor of Mosul. Kabbah is described by 
Mufcaddasi as one of the largest towns on the Euphrates in Upper 
Mesopotamia. Its houses spread out in a great semicircle standing 
back to the desert border, it was well fortified, and had a large 
suburb. Diliyah was much smaller, but still an important place, 
standing on an elevation and overlooking the west bank of the 

In the desert between Rahbah and Rakkah and the ruins 
still exist four leagues south of the latter town was Rusafah 
(the Causeway), called Rusafah-ash-Sham of Syria or Rusafah 
Hisham, after its founder. The Caliph Hisham, one of the 
many sons of 'Abd-al- Malik, built himself this palace in the 
desert as a place of safety to reside in at a time when the 
plague was raging throughout Syria. The spot had already been 
occupied by the Ghassanid princes before Islam, and there were 
ancient wells here, Yakitt says, 120 ells deep. The physician Ibn 
Butlan, who wrote in 443 (1051), describes Rusafah as possessing 
a church, said to have been built by the Emperor Constantine, 
the exterior of which was ornamented in gold mosaic work, and 
underneath was a crypt, as large as the church, with its roof 
supported on marble pillars. In the 5th (nth) century most 
of the inhabitants were still Christian, and they profitably com- 
bined brigandage with the convoying of caravans across the desert 
to Aleppo. On the eastern side of the Euphrates between Rakkah 
and Karkisiya, two days' march above the latter town, was 
Al-KhanQkah, a city of some size according to Ibn Hawkal, and 
Yakflt adds that in its vicinity was the territory of Al-Madik. 

Below Karlcisiya the only town of importance within the limits 
of the Jaztrah province was 'Anah, the ancient Anatho, still found 
on the map, and mentioned by Ibn Serapion as on an island 
surrounded by the Euphrates. Ibn Hawkal, however, describes 
this as formed by a creek branching off from the stream. Yaktit 
adds that 'Anah possessed a strong castle which overlooked 
the river, and here the Caliph Kaim found shelter in 450 
(1058), when Basasiri the Daylamite, after taking possession of 
Baghdad, had caused the public prayers to be read there in the 
name of the heterodox Fatimid Caliph of Cairo. Mustawfi says 
that in the 8th (i4th) century 'Anah was still a fine town, and 

VII] JAZlRAH. 107 

famous for its palm-groves. The harbour of Al-Furdah, called 
Purdah Nu'm for distinction, lay due west of 'Anah on the 
Euphrates, half-way to Karkisiyi, and probably marked the eastern 
bend of the Euphrates, but it is now no longer to be found on the 
map. This was an important station where the highway bifurcated, 
to the left-hand one road going direct across the desert by way of 
Rusafah to Rakkah, while the right-hand road kept up stream 
along the river bank 1 . 

Above Rakkah there were three towns on the Euphrates, 
namely Balis, Jisr Manbij, and Sumaysit, which were often counted 
as of Syria because they lay on the right or western bank of that 
river, though most authorities count them as belonging to Jazirah. 
Balis lies due west of Rakkah, at the limit of the plain of Siflln, 
where the Euphrates after running south turns east. It was 
the Roman Barbalissus, the great river-port for Syria on the 
Euphrates, and hence the centre point of many caravan routes. 
Ibn Hawkal describes Balis as having strong walls, with gardens 
lying between these and the Euphrates ; of its lands the chief 
crops were wheat and barley. Though somewhat fallen to ruin, 
Mukaddasi says, Balis was still populous in the 4th (roth) century ; 
but Yaktit reports that, by a change of bed, the Euphrates in the 
7th (i3th) century had come to flow more than four miles distant 
from the town, and Abu-1-Fida refers to Balis as a place that had 
long seen its best days. 

Jisr Manbij, where a bridge of boats crossed the Euphrates, and 
the road led west up to Manbij (Hierapolis) of the Aleppo province, 
was a place of great importance during the middle-ages. The 
bridge was protected by a great fortress, and below this a small 
town stood on the Euphrates bank. The fortress was known as 
Kal'at-an-Najm, 'the Castle of the Star,' from its height on the hill, 
and it was also called Hisn Manbij, * the Manbij Fortress/ When 
Ibn Jubayr passed Kal'at-an-Najm, coming from IJarran in 580 
(1184), he speaks of the market which was held below its walls. 
Abu-1-Fida says that the fort had been rebuilt by Sultan Nftr-ad- 
Din, son of Zangt, and its garrison freely harassed the neighbouring 

1 1st. 77, 78. I. H. 155, 156. Muk. 142. Baladhuri, 179, 180, 332. I. S. 
10, 14. Yak. li. 394, 538, 764, 784, 955 ; iii. 595, 876; iv. 65, 560, 840. Mst. 
139. l6 6- 

io8 jAzlRAH. [CHAP. 

towns occupied by the Crusaders. Kazwtnl," writing in the latter 
half of the yth (i3th) century, gives a long account of the 
frauds practised by sharpers here who, getting acquainted with 
rich travellers passing Kal'at-an-Najm, by means of games of 
hazard, aided by confederates, would win all their money and 
possessions. The play ran so high that, according to Kazwfnl, 
the stranger was often left 'with nothing but his drawers (sdrawtl) 
of all his clothes or former possessions.' The sharpers, indeed, 
would sometimes hold the victim himself in pawn, until his 
companions could be induced to buy him off. 

Sumaysat, the Roman Samosata, was still higher up the 
Euphrates, and lay on the right or north bank of the great 
river, which here runs west. It was a very strong fortress. 
Mas'tidi states that Sumaysat was also fcnown as Kal'at-at-Tin, 
'the Clay Castle/ and Yaktit reports that in the ;th (i3th) cen- 
tury one of its quarters was exclusively inhabited by Armenians. 
Finally to complete the list of towns 'of the Mudar district Sartij 
is to be mentioned, which lies about half-way on the direct road 
from Rakkah north, across the desert plain, to Sumaysat; this 
road forming the chord of the great semicircular sweep followed 
by the Euphrates. Sartij was also on the caravan road from 
IJarran and Edessa to Jisr Manbij, and is described by Ibn 
Hawkal as a fine city, surrounded by fertile districts, a description 
which Yakftt, adding nothing further, corroborates 1 . 

The cities of Diyar Bakr, the smallest of the three districts 
into which the Jazirah province was divided, lay exclusively on, or 
to the north of, the upper course of the Tigris. The chief town 
of the district was Amid, sometimes written Hamid, the Roman 
Amida. In later times the city was generally known under the 
name of the district, as it is at the present day, being called Diyar 
Bakr, or else Kara Amid (Black Amid) from the colour of the 
stone used here. 

The town stood on the right or west bank of the Tigris, and a 
hill 100 fathoms in height dominated it. Ibn Hawkal states that 
its walls were built of black mill-stones. Mufcaddas! describes its 
strong fortifications as being like those of Antioch, the outer walls, 

1 1st. 62, 76, 78. I. H. 119, 120, 154, 157. Muk. 155. Mas. i. 215. 
I. J. 250. Yak. i. 477; iii. 85, 151; iv. 165. A. F. 233, 269. Kaz. ii. 160. 

VII] JAZlRAH. 109 

battlemented and with gates, being separated from the inner 
fortifications by a clear space, afterwards occupied by the suburbs. 
There were springs of water within the town and Mukaddasi also 
remarks on the black stone of which, and on which, he says the 
city was built. Amid possessed a fine Friday Mosque, and its 
walls were pierced by five chief gates, namely the Water gate, 
the Mountain gate, the Bab-ar-Rtim (the Greek gate), the Hill 
gate, and the Postern gate (Bab-as-Sirr) used in time of war. 
The line of fortified walls included the hill in their circuit, and 
in the 4th (loth) century Mukaddasi says that the Moslems 
possessed no stronger or better fortress than Amid on their 
frontier against the Greek Empire. 

Nasir-i-Khusraw the Persian pilgrim passed through Amid in 
438 (1046), and has left a careful description of the city as he 
saw it. The town was 2000 paces in length and in breadth, and 
the wall built of black stone surrounded the hill overlooking 
it. This wall was 20 yards in height and 10 yards broad, no 
mortar was used in its construction, but each stone block was, 
Nasir estimates, of the weight of 1000 man (equivalent to about 
three tons). At every hundred yards along the wall was built a 
semicircular tower, and the crest had battlements of the aforesaid 
black stone, while stone gangways at intervals led up to the 
ramparts from within the circuit. There were four iron gates, 
facing the cardinal points ; namely, to the east the Tigris gate, to 
the north the Armenian gate (Bab-al-Arman), to the west the 
Greek gate, and to the south the Hill gate (Bab-at-Tall). Beyond 
the city wall ran the outer wall, ten yards in height, also of black 
stone, a suburb occupying the space between the two, in a 
ring that was fifteen yards across. This outer wall also .had 
battlements, and a gangway along it for the defence, and there 
were here four iron gates corresponding with those of the inner 
wall. Amid, Nasir adds, was one of the strongest places he had 

In the centre of the town a great spring of water, sufficient to 
turn five mills, gushed out; the water was excellent, and its 
overflow irrigated the neighbouring gardens. The Friday Mosque 
was a beautiful building, of black stone like the rest of the 
town, with a great gable roof and containing over 200 columns, 

1 1 J AZI R A H. [CHAP. 

each a monolith, every two connected by an arch, which supported 
in turn a row of dwarf columns under the roof line. The ceiling 
was of carved wood, coloured and varnished. In the mosque 
court was a round stone basin, from the midst of which a brass 
jet shot up a column of clear water, which kept the level within 
the basin always the same. Near the mosque stood a great 
church, built of stone and paved with marble, the walls finely 
sculptured ; and leading to its sanctuary Nasir saw an iron gate of 
lattice-work, so beautifully wrought that never had he seen the 
equal thereof. 

This description of the magnificence of Amid is borne out by 
what the anonymous annotator of the Paris MS. of Ibn Hawkal 
writes, who was here in 534 (1140). He notes that its markets 
were well built and full of merchandise. In the ;th (i3th) century 
Yakfit and Kazwini repeat much of the foregoing description, and 
the latter speaks of Amid as then covering a great half-circle of 
ground, with the Tigris flowing to the eastward, and surrounded 
on the other side by magnificent gardens. Mustawfi in the 
following century writes of it as a medium-sized town, paying the 
tl-Khans a revenue of 3000 gold pieces. At the close of this 
century Amid was taken by Ttmtir 1 . 

To the north of Amid, and near one of the eastern arms of 
the upper Tigris, stands the town of Hani, which is said by Yakilt 
to be famous for the iron mine in its neighbourhood, which 
produced much metal for export. Hani is also mentioned by 
Mustawfi. Some distance to the west of Hani lies the chief 
source of the Tigris, which Mukaddasi describes as flowing with a 
rush of green water out of a dark cave. At first, he says, the 
stream is small, and only of sufficient volume to turn a single mill- 
wheel ; but many affluents soon join and swell the current, the 
uppermost of these being the Nahr-adh-Dhib (the Wolf River), 
apparently identical with the Nahr-al-Kilab (the River of Dogs) 
referred to by Yakftt, which came down from the hills near 
Shimshat, to the north of Hani. The source of the Tigris, 
according to Yaktit, was distant two and a half days' journey 
from Amid, at a place known as Halftras, * where 'Ali, the 

1 1st. 75. I. H. 150; 151. Muk. 140. N. K. 8. Yak. i. 66. Kaz. ii. 
331. Mst. 165. A. V. i. 682. 

VII] JAZf RAH. 1 1 1 

Armenian, obtained martyrdom,' and he too speaks of the dark 
cavern from which its waters gushed forth. The names of many 
other affluents are mentioned both by Mukaddasi and Yaktit, 
whose accounts are not quite easy to reconcile, and probably the 
names of these streams varied considerably between the 4th and 
the 7th (loth and i3th) centuries. 

Some distance below Amid the Tigris turns due east at a right 
angle, and then from the north receives a stream called the 
Nahr-ar-Rams or the Nahr Salb. A more important affluent, 
however, is the river coming down from the north of Mayyafarikin, 
a tributary of which flowed by that city. This is the river 
Satidama, or Satidamad, one branch of which was called the 
Wadi-az-Zftr flowing from the district of Al-Kalk, while the 
Satidama river itself had its head-waters in the Darb-al-Kilab 
' the Dogs' Pass ' so called, Yak lit says, from a famous massacre 
of the Greeks, ' when these were all killed like dogs, 7 which the 
Persian army effected in the reign of King An&shirwan, some time 
before the birth of the prophet Muhammad. This river Satidama, 
which is mentioned by Ibn Serapion, is that which Mukaddasi 
names the Nahr r al-Masuliyat, and is now known as the Batman 
Sft, one of whose affluents, as already said, flows down from 
Mayyafarikin 1 . 

The Arabic Mayyafarikin appears to be a corruption of the 
Aramaic name Maypharkath, or the Armenian Moufargin, and it 
is identical with the Greek town called Martyropolis. Mukaddasi 
in the 4th (loth) century describes it as a fine city, surrounded 
by a stone wall, with battlements and a deep ditch, beyond which 
stretched extensive suburbs. Its mosque was well built, but Mu- 
kaddasi remarks that its gardens were scanty. Mayyafarikin was 
visited by Nasir-i-Khusraw in 438 (1046), who speaks of the town 
as surrounded by a wall built of great white stones, each of 500 
man weight (about a ton and a half), and while all Amid, as 
already said, was of black stone, in every building at Mayyafarikin 
the stones used were notably white. The town wall was then 
new, it had good battlements and at every 50 yards rose a white 
stone tower. The city had but one gateway, opening to the west, 

1 1. S. 17, 18. Muk. 144. Yak. ii. 188, 551, 552, 563, 956; iii. 7, 413; 
iv. 300, 979. Mst. 165. 

112 JAZlRAH. [CHAP. 

and this possessed a solid iron door, no wood having been used 
in its construction. There was according to Nisir a fine mosque 
within the city, also a second Friday Mosque in the suburb 
outside, standing in the midst of the markets, and beyond lay 
many gardens. He adds that at a short distance to the north of 
Mayy&farikin stood a second town called Muhdathah, 'the New 
Town,' with its own Friday Mosque, bath houses, and markets; 
while four leagues further distant was the city of Nasriyah, lately 
founded by the Mirdasid Amir Nasr, surnamed Shibl-ad-Dawlah. 

Both Yiktit and Kazwini give a long account of various 
churches, of the three towers, and the eight town gates, which 
had existed of old at Mayyafarifcin the Greek name of which, Yaktit 
says, was Madtirsdla, meaning 'the City of the Martyrs.' These 
buildings dated from the days of the Emperor Theodosius, and 
some of their remains, especially those of an ancient church built, 
it was said, * in the time of the Messiah,' might still be seen in the 
7th (i3th) century. Thus there was in particular, on the summit 
of the south-western tower of the town wall, a great cross, set 
up to face Jerusalem, and this cross, it was reported, was the 
work of the same craftsman who had made the great cross that 
adorned the pinnacle of the Church of the Resurrection in Jeru- 
salem, the two crosses being alike, and wonderful to behold. 
Further, in the Jews' quarter of Mayyafarikin near the Synagogue, 
was to be seen a black marble basin, in which was kept a glass 
belt (possibly a phylactery), wherein was preserved some of the 
blood of Joshua the son of Nun, this having been brought hither 
from Rome, and to touch it was a sovereign remedy against all 
disease. In the 8th (i4th) century under the Mongols Mayya- 
farikin was still an important place, and Mustawfi praises its 
excellent climate and abundant fruits 1 . 

Arzan, a short distance to the east of Mayyafarikin, stood on 
the western side of the river called the Nahr, or Wadi, as-Sarbat. 
Arzan had a great castle, well fortified, and it was visited in 438 
(1046) by Nasir-i-Khusraw. He writes of it as a flourishing place 
with excellent markets, being surrounded by fertile and well 
irrigated gardens. Yifctit describes Arzan (which must not be 

1 I. H. 151. Muk. 140. N. K. 7. Yak. iv. 703707. Kaz. ii. 379. 
Mst. 167. 

VII] JAZtRAH. 113 

confounded with Arzan-ar-Rftm or Erzerum which will be noticed 
in the next chapter) as in his day gone to ruin ; but Mustawfi in 
the 8th (i4th) century, who generally spells the name Arzanah, 
speaks of it as though it were still a flourishing place. 

On the southern bank of the Euphrates, between where the 
two rivers from Mayyafarikin and Arzan flow in from the north, 
stands the castle called Hisn Kayfa, or Kifa, which the Greeks 
called Kiphas or Cephe. Mukaddasi describes the place as 
a strongly fortified castle, and the markets of its suburbs were 
plentifully supplied. There were, he adds, many churches here, 
and the anonymous annotator of the MS. of Ibn Hawkal, already 
referred to, writing in the 6th (i2th) century, speaks of the great 
stone bridge which crossed the Tigris here, and which had been 
restored by the Amir Fakhr-ad-Din Klra Arslan in the year 510 
(1116). Below the castle, at that time, was a populous suburb, 
with many markets and hostelries, the houses being well built of 
mortared stone. The surrounding district was fertile, but the 
climate was bad, and the plague was often rife during the summer 
heats. Yaktlt, who had been at Hisn Kayf&, says that suburbs 
had formerly existed here on both banks of the Tigris, and he 
considered the great bridge as one of the finest works he had seen. 
It consisted of a single great arch, which rose above two smaller 
arches, and these, presumably by a central pier, divided the bed of 
the Tigris. In the next century Mustawfi describes Hisn Kayfa 
as a large town, but for the most part gone to ruin, though still 
inhabited by a numerous population. 

The hill known as Tall Fafan, with a town of this name at its 
foot, stood on the northern or left bank of the Tigris, some 50 
miles east of Hisn Kayfa, where the river makes its great bend 
south. The town, Mufcaddas! writes, in the 4th (loth) century 
was surrounded by gardens, its markets were well provisioned, and 
though the houses were mostly clay-built, the market streets were 
roofed over. The riv^r which joins the Tigris at Tall FAfin 
comes down from Badlfs (Bitlis), rising in the mountains of 
Armenia to the south-west of Lake Vln. This river is joined by 
a great affluent rising to the south of the lake, which Mufcaddasi 
and Yafctit name the W&di-ar-Razm, and the Tigris below the 
junction of their united streams became navigable for boats. On 

ii4 jAziRAH. [CHAP, vii 

the banks of the river Razm, north of Tall Fafan, just above where 
the Badlis river runs in, stands the town of Sa'irt, also written 
Si'ird and Is'irt, which was often counted as of Armenia. Yafctit 
more than once refers to it, but gives no description ; Mustawfi, 
however, speaks of SaHrd as a large town, famed for the excellent 
copper vessels made by its smiths ; and the drinking cups from 
here were exported far and wide. Near Is'irt, according to 
Kazwini, was the small town of Hizan, where alone in all Mesopo- 
tamia the chestnut-tree (Shah-baltit) grew abundantly 1 . 

1 1st. 76. I. H. 152. Muk. 141, 145. N. K. 7. Yak. i. 205; ii. 277, 
55 2 t 776; ni. 68, 854. Kaz. ii. 241. Mst. 165, 166. The name of the river 
Razm is variously given in the MSS. as Zarm, Razb, or Zarb, and the true pro- 
nunciation is unknown. 



The Eastern Euphrates or Arsanas. Milasgird and Mush. Shimshat and 
Hisn Ziyad or Kharpiit. The Western Euphrates. Arzan-ar-Rum or 
Kalikala. Arzanjan and Kamkh. The castle of Abrik or Tephrike. 
Malatiyah and Tarandah. Zibatrah and Hadath. Hisn Mansur, Bahasna 
and the Sanjah bridge. Products of Upper Mesopotamia. The high 

The cities and districts lying along the banks of the Eastern 
and Western upper Euphrates (for the great river had two head- 
streams) were generally counted as dependent on northern 
Mesopotamia, and are often included in the Jazirah province. 
The Eastern Euphrates, the southernmost of the two branches 
of the river, and by some geographers counted as the main 
source, is the Arsanias Flumen of Tacitus and Pliny. In 
the 4th (loth) century Ibn Serapion still calls this the Nahr 
Arsanas, and the same name is given to it by Yakut as in use in 
the yth (i3th) century, who refers to the extreme coldness of its 
waters. At the present day it is generally known to the Turks as 
the Murad Sit, being so named, it is commonly said, in honour of 
Sultan Murad IV, who conquered Baghdad in 1048 (1638). 

The Arsanas took its rise in the Tarun country, a name the 
Armenians write Daron, and the Greeks knew of as Taronites, 
which includes the mountains lying to the north of Lake Van. 
The first place of importance on the Arsanas was the town of 
Malazkird, which in the various dialects of this region was also 
known as Minazjird, Manzikart, and Milasgird. In the 4th (loth) 
century Mukaddasi describes Malazkird as a strong fortress with 
a mosque in its market street, the place being surrounded by 


many gardens. In 463 (1071) Manzikart, as the Greeks called 
it, was the field of the decisive battle between the Byzantines and 
Moslems, when the Emperor Romanus IV (Diogenes) was taken 
prisoner by the Saljtifcs, this leading up to their conquest and 
permanent settlement in Asia Minor. Yakftt more than once 
refers to Minazjird or Minazkird, and Mustawfi, who gives the 
name as Malazjird, praises its strong castle, its excellent climate, 
and its fertile lands. The town of Mtish to the south of the 
Arsanas, in the great plain on the west of Lake Van, is often 
counted as of Armenia. It is mentioned by Yaktit, and Mustawfi 
describes it as having excellent pasture lands, watered by streams 
that flowed north to the Eastern Euphrates and south to the 
Tigris. The town was in his day in ruins 1 . 

The Arsanas received on its right bank two affluents coming 
down from the north, and the Kalikala country. These affluents 
are important as they enable us to fix the approximate position of 
Shimshat, a town of some note, which has disappeared from the 
map, and which has often been confounded with Sumaysat on the 
Euphrates already mentioned (p. 108). Ibn Serapion states that 
the first affluent was the Nahr-adh-Dhib, 'the Wolf River/ which 
rising in Kalikala fell into the Arsanas a short distance above 
Shimshat; the second was the Salkit river, which rose in the 
mountains called Jabal Martr (or Maztir) and joined the Arsanas 
one mile below Shimshat. A reference to the map shows that 
these two streams are those now known respectively as the 
Gunek Sit and the Peri Chay ; the Kalikala country representing 
the mountain region lying between the Arsanas and the Western 
Euphrates, and to the west of the Tartin country. 

Shamshat (Shimshat) was much the most important place on 
the Arsanas, which Ibn Serapion also refers to as the river of 
Shimshat, and the town appears to have stood on the southern or 
left bank of the river. Shamshat is undoubtedly the Arsamosata 
of the Greeks, and Yafctit who particularly remarks that it is not 

1 I. S. u. Kud. 246, 251. Muk. 376. Yak. i. 207; iv. 648, 682. Mst. 
165, 167. Hajji Khalfah (J. N. 426) in 1010 (1600) is apparently our earliest 
authority for the Eastern Euphrates being called the Murad Su, and as his work 
was apparently written before the reign of Sultan Murd I V, this goes to prove 
that the stream was not called after that monarch, as is commonly said. 


to be confounded with Sumaysat says that Shamshat lay between 
Paitiyah (modern Paid) and Hisn Ziyad (modern Kharpftt). In 
the yth (i3th) century when Yaktit wrote, Shamshat was already 
in ruins, but the data above given by Ibn Serapion and Yikflt 
enable us to fix its position within narrow limits. The fortress of 
IJisn Ziyad, which Ibn Khurdadbih mentions as situated at no 
great distance from Shamshat, was on the authority of Yafcftt 
the Arab name for the Armenian Khartabirt, now more generally 
called Kharptit. Mustawfi gives the spelling Kharbirt, but adds 
no details, referring to it merely as a large town enjoying a good 
climate. In this district Baladhuri and other early authorities 
mention the bridge of Yaghra, which crossed a stream that was 
probably some tributary of the Arsanas, and this bridge (Jisr) lay 
10 miles distant from Shamshat; its exact position, however, is 
unknown. Then about a hundred miles to the westward of Sham- 
shat the Arsanas or Eastern Euphrates finally mingles its stream 
with the Western Euphrates 1 . 

The Western Euphrates has generally been considered the 
main branch of the great river, and it is that now commonly 
known to the Turks as the Kara Sti (Black Water), and this is 
the Nahr-al-Furat of Ibn Serapion. According to him it took its 
rise in the mountains called Jabal Akradkhis (the name is 
apparently written Afradkhis by Mas'tidi, and other variants 
occur) which are of the Kalikala country to the north of Erzerum. 
This important town, which the Arabs called Arzan-ar-Rilm 
or Ard-ar-Rtim (the Land of the Romans), the Armenians 
knew as Karin, and the Greeks as Theodosiopolis. It is the 
Moslem city of Kalikala, and the chief place in this district. 
The origin of the name Kalikala, so frequently mentioned by all 
the earlier Arab geographers, appears to be unknown, but all 
agree that this was the country in which the Western Euphrates, 
the Araxes river, and the affluents of the Arsanas took their 
rise. Of the town of Erzerum the earlier Arab geographers afford 
no details, except to state that it was a great city: Mustawfi speaks 
of there being many fine churches here, one especially with a 
dome whose circle was fifty ells in diameter. Opposite this 

1 I. S. 10, 13, 30. I. K. 123. Baladhuri, 139. Yak. ii. 276, 417; iii. 
319. Mst. 262. 


church was a mosque built on the model of the Ka'bah at Mecca. 
Ibn Battitah, who was in Arz-ar-Rtim (as he writes the name) in 
733 (^SS), describes it as a large city, belonging to the Sultan of 
'Irafc, for the most part in ruins, but still famous for its gardens, 
and three rivers ran through its suburbs. Eight leagues to the 
east of Arzan-ar-Rtim, on the summit of a mountain and near one 
of the head-streams of the Araxes, is Avnik, a great fortress, of 
which Mustawfi says that the town at its foot was named 
Abaskhtir (or Abshakhdr). It belonged to Arzan-ar-RAm, and 
Yaktit adds that the district was called Basin. At the close of 
the 8th (i4th) century Timflr took Avnik after a long siege, and 
it is frequently mentioned in the history of his campaigns. 

Some 200 miles west of Arzan-ar-Rflm and on the right or 
north bank of the Euphrates, is the town of Arzanjan, which 
Yakftt says was more often called Arzingan. He speaks of it as 
a fine town well provisioned, in his day inhabited for the most 
part by Armenians, who openly drank wine to the scandal of their 
Moslem fellow-citizens. Mustawfi adds that its walls had been 
restored by the Saljuk Sultan 'Ala-ad-Din Kaykubad at the close 
of the 7th (i3th) century, and that they were built of well-cut 
jointed stone masonry. Arzanjan had an excellent climate, its 
lands producing corn, cotton, and grapes in abundance. Ibn 
Batfttah who passed through here in 733 (1333) writes of it as 
mostly inhabited by Turkish-speaking Armenians, who were 
Moslems. In the neighbourhood were copper mines, and the 
brass work of the native smiths was famous; the markets were 
good and much cloth was woven in the town. Babirt to the north 
of Arzanjan is mentioned by Yaktit as a considerable town, mostly 
peopled by Armenians ; but Mustawfi adds that in his day it had 
much diminished in importance. The fortress of Kamkh (or 
Kamakh) lay on the Western Euphrates a day's journey below 
Arzanjan, on the left or south bank of the river. It is frequently 
mentioned by Ibn Serapion and the earlier Arab geographers, 
and was the Greek Kamacha. Mustawfi describes it as a great 
castle, with a town below on the river bank, and many fertile 
villages were of its dependencies 1 . 

1 I. S. 10. I. R. 89. I. K. 174. Mas. i. 214. Tanbih 52. Yak. i. 205, 


Sixty miles or more to the west of Kamkh the Euphrates, 
which from Erzerum has flowed westward, makes a great bend 
and takes its course south, and it here receives on its right bank 
the river called by Ibn Serapion the Nahr Abrifc, from the castle 
of Abrifc which is on its upper course. This is the stream now 
known as the Chaltah Irmak, which comes down from Divrik or 
Divrigi. In Mustawfi and Ibn Bibi the name is given as Difrigt, 
which the Byzantines wrote Tephrike (the form Aphrike also occurs 
in the Greek Mss.), and the earlier Arab geographers shortened this 
to Abrik. The place was celebrated at the close of the 3rd (9th) 
century as the great stronghold of the Paulicians > a curious sect 
of Eastern Christians whose Manichaean beliefs caused them to 
be ruthlessly persecuted by the orthodox Emperors of Constanti- 
nople. The Paulicians, whose name the Arab writers give under 
the form of Al-Baylakani, took possession of Tephrike, fortified 
it, and countenanced or aided by the Caliphs, for some years 
successfully defied the armies of Constantinople. Kudamah and 
Mas 'ild!, who are nearly contemporary authorities, both refer to 
the castle of Abrik as 'the capital of the Baylakani'; and 'Alt of 
Herat (quoted by Yakftt) writing in the yth (i3th) century has 
left a curious account of a great cave and a church near Al-Abrftk 
(as he spells the name) where were preserved the bodies of certain 
martyrs, which he considered to be those of the Seven Sleepers 
of Ephesus. 

A short distance to the south of the Chaltah Irmak and Divrik, 
the Sarichichek Sft joins the Euphrates, on which stands the 
fortress of 'Arabgir. This place does not appear to be mentioned 
by any of the earlier Arab geographers, though Ibn Bibi in his 
Saljtik chronicle of the 8th (i4th) century names it more than 
once ; also under the form Arabraces it is found in the Byzantine 
chronicles. 'Arabgir in any case does not represent Abrik and 
Tephrike, as has been sometimes erroneously urged. Apparently 
the earliest occurrence of the name of 'Arabgir or 'Arabkir in any 
Moslem geographer is to be found in the Turkish Jah&n Numa 
of Hajji Khalfah at the beginning of the nth (lyth) century. 

206, 408, 444; in. 860; iv. 19, 304. Kaz. ii. 370. Mst. 162, 163. A. V. 
i. 691 ; ii. 252, 403. I. B. ii. 293, 294. 


He also mentions Divrik! (as the town is now called), but unfor- 
tunately we have no description of the old Paulician stronghold 1 . 

Malatiyah, which the Greeks called Melitene, was in early days 
one of the most important fortresses of the Moslem frontier 
against the Byzantines. Baladhuri states that its garrison held the 
bridge, three miles distant from the fort, where the high road crossed 
the Kubakib river near its junction with the Euphrates. The 
Kubakib is the river known to the Greeks as the Melas, and called 
by the Turks at the present time the Tukhmah Sti, and it rises far 
to the west of Malatiyah in the mountains from which the Jayhin, 
the ancient Pyramus, flows south-west (as will be noticed in the 
next chapter) to the Mediterranean in the Bay of Alexandretta. 
Except for the Arsanas the river Kubakib is by far the most 
important of the many affluents of the upper Euphrates, and the 
Kubikib itself has many tributaries that are duly named by Ibn 
Serapion. The city of Malatiyah was rebuilt by order of the 
Caliph Manstir in 139 (756), who provided it with a fine mosque, 
and he garrisoned it with 4000 men. Istakhri describes it in the 
4th (loth) century as a large town surrounded by hills on which 
grew vines, almonds, and nut-trees, for its lands produced the crops 
of both the hot and the cold regions. It was more than once taken 
by the Byzantines and retaken by the Moslems, and YaMt in the 
7th (i3th) century counts it as of the Greek country. Mustawfi in 
the next century speaks of Malatiyah as a fine town with a strong 
fortress. Its pasture lands were famous, corn, cotton, and abundant 
fruit being grown in the neighbourhood. On a mountain peak near 
Malatiyah was the convent called Dayr Barstima, which Kazwini 
describes as greatly venerated by the Christians, and as inhabited 
by many monks. 

The fortress of Tarandah, the modern Darandah under which 
form it is mentioned in the Jahan Numa lay on the upper waters 
of the Kubakib, three marches above Malatiyah. A Moslem 
garrison was placed here, to hold the pass, as early as the year 
83 (702), but the post was subsequently abandoned in 100 (719) 
by order of the Caliph 'Omar II. In the Byzantine chronicles 

1 I. S. n, 31. Kud. 254. Mas. vni. 74. Tanbih 151, 183. Yak. i. 87. 
Ibn Bibi, 210, 318. Mst. 162. J. N. 624. Cf. also/. /'. A. S. 1895, p. 740, 
and the corrections given in/. R* A. S. 1896, p. 733. 


this place is frequently mentioned as Taranta, and in the 3rd 
(9th) century it was one of the strongest of the Paulician 
fortresses 1 . 

The river Kubakib had an important tributary, the Nahr 
Karakis, which joined it from the south, and on the upper waters 
of the Kar&kis stood the great fortress of Zibatrah, which the 
Byzantines called Sozopetra or Zapetra, the ruins of which are 
probably those of Viran Shahr, some leagues to the south of 
Malatiyah on the river Sultan Sti, the modern name of the Karakis. 
Baladhuri and Istakhri both speak of Zibatrah as a great fortress 
on the Greek frontier, many times dismantled by the Byzantines 
and rebuilt by the Caliph Manstir and later by Mamftn. Yakilt and 
other authorities couple together the names of Zibatrah and the 
fortress Al-Hadath, which will be noticed presently. In the Arab 
and Byzantine chronicles Zibatrah or Sozopetra is famous for its 
capture by the Emperor Theophilus, and again for its recapture by 
the Caliph Mu'tasim in his great expedition against 'Amfirfyah, 
which will be mentioned in the next chapter. Zibatrah long 
continued a place of importance, but Abu-1-Fida who visited it in 
the year 715 (1315) describes the fortress as then-a ruin. The 
line of the old walls could at this time barely be traced, and its 
fields were completely wasted, so that Abu-1-Fida found excellent 
hunting in the oak woods near the formerly well-cultivated lands, 
the hares here being, he says, of a size not met with elsewhere. 
He describes the place as two marches south of Malatiyah and 
the same distance from Hisn Mansflr, which will be noticed 

The fortress of Al-Hadath, the Byzantine Adata, was taken by 
the Moslems in the reign of the Caliph 'Omar, and is frequently 
mentioned in the chronicles. The word Hadath in Arabic means 

1 I. S. 10, 12, 13. Baladhuri, 185, 187. 1st. 62. I. H. 120. Yak. iv. 26, 
633. Mst. 163. Kaz. ii. 356. J. N. 624. The modern town of Malatiyah 
lies two leagues distant to the south of the medieval fortress. The ruins of the 
old town are at Eski-Shahr, a league from the ancient bridge, called Kirkgoz, 
crossing the Tukhmah Su immediately above its junction with the Euphrates. 

8 I. S. 13. Baladhuri, 191. 1st. 63. Yak. ii. 914. A. F. 234. The 
identification of the sites of Zibatrah and Hadath are discussed by Mr J. G. C. 
Anderson in the Classical Review for April, 1896, in his paper on The Cam- 
paign of Basil I against the Paulicians in 872 A.D. 


'news,' and more especially 'bad news/ and Baladhurt says that 
the road thither, of old called Darb-al-Hadath, 'the Road of Bad 
News,' was changed to Darb-as-Salamah, 'the Road of Safety/ 
after the capture of the fortress by the Moslems. Darb-as-Satemah, 
however, as will be mentioned in the following chapter, is more 
generally the name given to the Constantinople road, going by 
the Cilician Gates. There was a mosque at Hadath, and the 
town was rebuilt by the Caliph Mahdi in 162 (779), and again 
restored by Harftn-ar-Rashid, who kept a garrison here of 2000 
men. Istakhrt mentions its fertile lands, and relates how this 
frontier fortress had been taken and retaken many times alter- 
nately by Byzantines and Moslems. According to Yaktit and 
others Al-Hadath was called Al-Hamra, ' the Red/ because of the 
colour of the ground thereabout, and the castle stood on a hill 
called Al-Uhaydab, 'the Little Hump-back/ In 343 (954), after 
many vicissitudes, it was finally taken from the Greeks and rebuilt 
by Sayf-ad-Dawlah the Hamdanid, and in 545 (1150) it passed 
into the hands of Mas'tid, son of Kilij Arslan the Saljtik. 

The river near which Hadath stood was called the Jtirith or 
Hftrith ; this Ibn Serapion, in error, gives as an affluent of the 
Kubakib (the Malatiyah river), but Yakitt, who writes the name 
Htirith, rightly says that it was a tributary of the Nahr Jayhan, 
the Pyramus. Ibn Serapion records that the source of the 
Hadath river was at a spring called 'Ayn Zanttha, and that before 
passing Hadath it ran through a series of small lakes; further, 
that the Jtirith river (as he writes the name) was joined by the 
river Al-'Arjan, whose sources were in the Jabal-ar-Rish, the town of 
Hadath being supplied by water-channels from the 'Arjan river, 
to which they again returned. To supplement this Abu-1-Fida 
states that Hadath lay twelve miles distant from a place on the 
main stream of the Jayhan where that river was crossed at ' the 
Ford of the Alid.' The exact site of Hadath has not been 
identified, but there is little doubt that it protected the pass going 
from Mar'ash (Germanicia) to Al-Bustan (Arabissus), and that it 
lay on the banks of the present Ak Sft, near Inikli, the Ak Sti 
being in fact one of the head-waters of the Jayhan 1 . 

1 Baladhuri, 189191. I. S. 14. 1st. 62. I. H. 120. Yak. ii. 218; 
iv. 838. A. F. 263. 


Each of the two fortresses of Hisn Mansfir and Bahasna (which 
exist to the present day) lies on its own river, and both these are 
right-bank affluents of the Euphrates, joining it successively below 
Sumays&t. Hisn Mansur, in modern days more often ' called 
Adiamin, was by the Byzantines called Perrhe. It took its 
name from its builder, Mansftr of the tribe of Kays, who was 
commander of this frontier station during the reign of the last 
Omayyad Caliph, Marw&n II, having been killed in 141 (758). 
Hisn Mansftr was re-fortified by Harun-ar-Rash!d during the 
Caliphate of his father Mahdi, and it is described by Ibn Hawkal 
as a small town with a Friday Mosque. Its fields were well 
irrigated, but Ibn Hawkal writes that the fate of this place, like 
other frontier fortresses, was to be ravaged and dismantled alter- 
nately by the Byzantines and the Moslems. Yikiit adds that 
the town had a wall with three gates and a ditch outside; and 
that in its midst stood the fortress defended by a double wall. 
When Abu-1-Fida wrote in the 8th (i4th) century Hisn MansCir 
was a ruin, though the fields round it were still cultivated. 

The Nahr-al-Azrak (the Blue River) passed down to the 
north-west of Hisn Mansftr, this fortress occupying the table- 
lands above the Euphrates, which flowed along their southern 
border. The fortress of Bahasna, which the crusading chronicles 
call Behesdin, lies to the west of Hisn Mansfir, and its dis- 
trict was called Kaysftm. Bahasna stood on a hill-top, and 
had a Friday Mosque in the town below, where there were 
excellent markets, the surrounding country being very fertile. 
YakCit speaks of it as an impregnable castle. The neighbouring 
Sanjah river, which appears to be that which the Greeks called 
Singas, had on its banks the small town of Sanjah, near which the 
stream was crossed by a celebrated bridge, built of dressed stone, 
with well-set arches of beautiful workmanship. This bridge, the 
Kantarah Sanjah, was one of the wonders of the world according 
to Ibn Hawkal. Yakut, who speaks of the Sanjah and the 
Kaysfim rivers, reporting both as affluents of the Euphrates, 
describes this great bridge as being of a single arch, going from 
bank to bank, and over 200 paces in span. It was built, he adds, 
of huge well-dressed blocks of stone, each block being ten ells 


long and five high, the width not being shown, and it had been 
constructed, he affirms, by aid of a talisman 1 . 

In the matter of trade, the province of Jazirah or Upper 
Mesopotamia produced little. Mukaddasf gives us a list and the 
items are chiefly the natural products of the land Mosul, the 
capital, exported grain, honey, charcoal, cheese, butter, the sumach 
fruit and pomegranate pips, manna, salted meat, and the tirrikh 
fish; also iron, and for artificers 7 work knives, arrows, chains, 
and goblets. The district of Sinjar produced almonds, pome- 
granates, sumach fruit, and sugar-cane; Nasibin, walnuts; 
Rakkah, olive oil, soap, and reeds for pens. Rahbah was famous 
for its quinces; Harran for its honey and the preserve called 
Kubbayt ; Jazirah Ibn 'Omar for nuts, almonds, and butter, also 
excellent horses were reared on its pastures. Hasaniyah on the 
Little KMbtir (on the east bank of the Tigris) produced cheese, 
partridges, fowls, and fruit preserve ; the neighbouring Ma'alathaya, 
charcoal, grapes and other fresh fruits, salted meat, hemp seed 
and hemp stuffs ; and finally Amid in Diyar Bakr was famous for 
its woollen and linen fabrics 3 . 

The high roads of Upper Mesopotamia are in continuation 

1 Baladhun, 192. 1st. 62. I. H. 120. Yak. i. 770; n. 278; in. 162, 860. 
A. F. 265, 269. The Sanjah bridge is always given as one of the four wonders 
of the world the other three are the church at Edessa already mentioned, the 
Pharos at Alexandria, and the Great Mosque at Damascus (Yak. ii. 591). It is 
curious that Mukaddasi on two occasions confounds this bridge over the Sanjah, 
which last by all accounts was a right-bank affluent of the Euphrates joining it 
near Sumaysat, with the no less remarkable bridge at Al- Hasaniyah, which 
was built over the Lesser Khabiir, an affluent of the Tigris (Muk. 139, 147, 
and see above, p. 93). The stream now known as the Bolam Su which, after 
being joined by the Kakhtah Chay, falls into the Euphrates from the north 
a short distance above Sumaysat, is apparently the Nahr Sanjah of the Arab 
geographers ; and the great bridge, so famous as one of the wonders of the 
world, still exists. It was built by Vespasian, and by a single arch of 1 1 2 feet 
span crosses the Bolam Su just above the junction of the Kakhtah Chay. It is 
described as * one of the most splendid monuments of the Roman period in 
existence,' and an illustration of it will be found in the Geographical Journal 
for October, 1896, p. 323; also, with more detail, in Humann and Puchstein, 
Reisen in Kleinasien^ plates 41, 42, and 43. 

2 Muk. 145, 140. 


of those of 'Irak. The post-road from Baghdad to Mosul, going 
up the eastern bank of the Tigris, entered the Jazirah province at 
Takrit ; it continued on the left bank of the river, going straight 
to Jabulta, whence by way of Sinn and Hadithah Mosul was 
reached. This road is given by our earlier Arab authorities 
and by Mustawfi 1 . 

From Mosul the post-road, changing to the right or western 
bank of the Tigris, went up to Balad, where it bifurcated, the left 
road going by Sinjar to Karkisiya on the Euphrates, the right 
through Nasibin to Kafartiltha, where again it bifurcated, the right 
leading to Amid, the left by Ras-al-'Ayn down to Rakkah on the 
Euphrates. This main road from Mosul to Amid is given by Ibn 
Khurdadbih and Kudamah, also but in marches by Mukaddasi ; 
and the same authorities give the cross roads to the Euphrates. 
Mukaddasi also gives the marches from Mosul straight to Jazirah 
Ibn 'Omar by Hasaniyah, and he mentions the road from Amid 
by Arzan to Badlis near Lake Van 2 . 

The post-road up the Euphrates kept along its right or western 
bank, from Altisah passing 'Anah to the river harbour of Al-Furdah. 
Here it bifurcated, one road running beside the Euphrates up to 
Fash opposite Karkisiya, and thence still along the western side of 
the river to Raklcah ; while the left road of the bifurcation at 
Furdah went straight across the desert through Rusafah to 
Rakkah, thus avoiding the windings of the Euphrates. Rusafah, 
further, was an important station, for here two roads went off tc 
the west across the Syrian desert, namely to Damascus and to 
Hims (Emessa). At KarkisiyH and Rakkah, as already said, 
branch roads came in, one from Mosul via Sinjar, the other from 
Nasibin via Ras-al-'Ayn and Bajarwan; while from Rakkah by 
Bajarwan a road went through Harran and Ruha (Edessa) to 

Lastly from Rakkah, via Sartij, the direct road, avoiding the 
great bend of the Euphrates, reached Sumaysat ; whence the 
various distances to Hisn Manstir, Malatiyah, Kamkh and the 
other fortresses are mentioned in round numbers. Unfortunately, 

1 I. K. 93. Kud. 114. Muk. 135, 148, 149. Mst. 195. 

2 I. K. 95, 96. Kud. 214, 215, 216. Muk. 149, 150. 


however, these last distances are not given with sufficient exact- 
ness to be of much use in fixing the positions of Hadath 
and Zibatrah, about which there is some question, though 
Mukaddasi often adds some useful indications even as regards 
these outlying frontier forts 1 . 

1 I. K. 96, 97, 98. Kud. 215, 216, 217. Muk. 149, 150. 



Bilad-ar-Rum or the Greek country. The line of fortresses from Malatiyah 
to Tarsus. The two chief passes across the Taurus. The Constantinople 
high road by the Cilician Gates. Trebizond. Three sieges of Constantinople. 
Moslem raids into Asia Minor. The sack of Amorion by Mu'tasim. 
Invasion of Asia Minor by the Saljuks. The kingdom of Little Armenia. 
The Crusaders. The chief towns of the Saljuk Sultanate of Rum. 

The provinces of the Byzantine empire were known collectively 
to the Moslems as Bilad-ar-Rum, 'the Lands of the Greeks'; 
the term 'Rum' standing for the Romaioi or Romans, being in 
early Moslem times the equivalent for ' Christian,' whether Greek 
or Latin. The Mediterranean too, was generally known as the 
Bahr-ar-Rum, 'the Roman Sea.' Then Bilad-ar-Rum, abbreviated 
to Rum, in course of time came more especially to be the name of 
the Christian provinces nearest to the Moslem frontier, and hence 
became the usual Arab name for Asia Minor, which great province 
at the close of the 5th (nth) century finally passed under the rule 
of Islam when it was overrun by the Saljuks. 

Unfortunately, for lack of contemporary authorities, we are 
extremely ill-informed concerning the details of the history and 
historical geography of Asia Minor during the middle-ages 
whether under Christian or Moslem rule 1 . The earlier Arab 

1 The Historical Geography of Asia Minor by Professor W. M. Ramsay 
(referred to as H. G. A. M.) contains an admirable summary of all that is at 
present known on the subject, and is indispensable to any one who wishes to 
gain a clear understanding of this knotty problem. The present chapter owes 
far more to this work than appears from the citations in the notes, and reference 


geographers not unnaturally knew little of the country that was in 
their day a province of the Roman empire, and after it had come 
under the rule of the Saljftk Turks our Moslem authorities unfor- 
tunately almost entirely neglect this outlying province of Islam. 
No systematic description of it, such as we possess of the other 
provinces, therefore has come down to us, and the first com- 
plete account of Moslem Asia Minor is that written by Hajji 
Khalfah, which only dates from the beginning of the nth (iyth) 
century, when for nearly two hundred years this province had 
formed part of the Ottoman empire 1 . 

Under the Omayyads, as under the Abbasid Caliphs down to 
rather more than a century and a half before the final overthrow 
of their dynasty by the Mongols, the frontier line between the 
Moslems and the Byzantines was formed by the great ranges 
of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus. Here a long line of fortresses 
(called Ath-Thughtir in Arabic), stretching from Malatiyah on the 
upper Euphrates to Tarsus near the sea-coast of the Mediterranean, 
served to mark and guard the frontier; these, turn and turn about, 
being taken and retaken by Byzantines and Moslems as the tide 
of war ebbed or flowed. This line of fortresses was commonly 
divided into two groups those guarding Mesopotamia (Thughtir- 
al-Jazirah) to the north-east, and those guarding Syria (Thughtir- 
ash-Sham) to the south-west. Of the former were Malatiyah, 
Zibatrah, Hin Manstir, Bahasna, Al-Hadath, which have been 
already described in the previous chapter, next Mar'ash, Al- 
Hardniyah, Al-Kanisah and 'Ayn Zarbah. Of the latter group 
lying near the northern coast-line of the bay of Iskandariyah 
(Alexandretta), and protecting Syria, were Al-Massisah, Adhanah, 
and Tarstis. 

Mar'ash, the Byzantine Marasion, and it is said occupying the 
site of Germanicia, was rebuilt by the Caliph Mu'awiyah in the 
ist (yth) century; under the later Omayyads it was strongly 

must be made to Professor Ramsay's important papers in the Geographical 
Journal for September, 1902, p. 257, and October, 1903, p. 357. 

1 In the eastern part of the Mediterranean the islands of Cyprus (Kubrus) 
and Rhodes (Rudis) were both well known to the Arabs, the first having 
been raided by the Moslems as early as the year 28 (648) under the leadership 
of Mu'awiyah, afterwards Caliph. No geographical details, however, are given. 
Baladhuri, 153, 236. Yak. ii. 832; iv. 29. 


fortified, and a large Moslem population settled here, for whose 
use a Friday Mosque was built. It was re-fortified by Harftn-ar- 
Rashld with double walls and a ditch. Its inner castle, according 
to Yitftt, was known as Al-Marwani, being so called after 
Marwin II, the last Omayyad Caliph. In 490 (1097) Mar'ash 
was captured by the Crusaders under Godfrey de Bouillon, and 
subsequently became an important town of Little Armenia (to be 
described later), remaining for the most part in Christian hands 
till the fall of that kingdom. The fortress of 'Ayn Zarbah, which 
the Crusaders knew as Anazarbus, still exists. It was rebuilt and 
well fortified by Hr(m-ar-Rashid in 180 (796), and the place 
is described by Istakhrl as lying in a plain where palm-trees 
grew, the surrounding lands being very fertile, while the city had 
fine walls and its prosperity in the 4th (loth) century was con- 
siderable. About the middle of this century Sayf-ad-Dawlah the 
IJamdinid prince spent, it is said, three million dirharns (about 
;i 20,000) on its fortification, but it was taken more than once 
by the Greeks from the Moslems. Then at the close of the 
next century the Crusaders captured it and left it a ruin ; 
afterwards it formed part of the dominions of the king of Little 
Armenia. Abu-1-FidH describes the town as lying at the base of 
a hill crowned by a strong castle, it being one day's march 
south of Sts, and south of it, he adds, flowed the Jayhan river. 
The name 'Ayn Zarbah had in the 8th (i4th) century become 
corrupted into Ndwarza. 

The exact positions of Al-Har&nfyah and Al-Kanisah are 
unknown, but they lay in the hill country between Mar'ash and 
'Ayn Zarbah. H&rilnfyah, which was one march to the west of 
Mar'ash and considered as its outlying bulwark, took its name 
from its founder Harftn-ar-Rashid who built it in 183 (799). The 
fortress lay in a valley to the west of the Lukkam mountains, a 
name by which the Moslem geographers roughly indicate the chain 
of the Anti-Taurus. Ibn Hawkal appears to have visited it, for 
he says the hamlet was populous and the fort had been strongly 
built, but had been ruined by the Byzantines. This was in 348 
(959)9 when, according to Yifctit, one thousand five hundred 
Moslems, men and women, were taken captive. Subsequently 
Hartiniyah was rebuilt by Sayf-ad-Dawlah the Hamdanid, but 


again the Christians took it, after which it remained a possession 
of the king of Little Armenia. Kanfsah, the full name being 
Kanisah-as-Sawda, 'the Black Church/ was a very ancient 
fortress built of black stones, and by the Greeks, says Balidhurl, 
who adds that Harftn-ar-Rashid had it strongly fortified and well 
garrisoned. It possessed a Friday Mosque and apparently lay to 
the south of the Jayfran, for Istakhri describes it as 'at some 
distance from the sea-shore.' Abu-1-Fidd adds that it was only 
12 miles from Harftniyah; being in his day included like the 
latter place in the kingdom of Little Armenia. 

Another fortress of this neighbourhood was that known to the 
Arabs under the name of Al-Muthakfcab, 'the Pierced'; so called, 
according to Yafciit, ' because it stands among the mountains, all 
of which are pierced as though with great openings.' Its exact 
site appears to be unknown, but it stood not far from Al- Kanfsah, 
being at the foot of the Lukkam mountains, near the sea-shore, 
and in the vicinity of Massisah. The' fortress was built by the 
Omayyad Caliph Hisham ; others say by 'Omar II ; and a Kuran, 
written by the hand of 'Omar II, the most pious of the Omayyad 
Caliphs, was according to Ibn Hawkal preserved here. Further, 
Baladhuri states that when the engineers first came to dig the 
ditch at Hisn-al-Muthakkab, they found buried in the earth a 
human leg, but of such monstrous size that it was considered a 
portent, and it was forthwith despatched to the Caliph Hisham as 
a unique gift l . 

The three cities of Al-Mass!sah (Mopsuestia), Adhanah (Adana) 
and Tarstis (Tarsus), all of Greek foundation, still exist. Al- 
Masstsah lies on the Nahr Jayhan (the river Pyramus). It was 
conquered by 'Abd-Allah, son of the Omayyad Caliph 'Abd-al- 
Malik, in the ist (yth) century, who rebuilt its fortifications and 
established a strong garrison here. A mosque was erected on the 
summit of the hill, and the church in the fortress was turned into 
a granary. A suburb or second town was built shortly afterwards 
on the other bank of the Jayhan, called Kafarbayyi, where the 
Caliph Omar II founded a second mosque and dug a great cistern. 
A third quarter, lying to the east of the Jayhin, was built by the 

1 1st. 55, 63. I. H. 108, Hi. Baladhuri, 166, 171, 188. Mas. i. 26; 
viii. 295. Yak. i. 927; iii. 761 ; iv. 314, 498, 945. A. F. 235, 251. 


last Omayyad Caliph Marwdn II, and named Al-Khusfls; he 
surrounded it by a wall with a ditch, and wooden doors closed its 
gateways. Under the Abbasids the Caliph Mansftr turned an 
ancient temple into a Friday Mosque, making it thrice as large as 
the older mosque of 'Omar II. Hartin-ar-Rashid rebuilt Kafar- 
bayyi, and its mosque was further enlarged by Mamtin. The two 
quarters of Kafarbayya and Massisah proper were connected by a 
stone bridge across the Jayhan; the town bore the title of Al- 
Ma'mflriyah, 'the Populous/ or 'Well-built, 7 said to have been 
bestowed upon it by the Caliph Manstir, who restored Massisah 
after it had been partially destroyed by earthquake in 139 (756). 
At a later date Massisah, like its neighbours, passed into the 
possession of the kings of Little Armenia. 

The adjacent city of Adhanah lay on the Nahr Sayhan (the 
river Sarus), and on the road thither from Massfsah was the 
great bridge which dated from the time of Justinian, but was 
restored in the year 125 (743) and called Jisr-al-Walid after the 
Omayyad Caliph Walid. This bridge was again restored in 225 
(840) by the Abbasid Caliph Mu'tasim. Adhanah had been in 
part rebuilt in 141 (758) by Manstir, and Istakhri describes it as 
a very pleasant city, lying to the west of the Sayhan, well fortified 
and populous. The fortress was on the eastern bank of the river, 
and was connected with the town by a bridge of a single arch, 
according to Yafctit, and Adhanah itself was defended by a wall 
with eight gates and a deep ditch beyond it. 

The rivers Sarus and Pyramus were known to the Moslems 
respectively as the Nahr Sayhan and the Nahr Jayhan. In early 
days they were the frontier rivers of the lands of Islam towards 
the Greek country. As such on the analogy, or in imitation, 
of the more famous Oxus and Jaxartes of Central Asia, which 
latter were called the Jayhtin and the Sayhftn by the Arab 
geographers, as will be more fully explained later, the rivers 
Pyramus and Sarus were named the Jayhan and Sayhan. Both 
had their sources in the highlands lying to the north of 
Little Armenia, and the Jayhan which Abu-1-Fida compares for 
size to the Euphrates, adding that in his day the name was 
commonly pronounced Jahan after passing Massisah flowed out 
to the Mediterranean in the Bay of Ayas to the north of the port 


of Al-Mallftn (Mallus, later Malo). The Sayhan was of lesser size, 
and Adhanah was the only important town on its banks. It was 
however famous for the great bridge, already mentioned, and both 
the Jayhan and Sayhan, as reported by Mas'fldi, were held to have 
been of the rivers of Paradise 1 . 

The most important, however, of all the frontier fortresses was 

Tarstis (Tarsus), where a great army of both horse and foot was 

kept in early times, for Tarsus commanded the southern entrance 

of the celebrated pass across the Taurus known as the Cilician 

Gates. Ibn Hawkal states that Tarsus was surrounded by a 

double stone wall, and garrisoned by 100,000 horse-soldiers; 

he adds, 'between this city and the Greek lands rises a high 

mountain range, an offshoot of the Jabal-al-Lukkam, which stands 

as a barrier between the two worlds of Islam and Christendom.* 

Ibn Hawkal explains that the greif garrison he saw here in 367 

(978) was made up for the most part of volunteers coming from 

all the provinces of Islam to aid in fighting against the Byzantines, 

'and the reason thereof,' he adds, 'is this, that from all the great 

towns within the borders of Persia and Mesopotamia, and Arabia, 

Syria, Egypt, and Marocco, there is no city but has in Tarsus a 

hostelry (Dar) for its townsmen, where the warriors for the Faith 

(Ghdzt) from each particular country live. And when they have 

once reached Tarsus they settle there and remain to serve in the 

garrison; among them prayer and worship are most diligently 

performed; from all hands funds are sent to them, and they 

receive alms rich and plentiful, also there is hardly a Sultan who 

does not send hither some auxiliary troops/ 

Already under the earlier Abbasid Caliphs, namely Mahdi and 
H&rfln-ar-Rashfd, Tarsus had been carefully re-fortified and well 

1 Baladhun, 165, 166, 168. 1st. 63, 64. I. H. 122. Mas. ii. 356; viii. 
295. Yak. i. 179; ii. 82; iv. 558, 579. A. F. 50. The names of both rivers 
are occasionally, but incorrectly, written Sayhun and Jayhun, like their Central 
Asian prototypes. In the matter of the ancient mouth of the Sarus, it is worth 
noting that Ibn Serapion (MS./o//<?44 a) states that in his day, at the beginning 
of the 4th (roth) century, the Sayhan (Sarus) flowed into the Jayhan (Pyramus) 
five leagues above Massfsah, having but one mouth to the sea with the Jayhan. 
At the present day the Sayhan has its separate mouth to the westward near 
Marsinah, but the old bed may still be traced. See the Geographical Journal 
for Oct. 1903, p. 410. 


garrisoned at first with 8000 troops; and from the celebrated 
Bib-al-Jifcad, 'the Gate of the Holy War,' the yearly expeditions 
against the Christians were wont to set forth. The Caliph Mamftn, 
who had died at the neighbouring Badhandftn (Podandos), was 
buried at Tarsus, on the left-hand side of the great Friday Mosque. 
Through the city ran the Nahr-al-Baradan (the river Cydnus); 
the double walls of the town were pierced by six gates, and 
outside was a deep ditch. Tarsus, Yaktit adds, remained the 
frontier city of Islam until the year 354 (965), when the Emperor 
Nikftir, Nicephorus Phocas, having conquered many of the 
frontier fortresses, laid siege to Tarsus and took it by capitulation. 
Among the Moslems, those who could left the city; those who 
remained were forced to pay the capitation tax. The mosques 
were all destroyed 'and Nifcftir burnt all the Kurins, further he 
took all the arms away from the arsenals, and Tarsfts with all the 
country round has remained in the hands of the Christians to this 
day of the year 623 (1226).' 

The ancient Cydnus river, as already said, was generally 
known as the Nahr-al-Baradan or Barada, and Ibn-al-Fafc!h states 
it was also called the river Al-Ghadbin. It rose in the hill 
country to the north of Tarsus in a mountain known as Al-Afcra', 
* the Bald/ and flowed into the Mediterranean not far from the 
later mouth of the Sayhan. To the westward, one march from 
Tarsus, the frontier in early times was marked by the river Lamos, 
which the Arabs called the Nahr-al-Lamis, and here the ransoming 
of Moslem and Christian captives periodically took place. Beyond 
this was the Greek town of Saltikiyah (Seleucia of Cilicia) which 
in later times, under the Turks, came to be known as Selef keh ! . 

The line of the Taurus was traversed by many passes, but two 
more especially were used by the Moslems in their annual raids 
into the Byzantine country. The first, to the north-east, was the 
Darb-al-Hadath which led from Mar'ash north to Abulustan, a town 
in later times known as Al-Bustan (Byzantine Ablastha and the 
Greek Arabissus), this pass being defended by the great fortress 
of Jrladath (Adata) already noticed in the last chapter. The 

1 I. H. 122. I. F. 116. Baladhuri, 169. Mas. i. 264; vii 2; viii. 72. 
Yak - i. 553 558; i". 5*6. Tabari, iii. 1237. In Ibn-al-Athir (vi. 340) the 
name of the Lamos river is incorrectly printed as Nahr-as-Sinn. 


second, and most frequently used pass in early times was that of 
the Cilician Gates, leading north from Tarsus, and through this 
went the high road to Constantinople. This road, which was 
traversed by the post-couriers, and periodically by the embassies 
passing between the Caesar and the Caliph, in addition to being 
followed more or less exactly in innumerable raiding expeditions 
whether of the Moslems or the Christians, is carefully described 
by Ibn Khurdidbih writing in 250 (864), and his account has 
been copied by many later writers. It was known in its southern 
part as the Darb-as-Salimah, ' the Pass of Safety/ and threaded the 
Pylae Ciliciae the celebrated Cilician Gates. 

The account is as follows. Many of the places of course cannot 
now be exactly identified, but the names are added where possible 
in brackets. Ibn Khurdadbih writes : From Tarstis it is six miles to 
Al-'Ullayk and thence 12 to Ar-Rahwah ('the Water-meadow,' pro- 
bably the ancient Mopsukrene) and Al-Jawzat, then seven miles on 
to Al-Jardaktib, and again seven to Al-Badhandfln (Podandos, the 
modern Bozanti), where is the spring called Rakah near which the 
Caliph Mamtin died. And then on from Badhandtin it is 10 miles 
to the (northern) end of the pass (of the Cilician Gates) at Luluah 
(Loulon) of Mu'askar-al-Malik, 'the King's Camp,' near the hot 
springs, and here is As-SafsHf, l the Willows ' (near Faustinopolis), 
also Hisn-as-Sakalibah, 'the Fortress of the Sclavonians.' From 
the King's Camp (where the Pyte Ciliciae end) it is 12 miles 
to the Wadi-at-Tarfa, 'the Tamarisk Valley,' thence 20 to Mina, 
thence 12 to the river of Hiraklah (later Arakliyah, the Greek 
Heraclia), the town which Hartin-ar-Rashid took by storm. From 
Hiraklah it is eight miles to the city of Al-Libn, thence 15 to 
Ras-al-Ghibah, 'the Beginning of the Forest,' thence 16 to 
Al-Maskanin, thence 12 to 'Ayn Burghftth, 'the Spring of Bugs/ 
thence 18 to Nahr-al-Ahsa, 'the Underground River,' and thence 
18 miles on to the suburb of Ktiniyah (Iconium). From Ktiniyah 
it is 15 miles to Al-'Alamayn, 'the Double Sign-posts,' thence 20 
to Abrumasanah, thence 12 to Widi-al-Jawz, 'Nut River/ and 
12 miles on to 'Ammtiriyah (Amorion). But there is another 
route also going from Al-'Alamayn, ' the Double Sign-posts * afore- 
said, to 'Ammtiriyah , namely from Al-'Alamayn 15 miles to the 
villages of Nasr the Cretan, thence 10 to the head of the lake of 


Al-Bdsiliyftn (lake of the Forty Martyrs), thence 10 to As-Sind, 
thence 18 to IJisn Sinidah (the fortress of Synades), thence 25 to 
Maghl, and then 30 miles on to the forest at 'Ammtiriyah. 

From 'Ammtiriyah (Amorion) it is 15 miles to th^ villages of 
AHJarrib, and two on to the river Sdghari (the Sangarius) of 
'AmmAriyah; thence 12 to Al-'Ilj, 'the Barbarian/ and thence 
15 to Falimi-al-Ghibah, 'Falimi of the Forest, 7 then 12 to 
IJisn-al-YahAd, 'the Jews 1 Fortress/ and 18 miles on to Sandabart 
(Santabaris), 35 miles beyond which lies the Meadow of the 
King's Asses at Darawliyah (Dorylaeum). From Darawliyah it 
is 1 5 miles to the fortress of Ghartibuli, and three on to Kanais- 
al-Malik, ' the King's Churches ; (the Basilica of Anna Comnena), 
then 25 miles to At-Tulfll, 'the Hills/ and 15 to Al-Akwir, 
whence in 15 miles you reach Malajinah (Malagina). From here 
it is five miles to Istabl-al-Malik, ' the King's Stables/ and 30 on to 
liisn-al-Ghabri, ' the Dusty Fortress ' (namely Kibotos, whence the 
ferry goes over to Aigialos), and thence it is 24 miles on to 
Al-Khalij, ' the Strait ' (which is the Bosporus of Constantinople). 
And over against (namely south of) the fortress of Al-Ghabr is 
Nikiyah (Nicaea). This ends the account in Ibn Khurdidbih of 
the Constantinople road 1 . 

Off the line of the great high road to Constantinople, the 
earlier Arab writers had but very incorrect notions of the 
geography of Asia Minor; as is shown, for instance, by the 
confusion which Ibn Hawkal makes between the two very distinct 
rivers Alis and Saghirah, the Halys and Sangarius. The names 
of a number of Greek towns appear, in an Arabicized form, in the 

1 I. K. TOO 101, 1 10, 113. Some other variants of this route are given 
by Ibn Khurdadbih (pp 102 and 103), for which the distances have been added 
by Idrts! (Jaubert, ii. 308, 309), and compare especially Ramsay, ff. G. A. Af. 
pp. 236 and 445. Professor Ramsay (see Geographical Journal to* Oct. 1903, 
P- 3^3) has identified the famous fortress of the Sclavonians (Hisn-as-Sakalibah) 
with the ruins of the Byzantine fortress, built of black marble, and now known 
as Anasha-Kal'ahsi, which is perched high on the mountain overlooking, from 
the south, the vale of Bozanti (Ba lhandun, Pudandos). The Byzantine castle 
of Loulon, which the Arabs called Luluah, 'the Pearl,' he has also identified 
(loc. cit. pp. 401 and 404, where a photograph of the place is given). It lay to 
the north, above As-Safsaf, 'the Willows,* which marked the settlement in the 
valley below, where the Greek town of Faustinopolis had stood. 


earlier chronicles, and these names for the most part recur, but in 
an altered form after the Turkish conquest; the Arab authors, 
however, have unfortunately left no descriptions of these towns. 
Their identity is not disputed, and we have, to name but a few, 
At-Jawanah (Tyana), Dabisah (Thebasa), Malafcftbiyah (Mala- 
copia), Hirafclah (Heraclia), Lidhik (Laodicea), Kaysariyah 
(Caesarea Mazaka, of Cappadocia), Antdkiyah (Antioch of 
Pisidia), Kutiyah (Cotyaeum), Anfcurah (Angora), Afsfts (Ephesus), 
Abides (Abydos) and Nikmtidiyah (Nicomedia), with some others. 

Trebizond, written Tarabazandah or Atrabazandah, according 
to Ibn Hawkal, was the chief port by which goods from Con- 
stantinople, in early Abbasid times, were brought for sale to 
Moslems. Arab merchants or their agents took the goods thence 
across the mountains to Malatiyah and other towns on the upper 
Euphrates. The carrying trade was in the hands of Armenians, 
according to Ibn Hawlcal, but many Moslem merchants, he adds, 
resided permanently at Trebizond. Greek linen and woollen 
stuffs are more especially mentioned and Roman brocades, all of 
which were brought by sea from the Khalij or Bosporus. The 
fame and importance of Trebizond at this time is also proved 
by the Black Sea being then commonly known as the Sea of 
Trebizond (Bahr Tarabazandah). Its official name, however, 
was the Bahr Buntus or Puntush, the Greek Pontos, which by a 
clerical error (from the misplacing of the diacritical points of the 
Arabic character) had from a very early time been incorrectly 
written and pronounced Nttus or Nftush, under which form the 
name is still often quoted by Persian and Turkish writers, and the 
mistake is now become so stereotyped as to be beyond recall 1 . 

Although so little topographical information is recorded in the 
Arab writers about the towns of Asia Minor previous to the 
Saljtik conquest in the latter half of the $th (nth) century, the 
Moslems must have had ample practical acquaintance with much 
of the country; for almost yearly, and often twice a year in spring 
and autumn, under the Omayyads and the earlier Abbasids, raids 

1 I. H. 129, 132, 245, 246. I. K. 103. Baladhuri, 161. Tabari, iii. 709, 
710. A. F. 34. Yak. i. 401, 499. Mas. i. 260. The Black Sea is also oc- 
casionally called the Bahr-al-Khazar, the Sea of the Khazars, a name more 
generally applied only to the Caspian. I. K. 103. 


were made across the Taurus passes into the Greek country, and 
their ultimate object was ever the capture of Constantinople. 
Three times, in fact, under the Omayyad Caliphs was Constanti- 
nople besieged by Moslem armies, but the result was in each case 
disastrous to the assailants, which is hardly to be wondered at, 
seeing that the Bosporus, measuring in a direct line across the 
mountainous plateau of Asia Minor, is over 450 miles from Tarsus, 
the base of the Arab attack. 

These three famous sieges are : the first in the year 32 (652), 
under the reign of 'Othmin, when Mu'awiyah the future Caliph 
raided across Asia Minor and attempted to take Constantinople, 
first by assault, and then by siege, which last he had to raise when 
news came of the murder of the Caliph 'Othman. The events which 
followed soon led to the foundation of the Omayyad dynasty. 
The second siege was in 49 (669), when Mu'awiyah, established 
as Caliph, sent his son and successor Yazid against the Emperor 
Constantine IV; but the generals were incapable, the Moslem 
army suffered a crushing defeat, and Yazid, succeeding to the 
Caliphate on his father's death, had to return home. The third 
and best known attempt against Constantinople was the great 
siege lasting, off and on, for many years in the reign of the 
Caliph Sulayman, who sent his brother Maslamah in 96 (715) 
against Leo the Isaurian. Of this campaign, which again 
ended in a defeat for the Moslems, we have very full accounts 
both from the Arab and the Greek chroniclers; and it 
was in these wars that 'Abd- Allah, surnamed Al-Battal, 'the 
Champion/ made himself famous, who long after, among the 
Turks, came to be regarded as their national hero, the invincible 
warrior of Islam. 

In spite of frequent defeat and disaster the raids continued, 
year by year, with a brief interlude while the Abbasids were 
establishing themselves in power, till more than a century after 
the date when the latter, having supplanted the Omayyads, be- 
came Caliphs ; and though again to besiege Constantinople was 
beyond their power, they raided, sacked, and burnt again and 
again throughout Asia Minor. One of the most famous of these 
expeditions was that of the Caliph Mu'tasim, son of Hartin-ar- 
Rashid, in 223 (838) against 'Ammtiriyah (Amorion), described 


as the most splendid city of the East, ' the strongest fortress of 
the BMd-ar-Rtim and the very eye of the Christians/ which 
none the less was plundered and burnt to the ground by the 
Caliph, who returned unmolested, laden with the spoils 1 . 

The division of Asia Minor into Themes, under the Byzantine 
Emperors, has been carefully described by Ibn Khurdadbih, and 
his account is of use in correcting the confused details given 
by Constantine Porphyrogenitus. This however need not be 
discussed here, as it belongs of right to the geography of the 
Byzantine empire. Besides the towns already mentioned the 
Arab writers, when recounting the Moslem expeditions across 
the frontier, notice a number of places which, either from the 
vagueness of the statement or the ambiguity in the name, can 
now hardly be identified. Thus Marj-al-Usfcuf, 'the Bishop's 
Meadow/ is frequently mentioned, which from one of the 
itineraries given by Ibn Khurdadbih lay some distance west of 
Podandos. Al-Matmftrah 2 , or (in the plural) Al-Matimir, 'the 
Cellars,' or * Grottos,' also frequently occurs, and must be sought 
for in the neighbourhood of Malacopia. Dhti-l-KulS,' (the Strong 
Castle), otherwise spelt Dhu-1-Kite* (the Castle of the Rocks), was 
a famous fortress, which Balidhuri states was called 'the Fortress 

1 The long list of Moslem raids into Asia Minor, from Arab sources, has 
been fully worked out and annotated by Mr . W. Brooks in his papers ( The 
Arabs in Asia Minor, 641 to 750* (published in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, 
vol. xvin, 1898) and 'Byzantines and Arabs in the Time of the early Abbasids, 
750 to 813* (published part i. in the English Historical Review for October, 
1900, and part ii. in the January number, 1901). The great siege of Constan- 
tinople during the Caliphate of Sulayman he has separately treated of in the 
Journal of Hellenic Studies (vol. XIX, 1899) in a paper on 'The Campaign of 

716 718 from Arabic sources.' From the Byzantine side this famous siege 
has been fully discussed by Professor J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman 
Empire, ii. 401. The Moslems called Constantinople Al-Kustantinlyah, but 
in regard to the B>:antine name, from which the modern Turkish Istambftl is 
said to be derived, u is worth noting that Mas'ftdt, in the early part of the 4th 
(loth) century, writes (Tanbth p. 138) that the Greeks in his day spoke of their 
capital as Bfilin (i.e. Polin for T6Xts, ' the city '), also as Istan-B&lin (els rip 
w6\u>), and he notes that they did not generally use the name Constantinople 
(Al-Kustantiniyah), as did the Arabs. 

2 Mazmorra in Sp. 'a dungeon ' = Scotch Massamora (v. The Antiqtiary, 
ch. xxxiii, note). 


of the Stars ' by the Greeks, which would seem to identify it with 
Sideropolis in Cappadocia. 

The town of Luluah (the Pearl), as the Arabs, to give the 
name a meaning, called the Byzantine Loulon, stood as already 
mentioned at the northern end of the pass of the Cilician Gates. 
Still further north was Tyana (Tawinah or Tuwinah), which for a 
time Hirftn-ar-Rashid strongly garrisoned and where a mosque 
was built. The town or fortress called Safsaf, * the Willows,' was 
on the Constantinople road near Luluah, probably as already said 
(p. 134) at the site of Faustinopolis, while immediately to the 
south of Podandos was the fortress of the Sclavonians (FKsn-as- 
Sakalibah) already mentioned, where according to Baladhurt 
certain Sclavonians who had deserted from the Byzantines were 
quartered to guard the pass by Marwan II, the last of the 
Omayyad Caliphs 1 . 

After the year 223 (838) the date of the Caliph Mu'tasim's 
famous expedition against Amorion, the Moslem raids into the 
Greek country became less frequent, for the recurrent disorders 
at Baghdid left the Abbasid Caliphs less and less free to think of 
invading the Byzantine territory. Still, from the middle of the 
3rd (Qth) century to the 5th (nth) century, many of the great 
semi-independent vassals of the Caliph led Moslem armies across 
the passes, and at different times the line of the frontier varied 
considerably, backwards and forwards, though speaking generally 
it may be stated that no land was ever permanently held by the 
Moslems beyond the Taurus. 

The rise, however, of the Saljtik Turks in the 5th (nth) 
century, which followed the epoch of the Crusades, entirely 
changed the face of affairs in Asia Minor. In the spring of the 
year 463 (1071) Alp Arslan the Saljtik gained the battle of 
Malasjird (Manzikart), completely routing the Byzantine forces, 
and taking the Emperor Romanus Diogenes prisoner. Moreover, 
previously to this, in 456 (1064), Alp Arslin had taken An!, the 
capital of Christian Armenia, an event which broke up the older 

1 For the themes see ' Arabic lists of the Byzantine themes ; by E. W. 
Brooks,' in fat Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. XXI, 1901. I. K. 102, 105- 
Baladhuri, 150, 170. Tabari, iii. 710, 1237. Ibn-al-Athir, vi. 341. Ramsay, 
H. G. A. M. 340, 354, 356. 


Armenian kingdom of the Bagratids, and led to the founding by 
Rupen, their kinsman, of the kingdom of Little Armenia in the 
Taurus country. The result of the battle of Malasjird was that 
Alp Arslin sent his cousin Solaymin, son of Kutlumish, into Asia 
Minor; and then the Saljtifcs permanently settled down, after 
their nomadic fashion, in all the high plateau lands forming the 
centre of the province, and the kingdom of Rftm became from 
henceforth one of the lands of Islam. In their first flush of 
victory the Saljiiks had raided so far west as Nicaea, which for a 
short time they held, making it temporarily their capital. From 
here they were driven back by the first Crusade, and retiring to 
the central plateau, Iconium or Kftniyah, which was conquered by 
them in 477 (1084), became and remained the centre of their 
government 1 . 

The line of the Saljtik Sultans of Kflniyah lasted over two 
centuries, from 470 (1077) to 700 (1300), but their real power was 
ended by the Mongol conquest of Ktiniyah in 655 (1257), the 
year previous to the fall of Baghdad. The establishment of the 
Saljftks in the plateau of Asia Minor was coincident with the rise 
of the Christian kingdom of Little Armenia in the Taurus 

1 Ibn-al-Athir, x. 25, 44; xii, 125. J. N. 621. On the battle of Manzikart 
see History vfthe Art of War by C. Oman, pp. 216221. The history of the 
Saljuks in Rum, and their successors the ten Turkoman Amirs, ending in the 
establishment of the Ottoman Sultans, is unfortunately the most obscure penod 
in all the Moslem annals. The Persian historians Mirkhwand and KhwSnd- 
amir have nothing to add to the bald summary on the Saljuks of Rum given 
by Mustawfi in his TMkh-i-Guztdah. Perhaps the fullest account of the 
dynasty is that given by Ibn Khaldun in his Universal History (volume V. 
pp. 162 175): but this is in fact little more than a list of names and dates. 
The Chronicle of Ibn Bibi, lately published by Professor Houtsma, unfortu- 
nately begins only with the reign of Kilij Arslan II, in the year 551 (1156), 
and regarding the first seventy years of Saljuk rule, when they were conquering 
and establishing themselves in Asia Minor, we know next to nothing. The 
battle of Manzikart is the only great victory that is alluded to, all the fighting 
that resulted in the ejection of the Byzantines from the high lands of Asia 
Minor passes unrecorded. Also there is no mention of a treaty, which must 
have been made, formally or informally, between the Byzantines and the 
Saljuks after Manzikart. For a summary of all that is known of the Turkoman 
Amirs who succeeded to the Sultans of Rum see Professor Lane-Poole, 'The 
successors of the Saljuks in Asia Minor ' in the/. R. A. S. for 1882, p. 773. 


country. Sis, otherwise called Sisiyah, soon after 473 (1080) 
-became the capital of Rupen, the founder of the new dynasty. 
After a century Leo took the title of king in 594 (1198), and 
the kings of Little Armenia, weathering the Mongol invasion, 
only came to an end in 743 (1342). From Sis the kingdom grew 
to include all the mountainous country watered by the Sayhan and 
Jayfcan rivers, down to the Mediterranean, with the cities of Massi- 
sah, Adhanah, and Tarstis, as well as much of the coast-line to the 
west of Tarsfts. Sis, or Sisiyah, the ancient Flaviopolis, under 
the early Abbasids had been counted an outlying fortress of 'Ayn 
Zarbah, and its walls were re K uilt by the Caliph Mutawakkil, 
grandson of Hartin-ar-Rashid. It was afterwards taken by 
the Byzantines, and when Abu-1-Fida wrote in 721 (1321) he 
alludes to it as having been recently rebuilt by Leo II (Ibn 
Liwftn), surnamed the Great, king of Little Armenia. Its castle, 
surrounded by a triple wall, crowned the hill, and the gardens 
descended to the river, which was an affluent of the Jayhan. 
Yaktit adds that, in his day, Sis was the commonly used form of 
the name. 

To the west and north of this kingdom of Little Armenia 
stretched the territories of the Saljftk Sultans, and during the first 
hundred years of their occupation of the* plateau lands of Asia 
Minor this province was three times traversed by the armies of the 
Crusades. The first Crusade in 490 (1097) resulted in the ex- 
pulsion of Kilij Arslan I (son and successor of Sulayman, the first 
Sultan of Rflm) from Nicaea, and the rabble of the Crusaders 
passing by Kftniyah regained the sea at Tarsus, and took ship for 
Palestine. In the second Crusade Louis VII of France defeated 
Sultan Mas'fld (son of Kilij Arslin) on the banks of the Meander 
in 542 (1147), but the Franks in their passage onward to the port 
of Antaliyah suffered great losses in the mountain country. In 
the third Crusade the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa is said in 
586 (1190) to have captured Ktiniyah, the Saljtilf: capital, from 
Kilij Arslan II (son of Mas'tld), but marching onward Barbarossa 
was accidentally drowned in a river near Salftfciyah (Seleucia of 
Cilicia), possibly in the Lamos or Nahr-al-Lamis, already mentioned 
(P- ! 33)> where under the earlier Abbasids Moslem and Christian 
captives were exchanged or ransomed. 


The extent of the country governed by the SaljAk Sultans of 
Rftm varied of course at different times, according to the waning 
or recovered power of the Byzantine empire, the growth of the 
Christian kingdom of Little Armenia, and the condition of the 
neighbouring Moslem principalities, which the Crusaders had in 
part overcome, and where for a time Frank princes ruled over 
Moslem subjects. The chief towns of the Saljtik Sultanate in 
Rftm as it existed in 587 (1191) are made known to us by the 
division of his dominions which Kilij Arslan II made in that year 
among his eleven sons. Kftniyah (Iconium), as already stated, was 
the. capital, and the second city of the Sultanate was Kaysariyah 
(Caesarea Mazaka). Malatiyah (Melitene) was the chief town of the 
eastern province on the Euphrates boundary. To the north Sivas 
(Sebastia), Naktsir (or Nfksdr, the old^r Neo-Caesarea), Tftkat 
and Amasiyah (Amasia) each became the appanage of a Saljftk 
prince, likewise Angfiriyah (Angora) to the north-west, and on the 
western border Burughlft, probably identical with the modern Ulti 
Burlfi, lying to the west of the Egridflr lake. On the southern 
frontier, lying eastwards of Kdniyah, the chief towns were 
Arakliyah (Heraclia), Nakfdah or Nigdah, and Abulustan, later 
called Al-Bustan (Arabissus), 

Sultan 'Ala-ad-Din, who succeeded in 616 (1219) and was 
the grandson of Kilij Arslan II, extended his rule north and south 
from the shores of the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. He took 
Sfntib (Sinope) on the former, and on the southern coast made a 
great harbour at 'Al&ya named after him where the slips for 
ship-building and remains of other constructions connected with 
the great navy of the Saljftfcs may still be seen : and on the north- 
west he extended his power to the town of Sari Bdli. His reign 
was made famous by the writings of the great Sftf! poet Jal&l-ad- 
Dln Rftmi, who lived and died at Ktiniyah. Thirty years after 
the death of 'AUL-ad-DIn, which occurred in 634 (1237), the 
Mongol armies broke up the power of the Saljflfcs ; the four last 
Sultans were in fact merely governors under the ll-Khans of 
Persia, and in the year -700 (1300) the province of R6m was 
divided up among the ten Turkoman Amirs, who originally had 
been the vassals of the Saljftk Sultans 1 . 

1 Baladhuri, 170. Yak. iii. 217. A. F. 257. Ibn Bibi, 5. J. N. 6i, 


622. Idrfst, who wrote in 548 (i 153), and who, according to his own testimony 
(Jaubert, ii. 300), was at Amorion and visited the cave of the Seven Sleepers in 
510 (1116), is the one Moslem geographer who gives us an account of Asia 
Minor in the time of the Saljuks. Unfortunately his text has come down to us 
in a most corrupt form. He gives a number of routes, traversing Asia Minor 
in all directions, which are very difficult to plot out, for the names of inter- 
mediate places are for the most part unrecognisable, though the terminal stages 
are beyond dispute. Idrisi, ii. 305 318. The limits of the Saljuk kingdom 
have been clearly traced by Professor Ramsay (H. G. A. M. pp. 78, 382, 384), 
and a description of the Great Mosques and other buildings of the Saljuk Sultans 
will be found in a series of papers by M. C. Huart entitled ' Epigraphie Arabe 
d'Asie Mineur,' in the JRevue Semitiquc, 1894, pp. 61, no, 235, 324, and 1895, 
pp. 73, 175, 214, 344; and in the Journal Asiatiquc for 1901, i. 343, also by 
M. F. Grenard, 'Monuments Seljoukides de Sivas etc./y. As. 1900, ii. 451. 
See further a paper by Professor Ramsay, with remarks of Sir C. Wilson and 
others, in the Geographical Journal for September, 1901, p. 157. 


ROM (continued). 

The ten Turkoman Amirates. Ibn Batutah and Mustawfi. Kaysariyah, and 
Sivas. The Sultan of Mesopotamia. The Amir of Karaman. Kuniyah. 
The Amfr of Tekkeh, 'Alaya, and Antaliyah. The Amir of Hamld, 
Egridur. The Amir of Germiyan, Kutihfyah, and Sivri Hisar. The 
Amfr of Mentesha, Mflas. The Amir of Aydin, Ephesus, and Smyrna. 
The Amir of S&rilkhan, Magnesia. The Amir of Karasi, Pergamos. The 
'Othmanli territory, Brusa. The Amir of Kizil Ahmadli: Sinub. 

The limits of the ten Turkoman Amirates of the 8th (i4th) 
century very roughly corresponded with the following ancient 
Greek provinces of Asia Minor. Karaman or Karaman, the largest, 
was the older Lycaonia ; on the Mediterranean coast Tekkeh in- 
cluded Lycia and Pamphylia ; inland IJamid corresponded with 
Pisidia and Isauria; Kermiyan or Germiyan with Phrygia; and on 
the coast of the Black Sea Kizil Ahmadli, sometimes called Isfan- 
diyar, had been Paphlagonia. On the ^Egean shores Menteshi 
was the older Caria; Aydin and Sartikhan combined were the 
kingdom of Lydia ; Karasi was Mysia ; and lastly the 'Othmanli 
territory (of those Ottomans who ultimately conquered all the 
other nine provinces) was at first only the small province of 
Phrygia Epictetus, backed by the high lands of Bythia which 
the *Othmanlis had recently conquered from the Byzantines. 

Of the state of Asia Minor under these Turkoman Amirs we 
possess an extremely curious account in the travels of Ibn Battitah 
the Berber, who landing from Syria at 'Aliya, in 733 (1333), 
visited many of the petty courts on his way to Sinub (Sinope), 
where he took ship across the Black Sea to the Crimea. Un- 
fortunately, a part of his account appears to be missing. From 

CHAP. X] ROM. 145 

'Aliyi he journeyed along the sea-shore to Antaliyah, and then 
struck north across the hills to Egridftr in Hamid, on the lake 
of that name. From here by a devious road through Ladhik 
(Laodicea ad Lycum) he travelled to Mtlas in Mentesha, and 
thence right across Asia Minor diagonally, by Kftniyah and 
Kaysariyah, to Sivas and Arzan-ar-Rftm. Here a lacuna occurs, 
for the next town mentioned is Birki in Aydin, whence Aya bulftk 
(Ephesus) was visited. Finally, going north and east, Ibn Battitah 
takes Brusa and other towns on his road to the Black Sea coast 
at Sintib (Sinope). His contemporary Mustawfl, in the chapter 
of his Geography on Rtim, has added some details to the descrip- 
tion of towns given by Ibn Battitah. Mustawfl, however, though 
writing in 740 (1340) works on earlier sources, and his information 
gives the state of Rtim under the later Saljtiks, rather than the 
country as it existed when the ten Amirs had established their 

At the beginning of the gth (igth) century the irruption of 
Timtir into Asia Minor temporarily altered the course of affairs, 
and threw back the rising Ottoman power for a quarter of a 
century. The account of his campaigns given by 'Ali of Yazd 
again adds something to our knowledge of the country, some 
further details also being given in the pages of the Turkish Jahan 
Num&> which, though written in the beginning of the nth (i7th) 
century, when the Ottoman power had long been established in 
Asia Minor, makes mention of the chief monuments left by the 
Saljtlk Sultans. 

Before describing the ten provinces, already named, of the 
Turkoman Amirs, some account must be given of the towns lying 
to the eastward of the boundary of Karaman, which may be taken 
as marked by the lower course of the Halys (the Kizil Irmak of 
the Turks) continued by a line going south to the JayMn. East 
of this boundary Asia Minor in the 8th (i4th) century belonged 
to the ll-Khins, the Mongol princes who ruled in Mesopotamia 
and Persia, and sent hither their governors to keep the peace 
among the smaller hordes of Turkoman nomads who had settled 
down in this country after the great Mongol invasion. The chief 
city east of the Karaman frontier was Kaysariyah (also spelt 
Kaysirtyah, namely Caesarea Mazaka, of Cappadocia), which under 

146 ROM. [CHAP. 

the Saljtiks had been the second city of Rtim, and which indeed 
Kazwini names as their capital. Here among other shrines might 
be seen the Friday Mosque dedicated to the hero of Omayyad 
days, Al-Battal. Mustawfl describes Kaysariyah as surrounded by 
the stone walls built by Sultan 'Ala-ad-Din the Saljftfc; it was 
a great town with a castle and lay at the base of Mount Arjiish 
(Argaeus). Mount Arjaish, Mustawfl adds, was an extremely high 
mountain, its summit never being free from snow, and from it many 
streams descended. At its foot lay Davalti, a place which will 
be mentioned below. On the summit of the mountain might 
be seen a great church. In Kaysariyah stood the famous and 
greatly venerated shrine of Muhammad ibn Hanafiyah, a son of 
the Caliph 'Ali, and when Ibn Battitah visited Kaysiriyah (as 
he writes the name) the city was occupied by a strong garrison in 
the pay of the Mongol Sultan of Irak. ^In the beginning of the 
pth (i5th) century Kaysariyah was the first great city fn Asia 
Minor occupied by the armies of Timfir. 

Abulustan (Arabissus) to the east of Kaysariyah, the frontier 
fortress of Byzantine times, is also mentioned in the conquests of 
Ttroflr; and Mustawfl speaks of Abulustan as a medium-sized 
town. In the Jahdn Numd the modern spelling Al-Bustan (with 
the signification of * the Garden ') is given. Kirshahr (Byzantine 
Justinianopolis Mokissus), about 80 miles west of Kaysariyah, was 
a place of great importance and is frequently mentioned in the 
account of the campaigns of Timftr. Mustawfi describes Kirshahr 
as a large town with fine buildings, and in the Jahdn Numd it is 
counted as one of the cities of Karamdn. Amasiyah or Amasiyah 
(Amasia) under the SaljQks had been one of their centres of 
government; and Mustawfi relates that it had been rebuilt by 
Sultan 'Ala-ad-Din. Ibn Batfltah, who passed through it, de- 
scribes it as a great city with broad streets and fine markets, 
surrounded by splendid gardens irrigated by means of waterwheels 
erected along the river. In his day it was under the Sultan of 
Mesopotamia, and not far distant from it was the town of 
StinusS, (spelt SfinisA in the Jah&n Numd) with a population of 
fanatical Shi'ahs. To the north of Amisiyah lies Lidlfc (Laodicea 
Pontica), a place of importance under the Saljftfcs, and frequently 
mentioned in the chronicle of Ibn Bfbi. The port of Samsftn 

X] RUM. 147 

(or Samsftn, the Greek Amysos) is described by Mustawfl as a 
great harbour for ships, and already by the latter part of the 8th 
(i4th) century it was growing rich on the trade diverted to it from 
the older port of Santib or Sintib (Sinope) 1 . 

Niksar (or Nakisar, the Greek Neo-Csesarea) had been an 
important place under the Saljftfcs, and is frequently mentioned 
by Ibn Bib! ; Mustawfi describes it as a me'dium-sized town, with 
many gardens producing much fruit. Tflkat (also spelt Dflkit) 
lies to the west of Niksar on the road to Amisiyah, and was one 
of the great governments under the Saljtiks ; further west again 
lies Ztlah, mentioned by Ibn Bibi and later authorities. The city 
of Sivas (Sebastia), on the Kizil Irmak (Halys), had been rebuilt 
by Sultan 'Ala-ad-Din, who used hewn stone for all the new masonry. 
Mustawfi reports that the place was famous for its woollen stuffs, 
which were largely exported; it had a cold climate, but cotton 
was grown here, as well as much grain. Ibn Batiltah speaks of 
Sivas as the largest city in the province ruled by the Sultan of 
Mesopotamia. Here were a Government House, fine streets and 
excellent markets, and a great Madrasah or college. 

Mustawfl gives an account of the high road which went west 
from Sivas to Persia : two stages led to Zarah, a town of some 
importance, and two more to Ak Shahr (White Town), a place 
frequently mentioned in the Saljtik chronicle. North-west of 
Ak Shahr lies Kara Hisar (the Black Fortress) which is often 
referred to by Ibn Bibi, who calls it Kara Hisar Dawlah 'of 
the State ' to distinguish this fortress, which is referred to also 
by Mustawfi, from other places of like name. In the Jah&n 
Numa it is called Kara Hisar Shabin, from the alum (SAdfi) 
mines that lie near it. From Ak Shahr the high road to Persia 
went on in three stages to Arzanjan, and thence it was the like 
distance to Arzan-ar-Rtim. From here the way went south in 
three stages to Khantis (or Khftnis as Ibn Bibi writes the name, 
Khinis being the modern form), whence it was 10 leagues to 
Malasjird (Manzikart), this being eight leagues distant from Arjish 
on the lake of Van 8 . 

1 Kaz. ii. 371. I. B. ii. 287, 289, 292. Ibn Bibi, 26, 308. Mst. 162, 163, 
164, 202. A. Y. ii. 270, 416, 417. J. N. 599, 615, 620, 622, 623. 

2 Ibn Bibi, 26, 292, 308. I. B. ii. 289. Mst. 161, 163, 164, 199. J. N. 
414, 622, 623. 

148 ROM. [CHAP. 

The province of Karamin (or Karamin), the largest of the 
ten Amirates, took its name from the Turkoman tribe which 
had settled in this region, and the capital was Larandah, 
also called Karam&i after the province. Larandah dated from 
Byzantine days, and Ibn Battitah who visited it in the 8th (i4th) 
century, and spells the name Al-Lirandah, describes it as a fine 
town standing in the midst of gardens, abundantly supplied with 
water. At the close of the century it was taken and plundered by 
the troops of Tlmflr, but afterwards regained its former prosperity. 
To the south of Larandah is Armanak, which is spoken of by 
Mustawfi as having been formerly a large city, though in the 8th 
(i4th) century it had sunk to the condition of a provincial town. 
It is also mentioned in the Jah&n Numd, together with Selefkeh, 
the older Arabic Salftfciyah (Seleucia of Cjlicia). Under the Otto- 
man rule these places were included in the province called ich lit, 
which in Turkish signifies c the Interior Land,! and as this de- 
scription is hardly applicable to the province in question, which 
lies along the coast, it has been suggested that f ch Ili is in reality 
only a corruption, truncated, of the older Greek name Ciliaa. 

KAniyah (Iconium), as already stated, had been the Saljtik 
capital, but under the Karaman Amirs it sank to a city of the 
second rank. Mustawfi relates that the town possessed a great 
Aywan, or hall, in the palace which had been built by Sultan 
Kilij Arslin, by whom also the castle had been founded. At a 
later date 'Ala-ad-Dtn had built, or restored, the town waljs, 
making them of cut stone, 30 ells in height, with a ditch 20 ells 
deep outside. The walls were 10,000 paces in circuit, they 
were pierced by twelve gates, each having a great castellated 
gateway. Abundant water was brought down from a neighbour- 
ing hill, to be stored at one of the city gates in a great tank 
under a dome, whence over 300 conduits distributed it through- 
out the city. The neighbourhood of Ktiniyah was renowned for 
its gardens, famous for yellow plums, and immense quantities of 
cotton and corn were grown in the fields around the town. 

Mustawfi adds that in his day much of Kforiiyah was in ruin, 
though the suburb immediately below the castle had a large popula- 
tion. In the city was the tomb of the great mystic, the SAf! poet 
Jalal-ad-DIn Rflmi, already mentioned, which was an object of 

X] ROM. 149 

pilgrimage. This shrine is noticed by Ibn Battitah, who praises 
the fine buildings and abundant water-supply of Ktiniyah. He 
speaks of its gardens and the apricots grown here, called Kamar- 
ad-Din (Moon of Faith), which were exported largely to Syria. The 
streets were broad and the markets abundantly supplied, each trade 
keeping to its own quarter. Ibn Bibf in his Saljtik chronicle 
incidentally mentions the names of three of the gates of Kftniyah, 
namely, the Gate of the Horse Bazar, the Gate of the Assay-house, 
and the Gate of the Afcmad bridge. 

The fortress of Kara Hisar of Ktiniyah lies at some distance 
to the east of Ktiniyah, and is mentioned by Mustawfi who says 
that it was built by one Bahrain Shah. Beyond this is Hiraklah 
(Heraclea), a name which in later times appears as Aniklfyah, and 
is frequently mentioned in the Jahdn JVumd. To the north of 
Ktiniyah is Ladik Stikhtah, the Burnt Uldik (Laodicea Combusta, 
the Greek Katakekaumena), which Ibn Bibi speaks of as the Village 
of Ladik to distinguish it from the other towns called Laodicea 
(Pontica and Ad Lycum). The Jahan Numa refers to Laodicea 
Combusta as Yurgan Ladik, otherwise called Ladhifciyah of 
Karaman '. 

In the northern part of the Karaman province is Angora 
(Greek Ancyra), the name of which is spelt by the earlier Arabic 
authorities Anlcurah, and by later Persian and Turkish authors 
Angfiriyah. Mustawfi speaks of it as a town possessing a cold 
climate; much corn, cotton, and fruit being grown in the 
neighbourhood. It is famous in history as the place where in 804 
(1402) Timtir defeated in a pitched battle, and took prisoner, the 
Ottoman Sultan Bayazid Ilderim. Ktish Hisar, or Ktich IJisar, 
on the eastern border of the great Salt Lake, is mentioned by 
Mustawfi as a medium-sized town, and its name also occurs in the 
Jahan NumA. Some distance east of the southern end of the 
lake stands Ak Saray (the White Palace) built by .Sultan Kilij 
Arslan II in 566 (1171), and described by Mustawfi as a fine 
town surrounded by fruitful lands. Afc Sara (as Ibnr Battitah 
spelt the name) stood on three streams, and its gardens were 
magnificent, also there were many vineyards within the walls. 

1 I. B. ii. 281, 284. Mst. 162, 163. A. Y. ii. 458. J. N. 611, 615, 616. 
Ibn Bibi, 8, 9, 287, 324. 

150 RfjM. [CHAP. 

The townspeople in the 8th (i4th) century made excellent 
carpets from the wool of their sheep, and these carpets were 
largely exported to Syria, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. Ibn Batfttah 
adds that in his day Ak Sari was in the government of the Sultan 
of Mesopotamia. 

Some fifty miles east of Ak Sari is Malankftbiyah (Malacopia), 
which is mentioned by Mustawf! as a place of importance in the 
8th (i4th) century. To the north of this is another Kara Hisir, 
described by Mustawfi as of the Nigdah district, and east of this 
again is Davalti (in thefaAdn Numd the name is written Davahlti), 
a place already spoken of as at the foot of Mount Arjiish. It 
occurs more than once in the history of Ibn Bibi in connection 
with Kaysariyah. Mustawfi describes Davalti as a town of medium 
size, and its walls had been rebuilt by % Sultan 'Ala-ad-Din the 
Saljftfc. South of Malanktibiyah is Nigdah (in Ibn Bibi written 
Nakldah) which had taken the place of the earlier Tuwinah 
(Tyanah), having been built by Sultan 'Ala-ad-Din. Nigdah is 
described by Mustawfi as a medium-sized town, and Ibn Battitah, 
who passed through it, notes that the greater part was already in 
ruin. It lay, he adds, in the territories of the Sultan of Mesopo- 
tamia ; its stream was called the Nahr-al-Aswad, ' the Black River/ 
and was crossed by three stone bridges. The gardens of Nigdah 
were most fruitful ; and waterwheels were employed for their 
irrigation. To the south of Nigdah was Luluah (Loulon), 
frequently mentioned by Ibn Bibi, a great fortress which, as already 
said, marked the northern end of the pass of the Cilician Gates. 
In the 8th (i4th) century Mustawfi describes Luluah as a small 
town, surrounded by excellent pasture lands. It had a cold 
climate, and in the neighbourhood there were famous hunting 
grounds 1 . 

In the territories of the Amir of Tekkeh the most important 
towns appear to have been 'Alaya and Antiliyah, famed for their 
harbours. The first, as already mentioned, had been founded by 
the Saljftk Sultan 'Ala-ad-Din on the site of the ruins of Coracesium. 
Ibn Battitah landed here from Syria in 733 (1333), and describes 
'Aliya as at that time the great port for the trade with Alexandria. 

1 Ibn Bibi, 5, 34, 44 , 279, 314. I. B. ii. 285, 286. Mst. 162, 163, 164, 
*o*. Yak. i\. 635. A. Y. ii. 419. J. N. 617, 610. 

X] ROM. 151 

In the upper town, very strongly built by 'Ali-ad-Din, was the 
castle, which Ibn Battitah carefully examined; but in his day 
'A&ya appears to have belonged to the Sultan of Karaman. 

Antaliyah, the second harbour, lying a hundred miles to the 
westward of 'Alaya, at the head of the bay, was famous as the 
usual place of re-embarkation of the Crusaders for Palestine. It 
was a fine town, and was known to Yakftt as the chief port of 
Rtim, being strongly fortified and surrounded by fruitful lands, 
with many vineyards. Here Sultan Kilij Arslan the Saljtik had built 
himself a palace on the hill overlooking the sea, and here, too, Ibn 
Battitah found many Christian merchants settled, especially down 
at the Mini or port, their quarter being shut off by a wall, and each 
trade, he adds, had its own street in the markets. There was a 
Jews' quarter also, and the Moslems lived in their own part of the 
city, where stood the mosque and Madrasah (college). Antaliyah, 
the name of which occurs in the Crusading chronicles as Satalia 
or Attaleia, is frequently mentioned in the campaigns of Timtir 
under the form 'Adaliyah. To the west of it, also mentioned by 
'Ali of Yazd, is Istands, a town whose name in the Jahan Numa 
is written Istanaz 1 . 

To the north of Tekkeh the Amir of JJamid owned the 
country round the four lakes of Egridtir, Burdflr, Beg Shahr, and 
Ak Shahr. Under the Saljitks, according to Ibn Bibi, the seat of 
government had been at Burughlti, apparently identical with the 
later Ulti Burlft (to the west of the Egridftr lake), the Byzantine 
Sozopolis or Apollonia. Antakiyah (Antioch of Pisidia), which in 
the earlier Moslem chronicles is frequently referred to, in Turkish 
times took the name of Yalavaoh, and was situate in the plain 
between the lakes of Egridtir and Ak Shahr. The chief town of 
the province, according to Mustawfi in the 8th (i4th) century, 
appears to have been the city of Egridftr (the ancient Prostanna) 
at the southern end of the lake of that name. Ibn Battitah 
describes it as a great place, well built, with fine markets, sur- 
rounded by abundantly watered gardens ; and the lake (he adds) 
was traversed by the boats of the merchants, who thus transported 

1 In the New Testament Attaha is mentioned in Acts xiv. 25. Yak. i. 388. 
I. B. ii. 257, 258. J. N. 611, 638, 639. A. Y. ii. 447, 449. 

152 RtiM. [CHAP. 

their goods to neighbouring places, and traded with the towns on 
the shores of the Afc Shahr and Beg Shahr lakes. 

The town of Beg Shahr (or Bey Shahr, Karallia of the Byzan- 
tines) at the foot of its lake, according to thefaMn Numd, had been 
founded by Sultan 'Ali-ad-Din the Saljtik. It had a stone wall with 
two gates, a Friday Mosque, and fine baths ; also a market at a place 
called' Alarghah. To the west of Egridtir lies Burdtir, on the lake 
of the same name, a small town, according to Ibn Battitah, with 
many streams and gardens, protected by a castle on the neighbour 
ing hill. Ispartah, south of Egridtir, is given in the Jah&n NumA 
as the capital of Hamid in later times. Ibn Battitah writes the 
name Sabarta,' and describes it as a well-built city of many gardens, 
protected by a castle. This represents the Byzantine town of Baris, 
and Sparta is the common pronunciation of the present day 1 . 

The lake of Ak Shahr is that which Ibn Khurdadbih (see 
above, p. 135) calls Basiliyun, and which the Byzantines knew as 
the Lake of the Forty Martyrs. To the west of it is the great 
castle of Kara Hisar, which in connection with Ak Shahr is 
frequently mentioned in the campaigns of Timftr. At Ak Shahr, 
according to 'Ali of Yazd, the unfortunate Sultan of the 'Othmanlis, 
Bayazid Ilderim, whom Timtir had defeated at Angora, died 
broken-heated in 805 (1403), and both this Ak Shahr and this 
Kara Hisr are mentioned by Mustawfi among the many celebrated 
places of those names. This Kara Hisar, now surnamed Afytin 
from the quantity of opium grown round it, marks the site of the 
Greek town of Prymnessos or Akroenos, and local tradition asserts 
that Al-Battal, the champion of the earlier Omayyad wars against 
the Byzantines, was killed in battle near here. Tabari, however, 
our earliest authority, only says that in the year 122 (740) <Abd- 
Allah-al-Battal was slain in the Greek country, and no indication 
of the place is given 2 . 

1 Sabarta or Ispartah is the corruption of the Greek ls BdpiSa : cf. footnote, 
p. 157, on Izmid and Iznik (Nicomedia and Nicaea). 

2 Ibn Bibi, 5, 212, 251, 283. I. B. h. 265, 266. Mst. 162, 163, 164. 
J. N. 618, 639, 640, 641. A. Y. ii. 457, 458, 489, 492. Ramsay, H. G. A. M. 
87 139* 396, 401, 406. Tabari, ii. 1716. The tomb of Al-Battil is given in 
the Jah&n Numd (p. 642) as existing in the nth (i7th) century at Sid! Ghizt, 
more than fifty miles north of Kara Hisar to the east of Kutahiyah. At the 
present day it is shown at Ktrshahr. In regard to Antioch of Pisidia there was 

X] RtTM. 153 

North and west of the IJamfd province was the country 
governed by the Amir of Kermiyin, or Germiyan, whose capital 
was at Kfitihiyah (Cotyaeum). The Arab chroniclers wrote the 
name, as already mentioned, Kutiyah; but the Byzantine town 
must early have fallen to ruin, and according to the Jahdn Numd 
it was the Sultan of Germiyin to whom the later medieval town 
of Ktithiyah owed its foundation. Ibn Battitah refers to it as 
inhabited by robbers. At the close of the 8th (i4th) century 
the place is frequently mentioned in the campaigns of Timtir, he 
for a time having made it his head-quarters. A hundred miles 
east of Kfttahiyah, near the upper affluents of the Sangarius, 
stands the great fortress of Sivri Hisar, where Timftr also for a 
time had his head-quarters. The name in Turkish means 'the 
Pointed Castle' (Kazwini spells it Sibri Hisar), and it stands 
above the site of the Roman Pessinus, which afterwards was 
renamed Justinianopolis Palia. Kazwini reports that in the yth 
(i 3th) century there was a famous church here called Bay 'at 
Kamnantis, and if animals suffering from stricture were seven 
times led round this church, the stricture would yield and they 
then recovered their health. 

South of Sivri Hisar lies 'Ammitriyah (Amorion, at the modern 
Assar Kal'ah), already spoken of (p. 137), which Mustawfi refers 
to as if in the 8th (i4th) century it were still a place of 
importance. For some unexplained reason the common people, 
he adds, called it Angvlriyah. or Angftrah (Angora), and this 
strange misnomer is repeated in the Jahan Numd, only that 
according to the latter authority it was Angtiriyah, Angora, that 
was commonly called 'Ammtiriyah. In the south-eastern part of 
Germiyan is Lidhik (Laodicea ad Lycum), which the Turks called 
Denizlti, ' Many Waters/ from its abundant streams ; the place is 
now known as Eski IJisar (Old Fort). Ibn Battitah describes it 

at all times a tendency m the earlier Arab chronicles to confound this with 
other places of the same name, and especially with Antioch of Syria. Ya'kuttf 
in his History (i. 177) refers to Antakiyah-al-Muhtarikah, * Burnt Antioch,' by 
which apparently the town of Pisidia is meant. The same author (ii. 285) 
speaks further of a raid made in the year 49 (669), and then mentions * Black 
Antioch ' (Antakiyah-as-Sawda), by which name possibly Antioch of Isauna is 

154 KftM. [CHAP. 

as a great city, with seven mosques for the Friday prayers, and 
excellent markets. The Greek women of Ladhik wove cotton 
stuffs, which they afterwards embroidered finely with gold, and 
these embroideries were famous for their wear. In the Jahan 
NumA the older form of the name is given as Ladhikiyah 1 . 

In the province governed by the Mentesha Amtr, Ibn Batfttah 
visited the three neighbouring cities of Mughlah, Milas, and 
Barjin. The Amir lived at Mughlah (the older Mobolla), the 
capital, according to the fahdn Numd, which Ibn Battitah 
describes as a fine town. Milas (Mylasa, or Melisos) was also a 
great city with gardens, much fruit, and plentiful streams. Barjfn 
(Bargylia, now known as Assarlik), a few miles from Milas, was a 
newly built town, standing on a hill-top, with a fine mosque and 
good houses. In the eastern part of Mentesha, Ibn Battitah 
visited Kul Hisar, which under the name of Gul is described by 
Mustawfi as a medium-sized town, and it is also spoken of in the 
campaigns of Timftr. Ibn Batfttah describes it as surrounded on 
all sides by the waters of the little lake on which it stood, this 
being almost entirely overgrown with reeds. A single road by a 
causeway led to the town across the lake, and the castle, which 
was very strong, crowned a hill rising immediately above the town. 
In the north of Mentesha was the castle of Hisn Tawas, at the 
present time called Daonas, a day and a half distant from Didhik 
(Laodicea ad Lycum). Ibn Battitah describes Tawis as a great 
fortress with a walled town below it. Tradition stated that 
Suhayb, a celebrated Companion of the prophet Muhammad, 
had been born here 8 . 

North of Mentesha was the territory of the Amfr of Aydin, of 
which Tirah (Teira) was the capital. Ibn Battitah, who visited 
the Amir of Aydin here, says it was a fine city with many gardens 
and abundant streams. He also passed through Birki (Pyrgion), 
one march north of Tirah, of which he praises the magnificent 
trees. The city of Aydin or Guzel Hisir occupies the site of the 
Byzantine Tralleis, and was a town of secondary importance. 
Ephesus, on the coast, was well known to the earlier Arab 

1 Kaz. ii. 359. I. B. ii. 270, 271, 457. Mst. 162. A. Y. ii. 448, 449. 
J. N. 631,632, 634, 643. 

- I. B. ii. 269, 277, 278, 279, 280. Mst. 163. J. N. 638. A. V. ii. 448. 

X] RtTM. 155 

geographers as Afasfis, or Abasfts, and was famous as the place 
where might be seen the Cave of the Seven Sleepers referred to 
in the Kurin (ch. xvm, v. 8). In later times the town came to 
be known as Ayasultik (also written Ayathulftkh or Ayisaligh), a 
corruption of the Greek Agiou Thcologou, and so called from the 
great church to Saint John Theologos, built here by the Emperor 
Justinian. This church was visited by Ibn Battitah when he was 
here in 733 (1333). He describes it as constructed of great 
stones, each ten ells in length, carefully hewn. Another church 
had, on the Moslem conquest, become the Friday Mosque, and 
this was a most beautiful building, the walls being faced with 
divers coloured marbles, while the pavement was of white 
marble, and the roof, which was formed of eleven domes, was 
covered with lead. Ibn Battitah states that Ayasulftk in his day 
had fifteen gates, a river (the Cayster) flowed past it to the sea, 
and the city was surrounded by jasmine gardens and vineyards. 

The other great port of Aydln was Smyrna, called by the 
Turks Azmfr or Yazmir, which was taken by Tfmtir from the 
Knights Hospitallers in the beginning of the 9th (isth) century. 
Ibn Battitah, who was here in 733 (1333), describes it as then for 
the most part in ruin ; there was a great castle on the hill hard by, 
and from this port, he adds, the Amfr of Aydfn was wont to send 
out ships to harass the Byzantines, and plunder the neighbouring 
Christian towns. Of these last was Fftjah (or Ftichah, Phocia) 
on the coast of the province of Sirftkhin, mentioned later on in 
the time of Timftr as a Moslem castle, but which Ibn Battitah 
writes of in his travels as then in the hands 'of the infidels/ 
namely the Genoese. The capital of Sarftkhin was Maghnisiyah 
(or Maghnisiy, Magnesia) which he speaks of as a fine city 
standing on the hill-side, surrounded by many gardens with 
abundant streams, and here the Amir of S&rdkhan held his court. 
In the campaigns of Timtir the province round Maghnf Siy&h (as 
the name was then written) is called Saruhftn-Il! 1 . 

North of Sirtikhan was the territory of the Kardsi (or 

1 I. B. ii. 295, 307, 308, 309, 312. A. Y. ii. 4 6<J, 468, 470, 480. J. N. 634, 
636, 637. Ramsay, H. G. A. M. no, 228. Yak. i. 91 ; ii. 806. The legend 
of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus I have already discussed in 
Palestine under the Moslems, p. 274. 

156 ROM. [CH^P. 

Karah-Si) Amir, whose capitals were Balikesri and Barghamah 
(Pergamos). Ibn Battitah, who visited Pergamos in 733 (1333), 
describes it as a city for the most part in ruin, but defended by a 
huge castle perched on a hill-top near by. Balikesri, which he 
also visited, was a well-built and populous town with excellent 
markets. There was, however, no Friday Mosque here at this 
date, though the Sultan of Karist, Dumftr (or Thndr) KhUn, 
generally lived here, and his father had built Balikesri. At a 
later period the town is frequently mentioned in the campaigns of 

From Balikesri Ibn Batfttah travelled on to Brusa, at that 
time the capital of the 'Othminli state, which already had begun 
to overshadow and absorb all the other Turkoman Amirates. 
Brusa or Brtisah (Prusa) was already a great city, with fine 
markets and broad streets. The town was surrounded by 
extensive gardens, and within the city was a great tank where the 
water was collected for distribution to all the houses. At Brusa 
there was a hospital, with one ward for men and another for 
women, where the sick were attended to and supplied gratis with 
all necessities, and there was also a hot bath. The 'Othmanli 
Sultan whom Ibn Battitah visited was Orkhan (grandfather of 
that Bayazid Ilderim, already mentioned as defeated at the 
beginning of the following century by Timtir), and the chief 
monument 01 his capital was the tomb of Sultan 'Othman, his 
father, who was buried in what had formerly been a church. 

Mikhalij (Miletopolis, which the Byzantines called Michaelitze), 
lying about 50 miles west of Brusa, is frequently mentioned in 
the campaigns of Timiir, and in the Jahan Numd. The most 
important town of the Ottoman territory in 733 (1333), how- 
ever, was Nicaea, which had been taken from the Byzantines by 
Sultan Orkhan. Nicaea, which the earlier Arab geographers 
called Nikiyah, the Turks knew as Yaznik or Iznik. Ibn Battitah 
describes the lake of Yaznik as covered with reeds. At the 
eastern end of it the town stood, and was entered by a single 
causeway across the waters, so narrow that only one horseman 
at a time could approach. The town itself he describes 
as much in ruin, but its circuit enclosed many gardens; it was 
surrounded by four separate walls with a water ditch dug between 

X] RftM. 157 

every two, traversed by drawbridges. To the north of Nicaea lies 
Nicomedia, which the earlier Arab authorities knew as Nikmildiyah ; 
the Turks called it Iznekmid, as the Jahan JVumd writes the 
name, shortened later to Izmtd, which is that now in use. No 
description of this town is given by Ibn Batfttah or our other 
authorities 1 . 

The province of Kizil Ahmadli lay along the coast of the 
Black Sea from the neighbourhood of the Bosporus to Sinope. 
Travelling from Yaznik, after passing the river Sangarius, which 
the Turks called Sakari, the first large town which Ibn Batfltah 
came to was Muturnt or Mfldurni (modern Mudurlft, and the 
ancient Modrene) which he speaks of as a place of considerable 
size ; it is also mentioned in the Jahdn Numa. The town of 
Bftli (Claudiopolis), to the north-east of Muturnt, Ibn Batfltah 
describes as standing on a river of some volume; and Kereh- 
deh (or Geredi) Bftli, one march to the east of this, was a 
fine large city in a plain, with good markets and broad streets, 
each separate nation among its people having a distinct quarter. 
Geredi Bftlt in 733 (1333) was the residence of the Amir, and 
appears to have been then the chief town of Kizil Abmadlf. 

In the eastern part of the province stands Kastamftniyah (or 
Kastamtini, for Castamon) which Mustawfi describes as a medium- 
sized town. Ibn Batfttah speaks of it as one of the largest cities 
which he visited in Asia Minor, and provisions, he notes, were 
here both cheap and abundant. To the north-east of it lay the 
great port of Santib (or Sinftb, Sinope), where he took ship for 
the Crimea, and from his description we learn how Sinope was 
surrounded on three sides by the sea, the town being entered by a 
single gate to the east. It was a beautiful and populous harbour 
and strongly defended. A fine Friday Mosque was to be seen 
here, the dome supported on marble pillars; and a place of 

1 Iznekmfd is a corruption of the Byzantine e/s Nuto/u^eta? : Iznik of efr 
NUcuaF. I. B. ii. 315, 316, 317, 322. A. Y. ii. 466. J. N. 631, 656, 661, 
662. Ramsay, ff. G. A. M. 179. The picture Ibn Batutah gives of Sultan 
Orkhan, the founder of the celebrated corps of the Janizaries, is very curious. 
Ibn Batutah states that this chief was already the most powerful of all the 
Turkoman Amirs. He possessed a hundred castles, and never stayed a month 
in any one town, being always out campaigning and inspecting his frontiers. 

158 ROM. [CHAP. X 

popular veneration was the reputed tomb of Bilal the Abyssinian, 
the Companion of the prophet Muhammad, and his Muezzin who 
had been the first to call the Moslems to prayer. 

The Byzantine city of Gangra Germanicopolis, which lies 
some 50 miles south of Kastamuni, the Turks called Kankri. In 
the earlier Arab chronicles the name is given as Khanjarah, and 
a great raid was made by the Moslems in the reign of the 
Omayyad Caliph Hisham as far into the Greek lands as this 
town. Kazwini, who spells the name Ghanjarah, says that it 
stood on a river called the Nahr Mafclub, *the stream which 
was turned over, 7 because unlike other rivers it ran from 
south to north. He adds that in 442 (1050) Ghanjarah was 
almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake. Finally, to complete 
the list of towns in the Kizil Ahmadh\ province, Kuch Hisar, 
which is named in the Jah&n Numd^ must be mentioned. It lies 
about midway between Kastamuni and Kanfcri, and possibly is 
the Ktish Hisar of Mustawfi already noticed (p. 149), and there 
identified with the city of the same name on the great Salt Lake 1 . 

In regard to the high roads traversing Asia Minor, except for 
the road from Tarsus to Constantinople (given p. 134), and the 
road east from Sivas towards Tabriz (given p. 147), no itineraries 
that are of any use are forthcoming. In the Jahan Numa* a 
certain number of roads are mentioned that radiated from Sivas 
as a centre, and along these the names of various villages and 
post-stations are set down, many of which may still be found 
on the map. Unfortunately the distances are in most cases 
omitted, and hence the amount of information to be derived from 
these routes is not of much account. 

1 Mst. 163, 164. I. B. ii. 325, 332, 336, 338, 341, 348. J. N. 645, 646, 
648, 649, 651, 652. Yak. ii. 475. Kaz. ii. 368. Tabari, ii. 1236. 
8 J. N. 627, 628. 



The lake of Urmiyah. Tabriz. Sarav. Maraghah and its rivers. Pasawa 
and Ushnuh. Urmiyah city and Salmas; Khoi and Marand. Nakhchivan. 
Bridges over the Araxes. Mount Sablan. Ardabil and Ahar. The 
Safid RCid and its affluents. Miyanij. Khalkhal and Firiizabad. The 
Shal river and Shah Rud district. 

The mountainous province of Adharbayjan the name of which 
is pronounced Azarbtjin 1 in modern Persian was of much less 
importance under the Caliphate than it became in the later middle- 
ages after the Mongol invasion. In the earlier period it lay off 
the line of traffic, which passed by the Khurasan road through 
the Jibl province (Media) ; and the remoteness of Adharbayjn 
was also increased, according to Mukaddasi, by the fact that over 
seventy languages or dialects were spoken among its mountains 
and high plains, while none of the cities were of any very con- 
siderable size. 

In successive epochs different towns rose one after another to 
the position of the provincial capital. At first, with the earlier 
Abbasids, it was Ardabfl; then, under the later Caliphs, Tabriz 
took the first position, but after the Mongol invasion for a 
time gave place to Manighah. Tabriz, however, soon regained 
its pre-eminence under the tl-Khans, but again under the first 

1 See Map in. p. 87. The older form of the name in Persian was Adhar- 
badhagan, a name which the Greeks corrupted to Atropatene. Mukaddasi 
(p. 373) describes Adharbayjan, Arran and Armenia as forming part of a single 
great province, which he designates as the Ikllm-ar-Rihab, ' the region of the 
high plains ' in distinction to the mountains (Jibal) of Media, and the lowlands 
(Akftr) of Mesopotamia. 


Safavid kings was eclipsed by Ardabil. At a later date, in the 
nth (xyth) century, when Isfahan was made the capital of all 
Persia by Shah 'Abbas and Ardabil fell to decay, Tabriz was 
reinstated once more in the position of chief city of Adharbayjan, 
and so remains to the present day, being now by far the most 
important town in the north-western part of Persk. 

The most remarkable natural feature of the province is the 
Lake of Urmiyah, the largest permanent sheet of water in Persia, 
being over 80 miles long from north to south and a third of this 
across in its broadest part. It . lies to the west of Tabriz, and takes 
its name from the town of Urmiyah which lies on its western 
shore. Our authorities give the lake a variety of names. In the 
Zend Avesta it is called Chaechasta, and this, the old Persian 
form, is retained in Chichast, the name by which the lake is 
referred to in the Shah Namah^ and which was still in use as late 
as the times of Mustawfl. Mas'ftdi and Ibn Hawkal in the 4th 
(loth) century call it the Buhayrah -Kabtidhin, a name derived 
from the Armenian and meaning ' the Blue Lake ' (gaboid being 
1 blue ' in that language). Istakhri calls it the lake of Urmiyah 
(being followed in this by Mukaddasi), otherwise the Buhayrah- 
ash-Shurat, 'the Lake of the Schismatics,' from the heterodox 
beliefs of the various peoples inhabiting its shores, and he describes 
its waters as very salt. It was, he adds, in those days covered 
with boats trafficking between Urmiyah and Maraghah, and on its 
shores were many most fertile districts. 

In the middle of the lake was an island, called the Kabftdhan 
island by Ibn Serapion, with a small town, inhabited by boatmen. 
Its waters were full of fish according to Istakhri (Ibn Hawkal, on the 
contrary, says there were none), and there was a curious fish found 
here known as the Water-dog (Kalb-al-MJ)\ in winter time storms 
raised great waves, and the navigation was very dangerous. By 
Abu-1-Fida the lake is referred to as the Buhiayrah Tila but the 
latter name is of unknown signification ; Kazwini speaks of the 
salt and the Tfttiya (tutty of zinc) which were produced here 
and largely exported. Mustawfi who, as already said, more 
generally writes of it as the Chichast lake, also calls it the Daryi-i- 
Shflr, ' the Salt Lake/ or else refers to it as the lake of Tartij or 
j, from the name of an important town on its northern shore. 


He and IJifiz Abrti both refer to the island (a peninsula, when 
the waters are low) of Shaha, where there was a great castle 
crowning a hill, the burial-place of Hftlagti and other of the 
Mongol princes. The fortress of ShaM is mentioned in the 
3rd (9th) century, for Ibn Mashkuwayh when relating the events 
of the Caliphate of Mutawakkil, grandson of Harfin-ar-Rashld, 
speaks of Shahd and Yakdur, two castles then held b> rebel 
chieftains of these parts. In the yth (i3th) century Hftlagft 
rebuilt the castle of Shaha which Hafiz AbrCt calls the Kal'ah-i- 
Tila of the Urmiyah lake and stored here all his treasures, 
the plunder of Baghdad and the provinces of the Caliphate. 
This castle subsequently becoming his burial-place it was 
known in Persian as Gftr Kal'ah, * the Castle of the Tomb,' and 
when Hafiz Abrft wrote in the time of Timtir it was entirely 
uninhabited 1 . 

The city of Tabriz lies some thirty miles east from the lake 
shore on a river which debouches near the Shaha island or 
peninsula. Tabriz appears to have been a mere village till the 
3rd (Qth) century, when in the reign of Mutawakkil a certain 
Ibn-ar-Rawad settled here, he and his brother and son building 
themselves palaces and afterwards enclosing with a wall the 
town which gathered round these. A late tradition indeed refers 
the foundation of Tabriz to Zubaydah, the wife of Harftn-ar-Rashtd, 
but the earlier chronicles give no support to this statement, 
moreover it is nowhere recorded that this princess ever visited 
Adharbayjan. Mukaddasi in the 4th (loth) century describes 
Tabriz as a fine town, with a Friday Mosque, well watered by 
numerous streams, and surrounded by fruitful orchards. Yifcflt 
who was here in 6 10 (1213) speaks of it as at that time the chief 
town of Adharbayjan, Kazwini adding that it was famous for its 
'Attabi (or tabby) silks, its velvets and woven stuffs. The Mongols 

1 The name Urmiyah is now commonly pronounced Unhniyah, and this is 
the spelling given by Ibn Serapion, MS. f. 25 a. 1st. 181, 189. I. IL 239, 
247. Muk. 375, 380. Mas. i. 97. A. F. 42. Yak. i. 513. Kaz. u. 194. 
Mst. 226. Hfz. 11 a. Ibn Mashkuwayh, 539. In the Shdh N&mah (Turner 
Macan, Calcutta, 1829), p. 1860, line 4, and p. 1927, line 6 from below, for 
Khanjast (a clerical error), 'Chichast* is to be read, the two names only 
differing by a shifting of the diacritical points. 


village of Dakharrakan, as Ibn Hawkal and the Arab geographers 
spell the name, which the Persians write Dih Khuwarkin. Yafcut 
gives Dih Nakhtrjan as an alternative reading, explaining this 
as meaning the village (DiK) of Nakhirjan, treasurer of Chosroes, 
king of Persia. Mustawfi describes it as a small town, surrounded 
by dependencies and eight villages, where much fruit and corn 
was grown 1 . 

The city of Maraghah stood about 70 miles south of Tabriz, 
on the river Safi, which flowed south down to it from Mount 
Sahand, and then turned west to reach the lake. Maraghah, 
an abbreviation for Kariyat-al-Maraghah, 'the Village of the 
Pastures,' is said to have been called Afrazah ROdh by the 
Persians. In the 4th (loth) century Maraghah is described by 
Ibn Hawkal as a town of the size of Ardabil, at that time the 
chief city of Adharbayjan ; he adds further that Maraghah had 
already even then been for a time the provincial capital, where 
the government treasury and offices were stationed, before they 
were permanently transferred to Ardabil. Maraghah was a most 
pleasant town, surrounded by a wall beyond which lay fruitful 
orchards. It was famous for a particular kind of perfumed melon 
grown here, green outside and red within, which tasted of 
honey. Mukaddasi speaks of its castle and fortifications, with a 
great suburb lying outside these. Yakut records that its fortifica- 
tions were built under HarQn-ar-Rashid and restored by the 
Caliph Mamun. 

Under the earlier Mongols, as we have already seen, Maraghah 
became the capital of Adharbayjan, and Mustawfi describes it as 
a great city surrounded by numerous and fertile districts, some 
of which he names, amply watered by many streams. Outside 
Maraghah stood the great observatory built by the astronomer 
Nasir-ad-Din of Tils, where by order of Hulagu the celebrated 
ll-Khani tables had been calculated and published. The ob- 
servatory, of which the ruins still exist, was however already 
dilapidated when Mustawfi wrote in the 8th (i4th) century. 
Kazwini mentions the castle, called Ruwin Diz, which lay three 
leagues distant from Maraghah, having a stream flowing on either 

1 1st. 190. I. H. 248, 253. Yak. i. 131, 198; 11. 425, 636; iii. 64. Mst. 
i55 r 5$> 204, 205, 217, 218. 


side of it, and within the castle a famous garden called Umidabad 
with its own cistern to irrigate it. A league from here stood the 
village of Janbadhak, with a hot spring, of which many wonders 
were related. 

The Safi river, which flowed into the lake to the west of 
Maraghah, mingled its waters in flood-time with those of the 
Jaghtu river and its affluent the Taghtu, both of which as de- 
scribed by Mustawil rose in the Kurdistan mountains; and the 
whole of the southern shore of the lake at their outflow was a 
great swamp. Here surrounded by tortuous streams stood the 
small town of Lay Ian (or Nay Ian), among fruitful orchards, and 
inhabited in the time of Mustawfi by Mongols. Some way to 
the south of Laylan, according to the distances given in the 
Itineraries, was the village of Barzah, where the road coming up 
from Sisar (in the Jibal province) bifurcated. To the right one 
way went on north-east to Maraghah ; while to the left, and by 
the west of the lake, lay the way to Urmiyah. 

Fifty miles from the southern shore of the lake was Baswa, 
by the Persians pronounced Pasawa, which Yakftt had visited, 
and he states that in his day the inhabitants were mostly robbers. 
Mustawfi praises its fruitful orchards, and to the north-west of it 
lay the town of Ushnuh, which in the time of Ibn Hawkal was 
inhabited by Kurds. In the 4th (roth) century Ushnuh did a 
great trade in horses and cattle with the neighbouring towns 
of Mesopotamia, especially Mosul : its lands were very fertile and 
its sheep pastures were famous. Yakfit, who had visited it, speaks 
of its fine gardens, and Mustawfi, who spells the name Ushnftyah, 
describes it as a medium-sized town of the mountain region which 
he calls Dih Kiyahdn 1 . 

The city of Urmiyah, which gave its name to the lake, lay 
at a short distance from its western shore. Tradition pro- 
claimed Urmiyah to have been the birth-place of Zardtisht or 
Zoroaster. The town, according to Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (loth) 
century, was of the same size as Maraghah, being a pleasant 
place and surrounded by vineyards ; its markets were well supplied 
with merchandise, among the rest being the clothiers' market, 

1 1st. 181. I. H. 238, 139. Muk. 377. Yak. i. 284, 564, 616; iv. 476. 
Kaz. ii. 350, 358. Mst. 158, 159, 218. 


where stood the Friday Mosque. Urmiyah was fortified and 
defended by a castle, and a stream flowed through it down to 
the lake, which was about a league distant. In the 8th (i4th) 
century it had grown to be a large place, its wall measuring 
10,000 paces in circuit, and a score of villages were of its 
dependencies. On the high road north of Urmiyah, and at some 
distance back from the north-western corner of the lake, is Salmas. 
Mukaddas! describes this as a fine town with good markets and 
a Friday Mosque built of stone, the population of the place 
in the 4th (loth) century was of Kurd origin. Yakut says that 
in the 7th (i3th) century Salmas lay for the most part in ruin; 
but the Wazlr 'Ali Shah, Mustawfi writes, rebuilt its walls 8000 
paces in circuit during the following century, in the reign of 
Ghazan Khan, the Mongol, and the town had then regained its 
former importance. Its climate was cold, and a- river which rose 
in the mountains to the west passed through it to the lake. 

On the northern shore of the lake was the town called Taruj 
or Tasuj, which is apparently identical with the modern Tursah. 
Mustawfi, as already said, often speaks of the Salt Lake of Tasuj 
or TariYj, and the town therefore shared with Urmiyah the honour 
of giving its name to this sheet of water. In the 8th (i4th) 
century TasQj must have been an important place, it was warmer 
than Tabriz and damper, being so near the lake, and it was 
surrounded by gardens and orchards. To the north-east of 
Salmas lies Khawi, pronounced Khoi, on a stream that flows 
north to the river Aras (Araxes). Khawi was a strongly fortified 
and flourishing town according to Yakut and Kazw ini, surrounded 
by fertile lands and famous for its excellent brocades. There was 
also a spring here which had the reputation of being hot in winter 
and cold in summer. Mustawfi says that the enceinte of its town 
walls measured 6500 paces, and that its people were a white- 
skinned race like the Khatai (Chinese) ; eighty villages were of 
its dependencies. 

The town of Marand which lay to the east of Khoi, on the 
banks of a stream which was a right bank affluent of the Khoi 
river, is described by Mukaddasi in the 4th (loth) century as 
a small fortress with a mosque, and a market in the suburb, which 
was surrounded by gardens. Yakut says that it was ruined by 


the Kurds who had carried off most of its inhabitants after 
plundering the town. Its river according to Mustawfi was called 
the Zftlti (or Zakvir), and a part of it was said to flow for four 
leagues underground. Mustawfi states -that in his day Marand 
was only half its former size, but was still famous for the rearing 
of the Kirmiz-worm (cochineal), used for making the red dye, and 
that round the town were 60 villages that were of its dependencies 1 . 

Nakhchivan, or Nakjawan, to the north of the Aras river, was 
generally counted as of Adharbayjan. It is identical with Nashawa 
of the Arab geographers, and is often mentioned in the Itiner- 
aries, but no description of the town is given. Nakhchivan rose 
to importance under the Mongols, and Mustawfi describes it as a 
large town built of brick. Near it, to the eastward, was the fortress 
of Alanjik, and to the north rose the snow-clad mountain called 
Mast Kuh. In Nakhchivan stood the dome built by Diya-al-Mulk, 
son of Nizam-al-Mulk, the great Wazir of Malik Shah the Saljftk, 
and 'Ali of Yazd describes the famous bridge of Diya-al-Mulk 
(the ruins of which still exist) which crossed the Aras at the 
fortress of Karkar on the road to Marand, about 1 5 miles from 

A little lower down on the Aras is Julfah, otherwise written 
Jftlahah, which was destroyed by Shah 'Abbas of Persia in 1014 
(1605), when he transported all its Armenian inhabitants to the 
new suburb which he built to the south of Isfahan and named 
Julfah from the older Julfah on the Araxes. Among other towns 
on the banks of the Aras river Mustawfi mentions Urddbad (which 
still exists), near where a river joins the Aras from the south, 
on whose banks stood the castle of Dizmar, which is also 
mentioned by Yakilt. Still lower down the Aras lay the town 
of Zangiyan in the Murdan Na'im district, where a second bridge, 
still in existence, crosses the Araxes. This is called the Ptil-i- 
Khudi-Afarin in Persian, *the Bridge of Praising God/ which 
Mustawfi says had been built by one of the Companions of the 
prophet Muhammad in the year 15 (636) The Murdan (or Murid) 
Na'im territory comprised in its circuit over 30 villages 2 . 

1 1st. 181. I. H. 239. Muk. 377. tfaz. i. 180; ii. 354. Yak. i. ai8; 
ii. 502; iii. 120; iv. 503. Mst. 156 159, 218. 

2 Yak. iv. 262, 767, 784. Mst. 157, 159, 206. A. Y. i. 398, 399; ii. 573. 


The city of Ardabll stood on the upper waters of the river 
called Andarab by Mustawfi, and the Ardabil river, after being 
joined lower down on its left bank by the Ahar river, flowed into 
the Araxes some way below the bridge of Khuda-Afarin. The 
rivers of Ardabil and Ahar rose on the eastern and western slopes, 
respectively, of the great mountain called Sablan Ktih, which 
overhangs Ardabil, and from whose southern slopes the Sarav 
river, as already mentioned, takes its course westward to the 
Urmiyah lake. Mount Sablan is mentioned in the 4th (loth) 
century by Ibn Hawkal, who erroneously considered it as higher 
than Damavand, some miles to the north of Tihran. Its slopes 
were covered with trees, and here stood villages and many towns, 
which are enumerated by Mustawfi. The mountain, he adds, 
was visible 50 leagues away, its summit being always covered 
with snow, while near the top was a spring the surface of which 
remained always frozen. Near Mount Sablan also were two 
other peaks, Ktih Sarahand north of Ahar, and Siyah Ktih (the 
Black Mountain), which last towered above Kalantar, a small 
town with a castle which stood among woods, with a river 
flowing through its many cornfields. 

Ardabil, as already said, was the capital city of Adharbayjan 
in the 4th (loth) century. It is described by Istakhri as walled, 
and measuring two-thirds of a league across every way; the 
houses were of burnt brick and clay, and at that time troops were 
kept here in garrison. Its dependencies were extremely fertile, 
and the Ardabil honey was famous. Mulcaddasi speaks of the 
fortress, and the markets of Ardabil were in four cross-streets, 
with the Friday Mosque standing at the intersection point. Out- 
side the town was an extensive suburb. In 617 (1220) Ardabil 
was sacked by the Mongols and left a ruin ; but just before this, 
when Yakftt was here, it was a most populous city. Ardabil had 
been known anciently by the Persian name of Badhan Firtiz. 
When Mustawfi wrote in the 8th (i4th) century, though no 
longer the chief town of Adharbayjan, it had recovered much of 
its former splendour; and in the loth (i6th) century, as already 
stated, it became for a time the capital of the whole of Persia 
under the newly founded dynasty of the Safavids, before they 
removed, first to Tabriz and afterwards to Isfahan. 


Ahar which lies 150 miles west of Ardabll, on the Ahar river, 
is named in the lists of the earlier Arab geographers, and described 
by Yaktit as a well-built city, to the north of which lay Mount 
Sarahand. It was surrounded by many small towns standing on 
the hill-slopes, the names of which are recorded by both Yaktit 
and Mustawf i, but these are difficult now to recognise or identify. 
The surrounding district was known as Pishkin (at the present 
day Mishkin), from the name of the ruling family who flourished 
here in the 8th (i4th) century. The town of Pishkin lay one 
march from Ahar, and originally had been known as Varavi. 
The river Andarab, just above where the Ahar river joined it, 
Mustawfi says, was crossed by a fine bridge that had been built 
by <Ali Shah, the Wazir of Ghazan Khan the Mongol 1 . 

The Safid Rud, or White River, with its many affluents, drained 
all the south-eastern part of Adharbayjan. Its main stream for 
most of its length formed the frontier dividing Adharbayjan 
from the Jibal province, and the river finally flowed out to the 
Caspian Sea through the province of Gilan. Istakhri and other 
Arab writers give the name as the Sabid-rildh. Mustawfi says 
that in his time it was known to the Mongols as the Hftlan 
Mulan (more exactly Ulan Moren), which in Mongolian means 
* Red River '; and at the present day part of the Safid Rud is known 
as Kizil Uzen, which in Turkish also signifies * Red Stream.' 
Mustawfi writes that the Safid Rfid rose in the highlands of 
Kurdistan, in a mountain called Panj Angitsht (in Persian) or 
Besh Parmak (in Turkish), and both names mean 'the Five 
Fingers.' Flowing north the Safid Rtid first received the Zanjan 
river on its right bank, coming from the city of that name, which 
will be described in a later chapter ; then on its left bank there 
flowed in the Miyanij river, formed by the confluence of many 
streams coming down from the west. North of Miyanij the 
Safid Rtid turned west, receiving on its left bank the united 
streams of the Sanjidah and Gadiv rivers coming down from 
Khalkhal to the south of Ardabil, and next the Shal river from 
the Shah Rtld district of Khalkhal. Below this on its right bank, 
and coming from the Jibal province (as will be described in 

1 Ut. 181. I. II. 237, 238, 240, 266. Muk. 374, 377. Yak. i. 197, 367, 
409, 461; iv. 918. Mst. 156, 157, 204, 205, 217. 


Chapter XV), the Tarum river joins the Safld Rud, and next the 
river Shah Rud (not to be confused with the district of Shah Rud 
just named) coming from the country of the Assassins, and then 
finally, after piercing the mountain barrier, the Safid Rud reaches 
the Caspian Sea at Kawtam in the province of Gilan. 

The Miyanij river, as already said, was the most important 
left bank affluent of the Saf id Rud. It came from the west, rising 
in the country south of t)jan (see p. 163), and in the Garm Rud 
district received on its left bank the waters of the Garm Rud 
(Hot River), a stream which rose in the hills to the south of 
Sarav. Below the town of Miyanij the main stream receives on 
its right bank the waters of the Hasht Rud, ' the Eight Streams/ 
which have their sources in the hills to the east of Maraghah ; 
and, in the time of Mustawfi, where the Hasht Rud joined the 
Miyanij river, there spanned it a great masonry bridge of thirty- 
two arches. 

The town of Miyanij or Miyanah, * the Middle Place/ which 
stands at the junction of all these streams, was an important 
centre from the earliest times. Ibn Hawkal writes of it as very 
populous in the 4th (roth) century, and its district in later times 
known under the name of the Garm Rftd produced great quantities 
of fruit. Mukaddasi, who gives the modern form of the name 
Miyanah, praises- its store of goods, and Yakut, who had visited 
it in the 6th (i2th) century, extols its situation. In the following 
century, when Mustawfi wrote, it had sunk to the size of a large 
village, but was still an important stage on the road system 
inaugurated by the Mongols. The climate was hot, and insect 
pests were numerous (the Miyanah bug at the present day is a 
terror to travellers), but the Garm Rud district comprised over 
a hundred fertile villages, and much corn was grown. 

The three rivers called Sanjidah, Gadiv (or Kadpil, in the 
Jahan Nurna), and Shal, joined the Safid Rud from the north, 
coming down from the Khalkhal district. Khalkhal was also 
the name of the chief town of this district, the position 
of which is given in the Itinerary as 12 leagues south of 
Ardabil. Firflzabad, situated at the summit of the pass, where 
there was a boiling spring bubbling up in the midst of the snow- 
clad peaks, according to Mustawfi had in former times been the 


residence of the governor, but when it fell into ruin Khalkhal 
city took its place. The exact position of Flrdzabad, however, 
cannot now be fixed. The small towns of Kalur and Shal, which 
are still to be found on the map, were of the-Shah Rud district, and 
lay on the Shal river (now called the Lesser Shah Rud) which rose 
in the Shal hills. Mustawfi mentions a number of other places 
in Khalkhal, the names of which, however, cannot now be 
identified 1 . 

The few products of Adharbayjan will be described at the end 
of the next chapter ; and the summary of the high roads through 
this province must be deferred to the conclusion of Chapter XV, 
after describing the Jibal province, for these roads all start from 
various points on the great Khurasan road which traverses the 
latter province. 

1 1st. 189. I. H. 246, 253. Muk. 378. Yak. i. 239; iv. 710. Mst. 156, 
158, 198, 215, 218. J. N. 384, 388. 



The Gllans. Daylam and the Talish districts. Barvan, Dulab, and Khashm. 
Lahtjan, Rasht, and other towns of Gilan. The district of Mughan. 
Bajarvan and Barzand. Mahmftdabad. Warthan. The province of 
Arran. Bardha'ah. Baylakan. Ganjah and Shamkur. The rivers Kur 
and Aras. The province of Shirvan. Shamakhf. Bakuyah and Bab-al- 
Abwab. The province of Gurjistan, or Georgia. Tiflis and Kars. The 
province of Armenia. Dabil or Duwin. The lake of Van. Akhlat, 
Arjish, Van, and Bitlis. Products of the northern provinces. 

The Safid Rud, as described in the last chapter, after traversing 

the chain of the Alburz mountains by a tortuous course, flows 

into the Caspian Sea at the western end of its southern shore, 

and here forms a delta with marshlands of some breadth backed 

by the mountain chain This delta of the Safid Rud, with the 

great amphitheatre of forest-clad foot-hills surrounding it on the 

south and west, is the small province of Gilan, which the Arabs 

called Jil or Jilan, and which comprised three very different 

districts 1 . 

The alluvial delta lands are those more especially called Jfl 
or Jilan by the Arab geographers, who when referring to the 
whole province often give the name in the plural form, Jilanat, 
* the Gilans,' which may then be taken to include the mountain 
districts. To the south and west, the mountain range bordering 
on the districts of Taliban and Jarum in the Jibal province, was 
the Daylam country, generally also given in the plural form as 
Ad-Daylaman; and this country became famous in history as 
the original home of the Buyids, or Daylamites, whose chiefs 
were masters of Baghdad, and of the Caliphate for the most part, 

1 For Gtlan see Map v, at the beginning of the following chapter. 


during the 4th (loth) century. The narrow strip of shore and 
mountain slope, running north from the south-west corner of the 
Caspian, and facing east over that sea, is the T&lish country, 
a name which Yafcftt gives under the plural form T&lishan or 
Tttshan. To the east, on the Tabaristin frontier, was the 
mountain range of Ar-Rfibanj, beyond which came the hill 
district belonging to the great Karin family, whose chiefs had 
from time immemorial been rulers of these fastnesses, as will be 
further mentioned in Chapter XXVI. 

When Mufcaddasl wrote in the 4th (loth) century, and the 
Buyid supremacy was at its height, all Gilan, together with the 
mountain provinces to the eastward and along the shore of 
the Caspian, namely, Tabaristdn, Jurjin, and Kflmis, were in- 
cluded in the province of Daylam, but in later times these 
eastern provinces came to be counted as separate. Afterwards 
the name of Daylam itself for the most part fell out of use, 
and the lowlands of the Safid Rfld delta gave their name to the 
whole o the adjacent district, which was commonly known as 
the Jilin province. More exactly, however, Jilan was the coast 
district, while Daylam was the mountain region overhanging it, 
and at different times either of these names in turn might be 
taken commonly to include the whole province lying round the 
south-western corner of the Caspian Sea 1 * 

The chief city of Daylam is said to have been called Rudhbar, 
but its situation is unknown. Mufeaddasf on the other hand says 
the capital was known as Barvan, but unfortunately it no longer 
exists and none of the Itineraries give its exact position. Barvin, 
Mu^addasf adds, had neither good houses nor good markets, and 
possessed no Friday Mosque. Where the governor resided was 
called the Shahiastin, and the merchants living here were wealthy, 
so that it was a flourishing town. Of Jilan, Mukaddast gives 
DMb as the chief town, which he describes as a fine place, its 
houses being well built of stone; the market was excellent, and a 
Friday Mosque stood in it. According to Abu-1-Fidi Dft&b is 

i 1st 204, *05, ao6. I. H. 267, a68. Muk. 3^3. Yak. i. 174, 81*; 
ii. 179, 711; iii. 571. Mst. 147, 191. A. F. 4*6- The name of Talish is 
written with either the soft /, or the hard Arabic /; and in the plural as 
Tllishin or Tflshin, also Tawalish in Mustawft. 


the same as Kaskar, and in the only Itinerary of this country 
that has come down to us, Mukaddasf gives Dfll&b as lying four 
marches from Baylaman, a small town like a farmstead accord- 
ing to Abu-1-Fidi, which appears to have been one of the 
chief places in the Tdlish country. Two marches from the 
Safid Rud, and four from Baylaman, was the town of Khashm, 
the residence of the Alid chief (the Da'i or Missioner), who in 
the latter half of the 3rd (9th) century ruled these provinces as 
an independent (heretical) sovereign, who did not acknowledge 
the Caliph. Mukaddasi describes Khashm as having a fine 
market and a Friday Mosque near the chiefs palace. A river 
ran through the town, which was crossed by a remarkable bridge 
of boats. The identification and situation of all these early 
towns is exceedingly uncertain 1 . 

In the 8th (i4th) century the chief towns of Gtlan, according 
to Mustawfi, were Lahijan and Fftmin. .Abu-1-Fida also mentions 
LaHijan, which lies to the eastward of the mouth of the Safid Rud. 
It was then a fair-sized town ; much silk was manufactured here 
and the district grew rice and corn, also oranges and shaddocks 
with other fruits of a hot region. Kawtam or Ktitam, nearer the 
mouth of the Safid Rud, was the harbour for ships coming from 
other parts of the Caspian; it is mentioned by YakQt and Abu-1-Fida, 
having been a place of much commerce in the 8th (i4th) century, 
and the town lay one day's march from the actual shore of the 
Caspian. Ftimin with its district lies further inland, and to the 
west of the Safid Rud. It is counted as the chief town of the 
mountain region of Dayiam, and Mustawfi writes of it as a large 
place standing in a fertile district growing much corn and rice. 
Silk was also produced and manufactured here. 

Mustawfi is one of the earliest authorities to describe Rasht, 
now the capital of Gilan, but none of the Arab geographers appear 
even to name it. He notices its warm damp climate, cotton and 
silk being both largely produced for export, and the place 
was already in his time of some size and importance. To the 
westward of Rasht extends, at the present day, the district of 

1 1st. 204, 205. Muk. 355, 360, 373. A. F. 429 (where, in error, Bay- 
laman is printed Bimdn). Yak. 11. 831. For the Da*i dynasty of Alids 
(Hasanids), see G. Melgunof, Das sudlichc Uftrdes Caspischcn Metres, p. 53. 


Tulim, and Mustawfi gives this as the name of an important town 
in the 8th (i3th) century. According to Abu-1-Fida it was the 
chief city of the Jilan or lowlands ; its districts were very fertile, 
corn, cotton, rice, oranges, shaddocks and lemons being grown 
for export. Shaft, or Shaftah, is the name of a town mentioned 
in similar terms by Mustawfi, though at present only the Shaft 
district exists, which lies to the southward of Rasht. Finally, as 
of Gilan, Mustawfi mentions the little town of Isfahbad, which 
Yakut spells Isfahbudhan, adding that it stood two miles distant 
from the coast of the Caspian, but not otherwise indicating 
its position ; corn, rice, and a little fruit were grown here, and in 
the neighbouring district were near a hundred villages. The 
name of the township came from the Isfahbads or Ispahbids, 
who had been the semi-independent kings of this country under 
the Sassanians, and who, nominally converted to Islam, continued 
to rule as princes in Tabaristan under the earlier Caliphs 1 . 


Miighan, Mughkan, or Mukan 2 is the name of the great 
swampy plain which stretcher from the base of Mount Sablan to 
the east coast of the Caspian Sea, lying south of the mouth of the 
river Aras, and north of the mountains of Tahsh. It was some- 
times counted as part of the Adharbayjan province, but more 
often formed a separate district. 

The capital of Mughan in the 4th (roth) century was a city of 
the same name, the position of which it is difficult to fix. Mukad- 
dasi speaks of Mukan city as lying on two rivers, with gardens 
all round, and as almost of the size of Tabriz. From his de- 
scription it is not improbable that this Mtikan city was identical 
with Bajarvan, which Mustawfi names as the older capital of the 
district, and which in his day had already gone to ruin. The 
position of Bajarvan he gives in his Itineraries as four leagues north 
of Barzand, a name which is still found on the map. Further, 
Moslem tradition connected Bajarvan with the Fountain of Life, 
said to have been discovered near here by the prophet Khidr,- 

1 Yak. i. 298; iv. 316. A. F. 426, 429. Mst. 191, 192. J. N. 343, 344. 

2 For MCighan and the north-west frontier provinces see Map in, p. 87. 


otherwise Elias. As already stated, to the south of Bajarvin lay 
Barzand, which is described as a great city by Ibn Hawkal, and 
Mukaddasi praises its markets, where goods from all the surround- 
ing regions were collected for exportation, for this was the commer- 
cial centre of the district. Mustawfi mentions both Bajarvn and 
Barzand as sunk to be mere villages in his time ; the climate in 
the surrounding districts was hot, and much corn was grown 1 . 

In the Milkan plain Mustawfi names the three towns of Pilsuvar, 
Mahmtidabad, and Hamshahrah. Pilsuvar, which stood on a 
stream coming down from Bajarvan, lay at a distance of eight 
leagues from the latter place, and it is said to have been so called 
after the Amir Pil-Suwar sent here by the Buyids, whose name 
signified 'great rider or soldier/ Mahmiidabad in the plain of 
Gavbari, near the Caspian, was twelve leagues beyond Pilsuvar, 
and Mustawfi adds that it had been built by Ghazan 
Khan the Mongol. The neighbouring Hamshahrah was two 
leagues from the coast, and originally had been known as Abra- 
shahr, or Bftshahrah, having been founded, says Mustawfi, by 
Farhad, son of Gtidarz, * whom they identify with Nebuchadnezzar.' 
To the north of Bajarvan, in earlier times, was Balkhab, de- 
scribed as a populous village with guard-houses and hostelries for 
travellers ; and beyond this stage on the northern high road, and 
upon the south bank of the Aras, was Warthan, at the crossing 
into the Arran country. In the 4th (loth) century Warthan was 
a walled city with markets and much merchandise, having a 
suburb without its gates. The place was very populous, standing 
in a plain two leagues from the river bank, and its Friday Mosque 
was in the suburb; further, tradition averred that Warthan had 
been built by order of Zubaydah, wife of Hartin-ar-Rashid a . 


The provinces of Arran, Shirvan, Georgia and Armenia, which 
for the most part lay north of the river Araxes, were hardly 
counted among the lands of Islam, and hence are but perfunctorily 
described by the Arab geographers. From early days Moslems 

1 I. Hi 251. Muk. 376, 378. Yak. i. 454, 562; iv. 686. Mst. 159, 160, 
198. J. N. 392. 

2 I. H. 251. Muk. 376. Yak. iv. 919. Mst. 160, 198. J. N. 393. 


lived here, and governors were appointed at various times by the 
Caliphs, but the majority of the population continued to be 
Christian until near the close of the middle-ages. Hence it was 
not till the resettlement subsequent to the Mongol invasion, and 
more especially after the many campaigns which Timtir waged in 
Georgia at the close of the 8th (i4th) century, when these lands 
came to be permanently settled by the Turks, that Islam became 
the dominant faith. 

The province of Arrin is included in the great triangle of land 
lying to the west of the junction point of the rivers Cyrus and 
Araxes the Kur and the Aras of the Arabs and it is thus 
4 between the two rivers ' (Bayn-an-Nahrayn) as Mustawfi calls it. 
The earlier Arab geographers write the name Al-Ran (pronounced 
Ar-Rdn) to give it the appearance of an Arabic word, and the 
capital town in the 4th (loth) century was Bardha'ah, the 
ruins of which still exist. Bardha'ah, later written Barda', Ibn 
Hawkal describes in the 4th (loth) century as measuring a league 
across, and it was by far the largest city of these parts. It was 
built in the form of a square, was protected by a fortress, and 
stood about three leagues from the Kur river, on the bank 
of its affluent the Tharthtir. Near by the town, in the Kur, was 
caught the fish called Sarmahi (otherwise Shflr-mahi in Persian, 
salt-fish\ which after being salted was exported to all neighbouring 
towns. This fish was also found in the Aras river near Warthan. 
The fertile district round Bardha'ah was known by the name of 
Al-Andarab, where villages with continuous gardens and orchards, 
a day's journey across in every direction, produced abundant 
fruits, especially chestnuts, filberts, and figs. In these parts also 
the silkworm was reared. 

A great market was held every Sunday outside Bardha'ah at 
the Bab-al-Akrad, ' the gate of the Kurds ' ; and the market-place 
stretched a league in length. It was called locally Al-Kurki (from 
the Greek Kuriakos, * the Lord's day '), and Sunday, we are told, 
was here commonly known as the day of the Kurki. Bardha'ah 
further had a fine Friday Mosque, the roof of which was supported 
on wooden pillars, its walls being of burnt brick covered with 
stucco. Also there were many hammams, or hot-baths ; and in 
Omayyad times the Treasury of the province was kept at 


Bardhi'ah. In the ;th (i3th) century, when Yiktit wrote, 
Bardhi'ah had already fallen to ruin, though Mustawfi in the 
following century still refers to it as a considerable town on the 
river Tharthftr. At the crossing of the Kur, probably below the 
junction of the Tharthtir, and 18 leagues, counted as a day's 
march, on the direct road from Bardha'ah to Shamakhi in Shirvan, 
was the town of Barzanj, much frequented by merchants, where 
goods were stored for import and export 1 . 

The city of Baylakan, known in Armenian as Phaidagaran, 
became the capita] of Arran after the decay of Bardha'ah. Though 
all traces of the town have now apparently disappeared, its 
approximate position is clearly given by the Arab itineraries. 
Baylakan lay 14 leagues south of Bardha'ah and seven or nine 
leagues north of the Aras on the road up - from Barzand, and it 
still existed as a great place in the 9th (isth) century. Ibn 
Hawkal in the 4th (loth) century describes it as a fine city, 
watered by streams with many mills, and surrounded by gardens 
and orchards. It was celebrated for a particular kind of syrup 
made here. In the year 617 (1220) Baylakan was stormed by 
the Mongols, who, finding no stones in the surrounding plain for 
their mangonels, cut down the plane trees, sawed the trunks into 
blocks, and shot these against the walls and houses of the city, 
which was subsequently plundered and burnt. The population, 
however, after a time returned, rebuilt their houses, and the place 
regained its former prosperity. At the close of the 8th (i4th) 
century it was besieged and taken by TimOr, who afterwards 
caused it to be rebuilt, and a canal was dug from the river Aras, 
six leagues in length and 15 ells in width, by which the new 
town was well supplied with water. This canal was known as the 
Barlasf, from the Barlas tribe, from which Timtir was sprung. 

Two other cities of Arran are also mentioned, both of which 
lie to the north-west of Bardha'ah, on the. road to Tiflis. The 
first of these is Ganjah (now better known as Elizabetpol), which 
the Arab geographers write Janzah, and its river is called by 
Kazwini the Kirdfcas. Further to the north-west again lay 
Shamkiir, the ruins of which still exist, and this town in the 3rd 

1 1st. 182, i3, 187, 188. I. H. 240, 241, H4, *5- Muk. 374, 375. 
Yak. i. 558, 562. Mst. 160. Kaz. 11. 344. 


(9th) century was known as Mutawakkiliyah, from having been 
rebuilt by orders of the Caliph Mutawakkil in the year 240 (854)*. 
The two rivers bounding the province of Arran, which the 
Greeks knew as the Araxes and the Cyrus, are called by the Arabs 
the Nahr-ar-Rass (or Aras) and the Nahr-al-Kurr (or Kur). The 
Aras rises in the Kllikala country of western Armenia, and after 
passing along the northern frontiers of Adharbayjan joins the river 
Kur (according to Mustawfi) in the Karabagh country in the eastern 
part of Arran. The river Kur rises in the mountains west of 
Tiflis in Georgia, namely, in the country of the Khazars, which 
comprised the districts of Abkhas and Allan. Passing Tiflis the 
Kur flows down to Shamkdr, and here, according to Mustawfi, 
sends off a branch, or canal, which ends in the great Shamkur 
swamp or lake. The Kur, after being joined by the Aras river 
some distance below Bardha'ah, flows out to the Caspian in the 
Gushtasfi district f . 

Beyond the Kur river, and along the Caspian where the 
Caucasus range sinks to the sea, is the Shirvan province, of which 
the capital was Ash-Shamakhiyah, now called Shamakhi or 
Shamakha. In the 4th (loth) century Mukaddasi describes this 
as a stone-built town, at the foot of the mountains, surrounded by 
gardens Its governor, the ruler of the province, was called the 
Shirvan Shah. Much corn was grown here, and in the neighbour- 
hood, according to Moslem tradition as reported by Mustawfi, was 
to be seen both the Rock of Moses (referred to in the Kuran, 
xvni. 62) and the site of the Fountain of Life, already mentioned 
as also localised in BajarvAn. Two other towns of the Shirvan 

1 No trace of the ruins of Baylakan appear on the Russian ordnance map. 
I. K. 122. Kud 213. 1st. 187, 189. 1. II. 244, 251 Muk. 376. Yak. i. 
797; in. 322. Kaz. n. 345, 351. A. V. li. 543, 545. Mst. 160. 

* In the Juhan Numa (396, 397) a long description of both the Am* and 
the Kur, with their various alrluents, is given. This serves to couecl Mustawfi, 
aUo to elucidate the campaigns of '1 imiir in Geoigia, though man) of the name> 
of town* cannot now be identified. ls>t. 189. I. 11. 246. Muk. 37^. Kaz. 
i. 184, u. 331. Mi>t. 213, 215. 


province are mentioned by Mukaddasi and other early authorities, 
the sites of which have not been fixed, namely Shabaran, chiefly 
inhabited by Christians, which is said to have stood 20 leagues 
distant from Darband, and the city of Shirvan, which lay in the 
plain, having a Friday Mosque in its market-place. The latter 
was three days' march from the capital Shamakhi on the road to 

The northernmost place in Shirvan was Bab-al-Abwab> 'the 
Gate of Gates,' as the Arabs called Darband, the famous port on. 
the Caspian. Ibn Hawkal says that in the 4th (loth) century the 
town was larger than Ardabil, then the capital of Adharbayjan. 
The harbour was protected by two moles, stretching out into the 
sea, and at their extremity was a water-gate, closed by chains, so 
that no ship could go out or in except by permission. These 
moles were built of blocks of stone fastened by lead joints. 
A stone wall enclosed the town, and it had two gates, the 
Great" (late and the Little Gate, besides the Water Gate aforesaid ; 
and the walls had towers. The linen stuffs which were made in 
1 )arband were largely exported, also saffron from the neighbouring 

There \*as a fine mosque in the market-place of Bab-al-Abwab, 
which was here the frontier town of Islam, for the place in early 
days was surrounded by infidel folk. Yakut gives a long account 
of the various tribes inhabiting the mountains and highlands of 
the Caucasus to the westward, among which he says that seventy 
different languages were spoken, and no man could understand that 
of his neighbour. Of these the Khazars, from whom the Caspian 
Sea, generally called the Bahr-al-Khazar, took its name, were the 
most important. Yaktit also describes the great wall which ran 
along the hill-crests westward from Darband, built to keep out 
the Barbarians, which had been erected, it was said, by King 
Anushirvan of Persia in the sixth century A. u. The river Samftr, 
which flows into the Caspian a short distance to the south of 
Darband, is described by Mukaddasi under the name of the Nahr- 
al-Malik, 'the King's River/ otherwise the Nahr-as-SamQr, and 
there was a bridge of boats (Jisr) across it, some 20 leagues from 
Darband, on the road coming up from Shamakhi. 

The port of Bakilh, or Baktiyah (modern BakA), lies south of 


Darband, and Istakhri refers to its well-known naphtha springs. 
Yakut and others describe these in detail, the produce was worth a 
thousand dirhams (40) a day ; the naphtha flowed continuously, 
and all the ground was on fire round and about. Mustawfi speaks 
of the castle of Bikftyah, which being high placed above the 
town kept it in shadow at midday. To the south of Bakfth was 
the Gushtasfi district, near the mouth of the Kur river, from 
which its lands were watered by a canal, much corn and cotton 
being grown here. Lastly, in the mountains near Darband was 
the fortress of Kabalah, where according to Mukaddasi there was 
a mosque on a hill. Kabalah is more than once mentioned in the 
campaigns of Timur, Mustawfi adding that both silk and corn are 
of its produce 1 . 


Gurjistan, which we call Georgia, and Abkhas, otherwise 
Abkhasia, were lands that only became Moslem districts after 
the campaign of Timur in these parts, at the close of the 8th 
(i4th) century. Tiflis, the capital of Gurjistan, on the upper 
waters of the river Kur, was, however, well known to the geo- 
graphers of the 4th (loth) century. Ibn Hawkal describes it as 
possessing double walls, strongly fortified, with three gates. There 
were natural hot-baths in Tiflis where hot springs gushed out in 
the river bed, and the surrounding country was extremely fertile. 
The town lay on both banks of the. Kur, and a bridge of boats, 
Mukaddasi writes, connected the two quarters. 

The neighbouring district of Abkhas, or Abkhaz, was according 
to Mukaddasi to be counted as of the Jabal-al-Kabk, the Caucasus. 
Here stood the village of Jonah, Kariyat Yitnis, inhabited by 
Moslems, and round this were the tribes of the Gurj (( Georgians), 
Allan, and others. Many rivers flowed down from the mountain 
of Alburz, according to Mustawfi, who further mentions Kars as 
one of the chief towns of Georgia*. 

1 1st. 184, 189, 190. I. II. 241, 251. Muk. 376, 379, 381. Yak. i. 437, 
477; in. 225, 282, 317; iv. 32. Mst. 159161. Ka/. ii. 389. A. V. i. 406. 

2 1st. 185. I. H. 242. Muk. 375377. MNt. i6r, 202. Yak. i. 78, 
350, 857. Mustawft always writes ofy/&$/ Alhnrz, ' the Alburz mountain^' in 




Great Armenia (spelt Armtniyah, in Arabic) was divided into 
Inner and Outer, and though mostly inhabited by Christians, was 
brought under Moslem rule at an early period. The country lay 
comprised within the great knot of mountains lying between the 
lake of Van and the Gukchah lake, and from these highlands the 
Aras river and the two branches of the Euphrates took their 

The capital of Moslem Armenia in early times was Dabil, 
otherwise called Duwin or Tovin, now marked by a small village 
to the south of Erivan, near the Aras river. In the 4th (loth) 
century Dabil was a larger town than Ard^bil, and was the chief 
place in Inner Armenia. It was a walled town, having three 
gates, and a Friday Mosque stood here side by side with the 
church. Mount Ararat, with its double peak, towered above 
Dabfl to the south, across the Araxes. As already said (p. 94) 
Moslem tradition identified Jabal Jtidi, in Upper Mesopotamia, 
as the mount on whose summit the Ark of Noah had come to 
rest. Ararat, in Armenia, they called Jabal-al-Harith (of 'the 
Labourer' or 'Ploughman/ or else Al-Harith was taken as the 
proper name of a pre-Islamic Arab who had settled in these parts). 
The lesser peak of Ararat was called Al-Huwayrith, * Little Hi- 
rith,' and Istakhri says that both summits were always covered 
with snow, and they were not to be scaled by reason of their 
great heigh't and steepness. The people of Dabfl cut firewood on 
their slopes, and hunted the abundant game here, and Muk- 
addas! adds that a thousand hamlets were situated among the 
spurs flanking the great mountain. The wool stuffs of Dabil, 
dyed red with the kirm'iz insect, were famous. In the 4th (loth) 
century Mukaddasi describes Dabil as peopled by Kurds, and the 
Christians, he says, had the upper hand. Outside the town was 

the plural, meaning the range; but he uses the term vaguely, and only one part 
of these corresponded with the Caucasus chain.* At the present day Alburz, 
generally pronounced Elburz, or Elbruz, is the name of the highest mountain 
peak of the Caucasus; and in Persia Alburz is now used to designate the 
great range of mountains (of which Damivand is the highest peak) lying to the 
north of Tihran. 


a great suburb surrounded by gardens. Ani, the older capital of 
Christian Armenia, which was taken and sacked in 456 (1064) by 
Alp Arslin the Saljtik, is mentioned by Mustawfi as a town in 
the mountains where much fruit was grown. At some distance to 
the north-east of Dabil lies the sweet-water lake, called Gukchah 
Tangiz (the Blue l^ike) by 'Alt of Yazd ; tnis, however, does 
not appear to be named by any earlier Moslem authority than 
Mustawfi 1 . 

The lake of Van, or of Arjish as it is called by the earlier 
authorities, was naturally the best known of the Armenian lakes, 
having on its shores the cities of Akhlat, Arjish, Van, and Vastan. 
Istakhri describes it as twenty leagues in length, and it was cele- 
brated for the fish called tirrikh (of the herring kind and still 
caught here in immense numbers) which after being salted was in 
the yth (rjth) century exported to Mesopotamia, and even to the 
furthest parts of Khurasan, for Yaktit says he bought some of this 
salt fish in Balkh. The waters of the lake were salt and bitter. 
Akhlat, or Khilat, at the western end of the lake, was one of the 
largest cities of Armenia. Mustawfi describes it as standing in a 
plain, surrounded by gardens, and dominated by a fortress. The 
Friday Mosque stood in the market-place. The cold here was 
severe in winter, but the town was very populous ; it stood on the 
banks of a small stream across which was a bridge; and Mustawfi 
praises the gardens of the neighbouring district. Above Akhlat 
was the great mountain called Ktih Sipan, visible, says Mustawfi, 
fifty leagues away, and its summit was always snow-clad. 

Arjish, a town on the northern shore of the lake, to which 
it frequently gave its name, according to Mustawfi, had been 
strongly fortified by the Wazir <Ali Shah by order of Ghizin 
Khan in the 8th (i4th) century, and the country round was 
famous for its corn lands. Further to the east was the town of 
Barkiri, or Bahargiri, near Band-i-Mahi (the Fish Dam), on the 
road from Arjish to Khuwi (Khoi) in Adharbayjan, and it is 
described by Mustawfi as having a strong castle crowning a hill. 
Its river came down from the Alatak pastures, where the li-Khan, 
Arghiin, had built his great summer palace in the midst of 

1 1st. 188, 191. I. H. 244. Milk. 374 377, 3&>- Vak. ii. 183, 549. 
Mst. 126, 161, 164. A. V. i. 414, 415; ii. 378. Ibn-al-Athir, x. 95. 


carefully preserved hunting grounds. The city of V&n, which at 
the present day gives its name to the lake, stands near its eastern 
shore ; but we have no description of it. The fortress of Vast&m 
or Vastan lies on the south shore and is spoken of by Mustawft, 
in the 8th (i4th) century, as having a large town near it. 
Finally near the south-western corner of the lake lies Badlis 
(Bitlis), described by Mukaddasi as situated in a deep gorge where 
two streams met. A castle built of stone protected the town, and 
according to Yaktit the apples grown in its district were so ex- 
cellent as to be largely exported to all neighbouring lands 1 . 

The products of these northern provinces were few, and the 
manufactures consisted chiefly of stuffs dyed red with the kirmiz, 
an insect that fed on the oak trees growing throughout Adharbdy- 
jn, and gave its name to the ' cramoisie ' silks, being the origin of 
our words * crimson* and 'carmine.' Ibn IJawkal and Mukad- 
dasi both describe the kirmiz. The former says it was a worm 
like the silkworm, spinning for itself a cocoon exactly like the 
silkworm's cocoon ; Mukaddasi, on the other hand, writes that 
the kirmiz insect, or worm, was found on the earth, and that the 
women went out to gather it up, and afterwards dried it in an 
oven on brass pans. Silk, goats-hair stuffs, linen, and wool were 
dyed with it, and the colour was famous in all lands. Armenia in 
general was also noted for its girdles, ribbed coverlets, carpets, 
rugs, cushions and veils; these commodities with figs, walnuts, 
and the salted tirrikh fish from lake Van already noticed, were 
the chief exports, and might all be found in great store at Dabil. 
The town of Bardha'ah was also celebrated for the silk produced 
in its neighbourhood, and from the countryside, as from Bab-al- 
Abwab, great numbers of mules were obtained for export ; while 
lastly from the latter port, otherwise called Darband, came slaves 
brought thither from out of the northern lands*. 

1 1st. 188, 190. I. H. 245, 248. Muk. 377. Yak. i. 526; ii. 457. Kaz. 
ii. 352. Mst. 164, 165, 205, 226. J. N. 411, 412. A. Y. i. 685, 688.' 
* I. IT. 244. Muk. 380, 381. 



The province of Al-Jibal, or 'Irak 'Ajam, with its four districts. Kirmasfn 
or Kirmanshahan. Bisutun and its sculptures. Kanguvar. Dinavar. 
Shahrazur. Hulwan. The great Khurasan road. Kirind. Kurdistan 
under the Saljuks. Bahar. Jamjamal. Alani and Altshtar. Hamadan 
and its districts. Darguzin. Kharakanayn and the northern Avah. 
Nihavand. Karaj of Rudravar, and Karaj of Abu-Dulaf. Farahan. 

The broad mountain region, which the Greeks called Media, 
stretching across from the Mesopotamia!! plains on the west to 
the great desert of Persia on the east, was known to the Arab 
geographers as the province of Al-Jibal, 'the Mountains/ This 
name afterwards fell out of use, and during the 6th (i2th) century 
under the later Saljuks, the province came by a misnomer to be 
called 'Irak 'Ajami, which means Persian 'Irak, being so named to 
distinguish it from the older 4 Ir4fc of the Arabs, which was Lower 
Mesopotamia 1 . 

How this change in the name came about would appear to 
have been as follows. Al-'Irak, as already said (Chapter II, p. 25, 
note), besides being the Moslem denomination for the lower half 
of Mesopotamia, was commonly, but in the dual form, applied 

1 'Ajam or 'Ajami is the name originally applied by the Arabs to a 
4 foreigner, 1 or non-Arab, as the Greeks used the term Barbarian. Since the 
Persians were the first foreigners with whom the Arabs came into contact 
'Ajam and 4 Ajami soon became specialised to mean 'the Persian foreigner,' 
and as the equivalent of * Persian ' is in use at the present time. Jib&l \* in 
Arabic the plural of Jabal^ ' a hill.' Abu-l-Fida* (p. 408) has the double name ; 
he writes * Bilad-al-Jnbal (Provinces of the Mountain) which is called by the 
people 'Irak-al-'Ajam (Persian 'Irak).' 

i86 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

by the Arabs to the two chief provincial cities, Ktifah and Basrah, 
which hence were known as Al-'Mkayn meaning 'the Two 
(capitals of) *Mk.' This was the older and classical usage ; but 
in the latter part of the 5th (nth) century the Saljdks had come 
to rule over all western Persia, having their capital at Hamadan, 
and they also governed Mesopotamia, where the Abbasid Caliph 
resided. From him they received the title of Sultin of the Two 
Irafcs, which seemed fitting to their case, and the second of the 
two *Iraks soon came to be understood as meaning the province 
of Jibal, where the Saljuk prince more especially resided, which 
thus by the vulgar came to be known for distinction as Persian 
'Irak. This is the account of the matter given by Yaktit, who 
states that the Persians in his day, but incorrectly and as a modern 
usage, called the province Persian 'Irdk. - Yafcflt himself uses 
the older name of Al- Jibal, for which his contemporary Kazvini, 
writing also in Arabic, gives the Persian equivalent of Kuhistan 
(the Mountain province). The name Jibal, however, apparently 
became completely obsolete after the Mongol conquest, and Mus- 
tawfi in the 8th (i4th) century nowhere uses it. He divides the 
older Jibal province into two parts, the smaller being Kurdistan 
on the west, the larger moiety Persian 'Irak on the east ; and the 
name of 'Irafc is still in use at the present day, for that part of 
the older Jibil province which lies south-west of Tihran is now 
locally known as the 'Irak district 1 . 

Four great cities Kirmf sin (later Kirmanshah), Hamadan, 
Ray, and Isfahan were from early days the chief towns of the 
four quarters of this province. In Buyid times, namely in the 
4th (xoth) century, according to Ibn Hawkal, the offices of the 
government were at Ray; at the close of the next century 
Hamadan became the capital under the Persian Saljftfcs; but at all 
times Isfahan would appear to have been the largest and generally 
the most flourishing city of the Jibal province. In the present 
work it will be found convenient to describe the province as 
divided into the dependencies of its four great cities, and to begin 
with the western quarter, that dependent on Kirmdnshdh, which 
since the days of the Saljflfcs has been commonly known as 
Kurdistan,* signifying the land of the Kurds. 
1 Yak. ii. 15. Kaz. ii. 228. Mst 141. 


The capital city of Kirmanshahan, a name generally curtailed 
to Kirminshih, was by the earlier Arabs known as Kirmlsfn 
(written also Kirmasin and Kirmishin). In the 4th (loth) 
century it is described by Ibn Hawkal as a pleasant town 
surrounded by trees, with running waters, where fruit was cheap 
and all commodities abundant. Mukaddasi, who is the first to 
mention the Persian name of Kirm&nshahan, adds that there was 
a Great Mosque in the market-place, and that 'Adud-ad-Dawlah 
the Buyid had built himself a fine palace here in the main street 
of the city. Kazvfni in the yth (13*) century speaks of Kirmfstn 
as standing close to Kirmanshahan, as though these were twin 
cities ; Yaktit, who gives both names, says little of the town, con- 
fining himself to a description of the sculptures and ruins on the 
neighbouring mountain of Bihistin. The Mongol invasion in the 
7th (isth) century effected the ruin of Kirminshih, which 
Mustawfi in the following century describes as reduced in his day 
to the size of a village, the name of which 'in books' was, he says, 
still written Kirmisin (since his time become obsolete), and he 
too is chiefly concerned with describing the Bihistan or Bisutftn 

These are on the side, and at the foot of the great mountain 
of black rocks, about a day's march to the east of Kirmanshih, 
near the Khurasan road, and they consist of remains dating from 
the Achaemenian kingg (5th century B.C.) and the Sassanians 
(yth century A.D.). They are described in the 4th (loth) century 
by Istakhr! and Ibn Hawkal, who write the name of the mountain 
Bihistan and Bisutftn, adding that the sculptures were to be found 
near the village of Sasaniyin, doubtless the same village which 
Mustawfi in the 8th (i4th) century called Vastim or Bastim and 
which is now known as Tak-i-Bust4n, * the Garden Arch. 1 Here 
the well-known sculpture of Darius receiving the tributary kings, 
with the trilingual cuneifor/n inscription, is referred to by Ibn 
ftawfcal, who describes it as being * the representation in stone of 
a school-house, with the master and the boys ; further (he adds) 
in the school-master's hand is an instrument like a strap wherewith 
to beat : also there be cauldrons as used in a kitchen sculptured 
in stone.' In regard to the Sassanian sculptures, added over a 
thousand years later, these are chiefly in and about a grotto, where 

1 88 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

there is a spring of water gushing out at the foot of the great 
mountain and, according to Ibn Hawkal, repeated by all later 
Persian authorities, they represent King Khusraw Parviz on his 
celebrated horse Shibdaz (or Shabdiz), while above him stands 
the beautiful Queen Shirin, her portrait adorning the roof of the 
grotto aforesaid. Somewhat defaced, these sculptures exist at the 
present day, and have been more than once figured and described. 
Yalc&t who quotes the travels of Ibn Muhalhal, 4th (roth) century, 
and Mustawfi, give in some detail the popular legends of their 
time. The story of Khusraw and Shirin, and of her lover the 
sculptor Farhad who in despair slew himself, will be found 
localised in many of the neighbouring places ; the incidents are 
well known, both from the Shah Namah of Firdtisi, and from 
Nizami's great poem (which Mustawfi quotes) called the * Loves 
of Khusraw and Shirin 1 .' 

Overhanging Kirmanshah to the north, and on the left hand 
of one travelling along the great Khurasan road, was the isolated 
hill called Sinn Sumayrah, 'Sumayrah's Tooth/ whence the 
northern road started leading to Dinavar and the Adharbayjan 
province. 'Sumayrah's Tooth' was so called from an Arab 
woman of that name, celebrated for her projecting teeth, and the 
Moslems gave the hill this nickname in jest, as they marched past 
it to the conquest of Nihavand. Eastward beyond Bisutun, on 
the great Khurasan road, lies the village of Sihnah, as mentioned 
by Istakhri, and still existing though not to be confused with the 
modern town of Sihnah to be spoken of later. Beyond Silinah 
village lies Kanguvar, which the Arabs called Kasr-al Lusus, * the 
Robbers' Castle,' from the evil ways of the inhabitants, who at the 
time of the first Moslem conquest stole all the baggage animals of 
the army sent against Nihavand. There was here, according to 
Ibn Rustah and others, a great arched building standing on 
a platform, and dating from the days of Khusraw Parviz, being 
constructed with columns and of mortared brickwork. The town 
of Kanguvar was of considerable size, and had a Friday Mosque 

1 I. k. 166. Ykb. 270. 1st. 195, 203. I. H. 256, 265, 266. Muk. 284, 
393. Ka/. ii. 290. Yak. iii. 250; iv. 69. Mst. 168, 203. J. N. 451. 
Bihistan is the older form. BfMitun, meaning * without pillars' in Persian, i.c. 
unsupported, is, probably the result of popular etymology. 


built by Mflnis the chamberlain of the Caliph Mufctadir. Yaktit 
asserts that the platform, where the Sassanian buildings stood, was 
20 ells above the ground level, and Mustawfi adds that the great 
stones for its construction had been brought from the mountain 
of Bfsutfln 1 . 

About 25 miles to the westward of Kanguvar are the ruins of 
Dinavar, which in the 4th (loth) century was the capital of the 
small independent dynasty named after Hasanawayh, or Hasantiyah, 
the Kurdish chief of the dominant tribe settled in these parts. At 
the time of the Moslem conquest of Persia Dinavar had received 
the name of Mah-al-Kitfah, 'because (as Ya'ktibi writes) its 
revenues were apportioned to the payment of the state pensions 
of the inhabitants of Kittah ' ; and Mah Kiifah for a time became 
the common name for the city and its surrounding territory. Ibn 
Hawkal in the 4th (loth) century describes Dinavar as two- thirds 
the size of Hamadan, and the population a* more urbane and 
better mannered than the Hamadan people. Mukaddasi adds 
that the markets were well built, the surrounding gardens being 
very fruitful. The Great Mosque, which had been built by 
Hasanawayh, stood in the market-place, and over the pulpit 
rose a fine dome that was ornamented with sculptures. Dinavar 
was still an inhabited town when Mustawfi wrote in the 8th (i4th) 
century ; the climate was temperate, water plentiful, corn and 
grapes being abundantly grown. The place probably fell to its 
present state of ruin after the conquest of Timtir, who according 
to *Ali of Yazd left some of his troops in garrison here. 

Probably in the neighbourhood of Dinavar, but the site 
appears to be as yet unknown, stood the great castle of Sarmaj, 
described by Yaktit as impregnable, being built of hewn stones 
by Hasanawayh, who died here in 369 (979), after a glorious 
reign, according to Ibn-al-Athir, of nearly fifty years. In the 
next century Sarmaj was taken after a four years' siege in 441 
(1049) by Tughril Beg the Saljftk, who, however, had to bring 
together an army of 100,000 men before he could force his 
brother Yunnal out of this almost impregnable stronghold' 2 . 

1 1st. 196. I. H. 256. I. R. 167. Muk. 393. Vak. in. 50, 169; iv. 120, 
381. The name of the village is spelt either Silmah or Sihnah. M*t. 168. 
* Ykb. 171. i. II. 260. Muk. 394. Mbt. 167. Yak. iii. 82. A. Y. ii. 


About sixty miles north of the ruins of Dinavar stands at the 
present day the important town of Sihnah, which is the modern 
capital of the Persian province of Kurdistan, though under this 
name it is not mentioned by any of the medieval Arab or Persian 
geographers. In the position of the modern Sihnah, however, 
according to the itineraries of Ibn Khurdidbih and Kudamah, 
stood, during the middle-ages, the city of Sisar, a name which 
Yaktit rightly says means in Persian 'Thirty Heads/ The neigh- 
bourhood of Sisar abounded in springs and was known as the 
Sad-Khaniyah 'the Hundred Houses' or Heads of Water 
from the number of these springs. The Caliph Amln had built 
a fortress here, which his more celebrated brother Mamtin had 
garrisoned, taking into his pay the Kurdish tribes who held the 
surrounding pastures, and using them in the civil war against his 
brother, whom he deprived later on of the Caliphate. Sisar was 
counted as one of the 24 sub-districts of Hamadan ; and it is 
possible that the modern name of Sihnah may be merely a corrup- 
tion of Sad-Khaniyah, shortened to Si-Khanah, ' Thirty Houses/ 
but of this there is no direct evidence. 

Four marches north-west of Dinavar was the town of Shah- 
raztir, standing in the district of the same name. Ibn Hawkal, 
in the 4th (roth) century, mentions Shahrazilr as a walled and 
fortified town -inhabited by Kurds, whose tribes he names ; they 
occupied all the surrounding region, which was most fruitful. The 
traveller Ibn Muhalhal (as quoted by Yakut) describes in the 4th 
(loth) century the many towns and villages of this district, and the 
chief town, he says, was known among the Persians as Nim-Rah, 
or 'the Half-way House/ because it stood at the middle stage 
between Madain (Ctesiphon) and Shiz, the two great fire-temples 
of Sassaman times. The neighbouring mountains were called 
Sha'ran and Zalam, where according to Kazvini a species of 

530. Ibn-al-Athir, viii. 518, 519; ix. 380. According to Yakut (iv. 405) the 
Persian word M&h is synonymous with Kabbah (chief town) in Arabic. The 
prefix A/dJi, which occurs in the older name* for Dinavar and Nihavand, is in 
Old Persian Afada, and as a place-name is ladically the same word which has 
come down to us, through the Greeks, m in the form of Media and the Medes. 
The ruins of Dinavar have been lately visited, and are described by De Morgan, 
Mission en Perse, ii. 95, 96. 


grain was grown that was deemed a powerful aphrodisiac. The 
Kurds in this region, when Ibn Muhalhal visited the place, 
numbered 60,000 tents, and when Mustawf! wrote in the 8th 
{i4th) century Shahrazftr was still a flourishing town, and in- 
habited by Kurds 1 . 

The great Khurasan road, which, as already described in our 
first chapter, went eastwards from Baghdad to the uttermost 
limits of Moslem lands, after crossing the Mesopotamian plain 
entered the mountainous region of Persia at Hulwan, a town of 
the Jibal province, which however was sometimes counted as of 
Arabian Irak. Ibn Hawkal says that in the 4th (loth) century 
Hulwan was half the size of Dinavar, and its houses were built of 
both stone and clay bricks. Though the climate was hot, dates, 
pomegranates, and figs growing abundantly, snow could all the 
summer through be found on the mountains two leagues above 
the city. Mukaddasi adds that there was an old castle in the 
town within which stood the mosque, and the city wall had 
eight gates, the names of which he enumerates. Outside the 
town stood a synagogue of- the Jews, much venerated by them, 
which was built of squared stones set in mortar. In the yth (i3th) 
century, when Kazvini wrote, Hulwan was already in ruins, but 
famous for its sulphur springs. In the next century Mustawfi 
praises its crops, but says that the town stood desolate, except 
for divers shrines of Moslem saints, though the surrounding 
territory comprised thirty villages. 

Along the Khurasan road, and four leagues above Hulwan 
towards Kirind, lay Madharftstan, where according to Yaktit 
might be seen a great arched building surmounting a platform. 
This had formed part of the palace of the Sassanian king Bahram 
Gtir, who laid out a paradise round it that, in Yakut's days, had 
long gone to ruin. Six leagues beyond this comes the town of 
Kirind, which is apparently first mentioned by Mustawfi in the 
8th (4th) century; he couples Kirind with the neighbouring 
village called KhQshan, which however has now completely 
disappeared, though Mustawfi describes it as in his day more 

1 I. K. 120. Kud. 212. I. H. 263, 265. Yak. lii. 216, 340; iv. 988. 
Kaz. ii. 266. Mst. 167. The district of Shahraziir still keeps the name, the 
old city stood where are the ruins now known as Vastn Tappah. 

192 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

populous even than Kirind. These two places lie together at 
the head of the Hulwan pass, in a fertile plain, and correspond 
in position for as already said neither are mentioned by the 
earlier Arab geographers with the station of Marj-al-Kal'ah (the 
Meadow Castle), which Ibn Hawkal describes as a great walled 
town surrounded by populous and fertile districts. Ya'fctibi states 
that in these pastures the Abbasid Caliph kept his stud of horses. 
Four leagues beyond these pastures the high road passed Tazar, 
where, according to Mukaddasi, might be seen the remains of a 
palace of the Chosroes, built YdkQt records by one Khusrftjird, son 
of Shahan. Tazar had good markets, and it appears to be 
identical with Kasr Yazid (Yaztd's palace or castle), mentioned 
by other authorities. Six leagues beyond Tazar again was Az- 
Zubaydiyah, 'a fine healthy place' according to Ibn Hawkal, the 
position of which pn the high road shows it to be identical with 
the present village of Harftnabad. Here the Khurasan road turns 
east, and crossing the plain of Mayidasht (or Mahidasht) runs 
direct to Kirmanshah. The Mayidasht plain is described by 
Mustawfi as in his day dotted with some fifty villages, surrounded 
by excellent pasture lands that were well watered from the neigh- 
bouring hills. In this region was the castle of Harsin with a small 
town at its base, which still exists, lying about 20 miles to the 
south-east of Kirmanshah '. 

As regards the origin of the Kurdistan province, it is stated 
that about the middle of the 6th (i2th) century Sultan Sanjar the 
Saljuk divided off the western part of the Jibai province, namely 
the region which was dependent on Kirmanshah, and giving it the 
name of Kurdistan put it under the government of his nephew 
Sulayman Shah, surnamed Abtih (or Ayfth), who, at a later period 
that is from 554 to 556 (1159 to 1161) succeeded his uncle as 
chief of the house of Saljuk and Sultan of the Two 'Iraks. This 
is the account given by Mustawfi, who states that under Sulayman 
Shah Kurdistan flourished greatly, and its revenues then amounted 
to two million gold dinars (equivalent to about a million sterling), 

1 I. H. 16$, 256, 262. I. R. 165. Ykb. 270. Mule. 123, 135, 393. 
Kaz. li. 239, 302. Mst. 138, 1 68. Yak. iii. 537; iv. 382. J. N. 450. The 
ruins of Hulwan exist at the village now called Sar-i-Pul (Bridge-head), where 
a bridge crossed the stream. 


which was near ten times the sum yielded by the province in the 
8th (i4th) century under the Mongols, when Mustawfi was their 
revenue officer. Sulayman Shih made Bahdr a town that still 
exists, lying some eight miles to the north of Ramadan his 
capital; and here there was a strong castle. In Mongol times 
a second capital was built, by Uljaytti Sultan, at Sultanabad 
Jamjamal (or Chamchamal) near the foot of the Bisuttin moun- 
tain, and this town Mustawft describes as standing in a rich 
country where much corn was grown. Of Jamjamal, or Cham- 
chamal, the position is given in his itineraries (four leagues from 
Sihnah village, and six from Kirmanshih) and its ruins still exist, 
being marked on the map at the spot indicated. The town is 
frequently mentioned by *Ali of Yazd when describing the 
marches of Timtir through Kurdistan. 

Among other towns which occur in the description of the 
campaigns of Ttmftr, and which are noticed by Mustawfi, are 
Darband Taj Khatftn, 'a medium -sized town now for the most 
part in ruin,' and Darband Zangi, a smaller place, which had good 
pasture grounds with a temperate climate. Both towns apparently 
have disappeared from the map; but Darband means 'a pass,' 
and from 'Alt of Yazd, who writes the name of the first as Darband- 
Tashi-Khattin, these two Darbands would appear to have stood on 
the western frontier of Kurdistan (between Shahraztir and Hulwan), 
among the hills that here dominate the plains of Mesopotamia. 

Mustawfi also mentions four other towns in Kurdistan, namely 
Alani, Alfshtar, Khuftiyan, and Darbil, as important places in his 
day, but it is not easy now to identify their sites. Alani, for which 
some MSS. give the reading Alabi, in the 8th (i4th) century was 
presumably one of the chief towns of the province, though no 
other authority but Mustawfi appears to mention it. Its lands grew 
wheat crops, ii had a good climate, well-watered pastures lying 
round it, and there were well-stocked hunting grounds in the 
neighbourhood. At Alishtar also was an ancient fire-temple called 
Ardahish (Arftkhsh or Arakhash). Unfortunately none of the 
Itineraries give its position; but the plain of Alishtar still exists, and 
probably one of its ruined sites is the town mentioned by Mus- 
tawfi. It is doubtless identical with the town of Lishtar or Lashtar 
mentioned by Ibn Hawkal and others as lying 10 leagues south- 

194 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

west of Nih&vand, being 1 2 leagues north of Sdbtirkhwast. On the 
other hand the reading of the name Alishtar is, it must be admitted, 
extremely doubtful ; many of the best MSS., also the Turkish Jah&n 
NumA, give Al-Bashr, and a variety of other forms occur. Nothing 
is known of Khuftiyin (for which thefaMn JVumd gives Hafcshi- 
yin, and the MSS. a variety of readings) except that it was a strong 
castle surrounded by villages lying on the banks of the Zab river ; 
but whether this was the Upper or the Lower Zab is not indicated. 
Its site is unknown and the same is the case with Darbil (or 
Dizbfl), ' a medium-sized town with a good climate/ the position 
of which is not even approximately indicated by Mustawfi. This 
concludes his notice of the Kurdistan district 1 . 

Hamadan (which name the Arabs wrote Hamadhan)* is the 
ancient Ecbatana, the capital of the province of Media. Ibn 
Hawl^al in the 4th (loth) century describes Hamadhan as a large 
fine city, over a league square, which had been rebuilt since the 
Moslem conquest. Its walls had four gates, and without them was 
a suburb. There was much merchandise in its markets, and the 
surrounding district was very fertile, producing large crops, more 
especially saffron. Mukaddasi adds that the town possessed three 
rows of markets, and that in one of these stood the Great Mosque, 
a very old structure. Yifctit, who has some notes on Hamadan, 
written shortly before it was laid in ruins by the Mongol invasion 
of 617 (1220), states that there were twenty-four Rustiks, or sub- 
districts, dependent on the city, and these he enumerates. The 
list is again given by Mustawfi in the following century, who adds 
thereto the names of the villages of each district ; most of them 
however it is impossible now to identify. Mustawfi describes the 
city, in the 8th (i4th) century, as measuring two leagues across, in 
the centre of which stood the ancient castle, built of clay, called 
the Shahristan. This ancient citadel of Hamadan like that of 
Isfahan to be noticed late* is named Sartik by Ibn Fafclh, but 
the meaning of the word is not explained. The goldsmiths' market 

1 I. H. 259, 164. Yak. i. 276; iii. 5. Mst. 167, 192. A. Y. i. 584, 585, 
599, 640. J. N. 450. Neither Bahar, Alint, Khuftiyan, Darbll, nor the two 
Darbands, are mentioned by any of the earlier Arab geographers. 

2 HamadhAn represents the Hagmatdna of the Achaemenian inscriptions, 
which the Greeks wrote Ecbatana. 


in Hamadin was famous, built on the site of the former village 
of Zamln Dih ; and the city walls measured 12,000 paces in 
circuit. Originally, says Mustawfl, Hamadan comprised five 
cities, namely Kal'ah Kabrit, 'Sulphur Castle/ Kal'ah Makin, 
Girdlikh, Khurshid, and Kurasht He adds, ' this last, formerly 
a large town, is now entirely ruined.' Of Hamadan, too, were 
the following five great districts, with their villages; namely, Farivar 
near the city, next Azmadin, Sharamin, and A 'lam; with, lastly, 
the district of Sard Rtid and Barhand Rftd. It must, however, be 
added that the readings of these names are uncertain, as the MSS. 
vary considerably 1 . 

Three leagues from Hamadan (but in what direction is not 
stated, and the name does not appear on the map), in the village of 
Juhastah, stood the ruins of the ancient castle of King Bahram 
Gflr, described by Ibn Fakih. It was a huge structure, with halls, 
passages, and chambers, in part cut out of the live rock. At the 
four corners were sculptured female figures, and along one face 
of the building ran an inscription in Old Persian (Farsiya/i) com- 
memorating the conquests of the Chosroes. Half a league distant 
from this palace was a hill, where was to be seen the so-called 
Antelope's tomb (Nafts-az-Zabiyah), and Ibn Fakih gives a long 
anecdote concerning King Bahram Gtir and his mistress, and of 
the many gazelles that he slew in the neighbouring plain, and how 
he finally put his mistress to death here for her insolent remarks 
in disparagement of his shooting. 

To the south-west of Hamadan rises the great mountain of 
Alvand, or Arvand as Yaktit writes the word, and this form of the 
name appears as the mint city on silver dirhams of Abu-Sa'id, the 
Mongol Il-Khan, dated 729 (1329). Mustawfi gives a long account 
of Kflh Alvand, which he says was thirty leagues in circuit, its 
summit always being covered with snow. There was an abundant 
spring of water on the topmost peak, which issued from a sort of 
building cut in the rock, and forty-two other streams, he adds, 
gushed from the various spurs of the mountain. Travelling west 
from Hamadan, after crossing the Alvand pass, on the high road 

1 J. H. 356, 260. Muk. 391. I. F. 219. Yak. iv. 988. Mst. 151, 152. 
The Turkish Jah&n Numd (p. 300) repeats the enumeration of districts and 
villages from Mustawfi. 


196 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

to Kanguvar, stands Asadabad, which Ibn IJawfcal describes as a 
populous city ; and Mukaddasi adds that a league distant from it 
was to be seen the arch (Aywau), in a building which Yafcflt 
refers to as the Matabikh-al-Kisra, 'the Kitchens of Chosroes/ 
Asadabad had a mosque, and good markets ; its district was veiy 
fertile and produced honey. Mustawfi says that 35 villages were 
of its dependencies 1 . 

The plain in which Ramadan stands drains to the north and 
east, its numerous streams uniting to form the head-waters Of the 
river Gavmaha (or Gavmasa) whose course will be described later 
when speaking of the Kum river. To the north of Hamadan lies 
the district of Darguzin, and north of this again that of Kharrakan. 
Mustawfi in the 8th (i4th) century writes of Darguzfn as a con- 
siderable town, formerly a village, the capital of the A 'lam district, 
mentioned on the previous page as one of the five dependent 
on Hamadan. The A'lam district, he adds and Yaktit confirms 
him was wrongly called Al-Amr by the Persians : it was a high 
plateau lying between Hamadan and Zanjan, where grapes, cotton, 
and corn grew abundantly. Kharrak&n, more often called Khar- 
rakanayn, ' the two Kharrakans,' lay north of the A 'lam district. 
It comprised many villages, which Mustawfi enumerates (but the 
readings in the MSS. are uncertain), and the chief town which 
still exists was Avah, or Abah of Hamadan, so named to distin- 
guish it from Avah of Savah, which will be noticed later. This, 
the northern Avah, sometimes also written Ava, is mentioned by 
Yaktit, and it is referred to as early as the 4th (loth) century by 
Mukaddasi. The Kharrakan river, according to Mustawfi, during 
the spring freshets poured its waters into the stream of the 
Khushk Rftd which ultimately lost itself in the great desert in 
the Ray district. In the summer time, however, the Kharrafcin 
river never flowed beyond the boundaries of its own immediate 
district, its waters drying up in irrigation channels 2 . 

The city of Nihavand, lying about forty miles south of Hama- 
dan, was an important place dating from Sassanian times. After 
the first Moslem conquest, which was effected by the troops from 

1 I. H. 256. I. F. 255. Muk. 393. Yak. i. 225, 245; iv. no, 733. 
Kaz. ii. 236, 311. Mst. 152, 202. 

2 Muk. 25, 51, 386. Yak. i. 316, 408. Mst. 152, 217. J. N. 301, 305. 


Basrah more particularly, the town and its district received the 
name of Mah-al- Basrah, for its revenues were allotted to the payment 
of pensions in Basrah, just as those of Dfnavar were paid to Kftfah 
(see above, p. 189). Ibn JJawkal in the 4th (loth) century speaks of 
the rich merchandise sold in its markets, whither the saffron of the 
neighbouring district of Rtidhravar was brought for distribution. 
Nihivand had then two Great Mosques, the old and the new. 
Yaktit adds the tradition that many Arabs coming from Basrah 
had settled here in early days ; and the city was famous for the 
manufacture of perfumes. Mustawfi in the 8th (i4th) century 
states that in his day the population consisted mostly of the 
Kurdish tribesmen ; much cotton was grown in the neighbouring 
districts, three of which in particular he names, Malair, Isfidhan, 
and Jahtik. About half-way between Hamadan and Nihivand 
lay the rich district of Rtidhravar, so famous for its saffron, of which 
district the chief city was Karaj, possessing a fine mosque. The 
district was three leagues across, and comprised 93 villages 
according to Yakflt. Mustawfi generally spells the name Rtidartid, 
and of its towns he mentions Sarkan and Tuvi, both of which still 
exist ; and Tuvi, at the present day, is the name commonly given 
to the district 1 . 

To the eastward of Nihavand lay the district of the two 
ighars (Al-igharayn) of which the capital was also called Karaj, 
known for distinction as Karaj of Abu Dulaf. The exact site of 
this Karaj is unknown, but from the distances given in the 
Itineraries, and from the fact stated by Mustawfi that the town 
lay beneath the Rasmand mountains (almost certainly to be iden- 
tified with the present range called Rasband), its site must be 
sought for near the head-waters of the stream which flows past 
Sarfik to join the modern Kara Sti. Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (loth) 
century speaks of Karaj as smaller than Burujird, but it was a 
place of importance, built on a height. The houses of the 
town covered a space of over two leagues, and there were two 
markets, one at the Bab Masjid-al-Jami', * the gate of the Great 
Mosque/ the other situated at the opposite town gate opening 

1 I. R. 166. I. H. 258,259,162. Muk. 393. Yak. ii. 832; iv. 351, 8*7. 
Mst. 152, 153. The ruins of Karaj of Rudhravar are doubtless those described 
by De Morgan, Mission en Perse (ii. 136), which he names Rudil&var. 


beyond what was known as 'the great plain.' Baths were 
numerous and the houses were well built, mostly of clay bricks ; 
the gardens were few, but those round the town limits were very 
fertile. Abu Dulaf, from whom the place took its distinguishing 
name, had been a celebrated general, also a poet at the court of 
Hartin-ar-Rashid and his son Mamun. Abu Dulaf together with 
his descendants settled in this district, which with that lying round 
Burj, 12 leagues distant towards Isfahan, had been granted to 
them as Ighars that is * fiefs in perpetuity/ paying a fixed yearly 
tribute to the Caliph, but free of all other taxes. Yakut states 
that the Persians pronounced the name of Karaj Karah, and 
Farrazin was the name of a castle not far from the gate of Karaj. 
Mustawfi, who refers to the river as the River of Karah the Karah 
Rud says that the Rasmand mountain here rose above the plain 
to the north. At the foot of the mountain was an abundant 
spring of water, called the fountain of King Kay-Khusraw, which 
irrigated the neighbouring pasture lands, six leagues long by 
three wide, known as the Margzar of Kitu, which lay under the 
protection of the Farrazin castle. The Rasmand mountain is 
described as a black rock towering up like the hill of Bisutun, 
with glens at its base, and it was ten leagues in circuit. The 
site of Burj, the second city of the Ighirayn, has not yet been 
identified. Its position, however, is approximately known. Ibn 
IJawkal speaks of it as a fine well-conditioned town, and tells us 
that it lay on the high road towards Isfahan, some 12 leagues 
distant from Karaj 1 . 

Lower down the Karaj river, and to the north of Karaj of Abu 
Dulaf, is the town of Saruk of the Farahan district, noticed by 
Yafcut and Mustawfi, being counted by them as belonging to 
Ramadan. Dawlatabad, which still exists, is mentioned as a 
prominent place of the neighbourhood; and there was a salt 
marsh near here, formed by a lake, measuring four leagues square, 
which when dried up by the summer heats produced excellent salt 
for export. This lake, according to Mustawfi, the Mongols 
named Jaghan Natir, meaning 'Salt Lake.' It is doubtless 

1 I. H. 258, 262. Muk. 394. Yak. i. 420, 548; iii. 873; iv. 250, 270. 
Mst. 151, 204. 

XIII] JIBlL. 199 

identical with the present lake of Tuali. Lastly, to the south- 
east of HamadUn, and about half-way between that city and 
NiMvand, lies the small town of Ramin, which is noticed by 
Y&fcut as of this district, but it is not further described by any 
other authority 1 . 

1 Yak. iii. 867, 887; iv. 683. Mst. 151. At the present day the chief 
town of this district, now famous for its carpets, is Sultanabad, founded by 
Fath 'Ali Sh&h at the beginning of the nineteenth century ; it is commonly 
known as Shahr-i-Naw (New Town). 


JIBAL (continued}. 

Little Lur. Buriijird. Khurramabdd. Sh&ptirkhwst. Sirawan and Saymarah. 
Isfahan and its districts. Firtizan ; Fanfan and the river Zandah R0d. 
Ardistan. Kashan. Kum, Gulpaygan, and the Kum -river. Avah and 
Savah. The river GSvmaha. 

South of Hamadan lies Luristan, the "district of the Lur tribes, 
kinsmen of the Kurds, and this mountainous region is divided by 
its rivers into two parts, Great Lur to the south and Little Lur to 
the north. The district of Little Lur is separated from Great 
Lur by the main stream of the Upper Karun, and the towns of 
Great Lur will be more conveniently described in the chapter on 
Khtizistan, although the district of Great Lur also is by some 
authorities regarded as forming part of 'Irak 'Ajani'. 

The chief towns of Little Lur, as enumerated by Mustawf! in 
the 8th (i4th) century, were Burfljird, Khurramabad, and Shipur- 
khwast. Burujird is described by Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (roth) 
century as a fine city, measuring over half a league across. Its 
fruits were exported to Karaj, much saffron was grown, and 
its importance increased after Hamulah, the Wazir of the Abu 
Dulaf family just mentioned, built the Friday Mosque here. 
When Mustawfi wrote, in the 8th (i4th) century, there were two 
mosques, the old and the new ; but the town, he says, was then 
already falling to ruin. 'Ali of Yazd, who always writes the name 
Vurujird, frequently refers to it in describing the campaigns of 
Timur, by whose orders the castle, called the Kal'ah Armiyan, 
was restored 1 . 

1 I. H. 258, 262. Yak. i. 596; ii. 737. Mst. 151. A. Y. i. 587; 
ii. 515- 


The name of Khurramabad, since the time of Timtir the most 
important place in Little Lur after Burtijird, does not occur in 
any of the Arab geographers of the middle-ages ; and it has often 
been suggested that Khurramabad was identical with the town 
of Shapftrkhwast, a place frequently mentioned in earlier days. 
That this, however, is not the case, is proved by the mention, 
separately, of both towns by Mustawfi, who further indicates the 
position of Shaptirkhwast. Khurramabad, when Mustawfi wrote in 
the 8th (i4th) century, was a fine town, though already partly in 
ruin. The date palm produced abundantly here, and he adds 
that this was the only place in the hill country where it grew, 
excepting Saymarah: but this statement cannot be accepted as 
quite exacc. 

In regard to Shapftrkhwast, which the Arab geographers wrote 
Sabtirkhwast, this also had been a town famous for its dates since 
the time of Ibn Hawkal. In the 4th (loth) century Sabtirkhwist 
with Burftjird and Nihavand came under the power of IJasanawayh, 
the Kurdish chief who had established his government at Dmavar 
(see above, p. 189), and at Dizbaz, the castle of Sabtirkhwast, 
which rivalled Sarmaj for strength, Badr, son of Hasanawayh, kept 
his treasures, which in 414 (1023) fell into the hands of the Buyids. 
During the 5th (nth) century Sabtirkhwast is frequently mentioned 
in the chronicles relating to the doings of the Saljtiks, and in 499 
(1106) the Atabeg Mankflbars came into possession of the city, 
together with Nihavand and Lishtar (Alishtar). Writing in the 
early part of the 8th ( i4th) century Mustawfi (in the GuzidaJi) gives 
the information that in his day there were, in Little Lur, three 
populous cities, namely Burtijird, Khurramabad, and Shapftrkhwast 
(as he spells it in Persian). He relates that, 'this last, though 
once a great city, and very populous, being full of people of various 
nations and the capital of the kingdom, is now reduced to become 
a provincial town*; and in regard to its position he states that 
beyond (south) of Buriljird, 'the road (coming from Nihavand and 
going to Isfahan) branches to the right to Shapftrkhwast,' while to 
the left (eastward) the main road went on to Karaj of Abu Dulaf. 
These details are in accordance with the accounts given by Ibn 
Hawkal and Mukaddasi ; for the former states that from Nihavand 
it was 10 leagues (south) to Lashtar, and thence 12 on to Sabflr- 

202 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

khwast, from which it was counted 30 leagues to (Great) Lur 
that is to say the plains lying north of Dizful which will be 
noticed later in Chapter XVI. Mukaddast adds that from Sabftr- 
khwast to Karaj of Abu Dulaf was four marches, it being the 
same from Sibftrkhwast to Lur 1 . 

To the west of Little Lur, and on the frontier of Arabian 
'Irak, lay the two districts of Masabadhan and Mihrajankudhak, 
of which the chief towns were, respectively, Sfrawan and Saymarah. 
The ruins of both towns still exist, and Masabadhan is in use as 
the name of the region to the south of the M^yidasht plain. 
Sirawan (or As-Sirawan) was, according to Ibn Hawfcal, a small 
town, its houses built of mortared stone, not unlike Mosul. It 
produced the fruits of both hot and cold regions, especially nuts 
and melons, the latter of the celebrated kind^known as Dastabtiyah; 
moreover the date palm, as already said, flourished here. Kazvin! 
refers to mines of salt, sulphur, vitriol, and borax as being found 
in the Masabadhan district. Situated some fifty miles to the 
eastward, Saymarah was not unlike Sirawan, and it remained 
a populous town to a later date than the latter, its position being 
better chosen. The Mihrajinkudhak district lying round it was 
celebrated in the 4th (roth) century for great fertility; and 
Mukaddas! refers to its numerous population. 'Dates and 
olives, nuts and snow are all found here abundantly/ Yakftt 
writes, and on the road between Saymarah and the neighbouring 
hamlet of Tarhan was a wonderful bridge, ' twice as great as the 
bridge between Hulwan and Khinikin.' When Mustawfi wrote 
in the 8th (i4th) century Saymarah, though already falling to ruin, 
was still a fine town, and the surrounding country was celebrated 
for its date-groves*. 

At the south-eastern corner of the Jibil province, and not far 
distant from the borders of the Great Desert, stands Isfahan (the 

1 I. H. 259, 264. Muk. 401. Yak. li. 572; in. 4,82, 225. Ibn-al-Athir, 
ix. 174 ; x. 274. Mst. 151, 195 ; also Guzidah (Gantin), I. 622, and MS. f. 159^, 
giving the paragraph on Lesser Lur, at the end of section xi of chapter iv, 
immediately preceding the section treating of the Mongols. The name is 
variously spelt Saburkhwast, Shaburkhast, and Shapiirkhwast. The exact 
site of the ruins has not been identified. 

2 I. H. 263, 264. Muk. 394. Ykb. 269. Kaz. li. 172. Yak. iii. 443, 
525. Mst. 151. 

XIV] JIBAL. 203 

name being spelt Isbah&n by the Arabs and by the Persians Ispahan), 
which from the earliest times must have been a place of impor- 
tance, on account of the fertility of its lands which are watered by 
the abundant stream of the Za>indah Rtid. At the present day 
Isfahan and its suburbs occupy both banks of the river, but in the 
middle-ages the inhabited quarters lay only on the northern or 
left bank of the Zayindah Rftd. Here there were two cities side 
by side ; namely, to the east Jay, otherwise called Shahristanah l , 
girt by a wall with a Hundred towers ; and two miles to the west- 
ward of this Al-Yahfldiyah, ' the Jew Town,' double the size of Jay, 
taking its name, so tradition asserted, from the Jews who had been 
settled here in the time of Nebuchadnezzar. 

Ibn Rustah, at the close of the 3rd (9th) century, describes 
the city of Jay as measuring half a league across, and covering an 
area of 2000 Jaribs (about 600 acres). There were four gates, 
Bab Khawr or 'of the Creek/ otherwise Bab Zartn Rtid, for this 
was the earlier spelling of the name of the river ; then Bib Asfij, 
Bab Tirah, and the Yahtidiyah Gate. Ibn Rustah enumerates the 
number of towers on the wall between each gate, and he also gives 
the space in ells. In Jay was an ancient building like a fortress 
called Sartik, the name likewise of the Hamadan citadel, as above 
stated, which Ibn Rustah says dated from before the Flood. 
Ibn Hawkal and Mukaddasi in the next century describe both 
Jay and Yahfldiyah. In each city was a Great Mosque for the 
Friday prayers ; and Yahtidiyah alone equalled Hamadin in size, 
being indeed the largest city in the Jibal province, Ray only 
possibly excepted. Isfahan was already a great commercial 
centre, and its silks, especially the 'Attibf (tabby stuffs), and its 
cottons, were largely exported. Saffron and all kinds of fruit 
grew well in its districts, which were the broadest and richest of 
the whole Jibal. Al-Yahtid!yah, according to Mu^addasi, had 
been originally settled by the Jews in the time of Nebuchadnezzar 
because its climate resembled that of Jerusalem. The town, 
which he reports had twelve gates (Darb\ was built mostly of 
unburnt brick, and it had both open and covered markets. The 

1 Shahristan, or Shahristanah, means, in Persian, 'the Township, 1 and is a 
common name for the capital city. 

204 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

Great Mosque was in one of the markets, built with round 
columns, having a minaret on the Kiblah (Mecca) side, 70 ells in 
height. The neighbouring township of Jay, a couple of miles to 
the eastward, was according to Mukaddasi called Al-Madinah, 
'the City,' the Arabic equivalent of Shahristanah, and imme- 
diately below its ancient fortress, in the 4th (loth) century, the 
river was crossed by a bridge of boats. 

In 444 (1052) Isfahan was visited by the Persian traveller 
Nasir-i-Khusraw, who describes it as the largest city in all 
Persian-speaking lands that he had seen. There were two 
hundred bankers, and fifty caravanserais; and the town was 
surrounded by a wall said to be three and a half leagues in 
circuit, with battlements and a gangway running along the 
summit. The Great Mosque was a magnificent building, and the 
money-changers' market a sight to be seen, and each of the other 
numerous markets was shut off by its own gate. When Ykftt 
wrote, in the beginning of the 7th (i3th) century, both Yahtidiyah 
and Jay had fallen to ruin ; and of the two the latter was then the 
more populous. He further speaks of the Great Mosque in Jay 
built by the Caliph Manstir Rashid, who, as the chronicles relate, 
having been deposed by his uncle Muhammad Muktafi in 530 
(1136), was afterwards killed in battle and brought to be buried 
outside the gate of Isfahan. Yahtidiyah, however, after the Mongol 
invasion, recovered a part of its former glory, and was a populous 
thriving city when Abu-1-Fidi wrote in 721 (1321), having, he 
says, the suburb of Shahristan a mile distant to the eastward, 
which occupied part of the older site of Jay. 

His contemporary, Mustawfi, gives us a long account of 
Isfahan and its districts, mentioning the names of many places 
that still exist; and his description proves that Yahftdiyah of 
medieval times is the city of Isfahan as described by Chardin 
at the close of the 1 7th century, when it had become the capital of 
Persia under Shah 'Abbas, the past glories of which are to be seen 
at the present day. According to Mustawfi the city walls, 21,000 
paces in circuit, dated from the 4th (loth) century, having been 
built by 'Adud-ad-Dawlah the Buyid. The area of Isfahan had 
formerly been occupied by four villages, whose names survived 
in the town quarters, namely, Karran (the Kanin Gate is given by 

XIV] JIBAL. 205 

Cbardin as opening on the east side), Kushk, Jubarah (this was 
the eastern quarter when Chardin wrote, and the Jubarah Gate 
was to the north-east), and Dardasht (the gate of this name lay 
to the north, and the Dardasht quarter was to the north-west). 
Mustawfi writes that the most populous quarter under the Saljuks 
had been that known as Julbarah (the Gulbar quarter of Chardin, 
round the present Maydan-i-Kuhnah or 'Old Square'), where 
stood the College and Tomb of Sultan Muhammad the Saljuk, 
and here might be seen a block of stone weighing 10,000 mans 
(equivalent, perhaps, to a little less than 32 tons weight), this being 
a great idol, carried off by the Sultan from India, and set up 
before the college gate 1 . 

When Timur conquered Isfahan at the close of the 8th (i4th) 
century, the name of the citadel which he occupied is given as 
Kal'ah Tabarik (the latter word meaning a 'hillock' in the 
Persian dialect), and the ruins of this castle, which still exist, 
are described by Chardin as standing outside the Dardasht Gate. 
Further we are informed that Malik Shah the Saljuk erected 
another strong castle the Shah-Diz, 'the Royal Fort' on the 
summit of a mountain close to Isfahan in the year 500 (1107), 
and Kazvini adds a long anecdote relating the circumstances that 
brought about its foundation. At the beginning of the loth (i6th) 
century, Persia came under the rule of Shah Ismail the Safavid, 
and at the close of the century Shah 'Abbas the Great transferred 
his capital from Ardabfl to Isfahan, whither he also removed the 
whole Armenian population of Julfah on the river Aras, settling 
them in a new quarter of the city which he founded on the 
southern or right bank of the Zayindah Rud. Shah 'Abbas also 
added other new quarters and suburbs to Isfahan, but north 
of the river, all of which are minutely described by Chardin, who 
lived at Isfahan for many years during the latter half of the iyth 
century A.D.* 

1 History, however, does not record that this Sultan Muhammad he 
reigned from 498 to 51 1 (i 104 1 1 17) and was a son of Malik Shall made any 
conquests in India ; possibly Mustawfi has mistaken him for Mahmud of 

* I. R. 160, 162. I. H. 161. Muk. 386, 387, 388, 389. N. K. 93. 
Yak. i. 295; ii. 181; iii. 246; iv. 452, 1045. A. F. 411. Mst. 142. A. Y. 

206 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

The eight districts round Isfahan, which Mustawff carefully 
enumerates with their villages, still exist, and the same names 
appear in Ya'fcftb! and other early authorities of the 3rd and 4th 
(9th and loth) centuries. Four of these districts lie to the north 
of the river, while the other four are on its right bank to the 
southward. Beginning with the north bank, the home district, 
that immediately round the city, was called Jay, the name of the 
older town to the eastward. The Marbin district was to the west 
of Isfahan, and here stood an ancient fire-temple built by the 
mythical king Tahmurath, surnamed Div Band, 'the demon binder.' 
To the north-west, at some distance from the city gates, lay the 
Burkhwar district, of which Jaz (modern Gaz) was the largest 
village; while to the north-east was the district called Kahab, 
the fourth on the northern river bank. Sputh of the Zayindah 
Rftd, and to the south-east of the old Shahristanah city, was the 
district of Barain, with the Rtidasht district beyond it lying 
further down the river, of which last the" chief centre was Fanfan, 
a large town in the 8th (i4th) century, though now only a village, 
standing near the great Gav-Khanah swamp. The Kararij district 
is south of Baraan ; and westward of this, higher up the right bank 
of the Zayindah Rtid, is the great Khanlanjan district, the last of 
the four to the south of the river, of which the chief town was 
Firtizan. Of this city no trace apparently remains, but it was a 
considerable town ' in two parts ' in the 8th (i4th) century, situated 
on the Zayindah Rtid, and Ibn Battitah, who passed through it, 
says it lay six leagues distant from Isfahan. The Khanlanjan 
district was already famous in the 4th (xoth) century for its 
plentiful fruits and the fertility of its lands. Its name is often 
written Khalanjan or Khftlanjan, and it was also known as Khn- 
al-Abrar, * the Caravanserai of the Benefactors.' As the name of 
a town Khanlanjan is doubtless identical with Firtizan aforesaid, 
and in the Itineraries this is the first stage southward from Isfahan 
on the western road to Shiraz. In the 5th (nth) century Nisir- 

i. 431. Kaz. 11. 265. The description of Isfahan fills volume vin (see 
especially pp. 122, 126, 147, 153, 212, 227, 229, for passages referred to) of 
the Voyages tin Chcvalur Chardin en Perse (Amsterdam, 1711). For modern 
Isfahan see Houtum-Schmdler, Eastern Persian 'Irdk (1897), pp. 18, 19, 120, 

XIV] JIBAL. 207 

i-Khusraw passed through Khanlanjan on his way to Isfahan, and 
noticed on the city gate an inscription bearing the name of 
Tughril Beg the Saljftk 1 . 

The main stream of the Isfahan river, at the present time 
generally called the Zandah Rfld, is known as the Zayindah 
Rtid or the Zarin-Rtidh to our various authorities, though this 
last name is now generally given to a tributary river. The main 
stream, in its upper reach, was named the July-Sard, 'the Cold 
River,' and this rose in the Zardah-Ktih, 'the Yellow Mountains' 
still so called from their yellow limestone cliffs 30 leagues 
west of Isfahan, not far from the head-waters of the Dujayl or 
Kartin river of Khtizistan ; and here, according to Mustawfl, were 
also the Ashkahran mountains, which marked the frontiers of 
Great Lur. Below the town of F!rfizn in Khanlanjan, the 
Zandah Rtid receives an affluent, almost equal to its main 
stream in volume, which comes down from near GulpaygSn 
(Jurbadhakan) ; then after passing Isfahan, and irrigating its 
eight districts, the Zandah Rtid somewhat to the eastward of 
Rtidasht flows finally into the swamp of Gav-Khanah on the 
borders of the Great Desert. According to popular belief, which 
is mentioned already by Ibn Khurdadbih in the 3rd (9th) century, 
the river, after sinking into this swamp, rose again to the ground 
surface 90 leagues away in Kirman, thence reaching the sea; 
but Mustawft not unnaturally discredits the story, because of the 
high mountains lying between Isfahan and Kirman, and though 
he states that it was said that bits of reeds thrown into the Gav- 
Khanah marsh reappeared in Kirman, he adds 'but this account 
is incredible 2 .' 

Nayin, which lay to the north of the Gav-Khanah swamp on 
the border of the Great Desert, and the towns to the south-east 

1 I. K. 20, 58. I. R. 152. Kud. 197. I. H. 201. Ykb. 275. Muk. 
389, 458 Yak. i. 294; ii. 394; iii. 839. Mst. 143, for the most part repro- 
duced in J. N. 291. I. B. ii. 42. N. K. 92. Khanlanjan is famous also as 
the place of refuge of Firdiisf, when he fled from the wrath of Sultan Mahmfid 
of Ghaznah. An account of his reception by the governor of Khanlanjan is 
given in a copy of the Shdh N&mah preserved in the British Museum (Or. 1403, 
f. 518 a), of which the text and translation are given by C. Schefer in his edition 
of Nasir-i-Khusraw (Appendix iv. p. 298). 

3 I. R. 152. I. K. 20. Mst. 201, 302, 214. 

208 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

of it towards Yazd, were all included in the province of Firs 
during the middle-ages, as will be explained in Chapter XVIII, 
but Ardist&n, some miles north-west of Niyin, was counted as of 
the Jibil province. As early as the 4th (loth) century, Istakhrf 
describes Ardistan as a walled city, a mile across, with five gates 
and well fortified. The Friday Mosque stood in the centre of the 
town, and much silk was manufactured here, chiefly for export. 
At Zuvarah, to the north-east of Ardistan, some ancient ruins were 
attributed to King Anftshirwan the Just, and Mukaddast adds that 
the soil of Ardistan was white, 'like wheat flour, whence its name,' 
for Ard in Persian meaning 'meal/ Ardistan would have the 
signification of 'the place like flour.' The ruins are referred to 
under the name of Uzvarah by Yakfit, who states that there were 
many vaulted buildings, also the remains, of a fire-temple that 
had become the castle of Ardistan, and here according to tradition 
Anflshirwin had been born. Mustawfi however, who spells the 
name Zuvarah, attributes all these remains, including the fire- 
temple, to King Bahman, son of Isfandiyar ; and records that the 
town, which stood close to the desert, had round it 30 villages, 
giving as a tradition that these had been built by Dastan, brother 
of the hero Rustam. 

On the desert border between Ardistan and Kashan were the 
Kargas Kfih, ' the Vulture Hills,' which Mukaddasi describes as 
the highest mountains in the Great Desert of Persia. The neigh- 
bouring Siyih Kfth, 'Black Hills/ were of almost equal height 
and ruggedness : ' black evil-looking mountains ' ; and both, says 
Istakhri, were famous hiding-places for robbers. In a valley of 
the Vulture Hills was a fine spring called the Ab-i-Bandah, which 
gushed out from a cleft that was completely enclosed by rocks. 
About half-way between the Kargas Ktih and the Siyah Kfth on 
the desert road, stood the caravanserai called Dayr-al-Jiss, 'Gypsum 
Convent,' a strong place, built entirely of burnt brick and shut by 
iron gates. In this hostel, according to Istakhri, guides for the 
desert routes were to be found, stationed here by order of the 
Sultan. Further, great tanks had been constructed here for 
storing water, which Mufcaddast relates were never allowed to 
go out of repair, and there were shops in the caravanserai for 
the sale of provisions. Mustawfi describes the Kargas Ktih as 

XIV] JIBAL. 209 

standing solitar being joined to 10 other range, and some ten 
leagues in circ ai*.. In their rocky heights the vultures nested, 
and the ibex (wa V), that could live long without water, was found 
here in great numbers. To the west of Ardistan is the town of 
Natanz, or Natanzah, which appears to be mentioned by no Arab 
geographer before the time of Yaktit. Mustawfi states that its 
castle was called Washak, after one who was governor of Natanz, 
though originally this castle had borne the name of Kamart. 
Close to Natanz also was the large village of Tark, almost a 
town says Yafctit, and here according to Kazvini the people were 
celebrated for their skill in carving bowls out of ivory and ebony ; 
these being largely exported 1 . 

The city of Kashan is mentioned by Istakhri 'as a pleasant 
town, clay built, like Kum.' The earlier Arab geographers always 
spell the name Kishan (with the dotted k). The place became 
famous throughout the east for its tile-work, which took the name 
Kishi (for Kashani), this being still the common term for the 
well-known enamelled blue and green tiles so much used in 
mosque decoration. According to Mukaddasi Kashan was the 
reverse of famous for its scorpions ; and Yaktit, who refers to the 
beautiful green bowls of Kishi-ware which were in his day largely 
exported, speaks of the population as all fanatical Shi'ahs of the 
Imamite sect. Mustawfi asserts that Kashan had originally been 
built by Zubaydah, the wife of Hariin-ar-Rashid ; and he praises 
the palace of Fin, lying near Kashan, for its tanks and water- 
courses, which were supplied by the river from Kuhrftd. The 
Kishan river, which in summer went dry before reaching the 
town limits, in spring often endangered the city with its floods, 
which passing on were lost in the neighbouring desert. 

The city of Kum (more correctly spelt Kumm according to 
Arab orthography), to the north of Kash&n, is now famous among 
the Shi'ahs for its shrine, said to mark the tomb of Fatimah, sister 
of the sixth Imm 'Ali-ar-Ridfi, a contemporary of HarOn-ar-Rashid, 
whom they assert to have died here of poison on her way to join 
her brother in Khurasan. Already in the 4th (loth) century 
Ibn ftawkal describes Kum as peopled by Shf'ahs ; it was then a 

1 1st. 202, 228, 230, 231. I. H. 288291. Muk. 390, 490, 491. Yak. i. 
198; "i. 53i; v. 793. Mst. 150, 151, 206. J. N. 299. 

210 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

walled town, with fertile gardens round it, celebrated for pistachio 
nuts and filberts. The ancient name of Kum according to Yafctit 
had been Kumandan, curtailed by the Arabs to Kumm. The 
remains of a Persian fortress were, he says, still to be seen among 
the ruins of the town, and an ancient stone bridge crossed the 
river which separated the older site from the Moslem town. 
Mustawfi states that the walls of Kum measured 10,000 paces in 
circuit, and, like Avah, the place was celebrated for its numerous 
ice-houses excavated in the ground ; also for its cypress trees, and 
for vines which produced the famous red grapes. When Mustawfi 
wrote in the 8th (i4th) century most part of Kurn lay in ruins, 
and it is to be remarked that neither he nor any earlier authorities 
make any mention of the tomb of Fatimah, although the city is 
always noted as being a centre of the Shi'ah sect 1 . 

The river of Kum rose in the Gulpaygan district near the 
mountains of Khansar, as Mustawfi writes the name, and these 
ranges are the watershed between the Kum river and the left- 
bank tributary of the Isfahan river already mentioned. Jurb&dh- 
akan is the Arab name for Gulpaygin, of which the older form 
was Gurbayigdn, and Mustawfi explains the name to mean 'the 
place of roses/ writing it Gul-abad-ikan and goes on to praise its 
fertility and the excellent water, 50 villages being of its depend- 
encies. Mukaddasi refers to Jurbadhakan as lying about half-way 
between Karaj of Abu Dulaf and Isfahan, and the village of Khan- 
sar which gave its name to the district, Yafctit adds, was of its 
neighbourhood. The town of Dalijan lies further down the Kum 
river; and according to Yak (it the name was pronounced Dulayjan 
or Dulaygan. Formerly it had been a flourishing place, but when 
Mustawfi wrote it had fallen to ruin. After passing the city of 
Kum, the Kum river joined the waters of the great stream 
coming down from Hamadin, called the river G&vmahi, or 
Gavmasa, which itself a short distance above Kum had received 
on its right bank the Avah river, and on its left bank the river 
passing Savah. All these streams branched to form many water 
channels, and intermingling by cross canals finally became lost in 
the Great Desert to the north-east of Kum. 

1 1st. 201. I. H. 364. Muk. 390. Yak. iv. 15, 175. Mst. 150, 317. 
J. N. 305. 

XIV] JIBAL. 211 

The town of Avah (called Avah of S&vah to distinguish it from 
Avah near Hamadn, see p. 196) lay a short distance to the west 
of Kum. The Avah river took its rise in Tafrtsh, which Mustawfi 
describes as a district ' that on all sides was only approached by 
passes,' and the country here was very fertile, with many villages. 
The tpwn of Avah is mentioned by Mukaddasi, who names it Avd 
or Avah of Ray ; and Yakftt, who speaks of it as a village or a 
small town, writes the 'name Abah, adding that its population were 
ardent Shi'ahs. In the 8th (i4th) century Mustawfi describes 
Avah as enclosed by a wall a thousand paces in circuit, and there 
were pits for storing ice, which were famous, for ice was much 
in demand during the summer heats; but the bread here was 
very bad. Between Avah and Kum, he describes an isolated 
hill, called Kim Namak Lawn (Salt Mountain), where the earth 
was everywhere mixed with salt. To reach the summit was 
impossible on account of the friable nature of the ground; 
no snow either would remain on its sides, and the salt was too 
bitter to be used by man. This hill was three leagues in circuit, 
and so high as to be visible at a distance of 10 leagues 1 . 

The city of Savah, lying midway between Ramadan and Ray 
on the great caravan road which traversed Persia (the Khurasan 
road), was a place of importance as early as the 4th (loth) century, 
when Ibn Hawkal describes it as noted for its camels and camel- 
drivers, both much in demand throughout the land by pilgrims 
and travellers. Mufcaddast adds that the town was fortified, that 
there were fine baths here, and that the Friday Mosque stood near 
the high road, and at some distance from the market. The people 
of Savah were Sunnts, and Yfcilt writes that in his day they were 
perpetually at feud with their neighbours of Avah, who were 
Shi'ahs. Savah suffered severely at the hands of the Mongols in 
617 (1220), who plundered the town, slaying most of its inhabit- 
ants; and among other buildings burning the great library, which 
Ydlfftt had seen, and describes as having had no equal throughout 
all Persian 'Irak. This library is also referred to by Kazvini, who 
says it was housed in the Great Mosque> and contained, besides 
books on all subjects, a set of astrolabes and globes for the study 

1 1st. 195, 198. Muk. 15, 51, 257, 386, 402. Yak. i. 57; ii. 46, 392, 584. 
Mst. 147, 150, 206, 216. 


212 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

of astronomy. In the town was a hospital, as well as many 
colleges and caravanserais ; and at the gate of the mosque was a 
mighty arch, recalling the arch of the Chosroes at Madiin. 

In Moslem legend Savah was famous for the great lake which 
had been here before the days of Islim, and which had suddenly 
dried up on the night of the birth of the prophet Muhammad ; 
' the water sinking down into the earth in joy at the good news/ 
as Mustawfl writes. He adds that in his day the walls of Savah 
had been recently rebuilt of burnt brick, being then 6200 ells in 
circuit. Four leagues to the west of Sivah was the shrine of the 
prophet Samuel, and when Mustawfl wrote the population of the 
town had nearly all become Shi'ahs. He mentions the names of 
many of the surrounding villages, and adds that corn, cotton, and 
pomegranates were grown abundantly throughout the district. 

The Sivah river was called the Muzdakin, from a town of this 
name which stood on its banks. This stream rose at Simin, 
a large village on the border of the Kharrakin district of Hamadan 
(see p. 196), lying in a rich country producing corn and grapes. 
From Sam^n the river came to Muzdafefln (also spelt Musdakdn), 
a town which Mustawfi describes as 3000 paces in circuit, with 
a cold climate, being in the hill country. Yaljiftt speaks of a 
celebrated Rubat guard-house or monastery at Muzdakin, 
where many Stiffs had their abode; and the town was a stage 
on the great caravan road crossing Persia. After passing through 
Savah, Mustawfl tells us, the Muzdakan river divided, part of its 
waters sinking underground into a great pit, while a moiety joined 
the Gavmdha. 

The long river called the Givmihd (or G&vmlsd as some MSS. 
write the name), which Mustawfi carefully describes for us, is now 
known as the Kiri Sti Black Water along a part of its course. 
It had its head-waters, as already said, in the Hamadan plain, 
where divers streams came down from Asadabad, the Alvand 
mountain, and the Fartvir district. Flowing first northward and 
then bending sharply to the east, it received from the south a 
great affluent, the river rising near Karaj of Abu Dulaf. Beyond 
Svah and Avah, where it received the two other affluents we have 
previously described, a great dam was built across the river to 
retain its waters for irrigation purposes during the summer 

XIV] JIBAL. 213 

droughts. The Givmihi eventually mingled its stream with the 
river of Kum coming from Gulpaygan, and Mustawfi adds that 
their surplus waters after passing a place called Haftad Pulan t 
* Eighty Bridges/ finally escaped and were lost in the Great 
Desert. The Givmaha river was to its district, says Mustawfi, 
what the Zandah Rftd was to Isfahan, being the chief fountain 
of its riches and prosperity. It is to be remarked that none of 
the earlier Arab geographers make mention of this river 1 . 

1 I. H. 258. Muk. 392. Yak. iii. 24 ; iv. 520. Kaz. ii. 258. Mst. 148, 
149, 152, 217. The dam on the Gavjnaha was built by Shams-ad- Din, prime 
minister (Sahib-Divan) of Sultan Ahmad, son of Hfiiigu, the third il-Khan of 


JIBAL (continued). 

Ray. Varamfn and Tihran. Kazvin and the castle of Alamut. Zanjan. 
Sultanfyah. Shtz or Saturfk. Khunaj. The districts of Talikan and 
Tarum. The castle of Shamiran. The trade and products of the Jibal 
province. The high roads of Jibal, Adharbayjan and the frontier pro- 
vinces of the north-west. 

At the north-eastern comer of the Jibal province stood Ray, 
more correctly spelt Rayy, which the Arab geographers always 
write with the article Ar-Rayy, the name representing the Greek 
Rhages. In the 4th (roth) century Ray appears to have been the 
chief of the four capital cities of the Jibal province ; 'except for 
Baghdad, indeed, it is the finest city of the whole east, 1 " Tbn 
Hawl^al writes, ' though Naysabur in Khurasan is more spacious/ 
and Ray covered at that time an area of a league and a half 
square. Officially, during the Abbasid Caliphate, Ray was known 
as Muhammadiyah, in honour of Muhammad, afterwards the 
Caliph Mahdi, who had lived here during the reign of his father 
Mansur, and had rebuilt much of the city. His son Harfln-ar- 
Rashid was born here, and under its official title of Muham- 
madiyah it became the chief mint city of the province, this name 
occurring on many of the Abbasid coins. 

In Ray the houses were mostly built of clay, but burnt bricks 
were also largely used. The town was strongly fortified, and Jbn 
Hawkal mentions five gates ; the gate of the Batak Arch opening 
(S.W.) on the Baghdad road, Bab Ballsan (N.W.) towards 
Kazvin, Bab Kfthak (N.E.) towards Tabaristan, Bab Hisham (E.) 
on the Khurasan road, and Bab Sfn (S.) towards Kum. The 


markets of the city lay at, and outside, these gates, and the most 
frequented were in the suburbs of Sirbinan and Ar-Rtidhah, 
where shops, and warehouses filled with merchandise, extended 
along both sides of the main thoroughfare for a great distance. 
Two rivers, according to Ibn Hawkal, brought water to Ray, one 
called Stirfcani running past the Rudhah suburb ; and the other, 
the river Al-Ji&nf, flowing through Sart&nin. Yiktit also mentions 
the Nahr Mtisi (River of Mtisi), coming down from the mountains 
of Daylam, which may therefore be identical with the Jflanl or 
Gilan river, aforesaid. M ukaddasl refers to two great buildings 
in Ray, one the Dir-al-Battikh, 4 the water-melon house,' a name 
commonly given to the city fruit-market, the other the Dir-al- 
Kuttub, or library, lying below ROdhah in a khin (caravanserai), 
where, however, there were not many books, according to his 

In the 4th (loth) century both Ibn JJawkal and Mukaddasf 
speak of Ray as already much gone to ruin, the chief traffic then 
being in the suburbs of the older town. High above the Great 
Mosque, which YifcQt states was built by the Caliph Mahdi and 
finished in 158 (775), was the castle, which stood on the summit 
of a steep hill, of which Ibn Rustah writes that ' from its top you 
overlook all the roofs of Ray.' The account of Ray given in 
Ykfit is not very clear, but he quotes, in one part of his work, an 
old topographical description of the town, which is to the following 
effect. The Inner City, where the mosque and the Government 
House stood, was the quarter surrounded by a ditch, and this was 
generally known as Al-Madinah, 'the City' proper. The Outer 
City was that part more especially known as Al-Muhammadiyah, 
which at first had been a fortified suburb. It crowned the summit 
of the hill overlooking the lower (or inner) town, and according 
to the information quoted by Yafctit its castle was known as 
Az Zubaydfyah (some MSS. give the name as Az-Zaybandi), which 
had been the palace of Prince Mahdt when he was quartered in 
Ray, Afterwards this became the prison, and it was rebuilt in 
278 (891). Further, there was another castle in Ray called the 
Kal'ah-al-Famikhan, also known as Al-Jawsak, * the Kiosque,' and 
during the 4th (loth) century Fakhr-ad-Dawlah the Buyid, who 
disliked the old palace on the hill-top, built himself a great 

216 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

house in the midst of gardens, which was afterwards known as 
Fakhrabid 1 . 

The most celebrated in early days of the many fertile districts 
round Ray were the following : Rftdhah (or Ar-Rtidhah), with a 
large village of the same name beyond the city suburb ; Varimf n, 
which afterwards took the place of Ray as the chief city of this part 
of the Jibal province ; Pash^vSyah, still existing under the form 
Fashiviyah; lastly, Kusin and Dizah, with the districts of Al- 
Kasrin, 'the Two Palaces' the outer and the inner Uizah 
being the name of two large villages or towns lying one day's 
journey from Ray, to wit, Dizah of KasrSn, and Dizah of Varimin. 
All these hamlets according to Ibn JJawkal, with some others that 
he names, were like small towns, each with a population of over 
10,000 men. In the year 617 (1220) Ray, was taken, plundered, 
and burnt by the Mongol hordes, and from this great calamity it 
never recovered. Yaktit, who passed through the place at this 
time, states that the city walls alone remained intact, most of the 
houses being reduced to ruin. Many of these had originally been 
built of burnt brick, faced with blue enamelled tiles, which YikQt 
describes as 'varnished smooth like the surface of a bowl.' The 
Shifi'ite suburb, the smallest of the city quarters, alone had 
escaped the Mongols, the quarters of the Hanbalites and of the 
Shi'ahs having been completely ruined*. 

From its state of utter ruin Ghazan Khan the Mongol, by 
imperial decree, according to Mustawfl, attempted to restore Ray, 
ordering the city to be rebuilt and repeopled The attempt, how- 
ever, failed, for the population had already shifted to the neighbour- 
ing towns of Varamin and Tihran, more especially the former, 
which, having a better climate than the older Ray, had become 
at the beginning of the 8th (Mth) century the most flourishing 
city of the district. The ruins of Varamin lie at some distance 
to the south of Ray, while to the north of the city, Mustawfi says, 
was the hill of Tabarik presumably not that on which the castle 

1 Ykb. 275. I. R. 168. I. H. 265, 269, 270. Muk. 390, 391. Yak. ii. 
*53 894* ^95; iii. 855; iv. 431. Whether or not the fortress of Ray built by 
Mahdf was called Zubaydiyah (if this indeed be the true reading) after the 
future urife of his son Hrun-ar-Rashfd is not clear. 

* I. H. 270, 289. Yak. h. 572, 833, 893, 894. 

XV] JIBAL. 217 

already mentioned as built by the Caliph Mahdi had stood 
where a silver mine was worked at much profit to the state. 
This castle of Jabarik, according to the chronicle of Zahfr-ad-Dtn, 
was founded by Manuchahr the Ziyarid at the beginning of the 5th 
(nth) century. Yafcftt states that it was destroyed in 588 (1192) 
by Tughril II, the last Saljftfc Sultan of 'Irifc, and a long account 
is given of the siege of this famous stronghold. The Tabarik 
hill, he adds, lay on the right of the Khurisan road to a traveller 
leaving Ray, while the Hill of Ray (presumably the site of the 
castle built by Mahdi) lay to the left of one leaving the city gate. 
Mustawfi describes the shrine of the Imim Zddah 'Abd-al-'Azim 
as situated close to Ray, and this Mashhad, or place of martyrdom, 
is still the most venerated sanctuary of modern TihrUn ; the saint 
being a certain Husayn, son of 'Ali-ar-Ridi, the eighth Imam. 

One of the famous districts near Ray was called Shahriyar, and 
Mustawfi incidentally mentions a castle (Kal'ah) of this name as 
lying to the north of the city. In later times this castle must have 
become important, for Shahriyir or Ray-Shahriyir is the name 
which 'All of Yazd, when describing the campaigns of Tlmur, gives 
to Ray. Varamln, as already said, was then the chief centre of 
population, but this town in the beginning of the Qth (isth) 
century was itself already falling to ruin. At a later time its place 
was taken by fibrin, which in the yth (13*) century is merely 
mentioned us one of the largest villages of Ray. The early Tihran 
(also spelt Tihran with the soft t) had many half-underground 
houses, 'like Jerboa holes ' according to Kazvint, and the people 
of its twelve wards were always fighting, each ward against 
the other. Mustawfi in the next century describes Tihnin as a 
medium-sized town ; but it was not till long after, namely at the 
close of the i2th (i8th) century, that the city was made the capital 
of Persia by Afci Muhammad Shah, founder of the Kajar dynasty 1 . 

The rivers that water the plain in which Ray, Varamin, and 
stand, flow thence to the neighbouring border of the Great 

1 Kaz. h. 228, 250. Mst. 143, 144, 205. Yak. iii. 507, 564. A. Y. i. 583, 
586* 597* Zahfr-ad-Dtn (Dorn, Muhammadanische Quellen, i. p. 15 of the 
Persian text) states that Tabarik means 'a hillock/ being the diminutive of 
Tabar which signifies ' a hill or mountain ' in the Tabaristan dialect. Tabarik 
of Isfahan has been noticed on p. 205. 

218 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

Desert and there are lost. One of the chief streams was the Nahr 
Mds& already mentioned, along whose bank lay many villages ; 
further, Mustawfi speaks of the river Karaj, which was crossed by 
a bridge of a single arch known as the Pul-i-KMtfln, 'the Lady's 
Bridge/ and so called, it was said, in memory of the lady 
Zubaydah, wife of Harfcn-ar-Rashid. The ruins of this bridge still 
exist not far from fibrin. Kazvint also mentions the Nahr Surtn, 
whose waters were carefully avoided by the Shi'ah population of 
Ray, because the body of the murdered YafcyS, grandson of 'All 
Zayn-al-'Abidin the fourth Imam, had been washed in it, and thus 
polluted the stream for evermore. The chief river of Ray, how- 
ever, according to Mustawfi, was the Jiyij Rfld, which, rising in 
the Jiyij range under Damivand, divided into forty channels on 
reaching the plain of Ray. 

On the western border of this pkin lies the district of Saftj 
Bulagh meaning 'Cold Springs' in the Turkish dialect which 
is described by Mustawfi as having been an important place under 
the Saljuks. In the time of the Mongols it paid revenues to the 
amount of 12,000 dinars, and the chief among its numerous 
villages was Sunkurab&d (which still exists), an important stage on 
the itinerary given by Mustawfi. Sauj Bulagh district was watered 
by the Garm Rftd, which, rising in the mountains to the east 
of Kazvin, irrigated the districts of Ray and Shahriyir, where it 
was joined by many streams from the mountain range to the 
north before such of its waters as were not used up in irrigation 
channels were absorbed by the Great Desert 1 . 

Kazvin (otherwise Kazwin) lies about a hundred miles north- 
west of Tihrin, immediately below the great mountain chain, and 
from the earliest times was an important place, guarding the passes 
that led across the Tabaristan province to the shores of the Caspian. 
The mountain region to the north-west had in early times formed 
part of the district of Daylam (already described in Chapter XII) 
which for a time was semi-independent, not having been brought 
under the government of the Abbasids. During this period Kazvin 
was the chief fortress against these fierce infidels, and was strongly 
garrisoned by Moslem troops. Already in the times of the 

1 Kaz. i. 181. Mst. 144, 148, 196, 216: and see British Museum MS. Add. 
*3543 f- '79*- J- N. 292, 304. 

xv] jiuAL. 219 

Omayyad Caliphs, Muhammad, son of IJajjaj tlfe latter being 
the celebrated governor of Arabian 'Irak had been sent by his 
father at the head of an army against the infidels of the Daylam 
mountains. This Muhammad had halted at Kazvin, and built 
here the first Friday Mosque, which YjLfcut describes as standing 
near the gate of the palace of the Bant Junayd. It was called 
the Masjid-ath-Thawr, 'the Bull Mosque,' and was the chief 
mosque of the city till the days of Harun-ar-Rashid. Ibn Hawkal 
in the 4th (loth) century descril>es Kazvin as consisting of a 
double city, one without, the other within, and there were two 
Friday Mosques in the central town, which was like a fortress. Its 
lands were very fertile, and the houses of the city covered an area 
of a square mile. The people were brave and warlike, and it was 
from this city that the Abbasid Caliphs were wont to despatch 
punitive expeditions into Talikan and Daylam. 

The two chief rivers of Kazvin, according to Ya'kubi, were 
the Wadi-al-Kabir (the Great Stream), and the Wadi Sayram. 
There were the remains of many fire-temples in this neighbour- 
hood, and Mukaddasi praises the grapes grown in the gardens 
round the place. Of the double town the two quarters were called 
the Madinah Milsa and the Madinah Mubarak, otherwise the 
Mubirakiyah. The Caliph Had! (elder brother of Harun-ar- 
Rashid), whose name was Musa, had built here the town quarter 
named after him, Madinah Miisa. This was during the Caliphate 
of his father Mahdi ; and afterwards HarAn-ar-Rashid (who suc- 
ceeded Hadi) on his way to Khurasan had halted in Kazvin, where 
he laid the foundations of the new mosque and built the city 
walls. Mubarak the Turk, a freedman either of the Caliph 
Mamun or of Mu'tasim, was the builder of the Mubarakiyah 
fortress at Mubarakabad, otherwise called the city of Mubarak. 

Throughout the middle-ages Kazvin continued to be a 
flourishing town, but at the beginning of the 7th(i3th) century 
it was laid in ruins by the Mongols. A hundred years later, 
Mustawfi, who was himself a native of Kazvin, gives a long 
account of the place, derived in part from local traditions. He 
states that on the site of later Kazvin there had stood an ancient 
Persian city, built by King Shapftr and called Shad Shaptir < the 
Joy of Sapor.' Near its ruins the two Moslem cities of Madinah 

220 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

Mftsa and Mubarakabad (Mubarak, he says, was a freedman of 
the Caliph Hid!) were subsequently built, and HSrtin-ar-Rashld 
surrounded all three towns by a great fortified wall. This wall 
was only completed in 254 (868) by the Turk commander Mftsa 
ibn Bugh in the reign of the Caliph Mu'tazz; and it was 
afterwards rebuilt in burnt brick by Sadr-ad-Din, the Wazir of the 
Saljftk Sultan Arslan II, in 572 (1176). Mustawf! further states 
that 300 villages were of the dependencies of Kazvln, and of these 
the most important were Farisjin and Sagsabad, both mentioned 
in his itinerary. He also names a number of streams which 
irrigated the Kazvtn territory, namely the Kharfld, with the Buh 
Rftd and Kardan Rfld both flowing from Tilikan, and the 
Turkan Rftd coming from the Kharrakan district (see p. 196). 
According to Kazvini the streams that watered the gardens of the 
city were the Daraj river on the east, and the Atrak river on the 
west , and the same author also names a number of towns and 
villages that were situated in the plain, and in the hill country 
overlooking Kazvtn 1 . 

Dastuva (or Dastaba) under the Omayyads holds the position 
of a mint city, and is the name of a great district, of which 
Yazdabad was the chief village. In Omayyad times Dastuva had 
belonged in part to Ray, in part to Hamadan, and we are told 
that the direct post-road from Ray to the Adharbayjan province 
lay through it, avoiding Kazvin. The name is no longer found 
on the map, but Dastaba must have been to the south of Kazvln, 
of which city in later days, under the Abbasid Caliphs, it came 
to be counted as a dependency. 

To the north-west of Kazvin, on the summits of the mountains 
dividing this district from that of Rtidbar, which lay along the 

1 I. H. 259, 263, 271. Ykb. 271. I. K. 57. Muk. 391. Yak. iv. 88, 

89 454 455- K az. " *9 *93 >94 1 9 6 *44, *74 *75> ^9- Mst - *45 
146, 196, 217. As his name implies, Kazvtn! (like Mustawf!) was a native 
of Kazvin, and Mustawfi in his history (the Guztdah] has left a long 
account of his birth-place, which M. Barbier de Meynard has translated in the 
Journal Asiatique for 1857, ii. p. 257. Kazvmt (ii. 291) gives a rough 
ground plan of the town, which is figured in concentric circles of walls. The 
inner circle was the Shahristan, and this was surrounded by the great city 
(Al-Mad!nah-al-'Uzma), which in turn was enclosed by gardens, depicted as 
encircled by arable fields; the latter traversed by the two rivers. 

XV] JIBAL. 221 

river Shih Rfld in Tabaristan, stood the famous castles of the 
Assassins (Ismailians), fifty in total number Mustawfi says, of 
which Alamftt was the capital and Maymftn Diz the strongest 
fortress. The name Alamtit is said to mean ' the eagle's nest ' or 
'the eagle's find' in the fabaristin dialect, and the first to build 
a castle here was a Daylamite king whose hunting eagle had by 
chance once perched on the crag. Kazvtni, who doubtless knew 
the place well, describes the castle as surrounded by deep and 
wide ravines, cutting it off from all communication with the 
neighbouring mountain spurs, and rendering it impregnable, for 
it was beyond bow-shot or even the bolts from a mangonel. 
Alamftt lay six leagues distant from Kazvfn, and its later 
fortress was built by the 'Alid missioner Hasan, surnamed 
Ad-Dal-ili-l-Hakfc, in 246 (860). In 483 (1090) or 446 (1054) 
according to Kazvini it came into the possession of Hasan 
Sabafc, surnamed the Old Man of the Mountain, and for 171 years 
was the chief stronghold of his followers. Alamftt was taken and 
dismantled in 654 (1256) by order of Hflligft Khan the Mongol, 
and, after its fall, the remaining castles of the Assassins were 
quickly captured and razed to the ground. Its supposed site has 
been visited by various travellers, and the remains of many other 
fortresses, said to be those of the Ism&ilians, still exist in the 
mountains to the north of Kazvin 1 . 

Abhar and Zanjan, two cities often named together, lay on the 
high road west of Kazvin, and were famous from early times. 
Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (loth) century mentions Abhar as peopled 
by Kurds, its fields were very fertile and well watered, corn being 
largely grown here. It was protected by a strong castle built upon 

1 Kaz. ii. oo. Nfst. 147. In the GuztdaA (chapter iv, section ix, part i) 
Mustawfi gives the history of the Ismailians or Assassins in Persia ; and this 
has been translated, with notes, by Defre*mery, in the Journal A siatiqt4e(\^g, 
L 26). He gives in a list (p. 48) the names of the Ismatlian fortresses taken 
and destroyed by order of Hfilagft, but the position of most of these is un- 
known. Girdkuh and Lanbasar were the last strongholds to fall. Alamut, 
however, appears not to have been entirely destroyed by Hulagd, or perhaps it 
was rebuilt later, for it served as a state prison under Shah Sulayman the 
Safavl, as is mentioned by Chardin (Voyage en Perse, x. 20). In the last 
century Colonel Monteith visited the ruins, and has described them in the 
7 R. G. 5. for 1833 (p. 15). 

222 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

a great platform, and Kazvini reports that it was famous for its water- 
mills, also for the so-called 'Abbas! pear grown here, in shape like 
an orange and very sweet. According to Yakflt the Persians 
pronounced the name Avhar. Mustawfl records that the fortress 
was rebuilt under the Saljtiks by the Atabeg Bahi-ad-Din Haydar, 
and hence was known as the Haydariyah. The city walls 
measured 5500 paces in circuit, and the Abhar river, after 
watering the district, flowed towards Kazvln, becoming lost in the 
desert plain. The city of Zanjan lay about 50 miles to the north- 
west of Abhar, and on the Zanjan river, which flowed west to the 
Safld Rtid. Zanjan is described by Ibn Hawkal as larger than 
Abhar; and it was on the high road into Adharbayjan. The 
Persians, Yafctit says, pronounce the name Zangan, and Mustawfl 
states that the place was founded by King Ardashir Babgan, being 
first named Shahin. Zanjan had been ruined during the Mongol 
invasion, its walls, however, were still 10,000 paces in circuit, the 
district was most fertile, and its revenues amounted to 20,000 
dinars. Mustawfl adds that the language talked here, in the 
beginning of the 8th (i4th) century, was still * almost pure 
Pahlavi,' by which a local Persian dialect is doubtless indicated 1 . 
About half-way between Abhar and Zanjan, in the centre of 
the great plain forming the watershed between rivers flowing west 
to the Safid Rtid and east to the Great Desert, lie the ruins of 
the Mongol city of Sult&niyah, which, founded by Arghtin Khan, 
was completed by Uljaytfl Sultan in 704 (1305) and made the 
capital city of the ll-Khan dynasty. Abu-1-Fida states that its 
Mongol name was Kungurlan, and according to Mustawfl nine 
cities were of its dependencies. Its walls were 30,000 paces in 
circuit, and in the central fortification stood the great sepulchre 
of Uljaytft, adorned with many carvings in stone. The ruins of 
this domed tomb (or mosque) still exist, but of the city nothing 
now remains, although Mustawfl says that in his day Sultaniyah 
contained finer buildings than any other town in Persia, Tabriz 
alone excepted. On the Abhar road five leagues east of Sultaniyah 
lay the village of Kuhfld, ' which the Mongols call Sain Kal'ah,' 
Mustawfl writes, and under the latter name 'Sain's Fortress' 

1 I. H. 258, 271, 274. Muk. 378, 392. Ka*. ii. 191. Yak. i. 104; ii. 
573. 574. 948; iv. 1017. Mst. 146, 147, 217. 

XV] JIBAL. 223 

the place still exists, S&in, otherwise called Bitft Khan, being the 
grandson of Changiz Khan. The strong castle of Sarjahan stood 
on the mountain spurs half-way between Sain Kal'ah and 
Sultaniyah. From the latter it was distant five leagues, and it 
crowned a hill-top overlooking the great plains which extended 
thence eastward to Abhar and Kazvin. Yaktit describes Sarjahan, 
which was of the Tarum district, as one of the strongest fortresses 
that he had seen ; but when Mustawfi wrote it was in ruins, the 
result of the Mongol invasion, its munitions of war and garrison 
having been transferred to Sain Kal'ah. 

To the west of Sultaniyah lay the two small neighbouring 
towns of Suhravard and Sujas, which were still of some importance 
when Mustawfi was here in the 8th (i4th) century, though now 
entirely gone to ruin. Ibn Hawkal writes in the 4th (roth) 
century that Suhravard with its Kurdish population was then as 
large as Shahraztir, it was a walled town and well fortified, lying 
to the south of Zanjan on the road to Hamadan. Sujas, or Sijas, 
lay close to Suhravard, and Mustawfi describes both places as 
having been ruined during the Mongol invasion, so that in his day 
they were merely large and populous villages. The surrounding 
districts were called Jartid and Anjartid (at the present day 
they are known under the names of Ijartid and Anguran), and 
Sujas lay five leagues west of Sultaniyah in the midst of more 
than a hundred villages settled by Mongols. In the mountain 
near was the grave of Arghtin Khan, made a Kur&gh or 'inviolate 
sanctuary* after the custom of the Mongols, and his daughter 
Uljaytti Khatftn had built here a khlnfcih or convent for 
Darvishes 1 . 

On the western border of the Jibal province, near one of the 
head-streams of the Safld Rtid, are the remarkable ruins called 
Takht-i-SulaymSn 'Solomon's Throne' at the present day, 
with a little lake or pool which is always kept full by a natural 
syphon, however much water may be drawn off. These ruins 

1 I. H. 258, 263. Kaz. ii. 261. Yak. iii. 40, 70, 203. A. F. 407. Mst. 
I 44> | 45 , j 4 8, 149, 196. Both Sujas and Suhravard have apparently now 
disappeared from the map ; though Sir H. Rawhnson writes (J. R. G. S. 1840, 
p. 66) that Sujas was in his time a small village lying 24 miles S.E. of Zanjan 
he further adds that Suhravard is * now lost.' 

224 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

have been identified with the city of Ash-Shlz, mentioned by the 
early Arab geographers, which Mustawft also describes under the 
name of Sattirik. At Shiz, Ibn Khim&dbih, writing in the 
3rd (gth) century, describes the great fire-temple, so much 
honoured by the Magians, which bore the name of Adharjushnas. 
Hither, walking on foot all the way from Madain (Ctesiphon), and 
halting at the half-way stage of Shahrazfir, already noticed p. 190,, 
each of the Sassanian Chosroes was bound to come as a pilgrim 
immediately after his accession to the crown; for according to one 
tradition Shiz was the birth-place of Zoroaster. Yafcflt reports that 
the Persian name was Jis, otherwise Gazn, of which Shiz was an 
Arab corruption. He then quotes a long account from Ibn 
Muhalhal, who in 331 (943) wrote a description of Shiz, which he 
had visited in search of gold mines said to exist in its mountains. 
The town walls of Shiz, he states, surrounded a lake, that was 
unfathomable, about a Jarib (one third of an acre) in extent, and 
whose waters always kept the same level though seven streams 
continually flowed from it, and these streams had the property of 
producing petrifaction on objects laid in their waters. Ibn 
Muhalhal also describes the fire-temple, from which the sacred 
fire wa$ taken to all the other temples throughout Persia; and 
for seven hundred years, he says, the sacred fire had never been 
extinguished in Shiz. The same place is described by Mustawfl 
who gives it as the chief town of the Anjartid district, and adds 
that the Mongols called it Satftrifc. He describes a great palace 
here, originally built, report said, by King Kay-Khusraw, the court 
of which was occupied by a bottomless pool or small lake that 
always maintained its level, although a stream perpetually Sowed 
from it, while if the stream were dammed back the pool did not 
overflow. Mustawil relates that Abafcah Khan the Mongol had 
built himself a palace here, for there were excellent pasture 
grounds in the neighbourhood 1 . 

In the north-western angle of the Jib21 province, on the high 
road from Zanjan to Ardabil, lay the important commercial town of 
Khtinaj, according to Ibn Ilawfcal noted already in the 4th (xoth) 

1 I. K. 119. I. F. 286. Kaz. ii. 267. Yak. iii. 353. Mst. 148. Sir 
H. Rawlinson (J. K. G. S. 1840, p. 65) would identify Takht-i-Sulayman or 
Shiz with the northern Ecbatana of the Greek writers. 

XV] JIBAL. 225 

century for its fine breed of horses, sheep, and oxen. Yakut, who 
had visited the town, gives the alternative spelling of Khtina, but 
he adds that it was more generally called Kaghadh Kunan, * the 
Paper Factory ' for the people augured evil of the name KMn 
which signified * bloody' in Persian. Mustawfi, who in his 
itinerary gives the position of Kaghadh Kunan as lying six leagues 
south of the Safid Rtid, and fourteen north of Zanjan on the direct 
road to Ardabil, says that during the Mongol invasion it had been 
ruined, and was, when he wrote, merely the size of a village. The 
stream that watered its lands was a tributary of the Safi'd Rtid. 
Excellent paper, however, was still manufactured, and the Mongols 
who had settled in the place gave it the name of Mughtiliyah, 
'the Mongol Camp.' The exact site of Khilnaj has not, apparently, 
been identified. 

Along the southern slope of the great range dividing the Jibal 
province from Daylam and Tabaristan to the north, were the 
three districts of Pushkil-Darrah, Talikan, and Tirum, of which 
the last two overlap, the names often being used indifferently, one 
for the other. These districts were each divided into Upper and 
Lower, the Upper region being of the mountains, and as such 
counted to be of the Daylam province. Pushkil-Darrah, according 
to Mustawfi, lay to the west of Kazvin, and south of Talikan. . It 
comprised forty villages whose revenues had formerly gone to the 
up-keep of the Friday Mosque in Kazvin. The name Talikan 
the district lying between the Sultaniyah plains and the northern 
mountain range has disappeared from the map, but At-Talikan 
(as it is generally written) is frequently mentioned by the earlier 
Arab geographers. Mukaddasf. refers to it as a most populous 
and fertile region ; and expresses his wonder that the Sultan (the 
Governor of Daylam) does not live here instead of in the mountain 
valleys, c but his people will not have it/ he adds. Kazvini refers 
to the abundant olives and fine pomegranates grown in Talikan, 
and Yalctit names some of its villages* Of these last Mustawfi 
gives a long list, but the majority of them it is impossible now to 
identify on the present map. He considered that most part of 
the Tilikan region belonged rather to Gilan. 

To the north of Zanjin, likewise along the foot of the hill 
spurs, lies the T^rum district, which with the Arab geographers is 

226 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

generally found in the dual form At-Tarumayn, * the Two Thrums,' 
Lower and Upper, the latter being entirely of the Daylam country. 
As already said, the Tarum river was a right-bank affluent of the 
Safid Rftd, and its many tributaries irrigated this fertile district. 
Yaktit, who spells the name Tarum or Tarm (with the unemphatic 
t), says that there was no great city here, but in history the land 
was famous for the memory of the Vahstidan family, and the last 
of these native chiefs had been dispossessed by Rukn-ad-Dawlah 
the Buyid. Mustawfi mentions Firuzabad as the capital town of 
Lower Tarum, Andar (or Aydi) being the chief place in Upper 
'I'arum, with the fortress called Kal'ah Taj, and he names five 
districts, each comprising numerous villages. 

As being in Lower Tarum, but the position is nowhere given, 
Mustawfi mentions the great castle of Shamiran, or Samiran as 
the name is spelt by Yak tit, who had himself visited its ruins. 
Yakilt quotes also a long account from Ibn Muhalhal, who passed 
through Samiran in about the year 331 (943), when it was counted 
as one of the chief strongholds of the Daylamite kings, and con- 
tained (he writes) 2850 and odd houses, large with small. Fakhr- 
ad-DawIah the Buyid took the place in 379 (989), dispossessing the 
last of the Vahsudan family, a child, whose mother the Buyid 
chief married. At about this date Mukaddasi, who spells the 
name of the castle Samirum, describes it as being of the 
Salarvand district, and on its walls were * lions of gold, and the sun 
and the moon/ though its houses were built but of mud-brick. In 
the middle of the next century the Persian traveller Nasir-i-Khusraw 
visited Samiran on his pilgrimage to Mecca. This was in 438 
(1046) and he describes it as the capital of Tarum in Daylam. It 
apparently lay three leagues west of the junction of the Shah Rild 
with the Safid Rud on the high road to Sarav in Adharbayjan. 
Above the lower town was an immense fortress, crowning a rock 
with its triple wall, garrisoned by a thousand men, water being 
obtained by an underground conduit. Yafcilt, who saw Samiran 
in the earlier years of the ?th (i3th) century, found it a ruin, the 
result of an order of the chief of the Assassins at AlamQt The 
remains were those of a mighty fortress, 'a mother of castles/ and 
it was situated on a great river that flowed from the mountains of 
Tarum. Its site, however, does not appear to have been identified 

xv] JIBAL. 227 

by any modern traveller. Another fortress of this district is also 
mentioned by Yaktit, bearing the name of Kilat, which was 
situated in the Tarum mountains, on the frontier of Daylam 
between Kazvin and Khalkhal. It occupied the summit of a 
mountain, and below, on the river bank, where a masonry bridge 
of many arches crossed the stream, was a suburb with excellent 
markets. Yaktit states that this castle had belonged to the chief 
of the Assassins at Alamflt, but like Samiran its site as yet 
remains unidentified 1 . 

In the matter of the manufactures and products of some of the 
chief towns of the Jibal province Mukaddasi gives us a succinct 
account. He says that Ray exported various kinds of stuffs, 
especially those known as Munayyar. Cotton was spun here and 
dyed blue, and the striped cloaks of Ray were famous. Needles, 
combs, and great bowls were made for export, the last two articles, 
according to Kazvini, being made from the fine-grained hard 
wood known as khalanj, which came from the Tabaristan forests. 
Ray also was famous for its melons and peaches, and for a kind of 
saponaceous clay, much used in washing the head. 

In Kazvin well-made clothes were to be bought, also leathern , 
sacks used on journeys as wallets. Bows for archery were 
exported, also the calamint herb. Kum was noted for its chairs, 
bridles, stirrups, and various stuffs ; much saffron, too, came from 
its district Kashan exported a kind of dried immature date; 
also tarragon. Isfahan was famous for its overcloaks; and. a 
special kind of salted meat was made for export; further, the 
Isfahan padlocks were renowned. Hamadan and its r *ighbour- 
hood produced cheese, and much saffron ; and rk skins of foxes 
and martens were exported. Tin is named as iound near here, 
and various stuffs, as well as good boots, were made in the city. 
Finally from Dinavar came famous cheeses*. 

The chief highway through the Jibal province was part of the 
great caravan road, commonly called the Khurasan road, which, 
as already described in the introductory chapter, went from 
Baghdad to Transoxiana and the farther east. Entering the 

1 I. H. 253. Muk. 360. Yak. i. 63, 811 ; ii. 499, 500; iii. 148, 492, 533; 
iv. 156. Kaz. ii. 268. Mst. 149, 150, 198, 217. J. N. 297. N. K. 5. 

2 Muk. 395, 396. Kaz. ii. 250. 

228 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

province at IJulw&i this high road passed through it diagonally, 
coming first to Kirmisin (or Kirminshah), then jto Hamadan, from 
which town Sivah was the next point, thence finally north to Ray, 
beyond which it passed eastward out of the Jibil province into 
Kfimis, and through this to Khurasan. Of the Khurdsan road, 
the fullest of the early descriptions, as already explained, is that 
given by Ibn Rustah at the close of the 3rd (beginning of the loth) 
century, who, stage by stage, mentions all the streams and bridges 
crossed by the road, also whether it ascends or descends or runs 
across level ground, further naming the various villages and towns 
that are passed. We have, besides, four other early accounts of 
this road, the last by Mukaddasi, who gives the distances by the 
day's march (Marhalaft). 

After the Mongol conquest and the^ establishment- of the 
dynasty of the Il-Khans in Persia, Sultaniyah became the capital, 
and hence the centre of the road system. In the itineraries of 
Mustawfi, therefore, instead of starting from Baghdad and going 
east, the roads start from Sultaniyah, and towards Baghdad the 
reverse direction is of course followed. From Hulwan to Hamadan 
(to revert to the older order of the route) the stages are however 
practically the same in both systems. But from Hamadan, 
instead of going by Savah to Ray, the Mongol high road goes 
north direct to Sultaniyah across the Darguzin and Kharrakan 
districts. No great towns, however, are passed, and the stages on 
the road, as given by Mustawfi, being names of villages, are all 
extremely uncertain 1 . 

From near Kirmanshah, at the hill called ' Sumayrah's Tooth/ 
Sinn Sumayrah (see p. 188), the road to Maraghah in Adhar- 
bayjan and the north turns off from the great Khurasan road, 
running first to Dinavar and thence to Sisar (probably identical 
with the modern Sifcnah town, see p. 190) and the Jibal frontier. 
This route, of which the continuation through Adharbayjin will be 
described presently, is given by both Kudamah and Ibn Khurdadbih, 
and the earlier portions of it are found in Ibn IJaw^al. From 
Kirminshah (Kirmisin), from Kanguvar and from Hamadan, 
roads branched to the right, going south-east to Nihavand, 

1 I. R. 165169. I. K. 19 22. Kud. 198200. I. H. 256358. 
Muk. 400 402. Mst. 192. 

XV] JIBAL. 229 

whence, and from Hamadan direct, the way went by BurAjird to 
Karaj of Abu Dulaf and thence on to Isfahan. Mustawf! gives 
the stages from Kanguvar to Nihavand and then on by a devious 
route to Isfahan ; while from Karaj Mulcaddasi gives the direct 
road to Ray going via Avah and Varamin 1 ! 

The present high road from Isfahan to Tihrdn (past Ray) goes up 
through Kashan and Kum ; but in the earlier middle-ages the caravan 
route kept more to the east and nearer the desert border, sending 
off branches to the left westward, in turn, to Kashan and to Kum. 
Mukaddasi, however, at the close of the 4th doth) century, already 
gives the route direct through Kashan and Kum, as it goes now- 
adays. In Mustawfi the road after passing these two towns 
turned to the left through Avah to Savah, whence Sultaniyah 
was reached, the great high road from this new capital to Ray 
being joined at the stage of Sftmghan, as will be described in the 
next paragraph 2 . 

The number of marches between the towns to the west of Ray 
on the high road to the Adharbayjan province is given by Ibn 
Hawkal and others, also those from Zanjan north to ArdabfL 
The stages on this route,- however, are found in fullest detail in 
Mustawfi. Between Sultaniyah and Ray the road passed through 
Abhar to Farisjtn, leaving Kazvin to the north, and thence 
reached a stage called Sflmghan (the reading of this name is 
uncertain), where it bifurcated. The Khurasan high road went 
straight onward by the shrine of 'Abd-al-'Azim to Ray, and 
thence to Varamin ; while branching to the right southwards, 
the Isfahan road went first to Sagzabad (or Sagziabad), and 
thence on to Savah as already described*. 

Of the roads through Adharbayjan, in early times under the 
Caliphate, as already noticed, the great northern branch starting 
from the Khurasan road at Hamadan went to Sfsar, and thence 
on to Barzah in Adharbayjan, 60 miles south of the Urmtyah 
lake, where it bifurcated 4 . To the right the main road passed to 

1 I. K. 119, 120. Kud. 199, 200, 212. I. H. 256, 257, 258. Muk. 401, 
402. Mst. 195. 

2 I. R. 190, 191. I. K. 58, 59. I. H. 289, 290. Muk. 491. Mst. 199. 

3 I. H. 252, 258. Muk. 383. Mst. 196, 198, 199. 

4 See Map in, p. 87. 

230 JIBAL. [CHAP. 

the east of the lake by MarSghah to Tabriz, and thence east 
through Sarav to Ardabil. The left branch at the bifurcation at 
Barzah kept to the west of the lake, going by Urmiyah city to 
Khuwi, and thence by Nakhchivan (Nashawa) to Dabfl, the capital 
of Armenia. From Tabriz there was the cross-road by Marand to 
Khuwi, and thence on by Arjtsh to Khilat at the western end 
of the Van lake. This last section is given by Istakhri and 
Mukaddasi only 1 . 

From Ardabil, north, the road went across the Mflghan district 
to Warthan, where the Araxes was crossed, and thence by Bay- 
laldn to Bardha'ah. From this town one road went by Shamkflr 
north-westwards up the Kur river to Tiflis in Georgia ; while to 
the right by Barzanj, at the crossing of the Kur, another road 
led to Shamakha, the capital of Shirvan, and thence on to Bab- 
al-Abwab, otherwise Darband. A road from Dabil, the capital of 
Armenia, to Bardha'ah is also given by Mukaddasi and others, 
but the stages are not easy to identify 8 . 

The Mongol road system which went through Adharbayjan to 
the north-western frontiers, as described by Mustawfi in the 8th 
(i4th) century, started from the new capital Sultiiniyah, and at 
Zanjan bifurcated. To the right, the northern branch passed 
through KMnaj or Kaghadh Kunan, crossed the Safid Rtid, and 
by Khalkhal city came to Ardabil, from whence Bajarvan, the 
capital of Mflghan, was reached. From Zanjan, and crossing 
the Safid Rftd by a stone bridge (called the Kantarah Sabld 
Rftdh), this road is also given in part by Istakhri and Ibn 
Hawkal, with a cross-road from Miyanij. Continuing on from 
Bajarvan Mustawft first notices the branch road, east, to Mahmtlda- 
bad, and then mentions the stages on the main road, which went 
from Bajarvan by Bardha'ah and ShamkOr to Tiflis. 

Returning to the bifurcation at Zanjan, the l^ft branch, as 
described by Mustawfi, went up to Miyanij in Adharbayjan, and 
thence by Ojan to Tabriz, following the line given (in the con- 
trary direction) by the earlier Arab geographers. From Tabriz 
Mustawfi likewise gives the road on to Arjish on the lake of Van, 

1 I. K. 119121. Kud. 212, 213. It. 194. I. H. 252254. Muk. 
38*, 3*3- 

* J. K. I2i f 122. Kud. 213. 1st. 192, 193. I. H. 251. Muk. 381. 

XV] JIBAL. 231 

whence, bearing away from the left road along the lake shore to 
Khilit, he records the distances going north-west to Malasjird, 
and on by Arzan-ar-Rtim (Erzerum) through Arzanjin to Stvis, 
the capital of the Saljiilj: province of Ram. Finally, starting 
from Tabriz and going north-east, Mustawfi gives the cross-road 
to Bajarvin, which went by Ahar, crossing two passes; and 
along this line, he tells us, the Wazir 'AH Shah had recently 
built a number of Rubits or guard-houses 1 : 

1 Mst. 198, 199. 1st. 194. I. H. 251. 



The Dujayl or Kariin river. Khuzistan and Ahwaz. Tustar or Shustar. 
The Great Weir. The Masrukan canal. 'Askar Mukram. Junday 
Shapur. Dizfiil. Sus and the Karkhah river. Basinna and Mattuth. 
Karkub and Dur-ar-Rdbibt. Hawizah and Nahr Tira. Dawrak and the 
Surrak district. Ilisn Mahdi. The Dujayl estuary. Ramhurmuz and 
the Zutt district. Territory of Great Lur. Idhaj or Mai -Amir. Susan. 
Lurdagan. Trade and products of Khuzistan. The high roads. 

The province of Khuzistan comprises all the alluvial lands of the 
river Karun, known to the Arabs as the Dujayl of Al-Ahwaz, 
with its many affluents 1 . This river was called the Dujayl 
(Little Tigris) of Al-Ahwaz, past which city it flowed, in order to 
distinguish it from the Dujayl canal of the Tigris to the north of 
Baghdad. Khuzistan means 'the Land of the Khuz,' a name 
otherwise written- Huz or Huz ; and the plural of H&z> in 
Arabic, is Ahwaz, which was the capital city, Al-Ahwaz being the 
shortened form of Sulc-al- Ahwaz, ' the Market of the Huz people.' 
The name Khiizistan for the province is now become almost 
obsolete, and at the present day this district of Persia is known as 
'Arabistan, 'the Arab Province/ Its great river, too, is no longer 
called the Dujayl, being now known as the Karim, a name which 
is said to be a corruption of A//// Rang, 'the Coloured Hills, 1 
namely the mountains from whih it descends ; the name Kanln, 
however, appears to have been unknown to the medieval Arab or 
Persian geographers. 

The upper waters of the Dujayl or Kariin river ramify 

1 For Khuzistan see Map u, p. 25. 

CHAP, xvi] KHCrzisxAN. 233 

through the gorges of the district of Greater Lur, and its affluents 
come down from Lesser Lur and the Kurdistin mountains. The 
source of the Dujayl is in the Kfth Zard, 'the Yellow Mountain* 
(see p. 207) ; from which, on the other versant, the main stream 
of the river Zandah Rtid flows towards Isfahan. The Dujayl river 
after a long and winding course through the gorges, with many 
minor affluents on either bank, comes to the city of Tustar, which 
Mustawfi in the 8th (14*) century counts as the capital of 
Khuzistan, whence he calls the river the Dujayl of Tustar. At 
Tustar the stream bifurcates, but coming together again at 'Askar 
Mukram, thence flows past Ahwaz, where it is joined by the 
Junday Sabtir or DizfM river. The Dizffll takes its course from 
Burtijird in Lesser Lur (see p. 200), and its upper waters were 
known as the Kar'ah (or Kaw'ah). After being joined by 
another river, called the Kazki, the main stream flowed past the 
city of Dizfftl to join the Dujayl, as we have seen. Another 
great affluent of the Dujayl ran further to the westward, namely 
the river of Stis, otherwise called the Karkhah. This rose in the 
mountains of Lesser Lur, and was joined by the Kulku, also by 
the river of Khurramabad. After a long course these united 
streams, flowing down past the city of Sus, came to the Hawizah 
country to the west of Ahwaz and finally joined the Dujayl. At 
some distance below the junction of these affluents, the Dujayl 
river became a great tidal estuary, through which, to the east- 
ward of the estuary of the Tigris (already described in Chapter II) 
the combined waters of the Khtizistan rivers found their way out 
to the Persian Gulf 1 . 

Al-Ahwaz, the capital of the province, had originally been 
known by the name of Hurmuz-Shahr (variously given in the 
MSS. as Hurmuz Awshir and Hurmuz-Ardashir), this being the 
Persian name. Mukaddasi describes the -town as having suffered 
greatly during the rebellion of the Zanj in the 3rd (9th) century, 
and their chief for a time had made it his place of residence. In 
the following century it was in part rebuilt by the Buyid prince 
'Adud-ad-I)awlah . and Mukaddasi writes of it as possessing in 
his day many great warehouses, where merchandise was collected 

1 I. S. 32. I. R. 90, 91. Yak. ii. 496, 555. ftKt. 204, 214, 215, 216. 

J. N. 286. 


above the city, which should water the lands to the eastward. 
This canal, now called the Ab-i-Gargar, was in the earlier middle- 
ages known as the Masrukan or Mashrukan, and according to 
Ibn Muhalhal a traveller of the 4th (loth) century, quoted by 
Yakfit its waters were white, while those of the main stream of 
the Dujayl were red in colour. The main stream of the Dujayl 
(called at the present day the Shutayt, or 'Little River/ in the 
reach immediately below Shustar) is rejoined by the Masrukan 
branch some 25 miles south of Shustar, at a point near the ruins 
of Band-i-Kir. These mark the site of the city called 'Askar 
Mukram, which, throughout the middle-ages, was the most 
important town on the Masrukan, and the canal throughout its 
course passed through and irrigated lands planted with sugar- 
canes, the finest, it was said, in all Khuzistan. 

In the early part of the Qth (isth) century, Hafiz Abrti and 
'Ali of Yazd, writing after the time of TimOr, refer to these water- 
ways under the following names : the moiety of the main stream 
of the Dujayl, which passed off to the eastward above Shustar 
(the Masrukan, or Ab-i-Gargar), was then called the Dti Danikah 
or 'Two Sixths'; while the major part of the Dujayl, which 
went over the weir to the west of the town, was known as the 
Chahar Dinikah or 'Four Sixths.' At the present day a canal, 
called the Mfnaw, is diverted south-east from the main stream, 
and passing through a tunnel under the rock on which the castle 
of Shustar stands, irrigates the high-lying lands to the south of the 
city. This channel is the Dashtabad canal mentioned by Mustawfi; 
and it is referred to by Hafiz Abrti, who says that the Chahar 
Ddnikah was divided near the city into two streams, of which 
only one re-united below with the Da Danikah (or Masrukan). 
According to tradition the Masrukan had been originally dug by 
Ardashir Babgan, founder of the Sassanian monarchy. Mustawfi 
mentions the city of Masrukin as standing on the canal bank; 
and south of this, as 'already said, at a point half-way between 
Tustar and Ahwaz, the Masrukan stream poured back into the 
Dujayl near the city of 'Askar Mukram. 

The Masrukan district was famous for a particularly ex- 
cellent kind of date, as well as for the sugar-cane already 
alluded to. 


'Askar Mukram took its name from the camp ('Askar) of 
Mukram, an Arab commander sent into Khuzistan J>y IJajjaj, the 
celebrated viceroy of 'Mk under the Omayyads, to put down a 
revolt. Mukram encamped near the ruifis of a "Persian town 
originally called Rustam Kuwad, a name corrupted by the Arabs 
into Rustakub&dh ; and this afterwards became known as 'Askar 
Mukram, a new city having sprung up on the site of the Arab camp. 
At the present day the name of 'Askar Mukram has disappeared 
from the map, but its site is marked by the ruins known as Band-i- 
Kfr, ' the Bitumen Dyke/ where the Ab-i-Gargar (the Masrukan) 
runs into the Karfln. In the 4th (loth) century 'Askar Mukram 
was a town occupying both banks of the Masrukan canal, the 
western quarter being the larger, and this was connected with the 
other side by two great bridges of boats. The city had well- 
built markets, which, with the Friday Mosque, stood in the 
western quarter, but a great drawback to the place was the 
number of particularly venomous scorpions that were found 
there. According to Mustawfi the older Persian town had been 
called Burj Shapdr, after King Sapor II, who had rebuilt and 
enlarged it ; Mustawfi states that it was in his day commonly called 
Lashkar, meaning 'the Camp' in Persian, being when he wrote, in 
the 8th (i4th) century, accounted as the healthiest of all the towns 
of Khtizistan. 

According to Ibn Serapion, and other early authorities, the 
Masrukan channel, in the 4th (roth) century, did not flow back 
into the Dujayl at 'Askar Mukram, but took its separate course, 
running parallel with the Dujayl main stream, down to the tidal 
estuary. Further, Ibn Hawkal, in the previous century, describes 
how he himself travelled down the bed of the Masrukan, at a 
season of low water, going by this route from 'Askar Mukram to 
Ahwiz ; the first six leagues were, he says, by boat, the remaining 
four being completed on horseback in the dry bed of the canal. 
The old course of the lower part of the Masrukan cannot now be 
followed, for in this alluvial country the lapse of a thousand years 
has completely changed the face of the land. Below Ahwaz 
city, in the 3rd (gth) century, began the broad reach of the 
Dujayl called theNahr-as-Sidrah 'the Lotus Canal' which, after 

238 KHCzisrAN. [CHAP. 

receiving many affluents, ended at Hisn Mahdi, near the head 
of the KflrAn tidal estuary 1 . 

Eight leagues north-west of Tustar, on the road to Dizfftl, lie 
the ruins now called Shahabad, which mark the site of the city of 
Junday Sabur, or Jundi Sh&ptir. Under the Sassanians Junday 
Sabur had been the capital city of Khuzistan, and as late as the 
time of the Caliph Manstir it was famous for the great medical 
school founded here by the Christian physician Bukht-Yishti', 
who, followed by his sons and grandsons, stood high in favour 
with more than one of the Abbasid Caliphs. The neighbour- 
hood was celebrated also for the sugar that it produced, which 
was exported thence to Khurasan and the further east, though 
already by the 4th (loth) century Mukaddas! speaks of Junday 
Sdbflr as falling to ruin, on account of the inroads of the Kurds. 
Its embroideries, however, were famous, and rice was largely 
grown ; and in the town was to be seen the tomb of Ya'kub, son 
of layth the Saffarid, who having made this city his capital, died 
here in 265 (878). Mustawf! in the 8th (i4th) century describes 
Jundi Shapflr as still a populous town, famous for its sugar-cane, 
though at the present day an almost uninhabited ruin alone marks 
the site. 

Dizftil, 'the Diz Bridge' or 'the Castle Bridge,' lies on the 
Diz river to the west of Junday Sibfir. The city took its name 
from a famous bridge, said to have been built by Sapor II, and 
called Kantarah Andamish by Istakhrf. The remains of it still 
exist. The city was in the 4th ( loth) century also known as Kasr 
(the Castle of) Ar-Rftnash ; Mufcaddasi, however, sometimes refers 
to it merely as the town of Al-Kantarah, 'the Bridge/ The 
place and its famous bridge had various other names. Thus Ibn 
Serapio.n calls jt Kantarah-ar-Rflm, 'the Roman Bridge,' and the 
Diz he names the river of Junday Sibflr. Again, Ibn Rustah 
writes of Kantarah-ar-Rfldh, 'the River Bridge,' and in Ibn 
Khurdidbih we find Kantarah-az-Z&b, Z&b being according to 
him the name of the Diz river. In the 8th (i4th) century 

1 I. S. 3*. 1st. 90, 91. I. H. 172, 173, 175. Muk. 409, 411. A. Y. i. 
588, 59' 599- Hfe. 8*0. Mst. 169, 170. Yak. i. 411, 4 ia; ii. 676. Ham- 

XVI] KIlftZISTAN. 239 

Mustawfi describes the bridge as built of 42 arches, being 320 
paces in length, and the roadway 15 paces wide; he says it was 
then called the Andalmishk (or Andamish) Bridge. 

The town of Dizful occupied both banks of the river, and 
above the town a canal, cut through the rock on the east side, 
turned a great waterwheel working a mechanism which raised the 
water 50 ells and thus supplied all the houses of the town. The 
pasture lands round Dizful were famous, and the narcissus grew 
here abundantly. 'Ali of Yazd gives the name of Zal to the river, 
and he describes the bridge at Dizful (a name which he writes 
Dizpul, in the Persian fashion) as built on 28 great arches, with 
27 smaller ones between each two, making a total of 55. A 
reference to the modern map shows that at the present day the 
Dizpul river joins the Karun opposite Band-i-Kir ('Askar Mukram), 
but in earlier times it must have come into the Dujayl somewhat 
lower down, and probably in its upper course the stream passed 
nearer to Junday Sabur than is now the case. At its junction, in 
the middle-ages, with the Dujayl, and probably to the north of 
Ahwaz, lay the two fertile districts, with their chief towns, called 
Great and Little Manadhir, which Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (loth) 
century describes as surrounded by palm-groves and growing 
much corn \ * 

The country to the north and east of DizfiM and Tustar, was, 
in the earlier middle-ages, known as the Lur Plain (Safcra Lur), 
being occupied by the Lur tribes who in later times migrated into 
Lesser and Greater Lur, the mountain districts, of which the first- 
named was included in the Tibal province, as already noticed in 
Chapter XIV. In the 4th (loth) century, when Ibn Hawlcal wrote, 
the Lurs had evidently already begun to migrate, for he describes 
the neighbourhood as inhabited by the Kurds, and says of the Lur 
country that it was a most fertile though exceedingly mountainous 

1 I. R. 90. I. K. 176. 1. S. 32. 1st. 93, 95, 197. I. H. 176, 177, 159. 
Muk. 384, 405, 408. Ykb. 361. Yak. ii. 130; iv. in. Mst. 169. A. Y. i. 
588, 591. For the various physicians of the name of Bukht-Yishu* who, though 
Christians, served the Abbasid Caliphs from Mansur to Harun-ar-Rashfd as 
court physician**, see Ibn Abi Usavbi'ah (edited by A. Miiller), i. 125143, 

3 1st. 88, 94. 1. H. 171, 176- Muk - 409- 


To the south-west of DizfiU lie the ruins of Sfls, the ancient 
Susa, near the bank of the Karkhah river. This was a populous 
town in the middle-ages, being the centre of a district with many 
cities, and it was famous for its raw silk, as well as for oranges, 
while the sugar-cane grew here abundantly. The city was protected 
by an ancient fortress, and there were fine markets in the town, 
where stood a Friday Mosque built on round columns. Tra- 
dition asserted that the tomb of the prophet Daniel had been 
made in the bed of the Karkhah river which ran on the further 
side of Sils, and a fine mosque marked the place on the bank 
which lay nearest to his supposed grave. Mustawfl, who describes 
the city as a flourishing place in the 8th (i4th) century, speaks of 
the tomb of the prophet Daniel as standing (apparently on dry 
ground) to the west of it, adding that in s his honour none of 
the fish in the river were ever molested by man. The neighbour- 
ing city of Karkha, or Karkhah, which now gives its name to the 
river flowing by the mounds of Stis, lies some distance above 
these, and on the right or western bank. Mukaddasi describes it 
as a small but populous town, holding its market weekly, on the 
Sunday. It was protected by a castle, and was surrounded by 
gardens 1 . 

A number of places are mentioned by the early geographers as 
lying on or near the Karkhah river, some to the westward, some 
below Sils, which were important towns during the middle-ages, 
but of which no trace now remains on the modern map. Their 
positions are, however, approximately given by the Itineraries. 
Of these the most important was Basinna, which lay a short day's 
journey south of Sus, on a canal (or possibly a minor affluent of 
the Karkhah river), which was known as the Dujayl or 'Little 
Tigris ' of Basinna. It was a great place for trade, and the veils 
of Basinna were celebrated all over the Moslem world ; beautiful 
carpets of felt also were made here, and wool-spinning was a 
chief industry. The city was defended by two castles, and the 
Friday Mosque, a bow-shot from the river bank, stood at the 
town gate; seven mills built in barges floated on the 'Little 
Tigris ' according to Mukaddasi. Near Basinna, and also about 

1 1st. 88, 92, 93. I. H. 174. Muk. 405, 407, 408. Mst. 269. A. F. 
311. Yak. iv. 252 (where Karajah is printed in error for Karkhah). 


a day's journey from Stis, but probably to the west of the Karkhah 
river, was the town of Bayrtit or Birftdh, which Yakftt visited in 
the yth (i3th) century. Mukaddasi speaks of it as a large place, 
surrounded by date-groves, and on account of its flourishing 
commerce it was known as 'the Little Basrah.' 

Mattfit or Mattfith, where there was a strong castle, was also of 
this neighbourhood ; it lay nine leagues to the south of Sus, and 
on the road between Ahwaz and Kurfcftb. This last where were 
made the celebrated Stisanjird embroideries was a town of some 
importance, lying half-way between Stis and Tib in 'Irafc, being 
one march from 80s and two from Basinna. Another town of 
this district, the site of which has not been found, though 
probably it stood to the north of Karkftb, was Dftr-ar-Rasibt, 
which Yakut describes as situated between Tib and Junday 
Sabtir. This Dtir was famous as the birth-place and residence 
of Ar-Rasibi, who died in 301 (913), having been for many 
years the semi-independent governor of all the districts from 
Wash to Shahraztir, during the Caliphate of Mufctadir. He 
was celebrated for his immense wealth, and of the goods and 
furniture that he left at his death Yaktit gives a long and curious 
inventory ! . 

The Karkhah river is joined at about the latitude of Ahwaz by 
streams coming down from Hawizah (or IJuwayzah, the diminu- 
tive form of Hftz or Hftz, as already said, the name of the people 
of this province), which Mustawfi describes in the 8th (i4th) 
century as one of the most flourishing cities of Khfizistan. Corn, 
cotton, and sugar-cane grew here abundantly, and the town had 
at that time a population of Sabaeans or Sibians. The town of 
Nahr Tlra or Nahr Tlrin, on the canal or river of this name, 
which appears to have been a right bank affluent of the lower 
Karkhah, must also have been of the Hawfzah district. It lay a 
day's journey west of Ahwaz on the road to Wasit, and it was 
famous for the stufls made there, which resembled those of 

The Karkhah river flows from the west into the Dujayl below 
Ahwaz, probably in the broad reach, already referred to, known as 

1 1st. 171, 175. I. H. 93. Muk. 405, 408. Yak. i. 656, 786; ii. 616; iv. 
65, 411. Hfz. 82 . A. F. 313. 


the Lotus river (Nahr-as-Sidrah). From the east, but lower down, 
is the junction of the Dawrak river, or canal, on which lay the city 
of this name, the capital of the Surrat district. The town was 
called Dawrafc-al-Furs, 'of the Persians'; it was very spacious, with 
fine markets where goods of all sorts were warehoused, and the 
pilgrims from Pars and Kirman mostly passed through here on 
their road to Mecca. It was famous for its veils. Its Friday 
Mosque stood in the market-place, and on the river bank were 
many hamlets. Yellow sulphur was found here, near the hot 
sulphur springs, where the sick bathed and were healed. These, 
which were especially beneficial in skin diseases, gushed out from 
a hill side, the waters filling two tanks. In the 4th (loth) century 
wonderful Sassanian buildings were still to be seen at Dawrafe, 
also a fire-temple, according to Ibn Muhalhal. 

In the district near Dawrafc were the two cities of Mirakiyin 
and Mtr&thiyan, which Mukaddasi describes. The first lay on 
a tidal canal, and was surrounded by excellent lands; while 
Mtrftthiy&n consisted of two quarters, with a Friday Mosque in 
each of them and markets that were much frequented. In the 
4th (loth) century much of the water of the southern swampy 
lands of the KMzistin district drained out to the Persian Gulf by 
channels running south from Dawrak, and these entered the sea 
at Bisiyan. Near this town must have been the creek and island 
of Dawrakistin, mentioned by Yifcflt and Kazwini, where ships 
coming from India cast anchor. The town here was protected 
by a fortress, to which political prisoners were sent by the 
Caliph to be kept out of the way; and as late as the 7th 
(i3th) century boats could pass up from here northwards, to 
'Askar Mukram, by a series of canals or rivers that flowed to the 
eastward of the Dujayl 1 . 

The Dujayl below Ahwaz soon broadened out to become the 
tidal estuary, which was the lower part of the Lotus river or Nahr- 
as-Sidrah. On this estuary stood Sflk Babr, a town where, until 
the time of the Caliph Mufctadir in the middle of the 4th (loth) 

* 1st. 93. I. H. 176. Muk. 407,412. Yak. i. 4 n; ii. 371, 6iS, 620. 
Mst. 169. Kaz. ii. 130, 146. Both Nahr Ttra and Manadhir must have been 
important places in Omayyad days, for between the years 90 and 97 (709 7 16) 
both were mint cities. 


century, there had been toll-barriers, vexatious and unlawful dues 
being here exacted The town of Sftfc-al-Arba'a (the Wednesday 
market) was in this neighbourhood, lying to the east of the 
Dujayl, and on a canal which divided the town into two quarters 
that were connected by a wooden bridge. The eastern quarter of 
Stifc-al-Arba'a was the more populous, and here was the mosque. 
The neighbouring town of Jubba was noted for its sugar-canes, 
and the lands near were occupied by many villages. 

At the head of the broad waters of the great tidal estuary of 
the Dujayl was the fortress called Hisn Mahdf, with a mosque 
standing in the midst of its guard-houses (Rubat), said to have 
been built by the Caliph Mahdf, father of Hdjrftn-ar-Rashid. 
Hisn Mahdi stood a few miles above the point where the Adudi 
canal branched off to the westward, joining the head of the 
Dujayl estuary with the Blind Tigris at Bayan, and round it lay 
the district of the Sabkhah, or salt marshes (see Chapter III, 
p. 48). The estuary, or Fayd of the Dujayl went into the Persian 
Gulf at Sulaymanan, and this was a dangerous passage for 
ships, which appear to have reached Ahwaz more safely by 
threading the various canals and rivers going up by Basiyan to 
Dawrak and thence into the Lotus river. The fortress of IJisn 
Mahdi, the exact site of which is unknown, stood, we are told, at 
the junction of many roads, and commanded the upper reach of 
the Dujayl estuary, where it was nearly a league across, being 
immediately below where many streams from the IJawizah country 
and the Dawrak river flowed in from the north-west and the east. 
Above this point began the Lotus channel, going up to Ahwa^, 
from which city Hisn Mahdi was 20 leagues distant 1 . 

Three days' march east of Ahwaz is the city of R&mhurmuz, 
still known by the name which it received from King Hurmuz, 
grandson of Ardashir Babgan. In the 4th (roth) century it 
was famous for the silkworms reared here, and raw silk was 
largely exported. In Ramhurmuz there was a fine Friday Mosque, 
and excellent markets which had been built by 'Adud-ad-Dawlah, 
the Buyid prince. Mukaddasi relates that every night the 
gates of the various wards occupied by the shops of the cloth- 

1 I. S. 30. Kud. 194. 1st. 93, 95. I. H. 172, 176. Muk. 412, 419. 
Yak. i. 185; ii. 12; iii. 193. 


merchants, perfumers, and mat-weavers, were securely locked. 
There was, he adds, a celebrated library here, where lectures 
were delivered, and this had been built and endowed by a certain 
Ibn Sawwar, who had also founded a similar institution at Basrah. 
Ramhurmuz got its water by a canal from the T&b river, but this 
in summer-time often ran dry, and the town was everywhere so 
infested by gnats that according to Mufeaddasf mosquito curtains 
were a necessity. Mustawfi, in the 8th (i4th) century, says that 
the name Ramhurmuz was then commonly shortened to Ramuz ; 
the town was still a flourishing centre, much corn, cotton, and 
sugar-cane being grown in its districts. 

Six leagues south-east of Ramhurmuz, on the road to Arrajan 
and not far from the river Tab, which here marked the boundary 
of Fars, was the Hawmah or district of the Zutt, otherwise known 
as the Jit tribes from India (identical it is said with the Gipsies). 
This district was watered from the Tab river, and here stood the 
two populous villages called Az-Zutt and Al-Khabaran, Beyond 
this, and two marches short of Arrajan, close to the Fars 
frontier on the road coming from Arrajan to Dawrafc, was the 
little town of Asak, where, according to Istakhri, there was a small 
volcano. The place stood in the midst of palm-groves, and 
much diishab, or syrup of raisins, was made here and exported. 
Near Asak also were Sassanian remains, namely, a great Aywan or 
domed hall, a hundred ells in height, built by King Kubadh over 
a spring. East of Asak, and a few miles short of Arrajan, but to 
the west of the bridges over the Tab river, was the market town of 
Sanbil in the midst of its district, which thus lay along the borders 
of Fars 1 . 

The Lur districts lay east and north of Tustar along the 
upper course of the Dujayl (Kariln river) and its numerous 
affluents. The country to the east and south of the upper Karun 
(which here makes a great bend and doubles back, between its 
source in the mountains west of Isfahan, and the point north of 

1 1st. 92, 93, 94. I. H. 175, 176. Muk. 407, 413. Yak. i. 61. Mst. 
169. By a strange error Yakut (ii. 791) mentions the village of Az-Zutt under 
the form Ar-Rutt, though he was perfectly well acquainted with the Zutt or 
Gipsies, and mentions a canal (ii. 930) called after them. 

xvi] KHtrzisrAN. 245 

Tustar, where it finally turns south and flows down towards the 
Persian Gulf) Mustawfi describes as the Great Lur district, and 
this lay contiguous to the Shftlistan district over the border in 
Firs. The chief town of Great Lur was idhaj, otherwise called Mil- 
Amir. Mukaddasi describes it in the 4th (loth) century as one 
of the finest towns of Khtizistin ; and it stood near the hills, where, 
at a place called Asadabad, was the palace of the governor. In 
winter snow fell here abundantly, and was stored to be carried 
to Ahwaz for sale during the summer. The fields being 
irrigated by the rains the pistachio-trees produced fine crops of 
nuts. Ibn Batfttah, who visited the place in the beginning of 
the 8th (i4th) century, says that idhaj was already then more 
commonly known as Mal-al-Amir, 'the Amir's property,' a name 
which it still bears, idhaj having now become obsolete. 

idhaj was further famous for its great stone bridge over the 
Dujayl, which Yaltiit describes as one of the wonders of the world. 
This, the ruins of which still exist, was known as the Kantarah 
Khurrah Zad, being so named after the mother of King Ardashir, 
and it spanned the ravine by a single arch, rising 150 ells above 
the water level: In the gorge two leagues below the town was a 
mighty and dangerous whirlpool, known as Fam-al-Bawwab, * the 
Porter's Mouth/ The great bridge was repaired in the 4th (roth) 
century by the Wazir of Rukn-ad-Dawlah, the Buyid prince, and 
it took two years' labour to bring this to completion. Its stones 
were joined by lead with iron clamps, and it is said that 150,000 
dinars (^75,000) were spent upon the work. Yaktit says that 
earthquakes were frequent in the neighbourhood of Idhaj ; also 
there were many mines, a certain alkali being found here, called 
Kukali, which was a sovereign remedy for the gout. He adds 
that an ancient fire-temple was to be seen at Idhaj, which until 
the reign of Harftn-ar-Rashid had been constantly in use. 

Occupying both banks of the river, and four leagues to the 
north-west of idhaj, was the small town called SQsan, otherwise 
known as 'Artij (or *Aruh). Round this place stretched extensive 
gardens, producing grapes, citrons, and oranges, and Mustawfi says 
that the mountains, on which snow still lay in summer, were only 
four leagues distant. 'Arftj, or Stisan, was also known as Jabalafc, 
and this place according to some authorities is to be identified 


with 'Shushan the palace ' of the Book of Daniel. About 1 50 miles 
east of M41 Amir, on 'the frontier of Firs and near the eastern- 
most of the affluents of the K&rthi river, is Lurj&n (otherwise 
Lurdagdn or Lurk&n, all forms of the name of Lur), which'Istakhrt 
describes as the capital of the SardAn (or Sardan) district, a 
spacious town embowered in trees. Mustawfl praises it for its 
abundant grapes, and it was often held to be of the province 
of Pars, on the borders of which it lay 1 . 

The main produce of KMzistan was sugar, for the sugar-cane 
grew in almost all parts of it, and Mukaddast states that in the 
4th (loth) century, throughout Persia, Mesopotamia, and Arabia, 
no sugar but that exported from KMzist|n was to be found. He 
says that Ahwaz, the capital, was renowned for a special kind of 
kerchief, such as women mostly wear ; and Tustar produced the 
brocades (Dtbij) that were famous all the world over, as well as 
rugs and fine cloth. Much fruit also was grown in Tustar for export, 
particularly melons. The district of Sfts was especially the home 
of the sugar-cane, and the city exported enormous quantities of 
this commodity; silk too was woven here and cloth stuffs. In 
'Askar Mukram they made veils of raw silk, and napkins, also 
cloth. Basinni was famous for its curtains ; Kurktib for felt rugs ; 
and Nahr Thi for long face-veils 8 . 

In Khuzistan all the rivers and canals were navigable for boats, 
and much of the traffic between the towns passed along the 
waterways. The high roads centred in Ahwaz, to which the 
traveller from Basrah journeyed either by water along the 'Adudi 
canal, or by land across the salt marsh (Sabkhah) from 'Askar 
Abu Ja'far, opposite Ubullah, to Hisn Mahdi; and thence through 
Sftk-al-Arba'd to Ahwiz 8 . 

The distances between the various cities of Khtizistan are 
given by Istakhr! and Mufcaddast in much detail. From Ahwaz 
a road went west to Nahr Tiri, and on thence to Wasit in 'Irak. 
The northern road from the capital passed through 'Askar Mukram 

1 1st. 103, 126. I. H. 182, 197. Muk. 414. Kaz. ii. 201. Yak. i. 416; 
iv. 189. Mst. 151. I. B. ii. 29. For Susan compare Sir H. Layard and 
Sir H.'C. Rawlinson in/. A\ G. S. 1839, p. 83; and 1842, p. 10*. 

* Muk. 416. 

9 Kud. 194. Muk. 135. 


to Tustar, whence by Junday Sibftr and Sfts it struck westward 
to T*b, whence again there was a high road to Wisit 

From Junday S&btir Mufcaddasi gives the route through the 
Lur mountains to Gulpaygan in the Jib&l province, north-west 
of Isfahan; and from c Askar Mukram another road (given by 
Kudimah and others) went east to Idhaj, whence across the 
mountains this likewise reached Isfahan 1 . 

From 'Askar Mukram, and from Ahwiz, two roads converged 
on RJimhurmuz, whence continuing eastwards the frontier of Firs 
was reached on the Tab river over against Arrajan. These 
roads are given by Kudamah and most of the other authorities, 
being a part of the high road from Basrah to Shiraz. Istakhri 
also gives another route, chiefly by water, from Hisn Mahdf to 
Arrajan, which passed by Basiyin on the coast to Dawrak, and 
thence by Asak to Arrajan. The stages north from Ramhurmuz 
to Idhaj are recorded by Mufcaddasi, who also describes a route 
from Ramhurmuz across the Lur mountains to Isfahan. A second 
route passed from the Lur plains (north of Dizftil) by Saburkhwast to 
Karaj of Abu Dulaf the distances here, however, are only given 
in marches, and the stages are difficult if not impossible now to 
identify. A third route north, given by Mufcaddasf, went across 
the mountains from Arrajan in seven days' march to Sumayram 
(in Fars), south of Isfahan, keeping along the frontier of Khftzistan 
and Fars 8 . 

1 1st. 96. I. H. 178. Muk. 418420. I. R. 187, 188. Kud. 197. 
9 Kud. 194. T R. 188. 1st. 95. I. H. 177. Muk. 401, 420, 453, 459. 



Division of province into five districts or Kiirahs. The district of Ardashlr 
Khurrah. Shiraz. Lake Mahaluyah. The Sakkan river. Juwaym. 
Dasht Arzm lake. Kuvar. Khabr and Simkan. Karzin and the 
Kubad Khurrah district. 'Jahram. Juwaym of Abu Ahmad. Mandistan. 
Irahistan. Jur or Firuzabad. The coast districts of Fars. K a y s island. 
Straf. Najiram. Tawwaj. Ghundijan. B Kharik and other islands of 
the Persian Gulf. 

The province of Fars had been the home of the Achaemenian 
dynasty, and the centre of their government. To the Greeks this 
district was known as Persis, and they, in error, used the name of 
this, the central province, to connote the whole kingdom. And 
their misuse of the name is perpetuated throughout Europe to the 
present day, for with us Persia from the Greek Persis has 
become the common term for the whole empire of the Shah, 
whereas the native Persians call their country the kingdom of Iran, 
of which Fars, the ancient Persis, is but one of the southern 
provinces. The Arabs had inherited from the Sassanian monarchy 
the division of Fars into five great districts, each called a Kurah; 
and this division, which it will be convenient to retain in describing 
the province, continued in use down to the time of the Mongols. 
The five Kurahs were: (i) Ardashir Khurrah, with Shiraz, the 
provincial capital, for its chief town ; (2) Sabur or Shapur Khurrah, 
with Shapurcity for its chief town ; (3) Arrajan, with the chief town 
of the same name \ (4) Istakhr, with the ancient city of this name 
(Persepolfs), the Sassanian capital of Fars; and lastly (5) Darabjird, 
also with the chief town of the same name. 

Further it must be noted that, during the Caliphate, Fars 


included Yazd with its district, also the district of Rudhan (between 
modern Anir and Bahramabad), both of these having formed 
part of the Istakhr Kftrah. After the Mongol conquest, however, 
Yazd was of the Jibal province, while at the present day it is counted 
as forming part of Kirman, as is also the case with the former 
district of Rtidhan. In old Persian Khurrah has the meaning of 
'Glory 7 ; Ardashir Khurrah and Shapftr Khurrah, therefore, signify 
the districts which commemorate the glory of the founder of the 
Sassanian kingdom, Ardashir, and of his famous son, Sabfir or 
Shapur, the Greek Sapor. Lastly, the Arab geographers commonly 
divide F<ars between two regions, namely, the Hot Lands and 
the Cold Lands (Jurinn and Sartid\ by a line running east and 
west ; and at the present day we find that this division of the 
lowlands near the coast from the highlands beyond the passes is 
still current under the names, respectively, of the Garmsir and 
the Sardsir, 'the hot 7 and 'the cold legion,' which are also the 
terms employed by Mustawfi 1 . 

Shiraz, the capital of Fars, is an Arab foundation, and at the 
time of the Moslem conquest in the days of the Caliph 'Omar its 
site was the camping ground of the army sent to besiege Istakhr. 
As Mukaddasi points out, Shiraz probably owes its pre-eminence 
as a town to its central position, being supposed to lie 60 
leagues from the frontiers at the four cardinal points of the 
compass, and 80 leagues from each of the four corners of the 
province. The chronicles state that Shiraz was founded in the 
year 64 (684) by a certain Muhammad, brother or cousin of 
IJajjaj, the famous governor of 'Irak under the Omayyads ; and it 
grew to be a large city in the latter half of the 3rd (9th) century 
when the Saffarids had made it the capital of their semi-independent 
principality. In the 4th (roth) century Shiraz is described as 
being nearly a league across, with narrow, but crowded markets. 
The city had then eight gates, the Gates of I.stakhr, Tustar, 
Bandlstanah, Ghassan, Sallam, Kuvar, Mandar, and Mahandar. 
Its water was from an underground channel carried down from 
Juwaym, a village five leagues to the north-west ; and there was 

1 Mukaddasi (p. 4 ai) alone divides Fars into six (in the place of five) 
Kurah* ; making a separate district of the country round Shtraz. 1st. 97, 135. 
Baladhuri, 386. Muk. 447. 


a Bfmaristan, or hospital, also the palace built by 'Adud-ad-Dawlah, 
the Buyid, who according to the Fdrs N&mah established a library 

Half a league south of Shfraz, this same Buyid prince, ( Adud- 
ad-Dawlah, surnamed Fana Khusraw, had built himself another 
palace and surrounded it by a new town, named after himself, 
Kard Fana Khusraw. Immense sums were spent on the gardens, 
which extended a league across ; and the houses round this were 
occupied by wool-weavers, brocade-makers, and others, being all 
craftsmen whom the Buyids had brought to settle in Pars from 
many distant lands. A yearly festival was held at Kard Fani 
Khusraw, which also became for a short time a mint city ; but its 
glories did not survive its founder, and before the close of the 4th 
(loth) century it had fallen to ruin. As a suburb it came to be 
known as Sflfc-al-Amtr (the Amir's Market), and the rents on 
shops are said to have produced 20,000 dinars (^10,000) yearly. 

The walls of Shlraz were first built by Samsam-ad-Dawlah or 
by Sult&n-ad-Dawlah (son and grandson of 'Adud aforesaid), being 
originally eight ells thick, with a circuit of 12,000 ells, and no less 
than eleven gates. In the middle of the 8th (14*) century, these 
walls having fallen to ruin, Mafcmfcd Shah Injti, the rival of the 
Muzaffarids, repaired them, building also bastions of burnt brick. 
When Mustawfl knew Shtraz the city was divided into seven- 
teen quarters, and had nine gates. These were the Gates of 
Istakhr ; of D&rak (or Darak Mflsi), called after the mountain of 
this name, two leagues distant from Shtriz, where the winter snow 
was stored in pits for use in summer-time ; then the Gate of Baydd ; 
of Kdzirftn ; of Sallam ; of Kubi (for which some MSS. give Fan& 
or Kan); next B4b-i-N^w (the New Gate); and lastly, Bab-i- 
Dawlah and Bib-i-Sa^dah, 'the Gate of Government' and 'the 
Gate of Felicity.' Mustawfi, who gives the list, further remarks 
that Shtraz is a very fine town, the market streets never being 
empty, but he admits that these last were inconceivably filthy. 
The water-supply was from the famous channel of Ruknabad, 
which had been dug by Rukn-ad-Dawlah the Buyid, father of 
'Adud mentioned before, and from the canal of the Sa'di orchard 
In spring, torrents flowed down through the city from Mount 
Darak; and thence drained into Lake Mihaltiyah. 

xvn] PARS. 251 

There were three chief mosques : first the Old Mosque J&mi 
'Atifc built by the Saflrid ' Amr, son of Layth, in the latter half 
of the 3rd (9th) century, and this mosque, Mustawfi states, was 
never empty ; next, and dating from the latter half of the 6th (i2th) 
century, was the New Mosque, built by the Salghari Atabeg Sa'd 
ibn Zangi; and lastly there was the Masjid Sunkur, in the 
Barbers' Square, built by the first Atabeg of the SalgMrids. 
The hospital of 'Adud-ad-Dawlah still existed, and Shi'ahs visited 
the shrine of Muhammad and Ahmad, sons of the seventh Imam 
Mtisa-al-Kazim. The account which Ibn Batfttah, the contem- 
porary of Mustawfi, gives of Shiraz bears out the preceding. He, 
too, speaks of the Old Mosque, the north door of which was known 
as the Bab Hasan, 'the Gate Beautiful,' and of the shrine of 
Ahmad, where there was a college. Further, he eulogises the five 
streams that flowed through the city; one, that of Ruknabad, 
rising at Al-Kulay'ah, 'the Little Castle,' in the hills, near to which 
was the fine orchard surrounding the tomb of the poet Sa'di, who 
had died in 691 (1292), about half a century before the time of 
Ibn Battitah's visit. Sa'di had flourished at the court of the 
Atabeg Abu Bakr, son of Atabeg Sa'd who had built the New 
Mosque, and in the orchard round his tomb, which was much 
visited, were magnificent marble tanks for clothes-washing, which 
Sa'di had built on the Ruknabad stream. 

At the close of the 8th (i 4 th) century, Shiraz had the good 
fortune to escape a siege by Timur, who defeated the Muzaffarid 
princes at the battle of Patilah in the plain outside. The city 
suffered little damage, according to 'Ali of Yazd, for Timur camped 
at the garden called Takht-i-Kar^chah, outside the gates of Sallam 
and Sa'adah, opening towards Yazd. The same authority states 
that the other eight gates were then closed, and he also mentions 
the Red Castle Hill (Kuh Kal'at Surkh) near Shiraz, the position 
of which is unknown. Of famous castles near Shiraz Mustawfi 
mentions Kal'ah Tiz, standing on a solitary hill three leagues to 
the south-east of the city. There was a spring of water here, on 
the hill-top, and another in the plain below, which for a day's 
journey beyond was all waterless desert 1 . 

1 The reading of the name is uncertain. TJr, Tabr, Babr, Bfr and Tasir or 
Tashfr, with many other variants occur in the MSS. of Mustawfi. 1st. 124. 

2$2 FARS. [CHAP. 

Shiraz stands on no great river, but its streams, as already said, 
drain eastward, flowing into the lake which occupies a depression 
in the plain a few leagues distant from the city. This lake is 
called Jankan by Istakhri : Abu-1-Fida and Ibn Batfttah refer to it 
as Jamkan ; in the Pars Namah and in Mustawfi it has the name 
of Mahalftyah, and at the present day it is known as the Lake of 
Mahalu. The water is salt, and from the salt-pans along its shore 
Shiriz was supplied with this necessary commodity, as also with 
fish, which were abundant in its waters. The lake was 12 leagues 
round, the district of Kahrjan lying along its southern borders, 
while to the south-east was the city of Khawristan, otherwise 
called Sarvistan, where the date palm flourished and corn was 
grown, also other produce of both the hot and the cold regions. 
KGbanjan, according to the Pars Namah .and Mustawfi, was a 
small town near Sarvistan 1 . 

The longest river in Fars is the Nahr Sakkan, which rising 
some 30 miles to the north-westward of Shiraz follows a devious 
course, going south-east for over 150 miles; then after making a 
great bend it runs due west for another 150 miles, but with many 
windings, and finally, after receiving the waters of the FirOzabad 
river from the north, discharges itself into the sea a little to the 
south of Najiram 2 . The name Sakkan is said by Istakhri to be 
derived from the village of Sakk, which stands near the great bend 
westward ; other authorities, however, spell the name variously : 
thus we find Sittajan, Thakkan, and Sikan, while Mustawfi 
generally has Zakkan or Zhakkan. In the Pars Namah and later 

Muk. 429, 430, 456. F. N. 71 a, b. Yak. iii. 349; iv. 258. Mst. 170, 171, 
179, 203. I. B. 11. 53, 77, 87. A. Y. i. 437, 594, 609, 613. The garden of 
Takht-i- Karachah, 'the Throne of Karachah, 5 ^as so named aftei the Atabeg 
Karachah, who became governor of Fars on the death of Atabeg Chaiili in 
510 (1116). It is said to be identical with the garden now known as Takht-i- 

1 I. K. 52. 1st. 122, 131. Muk. 422, 455. F. N. 73 a, 80 . Mst. 172, 
226. A. F. 43. I. B. ii. 61. Yak. n. 193, where JtkAn (for Jankan) is a 
clerical error. 

2 Its upper course is now known as the Kara Aghach, Black-tree river (in 
Turkish) ; its lower course is called the Mand river. The Sakkan is probably 
identical with the river Sitakus of Nearchus. See Colonel Ross, P.JR.G.S. 
1883, p. 712. 

xvn] PARS. 253 

writers, the district where the river had its source is named 
Masaram; according to Istakhri it rose in Rustdk-ar-Ruwayhan, 
which is the plain south of Juwaym and Khullar. These are two 
important villages, lying 5 and 9 leagues distant respectively from 
Shiraz, on the road to Nawbanjan, to the north of the Dasht 
Arzin plain. Near Juwaym, as already said, one of the Shfraz 
streams took its rise. According to Mustawfi, Khullar was famed 
for its millstones, though the people themselves possessed no 
mills, and had to send elsewhere to grind their corn. Its honey 
also was largely exported. Dasht Arzin (the Plain of the Bitter- 
almond) was famous for its magnificent pasture lands (Marghzar), 
and the Lake of Dasht 'Arzin, which in the season of rains was 
10 leagues across, was of sweet water ; this, however, as often as 
not, dried up in summer. According to Istakhri, the lake 
produced much fish, and Mustawfi adds that the forest near 
here abounded with lions 1 . 

The Sakkan river, 10 leagues south of Shiraz, passed the town 
of Kavar or Kuvar, lying near its left bank. According to Mustawft 
a dam had here been thrown across the stream to raise its water 
for irrigation, and the neighbouring pasture lands were famous. 
Both the sour cherry and the almond grew here plentifully, also 
large pomegranates. Beyond Kuvar, also on the left bank of the 
river Sakkan, is the town of Khabr, noted for the tomb of Sa'id, 
brother of Hasan-al-Basrf, the theologian. Mustawfi states that 
Khabr was larger than Kuvar, and that near by was the famous 
castle of Tir-i-Khuda, ' God's Arrow/ so called from its inaccessi- 
bility, for it stood on a hill-top, so that no human arrow could 
attain it. Below Khabr the Sakkan river turned south, following 
a sinuous course through the district of Simkan, the town of 
Simkari being near its left bank at the junction of a great affluent 
coming from Darabjird on the east 2 . 

According to Mustawfi, Simkan was a fine town standing on 

1 Juwaym, sometimes written Juwayn, is the present village of Goyun. 
1st. no, 122. I. K. 44. F. N. 77 b, 79 A, 80 , 81 a. Yak. ii. 457. Mst. 
177, 179, 214, 226. 

2 1st. 105, 120. F. N. 71 , 72 <7, 8 1 a, 83 a, 86 a. Yak. ii. 399. Mst. 
173, 173* 179. This district is now called Simakun, and often by mistake 
written Akun on the maps. See E. Stack, Six Months in Persia, ii. 232. 

254 PARS. [CHAP. 

the stream where this was crossed by a bridge; and it was remark- 
able that all the lands above the bridge produced trees of the cold 
region only, such as the plane (Chinar) and the nut ; while below 
the bridge grew oranges and lemons with other fruits of the hot 
region. The wine made here was so strong that, before drinking, 
it had to be mixed with twice or thrice its weight of water. Not 
far distant was Hirak, a large village of the dependencies of 
Simkan. Near the right bank of the Sakkan river, and south of 
the Simkan district, were the three towns of Karzin, Kir and 
Abzar, the surrounding district being known as Kubad Khurrah, 
* the Glory of Kubad/ in memory of one of the Sassanian kings. 
Istakhri speaks of Karzin as being one-third the size of Istakhr 
(Persepolis) ; it had a strong castle up to which water could be 
drawn from the Sakkan river, and being on a great height many 
distant castles could be seen from it 1 . 

The town of Jahram (or Jahrum), which is sometimes counted 
as of the Darabjird district, lies south* of Simkan, and east of 
Karzin, surrounded by a fertile plain. It was famous for its great 
castle, lying five leagues distant from the town, called Kal'ah 
Khurshah, which Nizam-al-Mulk, the great Wazir of the Saljtifcs, 
had re-fortified, it having been originally built by Khurshah, who 
was governor of Jahram under the Omayyad Caliphs 2 . To the 
south-east of Jahram is the town of Juwaym of Abu Afcmad 
(so called to distinguish it from Juwaym near the head-waters of 
the Sakkan, see above, p. 253), >vhich Mukaddasi describes as 
lying on a small river, surrounded by palm-gardens, having a fine 
mosque which stood in a long market street The district to the 
south-west was called Irahistan, and near the town stood the strong 
castle called Samiran (or Shamiran), which Mustawfi characterises 
as ' a nest of robbers and highwaymen.' The surrounding districts 
were famous pasture grounds, especially those lying between Juwaym 

1 1st. 125. Muk. 422. F. N. 72 a, 73 /?, 82 b, 83 a. Mst. 172, 179. 
According to the F&rs N&mah (folio 78 a) and Mustawft (p. 177) there would 
appear to have been another district called Kurah Kubad Khurrah on the banks 
of the Tab river above Arrajan. 

2 1st, 107. F. N. 69 a, 82 d. Mst. 175, 179. The name of the castle is 
written Khurushah, Khurshah, and Kharashah, in the various MSS., aJsoKharshad 
and Kharshar, but no mention of it occurs in the older Arab geographers. 

XVII] FARS. 255 

and the bank of the Sakkin river, where were many stagnant 
pools and lion-haunted forests. 

The town of Kariyin, commanded by a strong fortress, lay 
one march west of Juwaym, and was celebrated for its fire- 
temple, from which the sacred fire anciently preserved here 
was distributed far and wide by the Zoroastrian priests. The 
fortress, which crowned a hill-top, was deemed impregnable. To 
the west of KlriyJln, and at the great westward bend of the 
Sakkan river, stood Ldghir, a place of some importance in the 
8th (i4th) century, when Mustawfi wrote, for it was a stage on 
the caravan road down from Shiraz to Kays island. Laghir also 
is mentioned in connection with Kaharjan (or Makarjan), a place 
no longer to be found on the map. Between Laghir and the 
coast, but along the right bank and north of the Sakkan river, lay 
the desert of M&ndistan, midway between Najiram and Bushkanat; 
here were found neither permanent villages nor streams, but, none 
the less, as Mustawft writes, on the rare occasions of sufficient 
rainfall, the whole desert might be made* to grow crops of cotton 
and corn that at the close of the winter season would give profit 
of a thousand-fold '. 

Mindistin, the medieval name of this desert meaning 'the 
Mdnd country ' is doubtless retained in the name of the Mand 
river, which, as already noted, is now used for the lower course 
of the Sakk&n. About half-way between LSghir and the sea the 
main stream receives an important affluent from the north, namely 
the river of Firdzabid. The city of Ffrflzabid was anciently 
called Jftr, and in Sassanian times this (in place of the later 
Shiraz) had been the chief town of the district of Ardashir Khurrah. 
Is^akhri reports that the plain here had originally been a lake, this 
having been drained by King Ardashfr, who built the city round 
an artificial mound still existing here in the 4th (xoth) century 
and later called At-Jirbil, ' the Look-out/ with a building named 
in Persian the Aywan (Archyay), standing upon a great platform. 
At this time Jftr was as large as Istakhr, and the city was surrounded 
by a wall and ditch, with four gates, namely Bab Mihr to the east, 

1 1st. 117. Muk. 4*7, 48. F. N. 69 4, 73 , 82 , 86 a. Mst 171, 173, 
175, 179, 1 80. J. N. 168. Kaz. ii. i6a. 

256 PARS. [CHAP. 

Bab Bahram opposite, Bab Hurmuz to the north, and Mb 
Ardashir to the south. 

The name Jtir, in Persian pronounced Gtir, means 'a grave/ 
and it was held inauspicious by the courtiers of 'Adud-ad-Dawlah 
the Buyid, who was fond of coming here, that the Amfr should 
be said to be residing in Gtir, 'the grave.' Hence Jtir was renamed 
Firtizabad 'the Abode of Luck 7 and so it is called at the 
present day. Mukaddasf, who gives the story, speaks of the great, 
town square (Rahbah\ and the beautiful rose gardens of FtrOzabid, 
also of the well-cultivated country round, stretching a day's march 
across. Water for the town was brought from a neighbouring hill 
by means of a syphon tube, and according to the Persian geo- 
graphers there was a great castle four leagues from the town, 
called Kal'ah Sahirah (or Shahirah). .The Firilzibad river is 
named by Istakhr! the Tirzah; the F&rs Namdk and Mustawfl 
call it the Burazah (or Bararah) river. It rose in the Khunayfghin 
district, and was said to have been turned from its original course 
by Alexander the Great, who, when besieging Jur, flooded the 
country round and made the lake, which was subsequently drained 
by Burazah the Sage, in the reign of King Ardashir. He after- 
wards built an aqueduct that conveniently brought the waters of 
the stream into the town, and from him the river took its name 
of the Nahr Burazah. Kazvfni says there was a celebrated 
fire-temple in Firtizabad, and refers to a wonderful spring of water 
that gushed out at the city gate ; the red roses of Jftr, too, he 
adds, were famous the world over. The country to the north 
was, as already said, the district of Khunayfghan, or Khunayf- 
fcan, which the Persians pronounced Khunafgan ; and among 
the hills there was a large village of this name, whence a difficult 
and stony road led down to FirOzabad *. 

The coast of the Ardashfr Khurrah district was known as the 
Sff (or shore), and there were three Sffs, all of the hot region, or 
Garmsir, lying along the Persian Gulf. These were named re- 
spectively the Sff 'Umarah to the eastward of Kays island ; the 
Stf Zuhayr on the coast south of Irahistin and round Siraf, and 

lastly the Sif Muzaffar to the north of Najiram ; the 'Umarah, 


1 1st. 105, 121, 123. Muk. 432. F. N. 70* 72^, 79 , 820. Mst. 172, 
179, 219. Kaz. ii. 121. 

xvn] PARS. 257 

Zuhayr, and Muzaffar being the names of three Arab tribes who, 
having crossed to the northern coasts from the other side of the 
Persian Gulf, had here settled in Firs. In the 4th (loth) century 
SSf 'UmJlrah was famous for an impregnable castle on the sea, 
called Kal'ah-ad-Dfkdan (or Dlkbiyah), also known as Hisn Ibn 
'Umarah, where twenty ships could find safe harbourage, and the 
only entrance into the castle was by working a crane set on the 
walls. A short distance to the west of this lay the island of Kays, 
or as the Persians wrote the name, Ktsh, which in the course of 
the 6th (i 2th) century became the trade centre of the Persian 
Gulf after the ruin of Sfrif, which will be described presently. 
A great walled city was built in Kays island, where water tanks 
had been constructed, and on the neighbouring sea-banks was the 
famous pearl fishery. Ships from India and Arabia crowded the 
port, and all the island was full of palm gardens. In summer, 
says Kazvinf, the heat was greater than the hottest room in the 
bath (Hammam) : none the less Kays was a very populous town. 
The island lay about four leagues from the coast, where the port 
of embarkation was Huzu, to which, in the yth (i3th) century, a 
caravan road came down from Shiraz through Laghir. Huzii, 
though much ruined when Yakut wrote, had been a strong for- 
tress in the 4th (loth) century under the Buyids, who made it their 
state prison. Close to the town was the village called Saviyah 
(with variants in the MSS. Tahah or Tanah and the true reading 
is unknown) 1 . 

1 1st. 116, 140. I H. 188. Yak. ii. 711; iv. 333, 974. F. N. 74 . 
Mst. 171, 173, 180. Kaz. ii. 161. The name of the island is spelt Kays, 
Kaysh, and Ktsh (with dotted k or undotted k). 

The stages on the road down from Laghir to Huzu are given by Mustawft 
(p. 200), but as no modern traveller has followed this route the names are not 
to be found on the map, and are most uncertain ; the distances are in farsakhs 
(leagues). 'From L&ghir 6 to Faryab district, thence 6 to the city of Saj 
(Sah, Haj, l?ah, with many other variants), thence 5 to Ab-Anbar-i-Kmar, 
thence 5 to Haram (Stram or Marmaz), thence 6 down many steep passes to 
the village of Daruk (Darzak, Crak or Davrak), thence 6 to Mahan (Haman 
or Mayan), and thence 6 by the pass of Lardak to Huzu on the sea-shore.' 
The district Mustawft calls Faryab is evidently identical with B&r&b, half-way 
between Kiriyin and Kuran. as given by Mukaddast (p. 454). The city of 
Saj is a puzzle, none being known in this region, but possibly we should read 


258 PARS. [CHAP. 

To the westward of Sff 'Umdrah along the sea-shore was the 
Zuhayr coast, of which Kuran, inland, was the chief town, Siraf, 
and Naband being its famous harbours ; and the region went as 
far as Najfram beyond the mouth of the Sakkan river. Inland of 
this was the trahistan district. According to Istakhri, Kuran 
produced an edible clay, green in colour, that tasted like beet- 
root. Mustawfi counts Kuran as of Irahistan, and says its lands 
only produced dates. Due south of it was the district and 
town of Mimand, not far from the port of Naband, which last 
stood at the head of a creek known as the Khawr or Khalij of 
Naband. Mimand, according to Mustawff, produced quantities 
of grapes, also other fruits of the hot region, and it was famous 
for its clever craftsmen 1 . 

Further up the coast, to the north-west of Naband, was the 
port of Siraf, the chief emporium of the Persian Gulf in the 4th 
(loth) century, prior to the rise of Kays island into pre-eminence. 
Siraf, Istakhri says, nearly equalled Shiraz in size and splendour ; 
the houses were built of teak-wood brought from the Zanj country 
(now Zanzibar), and were several storeys high, built to overlook 
the sea. This author writes that a merchant of his acquaintance 
here had spent 30,000 dinars (,15,000) on his house, and the 
Sirai merchants were accounted the richest in all Pars, a fortune 
of sixty million dirhams (about two millions sterling) having 
been gained here by commerce. There were no gardens round 
the city, fruit and other produce being brought in from the 
mountains of Jamm, where there was a great castle called Samiran. 
Mukaddasi speaks of Siraf as commercially the rival of Basrah ; 
its houses were the finest he had ever seen, but it had been in 
part ruined by an earthquake, lasting seven days, which had 
occurred in 366 or 367 (977), and with the fall of the Buyid 
dynasty the place began to decay. The fars N&mah states that 
its final ruin was the work of Rukn-ad-Dawlah Khumartagin, the 

Jamm (1st. 106). This route, unfortunately, is not reproduced in the Jah&n 
Numd, nor is it given by any Arab geographer. The coast of the Banf-as-Saffar 
would appear to have been identical with the 'Umarah coast, to judge by what 
Istakhri (p. 141) and Yakut (iii. 217) write. 

1 1st. 104, 141, 152. Yak. i. 419; ti. 489; iii. 212, 217. Mst. 172, 173. 
A. F. 322. 

XVII] FARS. 259 

Amir of Kays island, who made the latter the port of call, though 
he had his war-ships still built at Sir&f ; but when Yakftt visited 
the place at the beginning of the yth (i3th) century, only the 
mosque, with its columns of teak-wood, remained standing, though 
the ruins of the town could be traced up the neighbouring 
gorge from the sea-side. Ships then went on to Naband for shelter, 
as the harbour of Sirdf was already silted up. Yalcut adds that the 
name of Siraf was in his time pronounced Shflav by the natives. 

Najiram, a port of some importance to the westward of Siraf, 
beyond the mouth of the Sakkan river, was at the beginning of 
the Muzaffar coast, which stretched thence as far as Jannabah in 
the Ktirah (district) of Arrajan. Najiram possessed two mosques 
when Mukaddasi wrote, with good markets, and cisterns for 
storing rain-water. The Dastakan district was also of the Sif 
Muzaffar, and in the 4th (loth) century its chief town was called 
Saffarah. The district itself appears to have been in the neigh- 
bourhood of Jannabah, but the exact position of the town of 
Saffarah is unknown 1 . 

Near the frontier of the Arraj&n district, the river of Shapur 
debouches, and some distance from its mouth, probably above 
the junction of the Jirrah river, to be mentioned later, must have 
stood the important commercial town of Tawwaj or Tavvaz. 
In the 4th (loth) century Istakhri speaks of this place as about 
the size of Arrajan ; it was very hot, and stood in a gorge of the 
lowlands, palm-trees growing here abundantly. Tawwaj, which 
was a place of great trade, was famous for its linen stuffs, woven 
in divers colours, with a gold-thread ornament. The Shaptir 
river, which flowed near the city, was often called the Tawwaj 
river; and the town is said to have been peopled with Syrian 
Arabs, brought hither by 'Adud-ad-Dawlah the Buyid. At the 
beginning of the 6th (i2th) century Tawwaj had already much 
fallen to ruin. Its site has never been identified, but the position 
of the town is given as on or near the Shaptir river, in a gorge, 
being 12 leagues from Jannabah on the coast, and four from 

1 Possibly this Dastakan district is identical with the coast of the Bani-as- 
SafTar, already mentioned. 1st. 34, 106, 116, 127, 141, 154. Muk. 422, 426, 
427. F. N. 73 , 74 a. Yak. m. 211, 217. Mst. 172. The rums of Shaf are 
described by Captain Stiffe in the/. A 9 . . S. 1895, p. 166. 

260 PARS. [CHAP. 

the pass that leads down from Dariz. Tawwaj was a famous 
place at the time of the first Moslem conquest, and its mosque 
dated from those early days ; but when Mustawf i wrote, it had 
become a complete ruin. 

The important town of Ghundfjan, in the district of Dasht 
BirSn, was of this neighbourhood. The position of Ghundfjan, 
of which apparently no ruins now exist, is given in the 
F&rs N&mah as standing four leagues from Jirrah and 12 from 
Tawwaj ; and the author speaks of the Jirrah river as flowing by 
'a part of Ghundfjdn.' In the 4th (roth) century the town is 
said to have equalled Istakhr (Persepolis) or Jannbah in size; 
carpets and veils were made here, and the district was counted as 
of the hot region. Mufcaddasi describes a stream among the 
Ghundijan hills as producing a poisonous hot vapour, so that 
none could approach it, and birds flying over the stream fell down 
suffocated ; but there were also hot mineral springs here that 
healed the sick. The population of Ghundijan, according to 
Mustawfi, consisted mostly of shoemakers and weavers, and in his 
day the name Ghundijan had taken the place of Dasht Barin in 
the common speech for the district. In the neighbourhood was 
a strong castle, called Kal'ah Ram Zavan (or Dam Daran, with 
many other variants), where great cisterns had been dug for storing 
water. The district of Bftshknat lay half-way between Ghundijan 
and the Mandistan desert (see p. 255) to the north of Najiram. 
According to Mustawfi there were no towns here, but dates grew 
and were the chief crop, for Btishkinat was of the hot region of 
the Gulf 1 . 

1 Mukaddasl and YakCit with many of the older authorities state that Dasht 
Barin was the name of the town, Ghundfjan being that of the district. Originally, 
however, this can hardly have been the case, since the name Dasht Barin, 
meaning 'the Plain ' of Barfn, is not applicable to a town. The name of a 
district or province in the East is very frequently taken over by the chief 
town, and following this rule when Ghundijan fell out of use, the name Dasht 
Barin may have taken its place, being used then for town or district indifferently, 
as Mustawf! remarks later, but contrariwise of the name Ghundijan. 1st. ro6, 
128, 130, i5 y 153. Muk. 422, 423, 432, 435, 445, 44 8. F. N. 73 a, 76 tf, 
79*, 8*. Ma. Mst. 171, 177, 179, 2 i8. Yak. i. 199, 890; ii. 576; Hi. 5, 
820. Tawwaj IN often included in the ShapQr Khurrah district by the earlier 

XVII] FARS. 26l 

The island of Kharik, which lay off the mouth of the 
Shapur river, was included in the Ardashtr Khurrah district, 
and was a port of call for ships sailing from Basrah to Kays 
island and India. Yakftt had visited the island, and says that 
from its hills Jannabah and Mahruban, both on the coast of the 
Arrajan district, were visible. The soil of the island was fertile, 
producing many fruits, and the date palm grew well here. In the 
neighbouring sea was one of the best pearl fisheries. Many of the 
other islands in the Persian Gulf are described by our authorities 
as of the Ardashtr Khurrah district ; but Kharik and Kays were 
commercially the two most important, and of the others named 
some are not easy to identify, Uwal was the chief of the 
Bah ray n islands, on the Arabian coast, and it is mentioned in 
the annals of the first Moslem conquest. B&shahr (Bushire of 
the present day) first appears in the pages of YaVtit, and opposite 
to it on the mainland, as stated by Baladhuri, was Rfahahr or 
Rashahr of Tawwaj. The island called Lawan (Allin, Lin, or 
Lar are all variants), by the distances given, must be the present 
island of Shaykh Shu'ayb lying to the west of Kays, and Abrfin 
island is doubtless the modern Hindarabi which with Chin (or 
Khayn) lies near Kays. 

The great island at the narrows of the Gulf now called Kishm, 
also the Long Island (Jazirah fawilah), is probably that referred 
to in our medieval authorities under the various names possibly 
merely manuscript variants of Bani (or Ibn) Kawan, Abarkafan, 
and Abarkuman. YakUt states that it was also known as Laft. 
The island of Khasik or Jasik was one of its neighbours, or was 
possibly merely another name for Kishm (the Long Island). Its 
population were hardy boatmen, and according to Kazvini they 
were much given to piracy and raiding. Near each of these islands 
were pearl fishery banks, but most of them were uninhabited, 
except during the fishing season. Beyond and east of Kishm 
was the island of Hurmuz (Ormuz), which being in Kirman will 
be spoken of in the chapter treating of that province 1 . 

1 1st. 32. I. K. 61. Baladhuri, 386, 387. Yak. i. 395, 503; ii. 387, 537 ; 
iv - 34* 342- Mst. 181, 222. Kaz. ii. 117. 


FARS (continued). 

The district of Shapur Khurrah. Sh&pur city and cave. The Ratin river. 
Nawbanjan. The White Castle and Sha'b Bavvan. The Zamms of the 
Kurds. Kazirun and its lake. The rivers Ikhshin and Jarshik. Jirrah 
and the Sabuk bridge. The Arrajan district and Arrajart city. The Tib 
river. Bihbahan. The river Shtrtn. Gunbadh Mallaghan. Mahruban. 
Sfniz and Jannabah. The river Shadhkan. 

The district of Sabur Khurrah, the Glory of Shapur ' (Sabur, as 
already said, being the Arabic form of the Persian name), was the 
smallest of the five Kurahs or districts of Pars, and its limits 
were comprised within the basin of the upper Shaptir river and 
its affluents. 

The chief town of the district in early days was the city of 
Shapur, the name of which had originally been Bishapur 1 , more 
commonly known as Shahristan, ' the town-place ' or ' the capital.' 
Ibn Hawkal states that Shapur city was in his day as large as 
Istakhr and more populous, but Mukaddasi in the latter part of 
the 4th (loth) century speaks of the town as already for the most 
part gone to rum, its population having migrated to the neigh- 
bouring and rising city of Kazirun. Shapur, however, was then 
still a rich place, for its lands produced sugar-cane, olives, and 
grapes abundantly, and fruits and flowers, such as the fig, the 
jasmine, and the carob, were seen on every hand. The castle was 

1 In the MSS. the name is generally (but probably incorrectly) written 
Nashapur or Nishapur. Bishapur stands for Bih-Shapflr, the older form being 
Wih- Shapur, meaning 'the good Sapor* or 'the excellence of Sapor.* This 
prefix Bih occurs in other place-names ; cf. Bih Ardashir, or Guwashir, in 
Chapter XXI, p. 303. 


called Dunbuli, and the town wall had four gates, namely those 
of Hurmuz, Mihr, Bahrim, and lastly the City gate (Bib-ash- 
Shahr). Outside the town was a Friday Mosque, and another 
called Masjid-al-Khidr, or the mosque of Elias. In the 
beginning of the 6th (i2th) century the author of the Fdrs 
Namah describes Shaptir as having completely fallen to ruin; 
and when Mustawff wrote a couple of centuries later the name of 
Shapur or Bishapftr had been transferred to the neighbouring 
Kizirtin district. 

Mustawff apparently knew the ShipOr river under the name 
of the Shahriyir Rtid, and the city, he says, had been named 
Dfndar by its first founder, the mythical King Tahmurath, the 
1 Devil-binder.' Afterwards Alexander the Great laid it in ruins, 
and King Shapflr rebuilt it, when it was known, according to 
Mustawfi, as Bana Shaptir, and later as NishApftr or Bishdpdr. 
Its crops were famous in the 8th (i4th) century: the iris, violet, 
jasmine, and narcissus grew abundantly, and much silk was woven 
here. Mustawff further refers to the well-known colossal statue 
of King Shaptir in the cave near the ruins. This he describes 
as ' a black statue of a man, larger than life, standing in a temple 
(ffaykdl) ; some say it is a talisman, others that it is merely a 
real man whom God has turned to stone The kings of that 
country were used to visit it, and to pay it honour anointed 
the statue with oil.' Already in the 4th (roth) century Mukaddas! 
refers to the cave, which, he says, lay one league distant from the 
city of Nawbandajan. The colossal figure of King Sapor he 
describes as crowned and standing at the mouth of the cave, in 
which water fell continually, and a violent wind blew. At the 
base of the statue were the semblances, sculptured, of * three 
green leaves.' The foot of the image measured ten spans in 
length, while the total height was eleven ells 1 . 

The upper course of the Shaptir river was called the Nahr Ratfn 
by the Arab geographers, and it came from the Upper Khumayijiln 
or Khumiyigan district, of which one of the principal villages, ac- 
cording to MustawR, was Dfh 'AH. Lower Khumayijan was counted 

1 I. H. 194. Muk. 432, 444. F. N. 74 , 75/1, where the name is spelt 
Bishv(ir and BtsMpfir. Mst. 175, 176. C. A. De Bode, Travels in Luristan 
(London, 1845), i. 214. 

264 FARS. [CHAP. 

as of the Istakhr Ktirah (the Persepolis district, to be de- 
scribed in the next chapter) lying round Bayda on an affluent 
of the Kur river, and both these Khumayijan regions were famous 
for the products of the colder hill country, such as nuts and 
pomegranates, while much excellent honey was exported. The 
people were mostly muleteers, who travelled with caravans. To 
the westward of Khumayijan was the district of Anburan with 
the city of An-Nawbandajan, otherwise called Ntibandagan or 
Nawbanjan. This place, when Istakhri wrote, was larger than 
Kazirdn, the climate was hot and the date palm grew here. 
Mukaddasi speaks of its fine markets, of the gardens with their 
abundant water-supply, also of its mosque. In Saljftk times 
Nawbandajan had fallen to ruin, but in the 5th (nth) century 
the town was rebuilt by the celebrated Atabeg, the Amir Chaiili '. 
Two leagues distant from Nawbanjan began the famous valley, 
one of the four earthly paradises of the Moslems, called Sha'b 
Bavvan, the waters of which drained to the Kur river in 
the Istakhr Ktirah. The valley was three and a half leagues 
in length by one and a half across, and its fertility was 
beyond compare ; being due, according to Mustawfi, to the nature 
of the hills on either side of the valley, which stored the winter 
snows and thus afforded water throughout the summer droughts. 
A couple of leagues to the north-east of Nawbanjan is the great 
mountain fastness called. the White Castle Kal'ah Safid, and 
Isfid Diz or the Castle of Isfandiyar, occupying a flat-topped 
table-mountain, many miles in circuit, bounded by precipitous 
sides. Mukaddasi possibly mentions it under the name of the 
Kasr Abu Talib, which, he says, was called 'Ayan. The Fan 
Ndmah states that Kal'ah Safid had been rebuilt by a certain 
Abu Nasr of Tir Murdan in the earlier years of the Saljtiks, and 
that at the beginning of the 6th (i2th) century it was in the 

1 The Amtr Chauli (often written Jauli), whose name so frequently occurs in 
the F&rs Mdnicth and Mustawfi in connection with the rebuilding of towns or 
castles in Ears, and the reconstruction of river dams, wai governor of the 
province for Sultan Muhammad the Saljuk. Atabeg ChaiUi Sakauh (meaning 
the Falcon') received the surname of Fakhr-ad-Dawlah, and died in 510 ( 1 1 16) 
after having been the semi-independent governor of both Kirman and Fare 
for nearly a score of years. 

xvi n] PARS. 265 

hands of their governor. The mountain summit, which was 
20 leagues in circuit, had only one road leading to the top, 
and this was guarded below by the castle called Dizak Nishnak. 
The summit was a level plain, with many springs and gardens, 
and fruit grew here abundantly. The siege of Kal'ah Safid by 
Timilr, at the close of the 8th (i4th) century, made it famous in 
history. He was marching from Bihbahan to Shiraz, and took 
the place by storm, after a two days' investment, in the spring 

of 795 (I393) 1 - 

One march east of Nawbanjan, on the road to Shiraz, lay 
Tir Murdan, a small town surrounded by six villages, of which the 
most important was called Karjan (or Jarkan), lying five leagues 
from Nawbanjan. The surrounding region was well watered, very 
fertile, and much honey was exported. To the west of Nawbanjan, 
on the road to Arrajan, was the town of Anburan, in this district ; 
also the Basht Kftta district, with the town of Basht, which still 
exists. Two rivers, the Darkhid and the Khflbdhan, traversed 
this region. The Nahr Khawrawadhan, otherwise the Khftbdhan 
river, had on its banks the town of the same name, distant four 
leagues from Nawbanjan, and Khubdhan town in the 4th (loth) 
century was a populous place, with a mosque and good markets. 
Four or six leagues west of this river, and two stages distant from 
Nawbanjan, was the small town of Darkhid, on the river of the 
same name, which last came from, or some authorities say 
flowed into, a small lake. It is mentioned that the Darkhid 
river was a sufficiently large stream to be unfordable. The 
Khtibdhan river was an affluent of the river Shfrin, which will 
be noticed when describing the Arrajan district, and either the 
Khubdhan river or the Darkhid was crossed by a great bridge, 
built by a certain Abu Talib of Nawbanjan, who had erected the 
castle of 'Ayan mentioned in the previous paragraph. Istakhri and 
Mukaddasi are at variance as to^which of the rivers this celebrated 
bridge traversed. Later authorities add to the confusion by 
giving different names to these rivers, which it is difficult 

1 Nt. no, in, 120, 127. Muk. 434, 437, 447. F. N. 76^, 78/1, 81 //. 
Mst. 177, 178, 219. A. V. i. 600. Dizaki Nishkuman and Astak are variants 
of the name of the lower castle in the Mbb. Kal'ah Safid is well described by 
Macdonald Kinneir, Persian Empire, p. 73. 

266 PARS. [CHAP. 

or impossible now to identify with any of the existing streams 
shown on our maps. The bridge is described by Mukaddasi as 
having been built in his day, 'and there is none to equal it in 
all Syria and Mesopotamia.' This was in the latter half of the 
4th (roth) century, and Yaktit in the ;th d3th) century apparently 
refers to it as still existing. Many of these places are also men- 
tioned by 'Ali of Yazd, in describing the march of Timftr from 
Bihbahan to Shiraz 1 . 

In this mountain region of Firs, known later as the Jabal 
Jilftyah, the five Kurdish tribes, called collectively the Zamm-al- 
Akrad, had in the 4th (loth) century their pastures and camping 
grounds. Mukaddasi speaks of a castle in the mountain near 
here that belonged to them, standing in a wide district with many 
gardens stocked with fruit trees and date palms 8 . 

The city of Kazirun, from the latter half of the 4th (loth) 
century when Shapftr fell to ruin, became the most important town 
of the Shapflr district. Ibn Hawkal describes it as in his time 
smaller than Nawbandajan, but well-built, the houses being of 
stone set in mortar. Mukaddasi, a little later, refers to it as 
' the Damietta of Persia,' already commercially important as the 
centre of the linen trade, and 'Adud-ad-Dawiah the Buyid had 
recently built in the town a great house (Ddr) for the merchants, 
the rooms in which produced a yearly rent of 10,000 dirhams 
(^400). The houses of the town, Mukaddasi tells us, were all 
like palaces, each with a garden ; the mosque crowned a hillock. 
According to Musta\\fl Kazirun had originally consisted of three 
neighbouring villages, named Nurd, Darbast, and Rahshan, built 
on the water conduits of these names, which, it is stated, were 
still preserved in the town quarters. The dates of Kazirtin were 

1 The spelling of the names varies greatly. Khawrawadhan is contracted to 
Khiibdhan, also written Khwabdhan, Khabadhan and Khavdan, or Khavaran 
in 'Alt of Yazd. Darkhid is also written Darkhuwtd, but Dakhunad (as given 
by Mukaddasi) is probably only a clerical error. 1st. no, 120. Muk. 435, 
440. F. N. 76 a, b^ 79 a, 8o/>. Mst. 176, 218. Yak. i. 905 ; ii. 487 ; iii. 838. 
Ibn-al-Athir, viu. 122, 202. A. Y. i. 600. 

2 1st. 98, 113. Muk. 435. Yak. ii 821. Mst. 176, 206. Zamm means 
in Kurdish 'a tribe* (more correctly written Ztimah), and by mistake the 
word has often been given as Ramm. See the translation by Prof. De Goeje 
of Ibn Khurdadbih, p. 33, footnote. 


excellent, especially of a kind called Jilan, and a cotton stuff, 
known as Kirbds, was exported largely. The neighbouring 
pastures, called Marghzar Narkis, 'the narcissus meads,' were 
famous. The district round Klzirftn was known as the Shtil 
country, according to Ibn Battitah, who passed through here in 
the year 730 (1330), and at the present day this region is called 
Shfllistin. In the plain, a short distance to the east of the 
city, lies the Klzirun lake, which in the 4th (loth) century was 
known as the Buhayrah Mtiz, or Mtirak (for the reading of the 
name is uncertain). It was 10 leagues in length, very salt, and 
contained much fish. The two famous passes on the road above 
the lake going up to Shiraz, which are now known to travellers as 
the Old Woman's Pass and the Maiden's Pass (Kutal Pir-i-Zan, 
and Kutal-i-Dukhtar), are named by Mustawfi, the Htishang Pass, 
which lies three leagues from Kazinln, and the Malan Pass, which 
is above it and is likewise very steep 1 . 

The roads down to the coast from Kazirtin lead by Dariz to 
Kumarij, and thence by Khisht on the Shapflr river to Tawwaj, 
which has been described in the previous chapter (p. 259). Dariz 
was a small town, and already in the 4th (roth) century famous 
for its linen weavers ; Khisht, lying beyond it, had a strong castle, 
according to Mukaddasi, and was surrounded by broad lands. 
The F&rs Ndmah mentions Khisht and Kumarij together, and 
Mustawfi gives the people of both places a bad character as being 
inveterate robbers. 

A short distance below Khisht the river Shapur received on 
its left bank the waters of the Jirrah river, which was known as 
the Nahr Jarshik to the Arab geographers, and the latter, a few 
miles before it fell into the Shaptir river, was joined on its left 
bank by the tributary stream called by them the Nahr Ikhshin. 
The Ikhshin river took its rise among the valleys of the 
Dadhin country, and according to Istakhri, its waters, which were 
sweet and drinkable, had the property of dyeing to a green colour 
any cloth that was steeped therein. The Jarshik river rose in the 

1 1st. 122. I. H. 197. Muk-433. Mst. 176, 180, 200, 216. Of the three 
town quarters of Kazirun variants in the MSS. are Nur, Darist, and Rahiban 
or Rahiyan. I. B. ii. 89. The F&rs Ndmah (f. 8o) writes the name of the lake 
M&r very clearly. It is sometimes called Daryachih Shiir, 'the Salt Lake/ 

268 PARS. [CHAP. 

hills to the south of Jirrah, in the M&saram country (which 
according to Mustawfi was a district stretching from this river to 
as far north as the head-waters of the Sakkan river), and 
before reaching the town of Jirrah it was crossed by an 
ancient stone bridge called the Kantarah Sabftk. The river 
next watered part of the Didhin district, and finally, after 
receiving the Ikhshm river, fell into the Shipftr river some 
distance above Tawwaj. The Pars N&mah and Mustawfi state 
that the country at the head-waters of the Jirrah river, near the 
town of Jirrah, formed part of the Ghundijan district, and this 
gives a clue to the position of Dasht Barin, which, as we have 
seen on a previous page, belonged to the Ardashir Khurrah district. 
The city of Jirrah is described by Mukaddasi as crowning a hill- 
top, and possessing many palm gardens* s Yaktit states that the 
common people in his day pronounced the name Girrah, which is 
confirmed by the Fars Namah and Mustawfi ; they also refer to 
its corn crops and dates, for all the 'lands round the city were 
extremely fertile 1 . 

The Arrajan district is the westernmost of the five Ktirahs of 
Fars, and Arrajan, its chief town, lay at its westernmost border, 
on the Tab river, which on this side forms the boundary between 
Fars and Khtizistan. The ruins of Arrajan he a few miles to the 
north of the present town of Bihbahan, which has taken its 
population and become the chief town of the district since the 
close of the 6th (i2th) century. 

In the 4th (loth) century Arrajan was a fine town, sur- 
rounded by date-gardens and olive-groves. It had six gates, 
which were by order closed at night, and were named, respectively, 
the Ahwaz, Rishahr, and Shiraz gates, then the gate of Ar-Rusafah, 
the gate of the Maydan (or Square), and lastly Bab-al-Kayyalin 
or the 'Gate of the Weighers/ The mosque and market streets 
were magnificent. Soap was largely manufactured in the town. 
Near Arrajan, and crossing the Tab river on the high roads into 
Khuzistan, were two famous bridges, the remains of which still 
exist. One was said to have been built by a certain Daylamite 
physician of Hajjaj, governor of Irak under the Omayyad 

1 1st. f2o, 127, 152. Muk. 433, 434, 435. F. N. 75 b, 76 a, 79^. Mst. 
176, 177, 218, 219. Yak. it. 36, 67. 

xvin] PARS. 269 

Caliphs, and is described by Istakhri as having but a single 
arch, So paces across in the span, and sufficiently high for a man, 
mounted on a camel and bearing a banner, to pass freely under 
the key-stone. This bridge, which was known as the Kantarah 
Thakan, stood a bow-shot from the city of Arrajan on the road to 
Sanbil. The second stone bridge was more than 3000 ells in 
length, and dated from the times of the Sassaniai\ kings, being 
known as the Kantarah-al Kisrawtyah or ' the Bridge of the 
Chosroes.' It was on the road leading to the village of, 
Dahlizan. In a hill near Arrajan, according to Kazvini, was a 
cave whence bitumen (M&miyd) was taken from a spring, and this 
was celebrated all the world over for its medicinal properties, 
while in the town of Arrajin itself a fathomless well called the 
Bfr Sdhik existed, the water of which was never known to fail, 
even in the driest summer season. 

Mustawfi, in the beginning of the 8th (i4th) century, states 
that Arrajan was then called Arkhan or Arghan by the common 
people, and at the end of this century 'All of Yazd refers to the 
river Tab as the Ab-i-Arghtin. Arrajan had suffered much, 
according to Mustawfi, on its capture in the 7th (i3th) century by 
the Ismailian heretics (the Assassins, subjects of the Old Man of the 
Mountain), and the town had never recovered its former prosperity. 
There had been Ismailian strongholds on the hill-tops in the neigh- 
bourhood, one called Kal'ah Tighur, and another Diz Kilat, and the 
garrisons of these places had frequently plundered the city and its 
districts. By the latter half of the 8th (i4th) century, Arrajin 
had fallen completely to ruin, and it was replaced shortly after 
this by the town of Bihbahan, situated some half-dozen miles 
lower down the Tib river. Bihbahdn, the name of which occurs 
in none of the Arab geographers, is first mentioned by 'All of 
Yazd, in his description of the march of Timflr from Ahwaz to 
Shiraz in the spring of 795 (1393)1 an< ^ ^ rom *h* s date onward 
Bihbahin has been the chief town of the region formerly known as 
the district of Arrajin '. 

1 1st. 128, 134, 152. I. R. 189. I. K. 43. Muk. 415. Kaz. ii. 94, 160. 
Mst. 177, 178. A. Y. i. 600. In his Mir&t-al-BuldAn (Tihran lithograph, 
A.H. 1294, vol. I. p. 306) the Sanf'-ad-Dawlah says that Bihbahfin was first 
settled by the K&hgilfi nomads, by order of Ttmtir, these having migrated from 

270 PARS. [CHAP. 

The river fab of the Arab geographers is now known as the 
Jarihiyah, Jardhi, or Kurdistan river, for by some confusion the 
name of T&b has, at the present day, been transferred to the 
Khayrabad affluents of the Hindiyin or Zuhrah river, a different 
stream which flows out to the Persian Gulf at Hindiydn. The 
Tab river of the middle-ages had its source, if we may accept the 
combined authority of Istakhri and Mukaddasi, in the mountains 
to the south-west of Isfahan, at Al-Burj over against Sumayram 
in the Istakhr district. Thence coming down to the district called 
As-Sardan, in Khuzistan, the Tab was joined on its left bank by 
the river Masin, the village of Masin lying near the point of 
junction, and the combined streams flowed on to Arrajan. Below 
this city the Tab watered the Rishahr district, and then curving 
round abruptly to the south reached the sea to the west of 
Mahruban. The Masin river above-mentioned also rose in the 
mountains near Sumayram, and flowed past a place called Sishat, 
according to the Pars Namah and Mustawfi, before it joined 
the Tab. It is said to have been 40 leagues in length, and 
was a sufficiently broad river not to be easily fordable. Near 
the upper course of the Fab was the district of Bilad Shapur, 
or Bala Sabur, of which the chief town was called Jftmah, which 
stood on the frontier between Pars and Khuzistan. The district 
had been very fertile, but when Mustawfi wrote the lands had 
already gone out of cultivation. Along the course of the Tab 
river, according to the Pars Namah, was also the region called 
Kurah Kubad Khurrah, but all earlier authorities give this as the 
name of the district round Karzin, as has been already described 
on p. 

Kufah. For the ruins of Arrajan, and of the two bridges now known as the 
Pul-i-Bigam and the Pul-i-Dukhtar (the Lady's and the Maiden's bridge), see 
De Bode* Lurutan, i. 295, 297. The name of the first bridge is often given 
as Kantarah Rakan or Takan in the MSS. Ibn Hawkal (p. 170) further 
mentions a wooden bridge as crossing the Tab river, passing at a height of ten 
ells above the the water level. 

1 1st. 119. Muk. 24,425. F. N. 77^,780, 790. Mst. 176, 177, 218. The 
Arab geographers evidently confounded the upper course of the Arrajan river 
(the Tab) and its affluent (the Masin) with the streams which we know to be 
the upper branches of the Karun. It is to be further noted that the Arrajan 
river, in Us lower course near the Persian Gulf, has evidently changed .its 

xvm] PARS. 271 

Below Arrajan the Tab river, as already said, curved round the 
Rishahr district (not to be confounded with Rishahr of Bushire 
mentioned above, p. 261) ; and here, besides the town of Rishahr, 
lying half-way between Arrajan and Mahruban, there was a 
town called Daryan (otherwise Dayrjan or Darjan) which in the 
4th (loth) century had fine markets and lay in a fertile district. 
Rishahr continued to be an important place in Saljftk times, and 
the F&rs jNdmah speaks of its castle, and states that ships were 
built here. According to Mustawfi the Persians called the place 
Barbiyan, and the original name, he says, had been Risahr. 
Linen stuffs were manufactured here, and the population traded 
largely with the Gulf ports. The summer heat was terrific, and 
people went up to Diz Kilat, one league away, which as just 
mentioned had formerly been a castle of the Ismailians. 
Near Rishahr was Hindijan, a small town and district on the 
lower course of the Arrajan river, and Mukaddasi relates that 
this Hindijan or Hinduwan town was a great market for sea fish 
and possessed a fine mosque. In the Hindijan district were the 
remains of fire-temples, and some waterwheels of ancient con- 
struction. Further, there were supposed to be hidden treasures, 
'as in Egypt/ and Kazvini speaks of a well, from which arose a 
poisonous vapour, so that birds flying above fell dead into it. 
Lastly, at Habs, a town in this district on the road to Shiraz, 
there had been a toll-house in Saljuk times 1 . 

Jalladgan, otherwise pronounced Jalladjan, was a neighbouring 
district lying between the lower courses of the rivers 'Fab and 
Shirin. The river Shirin 'the Sweet Water' rose in the hills 
called Jabal Dinar of the Bazranj or Bazrang district, and passed 
through the district of Furzuk, lying four leagues south-east of 
Arrajan. According to 'Ali of Yazd, Timftr, marching from 

bed since the 4th (loth) century. Mukaddasi speaks of it as debouching near 
Sfniz, but this is possibly only a clerical error for ' near the Tustar ' river, in 
other words the estuary of the Dujayl. 

1 1st. 112, 113, 119, in. Muk. 422, 426, 453. F. N. 780, b. Mst. 
*77> *78 Yak. iv. 963, 993. Kaz. ii. 186. Hindijan, Hinduwan, and 
Hindiyan appear to be all intended for the same place. For Habs the MSS. 
give Khabs, Jis, Jins and every possible variation ; it was a post-stage, as men- 
tioned in the Itineraries. 

272 FARS. [CHAP. 

Bihbahin to Shiriz, crossed the Shlrin river on the day after 
leaving Bihbahan ; four days later he reached the Khavdan river 
(already noticed, p. 265, under the name of KMbdhin), and 
thence marched to Nawbanjan. We have seen that the Khub- 
dhan river was a tributary of the Shirin, and this last appears 
to be identical with the stream now known m its upper course as 
the Khayribad river (with many affluents), and lower down as the 
Zuhrah river, which is the river marked on modern maps as the 
Tab, or Hindiyan. On one of the tributaries of the river Shirin 
was situated Gunbadh Mallaghan, an important place lying on 
the .oad from Nawbanjan to Arrajan which is now called 
Dti Gunbadan, *the Two Domes,' and still shows extensive 
ruins. Of this neighbourhood were the Dinar hills, and the 
district of Bizrang already mentioned , also Saram, where the 
climate in winter was extremely cold, and the mountain summits 
near by never entirely free from snow even in summer. The 
town of Gunbadh Mallaghin, however, was of the hot region, 
and famous for its date palms. The name is also spelt Gunbad 
Mallajan or Malakan, and Muljaddasi in the 4th (loth) century 
speaks of the village here as in ruins. According to the Fdrs 
Namah in the beginning of the 6th (i2th) century the small town 
here was protected by a castle, in which rations of corn, to last 
the garrison for three or four years, were kept in store. Many 
other like castles crowned the adjacent hills, among the rest one 
named Kal'ah Khing being especially mentioned. Mustawft states 
that the neighbouring district was known as Ptil Btilft (some MSS. 
give Ptil Lftlti) and was very fertile, producing famous apricots ; 
and he declares the castle of Gunbad Mallaghin was so strong that 
one man might hold it against an army 1 . 

Not far from the mouth of the river Shlrtn which, as already 
said, is the modern Tib or Zuhrah river lay the port of Mahruban, 
close to the western frontier of Firs, and this was the first harbour 
reached by ships bound to India after leaving Basrah and the 

1 1st. in, 112, 113, 119, 120. Muk. 435. F. N. 76 b t 77 a, 78^, 79*1, 
83 /', 85 b. Mst. 176, 177, 178, 179, 218. Yak. iii. 5 ; iv. 630. A. Y. i. 600. 
Hfz. 31 b. De Bode, Luristan, i. 258. To the north of Dti Gunbadan is the 
castle now known as Kal'ah Arft ; possibly this is the place named Khing in 
the Fdrs NAmah. 


Tigris estuary. Mahruban was accounted the port of Arrajan, 
and in the 4th (xoth) century was very populous, and had a fine 
mosque and good markets. According to Mustawf! the Persians 
called it Mayruyan, or Mahruyan; linen was made here, and 
dates were exported, but the shipping was always the chief source 
of income. Nsir-i-Khusraw touched at Mahruban in 443 (1052), 
and describes the town as lying along the sea-shore on the eastern 
side of the bay. The markets were excellent, and the mosque 
bore the name of Ya'kftb, son of Layth the Saffarid. Water 
was stored in cisterns, there were three great caravanserais for 
travellers who landed here for Arrajan, and the commerce of the 
place was considerable. The next port down the Gulf, east of 
Mahruban, was Siniz or Shiniz, whose ruins lie on the creek now 
called Bandar Daylam. Is^akhri describes the place as larger 
than Mahruban in the 4th (loth) century. There was a small 
bay (Khawr\ and the town lay half a league from the open sea ; 
the climate here was very hot, and date palms grew abundantly. 
Mukaddasi speaks of the mosque and the palace of the governor, 
and of the markets as being well provided with wakes. According 
to Yakut, Siniz was half ruined by the Carmathians, who sacked 
the port in 321 ('933). The Fdrs N&mah however, and Mustawf i, 
in the 6th and 8th (i2th and i^th) centuries, speak of it still 
as a flourishing place, where flax was grown and much linen 
made. The port was defended by a fortress (Hisar), and the 
oil for lamps that came from its district was exported far and 
wide 1 . 

South of Sfntz was Jannabah (or Jannaba), the ruins of which 
still exist, lying near the mouth of the river which the Arab 
geographers called the Nahr-ash-Shadhkan. Jannabah according 
to Istakhr! was extremely hot, and its creek (Khawr) was not a 
safe anchorage. The town was larger than Mahruban and had 
excellent markets ; further, it was celebrated as the birth-place 
of Abu Tihir the Carmathian. The Persians called the place 
Ganfah, or Ab-i-Gandah, from its 'foul water,' and four neigh- 
bouring villages lying on the sea-coast were counted as of its 

1 1st 34, 128. Muk. 426. N. K. 90. Yak. i. 502; iii. 221. F. N. 
78 , 79 a. Mst. 178. 


dependencies. The river Shidhkan rose in the Bazrang district, 
and, passing through the Dastakan plain, flowed thence out to 
the sea. Which stream on the present map it corresponds with is 
not quite clear, but it must undoubtedly be one of the two short 
rivers which enter the Persian Gulf near Jannabah. In point of 
fact, however, no large stream now exists here, though Mustawfi 
especially states that this was a ' large river and not easily fordable, 
being nine leagues in length ' ; he therefore had in mind a stream 
of some considerable size '. 

1 1st. 32, 34, 119, 128. Muk. 426. F. N. 78^. Mst. 178, 218. 


FARS (continued). 

The Istakhr district, and Istakhr city or Persepolis. Rivers Kur and Pulv&r. 
Lake Bakhtigan and the cities round it. The Marvdasht plain. Bayda 
and Maym. Kftshk-i-Zard. Sarmak and Yazdikhwast. The three roads 
from Shiraz to Isfahan. Abarkuh. Yazd city, district and towns. The 
Rudhan district and its towns. Shahr-i-Babak and Haiat. 

The Kurah or district of Istakhr occupied the whole of the 
northern part of Fars, and this, as already said, in the middle- 
ages included Yazd, with the neighbouring towns and lands lying 
along the border of the Great Desert. The capital of the district 
was Istakhr, as the Arabs named the Sassanian town which the 
Greeks had called Persepolis. 

The city of Istakhr lay on the river Pulvar, a few miles above 
its junction with the Kur river, and some distance to the westward 
of the remains of the great Achaemenian platform and palaces. 
At the time of the Moslem conquest Istakhr was one of the 
largest, if not the most important of the Sassanian cities of Fars, 
and it was taken by capitulation. In the 4th (loth) century, Ibn 
IJawkal describes the town as a mile broad, and as haying formerly 
been surrounded by a wall which, he says, had recently been 
destroyed. At the city gate, crossing the river, was the Khurasan 
bridge (why so called is not stated), a very fine structure, and 
the houses stretched far beyond this into the country, being 
surrounded by gardens which produced rice and pomegranates. 
The other Arab geographers add nothing to this account, and the 
Moslem writers give no information of interest about the cele- 
brated Achaemenian buildings and tombs, which they generally 
ascribe to Jamshid and King Solomon. Mustawft states that the 

276 FARS. [CHAP. 

ruin of Istakhr (and hardly any trace of the Moslem city now 
remains) was due to the turbulent outbreaks of its inhabitants. 
Finally in the latter half of the 4th (loth) century Samsm-ad- 
Dawlah, son of 'Adud-ad-Dawlah the Buyid, was forced to send 
an army against Istakhr under the Amir Kutlumish ; as a result 
the town was laid in ruins, and from that time onward Istakhr was 
reduced to the size of a village, containing perhaps a hundred 
men, as described in the F&rs N&mah at the beginning of the 
6th (i2th) century. 

On the hills to the north-west of the city were three great 
fortresses, known as the Castle of Istakhr Yar, 'the Friend of 
Istakhr/ the KaPah Shikastah, 'the Broken Castle/ and the 
Castle of Shankavan. 'Collectively these castles were called Sih 
Gunbadhan, ' the Three Domes ' ; and from a deep gorge in the 
mountains, where a dam had been built, water was brought to the 
first of these castles, in which 'Adud-ad-Dawlah the Buyid had 
constructed great tanks, carefully roofed over on twenty columns, 
so as to be capable of supplying the needs of a thousand men 
during a year's siege. There was here an exercising-ground, or 
Maydan, on the hill-top, which had also been planned and con- 
structed by 'Adud-ad-Dawlah 1 . 

The Pulvar river which the Arab geographers call the Furwab, 
and which in Persian is written Purvab rises to the north of tjjan 
or Uzjan at Furvab village in Jawbarkan, Flowing at first east- 
ward, it turns to the south-west above Pasargadae at the tomb of 
Cyrus, which the Moslems call the Shrine of the Mother of King 
Solomon (Mashhad-i-Midar-i-Sulayman), and, running through the 
Istakhr gorge, passes this city and enters the plain of Marvdasht, 
where it falls into the river Kur a short distance above the great 
dam called Band-i-Amtr. The river Kur rises in the district of 
Kurvin, a little to the south of tTjdn, and not far therefore from 
the source of the Pulvir river, but it takes at first the opposite 
direction. Flowing towards the north-west it makes a great circular 
sweep, passing under the Shahriyir bridge, on the summer road 

1 Baladhuri, 388. I. H. 194. Muk. 435. F. N. 67*, 81 b, 83*. Mst. 
173, 174, 178, 179. Hfz. 85 . The ruins of the three castles still exist, anjl 
one of them was visited by J. Morier, Second Journey through Persia (London, 
1818), pp. 83, 86. De Bode, Luristan, i. 117. 

xix] PARS. 277 

from Shiriz to Isfahan, which stands in the tfrd district Passing 
southward the Kur next flows near the villages of K&rad and 
Kallar, turning then to the south-east, when it receives an affluent 
from the Sha'b Bawan valley (see above, p. 264), and traverses in 
turn the districts of Ramjird and Kamfirtiz. Passing into the 
Marvdasht plain it here receives on its left bank the Pulvir river, 
then waters the districts of Upper and Lower Kirbdl, and flowing 
near the large village of Khurramah falls into Lake Bakhtigan, 
between the Jafuz district to the south, and the Kaskan district 
on the left bank. 

The Pars Namah, and other Persian authorities, state that 
the Kur was known in its upper reach as the Rtid 'Ast, 'the Rebel 
River,' because till it was hemmed back by a dam (band) its waters 
could not be used for purposes of irrigation. The first of these 
dams on the Kur was called the Band-i-Mujarrad, 'the Bare Dyke/ 
This was of very ancient construction, and having fallen to decay 
had been restored by the Atabeg Fakhr-ad-Dawlah Chaftlf in the 
beginning of the 6th (i2th) century, after whom the dyke was 
called the Fakhristan, a name it still bore in the time of Hafiz 
Abrti. Below the junction of the Pulvar the Kur was dammed 
back by the celebrated Band-i-Amir 1 or Band-i-'Adudf, part of 
the works being also known as the Sikr (Weir) of Fani Khusraw 
Khurrah. All these names came from 'Adud-ad-Dawlah the 
Buyid, who had constructed this dam to water the district of 
Upper Kirbil. According to the contemporary account of Mukad- 
dasi, this dam was 'one of the wonders of Fars.' The foundations 
of the dam were kid in masonry, with lead joints, and it threw 
back the waters of the Kur river, forming an extensive reservoir. 
Along this 'Adud-ad-Dawlah had erected ten great waterwheels, 
which raised the water to a still higher level, thus to irrigate 
300 villages, and at each waterwheel was a mill for grinding 
corn. Soon afterwards a great town was founded near the 
dam. The lowest of the dams upon the Kur river was called 
the Band-i-Kassar ' the Fuller's Dam ' and served to raise the 
waters to irrigate the district of Lower Kirbal. This dam was an 
ancient structure, but having fallen to ruin in the beginning of 
the 6th (i2th) century it was repaired by the Atabeg Chitili 
1 Hence ' Bendemeer's stream ' of Moore's Lallah Rookh. 

278 FARS. [CHAP. 

aforesaid, who also effected a much needed restoration of the 
Band-i-Amfr 1 . 

The great lake of Bakhtigan into which the Kur flows, though 
at the present day surrounded by desert lands, was in the middle- 
ages bordered by many villages and towns situated in richly culti- 
vated territories. The waters of the lake form two great bays, 
of which the southern one in medieval times was known as 
Bakhtigan, the northern part of the lake being called the Buhayrah 
Basaftiyah or Jubanan. The waters were salt, and abounded in 
fish, which supplied the Shiraz market, and the lake shore was 
covered with reeds that, when cut, served as fuel. The Jaftiz 
district was at the western end of the lake, with the town of 
Khurramah (still existing as an important village) lying 14 leagues 
distant from Shtraz, on the road to Kirman which went along the 
southern shore of Bakhtigan. Mukaddasi speaks of Khurramah 
in the 4th (loth) century as a town with broad lands and a castle 
crowning a hill-top, this last was vry strong and well built, 
according to Mustawfi writing in Mongol times, and the Pars 
Namah refers to its cisterns 2 . 

The south-eastern end of Lake Bakhtigan was of the Darabjird 
district, and here lay Khayrah and Niriz, which will be spoken of 
in the next chapter. Near the eastern end, in what is now a 
waterless desert, stood in the 4th (loth) century the two important 
towns of Great and Little Sahak or Sahik, a name which the 
Persians wrote Chahik (meaning 'a small pit' or 'well') At 
Great Sahik the two roads one along the north side of Bakhtigan 
lake, from Istakhr ; the other by the southern shore, from Shiraz 
came together, and from Great Sahik one single road went on to 
Kirman. Mufcaddasi describes Great Sahik as a small town, 
famed for its calligraphists, who wrote fine copies of the Kuran. 
In the neighbourhood, according to Mustawfi, were steel and iron 
mines, and the F&rs NAmah speaks of the excellent swords made 

On the road from Great Sahik to Istakhr, and lying on the 

1 1st. 121. Muk. 444 . F. N. 79*. Mst. 216, 218. Hfr. 32 a. Yak. 
Hi. 107. 

9 1st. 122, 135. Muk. 437. F. N. Son, 82 , 87 . Mst. 174, 179, 225, 

XIX] FARS. 279 

northern shore of that part of Lake Bakhtigan which was called 
Basaf&yah or Jflbanan, were two towns of importance during the 
middle-ages, all traces of which seem to have disappeared from 
the map. The easternmost, lying six or eight leagues from Great 
Sahik, was the city of Bftdanjan, known as Kariyat-al-As, 'the 
Myrtle Village, 1 which Mustawfi gives under the Persian form of 
Dlh Mtird. The country round produced plentiful corn crops, 
and the myrtle, after which the town was called, flourished here. 
To the westward of Kariyat-al-As, and six or seven leagues further 
on the road towards Istakhr, was Kariyat 'Abd-ar-Rahman, other- 
wise called Abadah, a city standing in the district of Barm. The 
town possessed fine houses and palaces, and Kazvini relates that 
the water in its wells was intermittent, sometimes rising up and 
overflowing the surface of the ground, and at other times being so 
deep down in the pits as almost to disappear from view. In 
Saljdlj: times Abadah had a strong castle, with engines of war, and 
great water cisterns 1 . 

The broad plain of Marvdasht is traversed by the lower 
reaches of the Kur river after it has received the waters of the 
Pulvar ; it is overlooked from the north by Istakhr with its three 
castles, and was divided further into various districts. Lower and 
Upper Kirbal lay near the western end of the Bakhtigan lake ; 
Hafrak and Kali came higher up the Kur river, and the meadow 
lands of Kali bordered the banks of the Pulvar. In the Hafrak 
district (spelt Habrak in the older MSS.) was the strong castle of 
Khuvar, near the village of the same name. The place is men- 
tioned by Istakhri, and several times in the Pars N&mah, where 
its position is given as half-way between the 'Adudi dam on the 
Kur, and Abadah on Lake Bakhtigan, being 10 leagues from 
either place. Khuvar is referred to also twice by Yaktit, who, 
however, evidently did not know its position. Its water was 
taken from wells, and the fortifications of the castle were very 
strong. The plain of Marvdasht was famous for its corn lands, 
being well irrigated from the dams on the Kur. According to 

1 I. K. 48, 53. Kud. 195. 1st. ioi f 131. Muk. 437. F. N. 66, 68 , , 
83 a. Mst. 175, 179. Kaz. ii. 160. Besides the city of Abadah (or Ab&dhah) 
there was the village of the same name, on the road from Istakhr to Isfahan, 
which will be mentioned later. 

28o PARS. [CHAP. 

the Pars Namah it took its name from the hamlet of Marv, which 
originally had been one of the quarters of Istakhr city, where later 
were the gardens of Jamshid, below the Achaemenian ruins 1 . 

Above Marvdasht came the Kmfirflz district, for the most 
part on the right bank of the Kur, of which the chief town was, 
and is, Bayda. Al-Baydi means in Arabic * the White ' (town) ; 
and this is one of the few instances in which an Arabic name has 
been adopted by the Persians (who pronounced it Bayz&\ and 
kept in use down to the present day. Bayda was so called 
because it ' glistened from afar/ and Ibn Hawkal adds that its 
name among the Persians had been Nasatak, meaning, according 
to Yakftt, Dar-i-Isfid or ' White Palace/ Part of the Moslem 
army had camped here, when besieging Istakhr city ; and Bayda 
was as large a place as this last in the 4th (loth) century, 
Mukaddasi referring to it as a fine town, with a large mosque, 
and a much- visited shrine. The pasture lands around it were 
famous, and the light-coloured soil made the city stand out 
'glistening white' among its green corn-lands. The Kamffrtiz 
district comprised many villages, which Istakhri names, and its 
oak (Balftt) forests were in his day haunted by fierce lions, which 
were the terror of the cattle on its pasture lands. 

North and east of the K&mfirtiz district was the district of 
Rimjird, of which the chief city was Mayin. Half-way between 
Shiraz and this place was the town called Hazar or Azar Sabtir, 
otherwise Naysibflr, which is often mentioned in the 4th (loth) 
century. Mukaddasi describes it as a small town, possessing broad 
lands, irrigated by underground channels; and it was the first stage 
out. from Shiraz going to Mayin, on the summer or mountain road 
from Shiraz to Isfahan. Mayin, the capital of Ramjird, is described 
by Mukaddasi as a populous city with fruitful lands. Mustawfi 
reports that under the Mongol dynasty its revenues amounted to 
52,500 dinars (about ;i 7,500 in the Il-Kh4nid currency). There 
was in the town a famous shrine of a certain Shaykh Gul Andam; 
and at the foot of the pass, on the road north, was the Mashhad 
of Ismitl, son of the seventh Imam Mflsi-al-Kizim. The district 
of Ramjird owed its great productiveness to the irrigation canals 

1 1st. 104. F. N. 664, 67 b, 83*1, 84 J, 86 0, b. Mst. 174, 175, 179, 180. 
Yak. i. 199 ; ii. 480. 

XIX] FARS. 28l 

taken from above the dam on the Kur at Band-i-Mujarrad, 
which, as already stated, the Atabeg CMitti had restored. In 
Ramjird also was the castle called Saldibad, crowning the summit 
of a steep hill, the road up being one league in length. In old 
days it was called IsfidbUdh (the White Place), and in the times 
of the Omayyad Caliphs it had frequently been held against their 
armies by rebel chieftains. Finally Ya'kftb, son of Layth the 
Saffarid, at the close of the 3rd (9th) century took possession of it, 
and, after strengthening the fortifications, used it as a state prison 
'for those who opposed him.' The name Isfldbidh is possibly 
a misreading, being sometimes written Isfandylir, and it is 
apparently identical with the IsfidUn of the F&rs N&mah and 
Mustawff, near which was the village of Kumistan, with a great 
cavern in the adjacent hill 1 . 

Near the left bank of the Kur river, not far from Mdyin, stood 
the town and castle of Abraj (often miswritten fraj\ which is 
mentioned by Istakhri as of this district, and the place is still to 
be found on the map. The F&rs N&mah and Mustawft describe 
Abraj as a large village at the foot of a mountain, on whose slope 
its houses were partly built. Its castle, the Diz Abraj, was in part 
fortified by art, part being already impregnable by the precipices 
of the hill summit on which it stood ; it had gardens too, and was 
well supplied with water. The town of IJjan, or Uzjan, which 
lies one march north of Mayin, is mentioned by Mustawff, but 
no details are given. Ujan is probably identical with the place 
named Hftsgin (for Husjin) by Kudamah, where the name is 
printed in error KMskan, and in the text of Mufcaddasf, again, 
it is misprinted Harskan*. 

1 Kud. 196. 1st. in, 117, 126, 132. I. H. 197. Muk. 432, 437, 458. 
F. N. 66*, 68 a, 81 b. Mst. 174, 175, 180. Yak. ii. 561 ; iii. 93, 838. The 
fortress of Sa'idabad is probably the modern Mansurabad, as described by 
H. Schindler, 1891, p. 290. 

2 Kud. 196. 1st. 102, 136. Muk. 457, 458. F. N. 66*. 83 a. Mst. 174, 
179. Abraj, as given in the Fdrs Ndmah, is undoubtedly the true pronuncia- 
tion, fraj (as printed in the texts of Istakhrt and Mukaddast) being due to a 
clerical error in the MSS., and this has been adopted by Yakftt (i. 419). The 
old castle exists above Abraj, and is now known as Ishkanvan, which recalls 
the name of Shankavan mentioned above (p. 276) as one of the three castles of 
Istakhr. Sec Schindler, P. R. G.S. 1891, p. 290. 

282 PARS. [CHAP. 

The most direct road from Shliiz to Isfah&n went by way of 
Miyin, and thence by Kflshk-i-Zard through Dfh GirdQ and 
Yazdikhwist to Ktimishah on the frontier of Firs. From Mayin 
the road went up the pass, going north to the crossing of the Kur 
river at the Shahriyar bridge, near which was the guard-house of 
Salah-ad-Dfn in the plain called Dasht Rtin or Dasht Ram. 
North of this, again, according to Mustawf i, came the Mother and 
Daughter Pass (Garivah-i-Madar-wa-Dukhtar), and then Ktishk-i- 
Zard, 'the Yellow Kiosque,' which is probably identical with the 
Kasr Ayin, or A 'in, of Istakhri and Mufcaddasi. The plains of 
greater and lesser Dasht Rftn were famous as pasture grounds, and 
the arable lands gave four crops a year, these being watered by the 
Kur river and its affluents Ktishk-i-Zard is first mentioned in the 
FarsNamah, where the name is more generally written Kushk-i-Zar, 
or 'the Golden Kiosque.' To the north again, between Ktishk-i- 
Zard and D!h Girdu, stretched the even more fertile pasture lands 
of the tfrd or Avard district, the chief towns of which, according 
to Istakhri, were Bajjah and Taymaristan (written Taymarjan in 
the Pars Ndmati). Mustawf i mentions Dfh GirdQ, and it appears 
in the Pars Ndmah as Dih Gawz (for Jawz\ both names signifying 
* Nut Village.' The earlier Arab geographers do not mention this 
name (which is Persian in the forms given above), but by its 
position in the Itineraries, modern Dih Girdfl must be equivalent 
to Istakhran of Kudamah and Istakhri. 

Along the eastern borders of the Dasht tJrd plain lie Iklid, 
Sarmak, and Abadah village, then Shtiristan and Sarvistan village, 
half-way between Dih Girdti and Yazdikhwist. Iklid had a fine 
castle according to the Pars Ndmah, and like Sarmafc was 
famous for its corn lands. The name of Sarmak is spelt Jarmak 
by Mukaddasi ; it was a well-built town surrounded by trees, 
among which those bearing the yellow plum were notable, this 
fruit being dried and largely exported to other places The 
village of Abadah, a stage on the present post-road from Shiraz 
to Isfah&n, is first mentioned in the Pdrs Ndmah, and later by 
Mustawf i ; the same also is to be said of Shtiristan which lies on 
a salt river flowing east to the desert. The village of Sarvistan, 
Mukaddasi states, had a mosque in the 4th (loth) century, and 
the place was well supplied with water from the neighbouring 

xix] PARS. 283 

hills. The name of Yazdikhwist, the town lying to the north of 
this, first occurs in the Pars Namah, but it is doubtless the same 
place mentioned by Mukaddasi under the curtailed form of Azkis. 
Mustawfi gives Yazdikhwast with Dih Girdti, but adds no 
particulars. The name is often spelt Yazdikhas 1 . 

Ktimishah, which Mukaddasi spells KQmisah, was, as already 
said, on the northern frontier of Fars, and it was often counted as 
belonging to Isfahan. Mustawfi mentions the clay-built castle 
of Ktilanjan which defended it, and tells us that it was sur- 
rounded by fruitful districts. To the westward of Yazdikhwist 
is situated the town of Sumayram near the head-waters of the 
Tib river, and through it passed the western road from Shinlz to 
Isfahan. Mukaddasi describes Sumayram as having a well-built 
mosque standing in the market street. Nuts and other fruits of 
the cold region abounded here, and the town was protected by 
a strong castle, with a plentiful spring of water within the fortifi- 
cations. Yaktit states that the name of this castle was Wahanzad. 
The western road from Shiraz to Isfahan passed through Baydd 
in the Marvdasht plain, and thence went on to Mihrajanavadh 
(or Mihrajanibad), which Mukaddasi describes as a town with 
broad lands, apparently lying on the banks of the river Kur, or on 
one of its western affluents. Between this and Sumayram the 
only important places were Kftrad and Kallar (already mentioned 
as on the Kur), two neighbouring towns, famous according to 
Mukaddasf and Mustawf! for their corn lands and the fruit trees 
of the cold region. Istakhri refers to their well-built houses, but 
apparently all trace of these two places has disappeared 2 . 

The shortest of the three roads from Shiraz to Isfahan is that 
already described, by Mayin and the -Dasht Run plain, and this 
is called the Winter Road in the Pars N&mah. The Summer 

1 I. K. 58. Kud. 196. 1st. 103, 132. Muk. 437, 458. F. N. 65*, 
66rt, 8o, 8m, 830,^, 840, . Mst. 174, 175, 179, 200. Yak. i. 197. 
I. B. ii. 5*- 

2 1st. 126. F. N. 66 a, 84 a, l>. Muk. 389, 437, 457, 458. Mst. 175. 
Yak. iii- 151 ; iv. 942. It is to be remarked that while Mukaddasi (p. 458) 
in his itinerary refers to Rurad and Kallar as though these two villages stood 
close one beside the other, in the Fdrs Ndmah itinerary (f. 84 ) Kall&r is 
placed five leagues north of Kfirad. 

284 PARS. [CHAP. 

Road was much longer, and was the easternmost of the three, 
going by Istakhr through Kamin and past the tomb of Cyrus to 
Dlh Bid, where, to the right, a road branched off to Yazd. 
The Isfahan road continued westward through Sarmafc and 
Abadah village to Yazdikhwast and Kftmishah. Kamin, not far 
from the eastern bank of the Pulvar river, was according to 
Mustawff a town of considerable importance in the 8th (i4th) 
century, standing in a corn-producing district, and its fine pasture 
lands lying along the river are specially mentioned. Higher up, 
at the bend of the Pulvar, is Pasargadae and the tomb of Cyrus, 
which, it may be remembered, the Moslems identify as the tomb 
of the mother of Solomon. The four-sided stone mausoleum, 
still to be seen here, was held to be protected by a talisman, and 
according to the Fdrs Ndmah anyone attempting to take up his 
abode within its walls suddenly became blind. The surrounding 
pasture lands were called the Marghzar of KjUan. Dth Bid, 
* Willow Village/ the next stage north of this, where the road 
forked, is given by Mukaddasi and the other Arab geographers 
as Kariyat-al-Bidh, and to the north again, about half-way between 
Istakhr and Yazd, stood the city of Abarkflh. 

Abarkfth or Abarkftyah sometimes shortened to Barfctih is 
said by Ibn Hawkal to have been a fortified town one-third the 
size of Istakhr, with great markets, and Mukaddasi refers to its 
fine mosque. Mustawfi says the population were all craftsmen, 
and the lands round produced much corn and cotton ; he further 
adds that the climate of the city had this remarkable peculiarity 
that no Jew could remain alive here above forty days, hence 
4 among the population of Abarkfth were no Jews/ In the town 
itself Mustawfi describes the tomb of the famous saint called 
T4tis-al : Haramayn, * Peacock of the Two Sanctuaries' (Mecca 
and Medina) ; and it was an acknowledged fact that such was 
the saint's humility, that the shrine over his grave would never 
suffer itself to be covered by a roof. However often a roof was 
erected over the tomb, says Mustawfi, it was invariably destroyed 
by a supernatural power, lest the saint's bones should become 
the object of idolatrous worship In the neighbourhood of 
Abarfefth was the village of Marighah (or Farlghah), where there 
were magnificent cypress trees, celebrated all the world over as 

XIX] FARS. 285 

larger and finer than those even of Balkh, or of Kishmar in 

Yazd in early times had been known as Kathah, and this 
name, when the town came to be called more particularly Yazd, had 
passed to its district, otherwise known as the Hawmah, or J&mah 
(of Yazd). Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (roth) century describes the 
place as a well-built and well-fortified city, with two iron gates Bb 
Izad and Bab-al-Masjid the latter near the mosque which stood 
in the extensive suburb. A small stream flowed out of the castle 
hill, the lands round were extremely fertile, although so near the 
Great Desert, and fruit was largely exported to Isfahan. In the 
neighbourhood a lead mine was productively worked. Kazvfni 
and others speak of the heavy silk stuffs that were woven in Yazd, 
all of most beautiful patterns. Mustawfi adds that the town was 
built of sun-dried bricks, which here lasted as burnt bricks else- 
where, for hardly any rain ever fell, though water was plentiful, 
being brought in by channels from the hills, and each house had 
its own storage tank. 

One stage to the north of Yazd was Anjirah, * Fig Village,' 
then at the second stage Khazinah (often incorrectly printed 
Kharanah), a large village with farms and gardens, defended by a 
fortress on a neighbouring hill; and at the third stage, on the 
desert border, lay Saghand. This last, according to Ibn Hawl^al, 
was a village with a population of 400 men, defended by a castle, 
and its lands were well irrigated by underground water channels. 
The three towns of Maybud, 'Ukdah, and Niyln lie to the north- 
west of Yazd, one beyond the other along the desert border, and 
are generally accounted dependencies of Yazd, though many 
authorities give N&yin to Isfahan. Niyin according to Mustawfi 
was defended by a castle, and the circuit of its walls was 4000 
paces. Our authorities, however, give no details about any of 
these places, merely mentioning their names*. 

1 Ifct 1*9. I. H. 196. Muk. 437, 457- F. N. 81 4, 84*. Mst. 174, 175, 
i So, 100. J. N. 266. The phenomenon of the roofless tomb is also described 
by Ibn Batutah (ii. 113) as a characteristic of the shrine of Ibn Hanbal in 
Baghdad, and Professor Goldziher has some interesting remarks on this 
curious superstition. in his Muhammedaniscke Stttditn (i. 157). 

* 1st. 100. I. H. 196, 294, 295. Muk. 414, 437, 493. Kaz. ii. 187. 
Mst. 153. Yak. iii. 694; iv. 711, 734. 

286 FARS. [CHAP. 

About 75 miles south of Yazd, and half-way between that city 
and Shahr-i-Babak, is the town of Anar, from which Bahramabad 
is 60 miles distant in a south-easterly direction, and both towns 
are now included in the Kirmin province. During the middle- 
ages, however, the whole of this district formed part of Fars and 
was known as Ar-Rtidhin, of which the three chief towns were 
Abin (now Anar), Adhkan, and Unas (near Bahramabad) 1 . 

Unas, the chief town of the district, was, according to Istakhri, 
of the size of Abarkfth, and Mukaddasi speaks of a fine mosque 
here, approached by steps from the market street, also baths, and 
well-irrigated gardens, though all round the town lay the sands of 
the desert. The fortress of Unas was very strong, and had eight 
gates, which Mukaddasi enumerates, for he had visited the place. 
The place, too, was famous for its fullers, who lived within the 
town, 'for there were no suburbs. The RQdhan district is said to 
have extended over 60 leagues square. Originally, as at the 
present day, it had been included in Kirman, but in the 4th (loth) 
century it was added to Fars, and according to the Pars Ndmah 
this arrangement continued down to the time of Alp Arslan the 
Saljtik, who, after conquering all these regions in the middle of the 
5th (nth) century, finally re-annexed Rtidhin to Kirman 2 . 

Between Rtidhan and Shahr-i-B&bak is the small town of Dfh 

1 Our authorities state that Aban was 25 leagues from Fahraj (which is five 
leagues S.E. of Yazd); the town of Ar-Rudhan lay 18 leagues beyond Aban, 
and Unas was one short march or two post-stages (Bar id) from Ar-Rudhan. 
Further, Unas lay one long march and two leagues (or one Bartd)^ from 
Bfmand, which last was four leagues west of Sfrjan ; and from Ar-Rudhan to 
Shahr-i-Babak was three days' march, the first march being to Kanyat-al-Jamal, 
'Camels' Village. 1 These distances, plotted out, show that the positions of 
modern Anar and Bahramabad respectively coincide with medieval Aban and 
Unas; while the town of Ar-Rfidhan, which is presumably the place elsewhere 
called Adhkan, must have stood between the two, near the modern village of 
Gulnabad. 1st. 135, 168. I. K. 48. Muk. 457, 473. Yakut confuses the 
matter: he mentions (iii. 925) the town of Anar as though it were identical 
with Unas, which from the distances given above is impossible ; Anar is here 
probably merely a clerical error for Unas, which in another passage (i. 367) he 
counts as of Kirman. 

2 1st. 100, 126. Muk. 437, 438, 462. F. N. 64 Yak. ii. 830. Anar 
is still most fertile and produces a considerable surplus of grain, which is 

xix] PARS. 287 

Ushturin or in Arabic Kariyat-al-Jamil, 'Camels' Village,' 
where, Mukaddasi relates, there was a tall minaret to the 
mosque, and fine gardens lying on a stream below the town. 
Shahr-i-Bbak, the city of Babak or Pdpak, father of Ardashir, 
the first Sassanian monarch, was a town often counted as 
of Kirmin. The place still exists, and it is mentioned by 
Istakhri, Mufcaddasi, and others, who however give us no details. 
Mustawfi includes it in Kirmin, and says that corn, cotton, and 
dates grew here abundantly. Two stages west of Shahr-i-Bibak, 
on the road to Istakhr, is the small town of Harat, which the 
Pars Ndmah couples with Sihik (already mentioned, p. 278). 
Istakhri speaks of Hantt as being, in the 4th (loth) century, 
larger than Abarkuh; it exported much fruit, according to 
Mufcaddasi, chiefly apples and olives, and had excellent markets, 
with streets round its mosque, and a fine stream of water traversed 
its gardens. Harat had but one gate ; and Mufcaddasi names the 
little town of Far'a as of its neighbourhood. Writing in the yth 
(i3th) century Kazvini states that the Ghubayra plant (possibly 
the penny-royal) grows abundantly in the gardens of Harit, and 
when the flowers are in bloom the women of this town were 
wont, he says, to become wildly excited. To the south-east of 
S&hik, on the borders of the Dribjird district, is the town of 
Kutruh, still a place of some importance, where, according to 
the Pars Ndmah and Mustawfi (who spells the name Kadru), 
there were excellent iron mines 1 . 

1 Major Sykes (Ten thousand Miles in Persia, p. 78) found the ruins of 
a fire-temple near Shahr-i- Babak. 1st. 102. I. H. 182. Muk. 52, 423, 424, 
4*5. 43 6 437* 455- F. N. 66 a, 68 a. Yak. i. 75, 178. Mst. 175, 182. Kaz. 
ii. 186. The name of Harat village is identical in spelling with Herat, the 
famous city of Khurasan. 


FARS (continued}. 

The Darabjird Kurah or Shabankrah district. Dardbjird city. Darken and 
Ig. Niriz and Istahbanat. Fasa, Runfz, and Khasft. Lar and Furg. 
Tarum. Surd. The trade and manufactures of Pars. The high roads 
across Fars. 

The Darabjird Kfcrah was the easternmost of the five districts of 
Fars, and it almost exactly corresponded with the province of 
Shabankarah, which, under the Mongol dominion, was divided 
off from Fars and formed a separate government. The Shaban- 
karah according to the author of the Fars Ndmah (who, however, 
does not apply this name to the Darabjird district) were a tribe 
descended from the Fadlflyah, a family of Daylamite origin, and 
they had been of the Ismailian sect of the Shi'ahs. In Saljtife 
times they and the Kurds had waged successful war against the 
Atabeg Chilli, and after the decay of Saljtik power the Shaban- 
karah took possession of the eastern region of Fars, to which they 
gave their name. The Shab&nkrah province is mentioned by 
Marco Polo, under the form of Soncara, as the seventh out of 
the eight 'kingdoms' into which he divides Persia; the name, 
however, has again fallen out of use, and this territory is now 
known as Dirabjird 1 . 

1 The Book of Ser Marco Poh, Sir H. Yule, London, 1874, d ed. f i. 84. 
Shabankarah appears in the chronicle of Ibn-al-Athfr (x. 362) spelt Ash- 
Shawankarah. The chiefs of the tribe who opposed Atabeg Chafllt in the 
beginning of the 6th (i2th) century were Fadluh and his brother Khasrfi. 
This last name is probably that more correctly written Hasuyah (possibly for 
Hasanfiyah) in the Fdrs Ndmah. 

CHAP. XX] FARS. 289 

The capital of the district, under the Caliphate, was the city 
of Dftrftbjird or D&r&bgird, which Istakhri describes as a walled 
town with a water-ditch, having four gates, and in the midst of the 
town stood a rocky hill Mufcaddasf states that the city was cir- 
cular and measured a league across in every direction, its gardens 
were very fruitful, its markets well supplied, and water ran in 
channels through the town. Near Dir&bjird was the celebrated 
Kubbat-al-Mftmiya, 'the Bitumen or Naphtha Dome,' closed by 
an iron door and only opened once a year, when an officer of 
the Sult&n went in and gathered in a box the twelve months' 
accumulation of the precious Mftmiyi, which was then sealed up 
and despatched to Shtr&z for the royal use. At the beginning of 
the 6th (i2th) century, according to the F&rs N&mah, Diribjird 
city was then mostly in ruins, though there was a strong fortress in 
its midst. Round about extended the famous meadow lands 
(Marghzir) of D&r&bjird, and in the neighbourhood was a hill 
where rock salt, of seven colours, was dug out. According to 
Mustawf I there was a strongly fortified pass near Dir&bjird, com- 
manded by a great castle, known as Tang-i-Zfnah 1 . 

Under the Shabinkirah, the capital of the D&r&bjird province 
was removed to Dirkan (or Zarkan), to the north of which stood 
the fortress of ig (or Avtg). The Arab geographers of the 4th 
(loth) century mention these, writing the names Ad-Drkn or 
Ad-D&r&k&n and tj, and Istakhri says there was a mosque in his 
day in both these places. Mustawf!, who generally spells the 
name Zark&n, and refers to the castle as the Kal'ah Avfg, says 
that the surrounding district was very fertile, growing cotton, com, 
dates, and other fruits. According to him the castle of Avtg had 
been first fortified in Saljulj: times by the Khasftyah tribe, and 
Y&fcut adds that fruit from here was exported even as far as to 
the island of Kfsh (Kays). 

To the north-east of Ig are the town and district of Nayriz (or 
Nirlz) at the eastern end of Bakhtig&n ; to which lake, at times, it 
has given its name. Mufcaddast speaks of the Great Mosque of 
Nayrfz in the market street, and the ruins of this building, bearing 

1 1st. 145, 155. Muk. 498. F. N. 684, 810, 864. Mit. 181. The 
Bitumen Dome, or one similar, is stated by Ibn-al-Faklh (p. 199) to have been 
near AmjAn ; see p. 469. 


the date 340 (951) still exist Close to the shore of the lake 
stands the town of Khir (spelt also Khayar and Al-Khayrah), 
which is mentioned, from the 4th (loth) century onwards, as a 
stage on the road along the south side of Lake Bakhtigan going 
from Shiraz to Kirman. Mustawfi and the Pars N&mah name 
the district round Khayrah MishkHnat ; it was famous for its 
raisins (kishmish\ and both Niriz and Khayrah were protected 
by strong castles 1 . 

Half-way between Khayrah and Ig lies the town of Istahbinit, 
a name which the Arab geographers also spell Al-Istahbinan or 
sometimes Al-Isbahanat, which is shortened by the Persians into 
Istahban. Mustawfi describes it as a town buried in trees, with a 
strong castle in its vicinity. It had been laid in ruins by the 
Atabeg Chatili, who had, however, subsequently caused it to be 
rebuilt; and the castle in the 8th (i4th) century was occupied by 
the Khasftyah tribe. 

The town of Fasa, pronounced Pasa by the Persians, was in 
the 4th (loth) century the second city of the Darabjird district, 
being almost of the size of Shiraz. It was well built, tnuch cypress- 
wood being used in the construction of the houses, and was very 
healthy. The markets were excellent, there was a ditch round the 
town, which was further defended by a castle, and large suburbs 
stretched beyond the city gates. Dates, nuts, and oranges in 
abundance came from its gardens. Mufcaddasi states that the 
Great Mosque, built of burnt brick and with two courts, rivalled 
that of Medina for splendour. The Fdrs Ndmah speaks of 
Fasa as being almost of the size of Isfahan. The Shabankarah 
had ruined it, but the city had been rebuilt by the Atabeg Chaflli. 
Mustawfi adds that anciently the city was called Sdsan, and it 
had been built triangular in plan. Its water-supply, which was 
abundant, was taken from underground channels, for there were no 
wells. Shakk Miskahan and Shafck Rftdbal (or RfidMr) were of 
its dependencies, and in the neighbourhood stood the strong castle 
of Khwadan, where there were great cisterns for storing water 2 . 

1 1st. 107, 108, 132, 136, 200. Muk. 423, 429, 446, 455. F. N. 68, 6ga,fi. 
Mst. 181. Yak. i. 415 ; ii. 560. Captain Lovett,/. tf. G. S. 1872, p. 203. 

2 1st. 108, 127, 136. Muk. 423, 431, 448. F. N. 69*, joa, 82 , 83 a. 
Mst. 175, 179, 181. J. N. 272. 

xx] PARS. 291 

The town of Kurm lies some miles north of Fasa, on the road 
to Sarvistan, and is given thus in the Itineraries. According to 
the Pars Ndmah its district and that of Rftniz (or Rftbanz) 
belonged to Fasa ; the latter district forming part of the Khasft 
territory, which Mukaddasi marks as lying one march south-west 
from Darabjird on the road to Juwaym of Abu Ahmad (see 
above, p. 254). The earlier geographers give the form of the 
name as Rftnij (or Rftbanj), and it is probable that this town is 
identical with the present Khasft (or Kusti). Mustawfi speaks of 
Kurm and Runlz as two towns enjoying a warm climate with an 
abundant water-supply ; and according to Mufcaddasi the Khasft 
(or Khashu) territory extended far to the eastward, for besides 
Rftnfj it included the towns of Rustak-ar-Rustafc, Furg, and 
Tarum. Mustawfi counts Khasft as belonging to Darabjird 1 . 

Due south of Rftniz is the small town of Yazdikhwast, which 
is mentioned by Mukaddasi and Yakftt as of the Darabjird 
dependencies, and south of this again is the city of Lar. Lar is 
not mentioned by any of the earlier Arab geographers, nor does 
the name occur in the Pars Ndmah, which dates from the 
beginning of the 6th (i2th) century. Mustawfi, in the earlier part 
of the 8th (i4th) century, is our first authority to speak of Lar, 
as the name of a district (vildyat) by the sea, most of its popula- 
tion, he adds, being merchants who were given to sea voyages. 
Corn, cotton, and dates were grown here. His contemporary 
Ibn Batfltah visited Lar city about the year 730 (1330), and 
describes it as a large place, with many gardens and fine 
markets. Under Shah Shuja' of the Muzaflfarid dynasty at the 
close of the 8th (i4th) century, and later under the TImftrid 
princes, Lar became a mint city, which proves it to have been in 
those days a place of some size and importance. 

1 I. K. 52. 1st. 108, 116, 132. Muk. 412, 423, 454, 455 . F. N. 6gb. 
Mst. 181. The pronunciation Rubanj, adopted in the text of Mukaddast, is 
apparently on the authority of Yakut (ii. 828), who carefully spells the word 
letter for letter. The MSS. of the Fdrs NAmah and MustawtS almost invariably 
give Runtz (for an older form Runij), which is still the name of a district in 
these parts. It seems probable therefore that R&banj^ as printed in Istakhri 
and Mukaddast, is a clerical error, and that by a shifting of the diacritical 
points we should everywhere read Runfj, or Rftnlz, in the place of Rubanz and 

2p2 PARS. [CHAP. 

Furg, which lies three marches south-east of Diilbjird, is still a 
considerable town. Mufeaddasi, who spells the name Furj, states 
that beside it lay the twin city of Burk, but the two names would 
appear merely to be variants of the original Persian place-name. 
The city called Burk stood on a hillock, ' like a camel-hump/ two 
leagues from the mountains ; it possessed a mosque in the market 
street, was a fine place and an agreeable residence. Its neighbour, 
Furg, had a castle on a hill, was not in the 4th (loth) century 
a large town, but had its own mosque and many baths, water 
being plentiful in both cities. Very naturally the names of the 
two cities were often confounded, one replacing the other. The 
F&rs Namah writes the name Purk or Purg, and says that its 
castle was impregnable, being built of stone and very large. 
Mustawfi adds that both corn and dates were grown in Burk 
(as he writes the name) most abundantly. Rustifc-ar-Rustak is 
described by Mufeaddasi as a small town with good markets, 
lying in the midst of a fertile district pleasuring four leagues across 
in every direction. It lies one march to the north-west of Furg, 
on the road to Daribjird 1 . 

The town of Tarum, also spelt Jarum, like the district of this 
name in the Jibal province (see above, p. 225), lies two marches 
east of Furg, on the road to the coast. Mul^addasi refers to its 
mosque, and praises the markets, gardens, and palm-trees, for 
a stream ran through the town. Much honey was produced 
here, and according to the Fdrs Namah it was nearly the size of 
Furg, and had a strong castle well supplied with cisterns. From 
Tarum the caravan road went almost due south to the coast, 
where lay the port of Siirti, or Shahrti, over against the island of 
Hurmuz. Mustawfi names the port Ttisar, but the reading is un- 
certain. The Arab geographers speak of Suru as a village of fisher- 
men, having no mosque, and dependent for the water-supply on 
wells dug in the neighbouring hills. There was, Mukaddasi adds, 
much trade with 'Oman across the gulf, and the place, which 
he speaks of as a small town, lay exactly on the Kirman frontier*. 

1 Muk. 428, 454, note . F. N. 69 a, 83 a. Mst. 181. Yak. ii. 560. 
I. B. ii. 240. The town of Burk appears to be identical with the old fort of 
Bahman, with a triple wall and ditch, which lies about a mile south of the 
present town of Furg. Stack, Persia^ i. 756. 

2 1st. 167. I. H. 224. F. N. 69 a. Muk. 427, 429. Mst. 181, *oi. 

XX] FARS. 293 

The trade and manufactures of the province of Pars, in the 
4th (xoth) century, are carefully described by both Istakhrt and 
Mufcaddast. At this time, as already stated, the chief port of 
Persia, on the gulf, was Sirif. This place distributed all 
imports by sea, and to it were brought rare and precious 
Indian goods, such as were known collectively in Arabic under 
the name of Barbah&r. Istakhrl gives the imports of Strif as 
follows : aloes-wood (for burning), amber, camphor, precious gems, 
bamboos, ivory, ebony, paper, sandal-wood, and all kinds of Indian 
perfumes, drugs, and condiments. In the town itself excellent 
napkins were made, also linen veils, and it was a great market for 

At all times Firs has been celebrated for the so-called attar of 
roses ('Afar or 'Itr in Arabic signifies *a perfume 1 or 'essence'), 
which, of divers qualities, was more especially made from the red 
roses that grew in the plain round Jftr or Firftzibid The rose- 
water was exported, Ibn IJawfcal writes, to all parts of the world, 
namely, to India, China, and Khurisin, also to Maghrib or North- 
west Africa, Syria, and Egypt. Besides the essence of roses, 
Jfir also produced palm-flower water, and special perfumes distilled 
from southernwood (in Arabic kays&m, the Artemisia abrotanum), 
saffron, lily, and willow flowers. The city of Shipftr and its 
valley produced, according to Mufcaddas!, ten different kinds 
of perfumed oils, or unguents, made from the violet, water-lily 
(Nlntifar), narcissus, palm-flower, common lily, jasmine, myrtle, 
sweet-marjoram, lemon, and orange flowers, and these oils were 
exported far and wide over the eastern world. 

The carpets and embroideries of Firs have in all times been 
celebrated, and in the East, where robes of honour have always 
been the mark of distinction, specially brocaded stuffs were manu- 
factured for the sole use of the Sultan, on which his name or 
cypher was embroidered. These were known as T<*r&z, and the 
town of Tawwaj was famous for their manufacture, as was also 
Fas, where peacock-blue and green stuffs, shot with gold thread, 
were embroidered for the royal use. 

The remaining products of Firs may best be grouped under 
the cities producing them. The looms of Shtr4z produced a 
variety of fine cloths for making cloaks, also gauzes and brocades. 

294 FARS. [CHAP. 

and stuffs woven of raw silk (kazz). Jahram was famous for 
long carpets and woollen rugs, hangings for curtains, and small 
prayer-carpets, such as were carried to and from the mosque. 
Besides the scented oils already mentioned, Shaptir exported 
various medicaments, as well as sugar-canes, shaddocks, nuts, 
olives, and other kinds of fruit, and osiers. Kazirfln and Dark 
produced linen stuffs and fine gauzes, an imitation of the 
Egyptian brocades known by the name of dabtk, and fringed 
towels. Ghundtjan, the capital of Dasht Barin, produced carpets, 
curtains, cushions, and the Taraz embroideries for the Sultan's use. 
Arrajan was famous for a kind of syrup, made from raisins, which 
was called dibs, or dushab. Good soap was also manufactured 
here, also thicker woollens and napkins, and the town was an 
emporium for Indian goods (Barba/idr). The neighbouring port 
of Mahruban exported fish, dates, and excellent water-skins. At 
Sink the special kind of gauze known as kassab was made, also 
linen stuffs, for which Jannabah was also famed. 

Istakhr manufactured stuffs for veils, while the towns of the 
Rftdhan district produced excellent cloth, a particular kind of 
sandal called Shimshik^ water-skins, and divers condiments. 
Yazd and Abarktih yielded cotton stuffs. 

In Darabjird were manufactured all kinds of cloths, fine, 
medium, and coarse in texture, also embroideries, fine carpets, 
and matting. Jasmine-oil and perfumes and the aromatic 
grains found wiM here were exported. The Mumiya or bitumen, 
from Arrajan and Darabjird, has already been mentioned. Istakhri 
describes a boneless fish, said to be excellent eating, which 
lived in the moat of Darabjird. Furg produced much the same 
commodities, together with dibs-syrup; and the like came from 
T&rum, where various kinds of water-skins were manufactured 
and very serviceable buckets. Fasa was especially known for its 
goat-hair, and raw-silk stuffs, also carpets, rugs, towels, napkins, 
and silk embroidered hangings, particularly of the famous peacock- 
blue and green colour, shot with gold thread Cardamums and 
dye-stuffs came also from Fasa, and much felt was made, the 
tents of this material known as khargah being largely exported. 
Lastly in Firs, according to Ibn ffawfcal, there were silver 
mines at Nayin ; iron and quicksilver were found in the hills of 

XX] PARS. 295 

Istakhr, besides lead, copper, sulphur, and naphtha in divers 
regions. No gold-mine was known. Dye-stuffs of various kinds 
were common throughout Fars, so that the land, he says, was full 
of dyers and their dye works 1 . 

The high roads of Fars are described in detail by a long list 
of authorities, both Arab and Persian, and the distances in these 
itineraries are generally given in leagues (farsakh). Unfortunately 
Ya'kubi, one of our best authorities for the Road Books, is 
entirely wanting for Fars, and Ibn Rustah also for the most part 
fails us, but beginning with Ibn Khurdadbih and Kudamah in the 
3rd (pth) century, we have Istakhri and Mukaddasi in the 4th (loth) 
century, and in the first years of the 6th (i2th) century the roads 
of this province are all minutely given by the Persian author of 
the Pars Namah, whose description is for the geography of this 
period an immense gain which unfortunately is lacking to us for 
the rest of Persia. Mustawfi, also a Persian authority, registers 
in the 8th (i4th) century the changes effected by the Mongol 
conquest, and at the close of this century 'Alt of Yazd describes 
in detail the march of Timur from Ahwaz to Shiraz, which lay 
along one of the trunk roads. 

In this province the roads all radiated from Shiraz, and it will 
be convenient first to describe those leading down to the coast. 
Siraf, Kays island, and lastly, Hurmuz island, each in turn 
became the chief port of the Persian Gulf, and the high roads 
went down to these, just as at the present day the caravan and 
post road goes down to Bushire which has now succeeded to the 
supremacy of Hurmuz. The easternmost of the roads to the 
coast leads to the port over against the island of Hurmuz, whence 
also by coasting Hurmuz city on the mainland was reached. Both 
of these places will be described in Chapter XXII. Leaving 
Shiraz this road went by Sarvistan and Fasa to Darabjird, Furg, 
and Tirum, whence turning due south it struck the coast, in early 
times at Sftru, or Shahru, or, as Mustawfi calls it, Titsar. Not 
far from here, in Safavid days, the port of Bandar 'Abbas which 
still exists was founded, as will be noted later. Of this road we 
have five separate accounts*. 

1 1st. 152 155. I. H. 213215. Muk. 442, 443. 

* I. K. 52, 53. 1st. 131, 132, 170. Muk. 154, 155. F. N. 85 a. Mst. 200. 

296 PARS. [CHAP. 

The next road, running almost due south from Shirftz, went 
in early times to Sfr&f. After the ruin of this port caravans 
followed a branch to the south-east at a point half-way down to 
the coast, the new road leading to the port opposite the island 
of Kays, and this is the route described by Mustawf 1. Mufeaddasi 
also gives an important by-road, going south-west from D&rftbjird, 
on the Hurmuz route, to Sfrif, and this cuts across the road 
from Shtr&z to Kays island given at a later date by Mustawfl 
Starting from Shfriz all these routes went by Kav&r to Jflr or 
Ftr&zftb&d. Here the older road branched to the right, going 
down to Stiftf. The road given in the F&rs N&mah turned to the 
left at Flrtizibad, going by Karzln to Lftghir, whence, through 
Kuran, Sfr&f was reached. The route given in Mustawff leaves 
the city of F!rftzbd a few leagues to the eastward, and goes 
down like the F&rs N&mah road to L&ghir, where, branching 
south-east and to the left, it passed through FAry&b and the 
desert to Huzft, the port opposite Kays island. Unfortunately 
this road from Laghir to Huzfl is only found in Mustawfl, and 
the MSS. give most uncertain readings for the names of the various 
stages. Apparently, too, no modern traveller has gone by this 
road, so that we are at a loss for corrections, our maps being here 
a blank. The cross-road from Diiibjird, given by Mufcaddast, 
goes by Juwaym of Abu Ahmad to Firy&b or Bflrib, a stage on 
Mustawff's route, and then to Kuran, on the F&rs N&mah route, 
whence it led direct to Sirif 1 . 

The western road to the coast followed in its upper section the 
present track from Shiraz to Bushire, for it passed by K&zirfin 
and Dariz to Tawwaj, the important commercial town of the 
4th (loth) century, and thence to the port of Jannabah. The 
F&rs N&mah gives an important variant to this route, going by 
the Misaram country to Jirrah, and thence by Ghundtjan to 
Tawwaj ; at Ghundljan, however, a branch turning off south went 
down to the port of Najtram, which lies some distance to the 
west of Sfrif. Mustawfl only gives the road westwards from 
Shlraz as far as K&zirfln, in his day Tawwaj was in ruins, and at 
that time the chief port on the Persian Gulf was Kays island*. 

1 1st. 138, 119. Muk. 454, 455. F. N. 86 a, b. Mst. 900, also v. supra, 
p. 957, note i. 

* 1st. 150. Muk. 453, 454, 456. F. N. 86 a. Mst. 200. 

xx] PARS. 297 

The most fully detailed of all the roads in F&rs is that going 
from ShtrAz, north-west, to Arraj&n and Khftzist&n, for we have 
no less than eight separate accounts of it, though they vary as to 
some of the stages ; the last being that given by 'Alt of Yazd de- 
scribing in the reverse direction the march of Ttmftr in 795 (1393) 
from Ahw&z through Bihbahin to Shfriz, when, on his way, he 
stormed the great White Fortress of Kal'ah Saftd. Leaving Shfr&z, 
the high road to Khftzist&n, as described in the Road Books, goes 
north-west by Juwaym (Goyun) to Nawbanj&n, and thence through 
Gunbadh Mallagh&n to Arrajftn, whence by the great bridge 
over the T&b river it reached Bustftnak on the frontier of F&rs. 
Mufeaddasi and the earlier geographers add the distances from 
Arrajin to the port of MahrubAn, and thence south-east along the 
coast to the port of Sfnfz and on to Jann&bah 1 . 

From Shtr&z to Isfahftn there were three separate routes in 
use during the middle-ages. The westernmost turned off to the 
right, at Juwaym, from the Arrajftn road, going to Baydi in the 
Marvdasht plain, and thence by Kftrad and Kall&r to Sumayram 
and Isfahan. This route is described by Ibn Khurd&dbih and 
Mufcaddast. The middle route is the summer road through the 
hill country, which goes from Shtr&z to M4yin, and thence by 
Kdshk-i-Zard and Dfh Girdft through Yazdikhw&st to Isfah&n. 
This road, with some variants in the names of the stages, is given 
by the earlier Arab geographers and also by the later Persian 
authorities. The easternmost of the three roads (the winter or 
caravan road, through the plains) went from Shtr&z north-eastward 
to Isfakhr and thence to Dfh Btd. Here a main route went off 
to the right going by Abarfcflh to Yazd, while the road to Isfahan 
turned to the left, and passing through Surmafc and Ab&dah village 
joined the summer road at Yazdikhw&st, whence by Kftmishah 
Isfahin was reached. This winter road, which at the present 
time is the usual post-road from Shfr&z to Isfah&n, is given by 
Mufcaddasl and the F&rs N&mah\ the stages to Yazd are 
enumerated by nearly all our authorities'. 

1 I- K- 43* 44* Kud - 195- ! R - l8 9 <90* Is** '33* '34* Muk - 453* 
455. F. N. 85^. M*t. oi. A. Y. i. 600. 

" By the Western Road\ I. K. 58. Muk. 457, 458. By the Summer Road 
or Hill Road i Kud. 196, 197. 1st. 132, 133. Muk. 458. F. N. 83*. Mst. 

298 FARS. [CHAP, xx 

The roads from Shiraz to Shahr-i-Babak and thence on to 
Sirjan, one of the capitals of Kirm&n, followed two routes, one to 
the north of Lake Bakhtigan, the other passing along the southern 
shore of the lake. The northern route went first from Shfraz to 
Istakhr (Persepolis), and from here to Shahr-i-Babak we have two 
roads, one direct by Harat village, the other by Abadah city to 
Sahik, where it joined the road along the southern shore of the 
lake. This last left Shiriz, going eastward by the northern side 
of Lake Mahalfl to Khurramah, whence by the southern shore of 
Bakhtigan it reached Khayrah. From here the F&rs Namah 
gives the distances of a branch road to Nirtz and Kutruh. The 
main road went from Khayrah to Great Sihik, where, as already 
said, it was joined by the route from Istakhr along the northern 
lake shore, and from Great Sahik it crossed a desert tract, going 
north-east to Shahr-i-B&bak. Both by the northern and the 
southern shore of Lake Bakhtigan full itineraries exist in the Arab 
and Persian authorities, but the names of some of the intermediate 
stages are uncertain, namely of villages that no longer exist at the 
present day, for the whole of this country has gone out of culti- 
vation and become depopulated since the close of the middle- 
ages 1 . 

200. By the Winter Road: Muk. 458. F. N. 84**. By the Yazd Road: 
I. K. 51. 1st. 129. Muk. 457. F. N. 86 b. Mst. 201. 

1 The road vtd Harat : Muk. 455, 456, 457. The road iriA Abadah and 
north lake shore: I. K. 53. Kud. 195. 1st. 130, 131. F. N. 84 . The 
road vid Khayrah and south lake shore : I. K. 48. Muk. 455. F. N. 85 a. 
Mst. 201. For the roads which centred in Sirjan, coming up from Fars, see 
the next chapter, note i, p. 302, and Chapter XXII, p. 320. 



The five districts of Kirmdn. The two capitals. Sirjan, the first capital, its 
position and history. Bardasir, the second capital, now Kirman city. 
Mahan and its saint. Khabis. Zarand and Kuhbinan, Cobinan of 
Marco Polo. 

The province of Kirmin, as Istakhri writes, is for the most part 
of the hot region, only a quarter of the country being mountainous 
and producing the crops of a cold climate, for the larger part of 
the province belongs to the Desert, the towns lying singly, and 
separated one from another by broad stretches of uncultivated 
land, and not standing clustered in groups as was the case in Fars. 
Yifcut states that under the Saljuks Kirmin had been most 
populous and flourishing, but already in the yth (i3th) century, 
when he wrote, ruin had set in, lands going out of cultivation. 
Finally this evil state was rendered permanent by the devastation 
which resulted from the invasion of Ttmur at the close of the 
8th (i4th) century. 

Mufcaddasi in the 4th (loth) century divides the province of 
Kirman into five Kurahs or districts, called after their chief towns ; 
namely (i) Bardasir, with the sub-district of Khabis to the north ; 
next (ii) Sirjin, on the Firs frontier ; then (iii) Bam and (iv) Nar- 
misir on the desert border to the east; and lastly (v) Jiruft to the 
south, running down to the sea-coast of Hurmuz. On the north and 
east the frontier was the Great Desert, on the south-west the sea- 
coast, while on the west the Kirmdn frontier, round about Sirjan, 
ran out Mike a sleeve' into the lands of the Firs province, as 


Istakhrt puts it, and according to some early accounts Shahr- 
i-Babak was herein included as of the Kirmin province 1 . 

The present capital of the province is the city of Kirman, the 
province and its chief town being of the same name, as is so often 
the case in 'the East. During the middle-ages, however, the 
Kirman province had two capitals, namely Strj&n and Bardasfr, 
of which the latter town is identical with the modern city of 
Kirman, standing near what is still known as the Bardasfr 

Slrjan, the older Moslem capital of Kirman, was already the 
chief city under the Sassanians. The Arab geographers always 
write the name As-Sirjln or Ash-Shtrajin (with the article), and 
though no town of the name now exists, the district of Strj&n still 
occupies the western part of the Kirman province, with Saldabad 
for its chief town. The recently discovered ruins at Kal'ah-i-Sang*, 
on a hill spur some 5 miles to the east of Sa'fdabad, on the Baft 
road, are evidently the site of Strjin/the ancient capital, for they 
are those of a great city, and the distances given in the medieval 
itineraries show that these ruins exactly occupy the position of 
SfrjAn city; and though the modern Sirjan district covers but 
a portion of the older Kflrah, it has preserved for us the 
ancient name. After the Arab conquest Sirjan continued to 
be the capital of the Moslem province until the middle of the 
4th (ioth) century, when all southern Persia came under the 
power- of the Buyids. The governor they sent to Kirman was 
a certain Ibn Ilyis, and he for an unknown reason changed 
his residence to Bardasir (the modern Kirman city), and 
later, with the transference of all the government offices 
thither from Sirjan, this last fell to be a place of secondary 
importance. When Istakhrt wrote, however, Sirjan was still the 
largest city of Kirman. He states that there was little wood used 

1 1st. 158, 163, 165. Muk. 460, 461. Yak. iv. 163. 

9 Kal'ah-i-Sang, otherwise known as Kal'ah-i-Baytfa (the Stone or the White 
Fort), occupies a limestone hill rising some 300 feet above the plain, .and egg- 
shaped, 1>eing about 400 yards in length. The ruins, still surrounded by a low 
wall of sun-dried brick, built on older foundations, were discovered and first 
visited by Major Sykes, in 1900, who has described them in detail, p. 431 of 
Ten Thousand Miles in Persia (I/ondon, 1909). 


in its houses, since these were all built with vaulted roofs. 
Mufcaddasf describes the place under the Buyid rule as larger 
and more populous than Shiraz. It had two chief markets, the 
old and the new, and both were full of goods, especially clothes 
and stuffs for making them, for which it was famous. The streets 
were well built, and most of the houses had gardens. The 
city was closed by eight gates (Mufcaddast cites their names, 
some of which however are uncertainly written in the MSS.), and 
near that called Bab Hakim, 'the Physician's Gate,' 'Adud-ad- 
Dawlah, the Buyid, had built a great palace. The Friday Mosque 
stood between the old and the new market, its minaret had been 
erected by 'Adud-ad-Dawlah, and the water of the town was 
derived from two underground channels that had been dug in the 
3rd (9th) century by 'Amr and T^hir, sons of Layth the Saffarid. 

Y2Jftt, who states that when he wrote ?th (ijth) century 
Strjin was the second city of Kirman and contained forty-five 
mosques, large and small, asserts that the town in his day was 
known under the name of Al-Kasrin, 'the Two Palaces,' but he 
gives no explanation. The name of Sirjin frequently occurs in 
the chronicles of Ibn-al-Athfr and MIrkhwand, when relating the 
history of the Buyids and Saljftks. Mustawfi, after the Mongol 
conquest, described it as having a strong castle and its lands 
grew both cotton and corn. Sirjan afterwards passed into the 
possession of the Muzaffarid princes, who reigned in Fdrs at 
Shlriz, but conquered all Kirman from the Karakhitay dynasty 
at the beginning of the 8th (i4th) century. In the year 789 (1387) 
Tfmftr marched into Pars, appeared in force before Shfriz, re- 
ceived the submission of the Muzaffarid princes, and was induced 
when he left Fars to conquer Ir&k to reinstate some of them as 
tributaries. Left to themselves, however, they fomented rebellion, 
and in 795 (1393) Tfmftr again entered Firs, overthrew the 
Muzaffarid forces in a pitched battle, and appointed his own son 
Prince 'Omar Shaykh governor of Firs and Kirm&n. 

Many districts, however, especially in Kirman, refused to 
submit to Timftr, and Gtidarz, the governor of Sirjin, held out in 
the name of the Muzaffarids, so that Prince 'Omar Shaykh at last 
had to send troops to lay formal siege to that stronghold. Accord- 
ing to the account given by 'Alt of Yazd, the Kal'ah (castle) of 


Sfrj4n had been recently repaired, so that the place was very 
strong, and after the lapse of a year, as the siege operations were 
making no progress, 'Omar Shaykh set out for Sirjan in person, 
to bring matters to a crisis. He was however at this moment 
recalled by his father, and met his death by mischance while 
travelling through Kurdistan to join Timtir at the royal camp 
before Amid in Upper Mesopotamia. This was in 796 (1394) 
and for another two years Sirjan still held out, the garrison 
ultimately yielding to famine rather than to force of arms ; and 
by order of Timtir, when Gfldarz at length did surrender, he and 
his few remaining soldiers were all massacred in cold blood, as 
a warning to the disaffected throughout the province. Sirjan was 
left a ruin, and though Hafiz Abrft, writing in the reign of the 
successor of Timflr, still speaks of Sirjan as the second city of 
Kirman (second to Bardasir), with a strong castle crowning a high 
rock, the name of Sirjan after this date disappears from history, 
and its exact site has only quite recently been discovered in the 
ruins of Kal'ah-i-Sang, as already said '. 

As mentioned above, the modern capital of the province is 
Kirman city, and this, though not the first Moslem capital, 
appears to have been an important town from early Sassanian 

1 1st. 166. Muk. 464, 470. Yak. iv. 106, 765.. Mst. 182. Hfz. 140*1. 
A. Y. i. 618, 667, 784. Mirkhwand, pt. iv. 170; pt. vi. 48, 69. The position 
of SJrjan is given by the Arab geographers in marches from vanous known 
places, often with an equivalent total in farsakhs or leagues. Unfortunately 
in the Kirman province the stage-by-stage itineraries, with details of places 
passed (as we have for the Jibal province, and the whole of Pars), are lacking. 
The following, however, is a summary of the distances recorded, and they agree 
with the position of Kal'ah-i-Sang for Sirjan city. From Shahr-i-Babak on 
the north-west, where the high roads coming up from Shfraz and Istakhr 
united, Sirjan was distant 24 and 32 leagues by different roads, and it was 38 
to 46 leagues, or three long marches, from Great Sahik. From Rustak-ar- 
Rustak (one short day's march north-west of Furg) Sirjan was four marches, 
and from Ntriz five and a half marches distant. Going east and south-east, the 
road from Sirjan to Jiruft measures six marches or 54 leagues ; while to Rayin 
it was five marches, and to Sarvistan (to the south-east of Rayin) 45 or 47 
leagues. Finally, from Sirjan to Mahan was counted as three marches, and to 
Bardasir (Kirman city) two marches. The authorities for these distances are 
as follows : I. K. 48, 49, 53, 54. Kud. 195, 196. I. F. 106, 208. 1st. 131, 
135. 168, 169. Muk. 455, 464, 473. 


times. In regard to its origin, we have it stated by Hamzah of 
Isfahan, an historian of the 4th (loth) century, that King Ardashtr, 
the founder of the Sassanian dynasty, built a city called Bfh- 
Ardashir, meaning ' the good place of Ardashtr ' ; this name the 
Arabs corrupted in their pronunciation to Bihrasir (or Bihdastr) 
and Bardasir (or Bardashir); while the Persians, as Mufcaddasi 
informs us, pronounced it Guwashir, from Wih-Artakhshir the 
more archaic form of Bih-Ardashir. Yaktit adds that the name 
was in his day spelt Juwasir, Juwashir, or Gawashir, these being all 
equivalent to, and used indifferently with, the Arabic form Bardasir 1 . 

This city of Bardasir, which became the new capital of the 
Kirman province under the Buyids, is without doubt identical in 
every respect with the modern city of Kirman, as is proved by its 
position as given in the Itineraries, and from the description by 
the Arab geographers of various buildings in Bardasir, and natural 
features, all of which still exist, and are to be recognised in 
Kirmin city. The Arab and Persian chronicles, it will be seen, 
fully bear out the identification, for after the 4th (loth) century 
Bardasir, indifferently called Guwashir, becomes in their narratives 
the capital of Kirman, and these names are in time replaced by 
'the city of Kirman/ or briefly Kirman, the province as is so 
often the case giving its name to the capital. 

Mukaddasi, writing at some length upon Bardasir, describes 
it, at the time when the Buyid governor had made it the new 
capital, as a well-fortified though not a very large city. Outside 
the town was a great castle (Kal'ah) standing high up on a 
hill with gardens, where there was a deep well, dug by the 
governor Ibn Ilyas, and hither the aforesaid Ibn Ilyas was 
accustomed to ride up every night to sleep on the height. At the 
town gate was a second fortress (Hisn) surrounded by a ditch, 
which was crossed by a bridge ; and in the centre of the town was 
a third castle (Kal'ah) overlooking the houses, alongside of which 

1 Hamzah, 46. Muk. 460, 461. Yak. i. 555; ii. 927; iv. 265. The 
pronunciation Yazdashtr sometimes given is merely a clerical error, from 
a mis-setting of the diacritical points in the Arabic writing. At the present 
day Bardasfr is the name of the small district lying to the south-west of modern 
Kirman city, of which the chief town is Mashiz. As the name of a town 
Bardasir is unknown. For another instance of Bih or IVih in Persian place- 
names, see above p. 262, note. 


stood the Great Mosque, a magnificent building. The city had 
four gates, the first three being called after the towns whither their 
roads led, namely, Bib MAhAn, BAb Khabts, and Bib Zarand ; 
the fourth was the Bib MubArik, ' the Blessed Gate/ or possibly 
so called after somebody of the name of MubArik, or MubArak. 
Mufeaddas! adds that the place was full of gardens, wells were 
common, and underground channels gave an abundant water- 
supply 1 . 

From the time when Ibn IlyAs in the reign of 'Adud-ad- 
Dawlah removed the government offices (DtvAn) to Bardastr, 
this town, as already said, remained the chief capital of KirmAn, 
and followed the fortunes of the province, which, as a rule, was 
annexed by whoever was the ruler of Firs. In the early part of 
the sth (nth) century, the Buyids fell before the rising power of 
the Saljftfes, who were masters of the KirmAn province from 433 
to 583 (1041 to 1187). Under them, though SirjAn is one of 
their chief cities, Bardastr continued as the ' DAr-al-Mulk ' or 
official capital of this governorship. In the Saljtifc chronicle 
written by Ibn IbrAhim the name of the capital is given some- 
times as Bardastr, sometimes as GuwAshir ; while in the 
corresponding chapters of the Rawdat-as-$af&^ MtrkhwAnd in- 
variably refers to the Saljflfc capital as 'the city of KirmAn,' or 
more briefly as KirmAn, and the name Bardastr is nowhere men- 
tioned by him. The two names, therefore Bardastr and KirmAn 
were for a time used indifferently to denote one and the same 
place. Ibn-al-Athir, for example, under the year 494 (HOI), 
relates how IrAn ShAh the SaljAfc was expelled ' from the city of 
Bardastr, which same is the city of KirmAn V 

In 583 (1187) the province of KirmAn was overrun by the 

1 Muk. 4 6i. 

3 Ibn-al-Athir, x. 119. This passage has a fallacious appearance of being 
conclusive evidence that Bardastr was later Kirm&n city. But though the fact 
is beyond doubt from both history and topography this passage is no real 
proof of it, for ' the city of Kirman ' (Madtnah KinnAn) merely means the 
capital (city) of Kirm&n (province), and is ambiguous. In an earlier volume, 
Ibn-al-Athtr (iii. 100) relating how, under the Caliphate of 'Omar, Strjan was 
first taken by the Arab armies, adds the words ' which same is the (capital) city 
of Kirmftn' (Madtnah Kirman}, though Sfrjan certainly is not the modern city 
of Kirmin, as might be inferred at first sight from this passage* 


Ghuzz Turkomans, who plundered and half-ruined Bardasir, 
and temporarily made Zarand the capital of the province. The 
power of the Saljtiks was then on the wane, and in 619 (1222) all 
Kirman passed under the sway of the short-lived dynasty generally 
known as the Karakhitay. Kutluk Khan, the first prince of this 
line, is described by Mirkhw&nd as taking possession of ' the city 
of Kirmin,' and later it is stated that he was buried in the 
Madrasah, or college, which he himself had caused to be built 
'in the quarter called TurkSMd, outside the city of Kirmin.* 
On the other hand, both Mustawfi in his Guztdah, and Ibn 
Ibrahim in the Saljtifc chronicle, state that Kutlufc Khan, in the 
year 619 (1222), took possession of 'the city of Bardasir' (or 
Guwashir as the Guzldah has it), thus becoming ruler of all the 
Kirman kingdom. Lastly the contemporary authority of YUktit 
gives Bardasir as the name at this time (isth century A.D.) of the 
capital of Kirm&n 1 . 

The Mongol conquest of Persia did not materially affect 
Kirman, and the daughter of the last prince of the Karikhitay in 
the first years of the 8th (i4th) century married the Muzaffarid 
ruler of Firs, who afterwards took over the province of Kirman,. 
under Mongol overlordship. Mustawfi, speaking of the capital 
Guwashir, otherwise Bardashir, describes the Old Mosque as 
dating from the close of the ist century of the Hijrah, and the 
reign of the Omayyad Caliph 'Omar II, who died in 720 A.D. 
He also speaks of the garden laid out by the Buyid governor 
Ibn Ilyis, called Bigh-i-Sirjinl, namely, ' the garden of him who 
came from SSrj&n,' which when he wrote in 730 (1330) was still 
flourishing. Ibn Ilyas, Mustawfi adds, had also built the castle 
on the hill, already recorded as having been described by Mu- 
feaddasi, and within the town there was the mosque called the 
Jimi'-i-Tabrlzf, founded by Tb&n Shah, the Saljdfc, and the 
celebrated shrine over the grave of the saint Shah Shuji* Kirmini. 
A somewhat later authority, Hafiz Abrfl, states that Turkhin 
Khitdn, daughter of Kutlufc Khin of the Klr&khitay, in the year 
666 (1268), erected a magnificent Jmi' (Friday Mosque) in 

1 Mst. Guztdah, Chapter IV, section x, Reign of Burak Hajib. Ibn 
Ibrahim, 4, 54, 200, 101. Mlrkhwand, part iv. 104, 105, 128, 129. Yak. iv. 


Kirman, besides other mosques and colleges, one of which will be 
noticed presently; and the same author, writing in 820 (1417), 
refers to the city indifferently under the two names of Bardastr 
(or Guwashir) and Kirman 1 . 

These descriptions of Bardasir given by our various authori- 
ties, from Mukaddasi in the 4th (loth) century down to flafiz 
Abru in the early part of the pth (isth) century, clearly refer 
to many of the buildings that still exist, mostly in ruin, in the 
present city of Kirman. Thus, as we have seen, Mulcaddasi 
mentions the three fortresses or castles for which the city was 
famous, and in the Saljuk chronicle frequent reference is made by 
Ibn Ibrahim to the castle on the hill (Kal'ah-i-Kuh), to the old 
castle, and to the new castle, which are evidently identical with 
the three places described by Mukaddasi. In modern Kirman 
we find that there is, in the first place, art ancient fortress crowning 
the hill near, and to the east of the city, now generally known as 
the Kal'at-i-Dukhtar or the ' Maiden '.s Fort, which is attributed to 
King Ardashir in the popular belief. Next, still further to the 
south-east, is a second hill, fortified of old with walls and towers, 
now crumbling to ruin, which is known as Kal'ah Ardashir, and 
this must be the fortress * outside the city gate'; while, lastly, 
the older fortress, within the town, doubtless stood on the site 
of the present governor's palace 2 . 

The mosque of Turan Shah, mentioned by Mustawfi, still 
exists under the name of Masjid-i-Malik ; while another building, 
connecting Kirman city with the time when it was still called 
Bardasir, is the magnificent green (or blue) dome, the Kubbat- 
i-Sabz, which, until quite recently, covered the tomb of Turkhan 
Khattin, the daughter of Kutluk Khan, already mentioned, of 
the Karakhitay. This princess, as history relates, some time 
after her lather's death, ousted her brother from the throne, 
and then during twenty-five years remained virtual ruler of 
Kirman, governing in the name of her husband a nephew of 
Kutluk Khan and of her two sons, whom in turn she allowed 
nominally to succeed to the throne. Mirkhwand states that she died 

1 Mst. 182. Hfz. 139^, 140 a. 

2 A plan of Kirman city is given by Major Sykes (p. 188), also a view of 
these two ancient forts (p. 190), in Ten Thousand Mi Us in Persia. 

XXI] KIRMAN. 3<>7 

in 68 1 (1282) and was buried under the dome of the Madrasah- 
i-Shahr, or city college. The green dome within which her 
tomb was placed bore an inscription on its walls, giving the names 
of the architects, with the date 640 (1242) when the building was 
completed, namely during the nominal reign of the son of Kutluk 
Khan, whom his sister Turkhan Khatftn afterwards set aside 1 . 

Of other towns in the Bardasir district the Arab geographers 
give on the whole but meagre accounts; groups of villages, so 
common in Fars, did not exist, and generally in Kirman each 
town was separated from its neighbour by a wide stretch of desert 
country. A score of miles to the south-west of Kirman city lies 
Baghin, and a like distance beyond this Mashiz, both on the road 
from Kirman to Sirjan. At the present time these are the only 
towns in this quarter, and both are frequently mentioned by Ibn 
Ibr&hlm, in the Saljftfc chronicle, when relating events of the latter 
half of the 4th (loth) century. It is curious therefore that neither 
Baghin nor Mashiz should be mentioned by any of the earlier 
Arab geographers, nor by Mustawf 1, nor, apparently, by any of the 
Persian authorities who have described the campaigns of Timftr. 
Two short marches to the south-east of Kirman city lies the 
town of Mahan, at the present day celebrated for the shrine at 
the tomb of Ni'mat-Allah, the Sftfi saint and ' Nostradamus ' of 
Persia, whose prophecies are still current throughout Moslem 
Asia. He died in 834 (1431) aged over a hundred years, and is 
said to have been a friend of the poet Hafiz. In the 4th (loth) 
century Mukaddast describes Mahan as a town chiefly inhabited 
by Arabs. The mosque was near the fortress, which, surrounded 
by a ditch, stood in the middle of the town; and for a day's 
march around the land was covered with gardens which were 
irrigated from a stream of running water. 

1 The Kubbat-i-Sabz was completely ruined by an earthquake in 1896. It is 
described by Major Sykes, who gives an illustration (Persia, p. 264) representing 
the building as he saw it before the earthquake. Major Sykes gives a descrip- 
tion of it, p. 194, as also of the mosque of Turin Shah, who reigned from 477 
to 490 (1084 to 1097). Ibn Ibrahim, 28, 34, 177, 187, 189, 190, 194. 
Mirk h wand, partiv. 119, 130. See also Stack, Persia, i. 202, 204. Schindler, 
4 in Persian,' Ztitschrift der Gesellschafl fur Erdkunde (Berlin), 1881, 
PP- 3*9 330. 


Ghubayra and Ktighdn, two towns lying one league apart, 
of which apparently no trace remains at the present day, were 
to the south of Mihan, being one march west of Raytn 
(which still exists). In the 4th (loth) century Mukaddasi de- 
scribes Ghubayri as a small town surrounded by villages, with 
a fortress in its midst, while outside was the market recently 
built by the Buyid governor Ibn Ilyas, already many times 
mentioned Both this place and Kiightin had fine mosques and 
the water was from underground channels. Some fifty miles 
east of Kirman, and on the borders of the Great Desert, lies 
Khabfs, which was counted as three marches distant from Mahan. 
The level was low, for the desert is here far below the plateau of 
central Persia on which the city of Kirman stands, and Khabis, 
as Istakhri remarks, is very hot, and the date palm was conse- 
quently much grown. Mukaddasi adds that there was a fortress 
here, and the town had four gates. It was very populous, much 
silk was manufactured, for the gardens were celebrated for their 
mulberry-trees, being watered by a stream that passed through 
the town. Excellent dates, too, were exported 1 . 

Two marches to the north-west of Kirman is the city of 
Zarand, and half-way between the two, during the middle-ages, 
lay the town of Janzartidh, of which apparently no trace remains. 
Mukaddas! describes Janzartidh as possessing a mosque standing in 
the market, where abundance of fruit was sold, for the town was on 
a river, the Janz. Zarand still exists, and Mukaddasi speaks of the 
castle near by, which Ibn Ilyas, the governor, had recently built. 
Zarand was in the 4th (loth) century a place of considerable size, 
it had six town gates, and the mosque was in the Maydan or 
public square, which was surrounded by market streets. Here a 
kind of fine gauze, used for linings and called bitanah, was made. 
These Zarandt gauzes were largely exported to Fars and 'Intlfc 
and in the 4th (loth) century were in great repute. 

1 Ibn Ibrahim, 66, 108, 109,121. 1st. 234. Muk-462,463. Col. C. E. Yate, 
Khurasan and Sistan, p. n. Major Sykes (Persia, p. 41) found a grave-stone 
in Khabts dated 173 (789), also the ruins of a building that appears to have 
been a Christian church, or some non-Moslem shrine. As of the Khabts sub- 
district Mukaddas! (p. 460) mentions the four towns of Nashk, Kashid, Kuk, 
and Kathrawa, but no details are given of position, and apparently all trace of 
them is now lost. 


Fifty miles north of Zarand lies Ravar on the border of the 
Great Desert, and west of this is Kftbinan, which was visited by 
Marco Polo. Both towns are described by Mukaddasf, who says 
that Ravar in the 4th (loth) century was larger than Ktibinan, 
and had a strong fortress, which served to protect the frontier. 
Ktibinan or Kfthbanan he speaks of as a small town with two 
gates, and a suburb where there were baths and caravanserais. 
The mosque was at one of the town gates, and was surrounded 
by gardens which stretched to the foot of the neighbouring 
mountains. In the vicinity is the town of Bihabad, a name 
which Mukaddasi writes Bihavadh, and he couples it with 
Kavak, a populous hamlet, which lay three leagues distant, both 
places being of the cold region and possessing many gardens. 
Bihabad still exists, but Kavafc no longer appears on the map. 
Yaktit in the yth (i3th) century states that both Ktihbanan and 
Bihabad were in his day celebrated for the tutiyd or tutty (an 
impure oxide of zinc), which was manufactured and exported 
hence to all countries. Mustawfi in the next century also refers 
to Kfthbinan, which Marco Polo, his contemporary, calls 'the city 
of Cobinan,' and the Venetian traveller carefully describes the 
manufacture here of the tutty, 'a thing very good for the eyes.' 
Already in the 4th (loth) century this was one of the notable 
exports of the Kirman province, and Mukaddasi states that 
because it came out of the crucible in finger-like pieces, it was 
commonly known as Tutiyb Murazibiy, ' cannular tutty/ These 
bunches of ' pipes/ he says, were separated one from another by 
water being poured over the hot mass, and it was purified by 
being roasted in long furnaces which he himself had seen built 
on the mountain side, near where the ore was extracted. The 
same was done also in the case of iron 1 . 

1 1st. 233. I. H. 224, 292. Muk. 462, 470, 493. Yak. i. 767 ; iv. 316. 
Mst. 183. See The Book of Scr Marco Polo, Yule, i. 127130, for the descrip- 
tion of the manufacture of tutty, which Major Sykes (Persia, p. 272) saw made 
in Ktihbanan at the present time, and in the identical manner above described. 
The name of Rdvar is often miswritten Zdvar by a clerical error ; and similarly 
Kuhbanan appears under the forms vtK&kayan and K&hbaydn from a misplacing 
of the diacritical points. Bandn is the Persian name for the wild pistachio, 
Kfthbanan therefore signifying the mountain where this tree grows. 


Some fifty miles west of Kuhbanan, and on the edge of the 
desert half-way between that town and Yazd, lies at the present 
day the hamlet of Baf k. There are in the Kirman province two 
towns of very similar names, Baf fc aforesaid, and Baft or Bafd, the 
latter lying So miles south of Kirman city, and 200 miles distant 
from the northern Baf k. The confusion is worse confounded by 
the fact that (northern) Bafk is often now pronounced Batfd, and 
hence is identical in name with the town south of Mashiz, for 
dialectically the change of the dotted k into d or / is common in 
Persian. A town of Bafd is mentioned by Yakut as a small city 
of the Kirm&n province, lying on the road to Shiraz, and of the 
hot country. Ibn Ibrahim in the Saljuk chronicle mentions the 
names of both Bift and Bafk, but neither by him nor by Yakut 
are details afforded sufficient to identify the places 1 . 

1 Yak. i. 474. A. F. 336. Ibn Ibrahim, 31, 43, 67, 90, 158, 159, 164, 
172. Stack, Persia^ ii. 13. 


KIRMAN (continue^ 

The Sfrjan district. Bam and Narmasir districts. Rigan. Jfruft and Kama- 
dtn, Camadi of Marco Polo. DilfarSd. The Bariz and Kafs mountains. 
Rftdhkan and Manujan. Hurmuz Old and New, Gombroon. The trade 
of the Kirman province. The high roads. 

The Sfrjin district of which Sirjan city, the older capital of 
the Kirman province, which has already been described in the 
previous chapter, was the chief town lay to the west of the 
Bardasfr district, and on the frontier of Fars. Mukaddast 
mentions a number of towns in this district which now, unfortu- 
nately, no longer appear on the map, though their positions in 
relation to the site of Sirjan city are known. 

Four leagues west of Sirjan, and close to the Fars frontier, 
was Bimand, described in the 4th (loth) century as an impreg- 
nable fortress, having iron gates. It was a place of importance 
too, as being the point of junction of the three high roads 
from Shahr-i-Babak (north), from Rtidhan (north-east), and from 
Sihik (west) whence these all converged on Sirjan. Mukaddasi 
describes Bimand as having a Great Mosque standing in the middle 
of its market street, and its water was from underground channels. 
Then one day's march to the east of Sirjan, on the road to Rayin, 
was a place called Shamat, a town with many gardens and 
vineyards, exporting much fruit to outlying villages, and with a 
Friday Mosque standing in its midst. The town also bore the 
alternative name of Ktihistan. One march again east of Shamat 
was Bahar, and another day's march led to Khannab, both places 
growing many dates. Beyond Khannab lay Ghubayrl, already 


described as of the Bardasfr district. Two days' march to the 
south-east of Sfrjin, on the road to Jiruft, stood a town the 
name of which is written either Vljib or Najat (with some other 
variants). Mukaddasi describes it as a very pleasant and populous 
place with many gardens, the water being supplied by underground 
channels, and the Great Mosque standing in the midst of its market 
streets 1 . 

The district of Bam (or Bamm, as the Arab geographers write 
it), surrounding the town of this name, lies to the south-east of 
Mahan, at the border of the Great Desert, on the eastern frontier 
of Kirman. Ibn Hawkal describes Bam in the 4th (loth) century 
as larger and healthier than Jiruft, the town being surrounded 
by palm-groves. Near by stood the celebrated castle of Bam, 
held to be impregnable, and there were three mosques, the 
Masjid-al-Khawirij, the Mosque of the Clothiers (Al-Bazzaztn), 
and the Castle Mosque. Cotton stuffs were largely manufactured 
here and exported ; also napkins, the cloths for turbans, and the 
scarfs for head-wear known as Taylasan. Mukaddasi records that 
the city wall, which made a strong fortification, had four gates, 
namely, Bab Narmasir, Bab Kftskn, Bib Asblkan, and Bib 
Kfirjin. There were great markets both within the city and 
outside in the suburbs, while on the river which passed by the 
castle was the market of the Jarjin bridge. A celebrated bath- 
house stood in the Willow street (Zufcak-al-Bidh). A league 
distant from Bam was the mountain called Jabal Kfld, where there 
were mills, surrounded by a large village, and where much cloth 
was manufactured. Mustawfi in the 8th (i4th) century still 
refers to the strong castle of Bam, and speaks of its climate as 
rather hot 2 . 

Rayin, lying due south of Mahan, and about 70 miles north- 
west of Bam ? is described by Mukaddasi as a small town, with its 

1 I. K. 49, 54. 1st. 168, 169. Muk. 464, 465. For Najat Ibn Hawkal 
reads Ndjtah, and B&khtah, Fakktah, or K&khtah^ are the variants in Ibn 
Khurdadbih ; all of which may possibly be merely clerical errors for Bift, the 
town mentioned in the last chapter (p. 310), which still exists approximately 
in the position indicated. 

2 The ancient fort of Bam, which stands at the present day, is -described by 
Major Sykes (Persia, pp. 316, 218). The ruins of the medieval town are on 
the river bank at Guzaran, about a mile distant from the fort. 


mosque standing in the market-place, and gardens extending all 
round the habitations. At one-third of the way from Rlyin to 
Bam stood the neighbouring towns of Avirik and Mihrkird (or 
Mihrtjird), of which the former still exists, the name being now 
pronounced Abarik. Between the two, in the 4th (loth) century, 
stood a castle built by the Buyid governor, Ibn Ilyas. The water- 
supply was from a river, and the houses were clay-built. Between 
Abarik and Bam stands Daharzin, which Mukaddasi writes 
Darzin, other spellings being Darjin and Dayrflzfn. It had a 
fine Friday Mosque, and was a pleasant place, surrounded by 
gardens irrigated from a neighbouring stream 1 . 

The Narmasir district (in Persian Narmashir) lay south-east of 
Bam and on the desert border ; its capital, the city of Narmasir, 
stood half-way between Bam and Fahraj. Fahraj still exists and 
in the 4th (xoth) century, Narmisfr was an important town; 
Mukaddasi speaks of its many fine palaces, and of its numerous 
population. Merchants from Khurasan trading with 'Oman lived 
here, for Narmisir stood on the Pilgrim road from Sistan to 
Mecca and was a mart for Indian goods. Narmasir was then 
smaller than Sirjan, but fortified, and it had four gates, Bab 
Bam, Bab Sftrfcan, the Gate of the Oratory (Musalla), and lastly 
the Gate of the Kiosque (Ktishk). The Friday Mosque was 
in the midst of the markets. To its gate was an ascent of ten 
steps of burnt-brick stairway, and a fine minaret, famous in all the 
country round, towered above. The castle was known as the 
Kal'ah Ktish-va-Ran (the name unexplained), and at the Bam 
gate were three forts called Al-Akhwat, * the Sisters.' Palm-groves 
and gardens surrounded the town. At the present day no town 
of Narmasir appears on the map, but the ruins at the site called 
Chugukibad, 'Sparrow-town,' lying on the right bank of the 
sluggish river which winds through the Narmasir plain, must be 
the remains of the great medieval city. The place is now a 
complete wilderness, though as late as the 8th (nth) century 
Mustawfi still refers to Narmisir as a populous city. 

Twenty miles due south of Fahraj is Rikan (also spelt Rifcan 
or Righan), the fortifications of which Mukaddasi describes. The 

1 I. H. 223, 224. Muk. 465, 466, 470. Mst. 182. Yak. iv. 700. Abarik 
and Darzin are described by Major Sykes (Persia, p. 214), 


Great Mosque stood near the town gate, and outside were palm 
gardens. Mustawfi refers to it as a very hot place, where dates 
and corn were grown abundantly. Between Righan and Bam 
stands Kurk, which Mukaddasi couples with the neighbouring 
town of Bihar (not to be confounded with the differently spelt Bahar 
of Sirjan, see p. 311), and both were populous towns in the 4th 
(loth) century, being surrounded by palm-groves. The town of 
Nisi was also of the Narmasir district, but its position is unknown. 
It is stated that it had gardens in the plain, and a mosque in its 
market-place, and it was watered by a river '. 

The whole of the southern half of the Kirman province, and 
down to the coast, was included in the district of Jfruft. Jiruft (or 
Jayruft) during the middle-ages was a city of much importance, 
and past it ran the only river which the Arab geographers mention 
by nam'e in this province. The ruins of Jiruft (the name is now 
preserved in the Jiruft district only) are those now known as the 
Shahr-i-Dakiyanus, 'the City of the Emperor Decius,' who figures 
as a proverbial tyrant in the East, for in his reign the Seven 
Sleepers entered the Cave, as mentioned in the Kuran (chapter 
xvni, v. 8, and see above, p. 155), the story being amplified of 
course in the popular legends. Near these ruins runs the stream 
now known as the Khalil Rud (or Halil Rud), which the Arab 
and Persian geographers name the Div Rud, ' the Demon Stream/ 
from its swiftness. It is an affluent of the Bampur river, and 
drains east to the Hamun or swamp 

In the 4th (loth) century Ibn Hawkal describes Jiruft as a 
great city, measuring two miles across, ' the mart of Khurasan and 
Sijistan,' lying in a fruitful neighbourhood where the crops of both 
the hot and the cold regions were grown. The chief exports of 
the city were indigo, cardamoms, sugar-candy, and the dushdb 
or raisin syrup. The surrounding district was called Al-Mizan 
(Istakhri writes Al-Mijan), where the numerous gardens produced 
dates, nuts, and oranges. Snow came from the neighbouring 
hills, and water was supplied by the Dfv Rud, which made a great 

1 I. K. 49. Muk. 463, 464. In Mustawfi (p. 182) for Mdshtz as given in 
the lithographed edition, 'Narmasir' must be read, according to all the best 
MSS., confirmed by the Turkish text of J. N. 257. For Chugukab&d, see Sykes, 
Persia, p. 220. 


noise flowing over the rocks. There was water-power here for 
turning from twenty to fifty mill-wheels. Provisions were also 
brought into the city from the neighbouring valley of Darfirid, 
and according to Mukaddasi the sweet melons from here and 
the narcissus flowers, from which a perfume was made, were 
both celebrated. The town itself, which had a fortified wall, 
was closed by four gates, namely, Bib Shipftr, Bab Bam, Bib 
Sirjin, and Bib-al-Musalla, 'the Oratory Gate.' The Great 
Mosque, built of burnt brick, was near the Bam gate, at some 
distance from the market streets. Mukaddasi adds that Jiruft 
was in his time a larger city than Istakhr, and that its houses 
were mostly built of clay bricks on stone foundations. 

Yikflt states that the fertile district round Jiruft was called 
JirdOs, and Mustawfi refers to the lion-haunted forests which 
had originally surrounded the town, but which in his day had 
given place to immense palm-groves. Ibn Ibrahim in the Saljftk 
chronicle during the 6th (i2th) century frequently refers to 
Kamidin, 'a place at the gate of Jiruft where foreign merchants 
from Rflm (Greece) and Hind had their warehouses and where 
travellers by sea and land could store their goods ' ; and in 
another passage he mentions the 'precious goods from China, 
Transoxiana, and Khitiy, from Hindustan and Khurasan, from 
Zanzibar, Abyssinia, and Egypt, also from Greece, Armenia, 
Mesopotamia, and Adharbiyjin,' which were all to be found for 
buying and selling in the storehouses of Kamidin. The Persian 
Kamidin is the place mentioned by Marco Polo under the name 
of Camadi, or the 'city of Camadi.' It had been formerly 
4 a great and noble place,' but when Marco Polo visited it ' was 
of little consequence, for the Tartars in their incursions have 
several times ravaged it.' This explains why both Jiruft and 
Kamidin, after the close of the ?th (i3th) century, disappear 
from history, and the map no longer bears these names. Round 
Jiruft was the Rftdhbir district, mentioned by the Arab geo- 
graphers, which reappears in Marco Polo under the name of 

1 For the ruins of Shahr-i-Dakiyanfis, lying on the right bank of the Haiti 
Rfid, a short distance to the west of modern Sarjaz, see Keith Abbott in/.tf . G.S. 
P- 47 ; and Sykes, Persia^ p. 267. 1st. 166. I. H. 222. Muk. 466, 


One march to the north-east of Jiruft, and half-way to Darjln, 
lay the large hamlet of Hurmuz-al- Malik ('of the King,' so called 
to distinguish it from the port of Hurmuz), which was also known 
as Kariyat-al-Jawz, ' Nut Village.' According to Idrisi but it is 
not clear whence he got his account this was an ancient city 
founded by the Sassanian king Hurmuz in the third century A.D., 
and it had been the chief town of the province of Kirman, until, 
falling to ruin, the administration had been transferred to Sirjan, 
which remained the capital of the province under the later 
Sassanians. The position of Hurmuz-al-Malik is indicated by 
Mukaddasi and other early geographers, but they give no details ; 
Idrisi adds that in his day (or more probably in the time of the 
unknown author from whom he takes his account) this Hurmuz 
was a handsome though small town, inhabited by a mixed popu- 
lation, having abundant water, and good markets with much 
merchandise. It lay, he says, one march distant from Bam 1 . 

A day's march to the north of th6 ruins of Jiruft lies Dilfarid, 
which Mukaddasi calls Darfani, and Ibn Hawkal Darfarid. It 
lay in a fruitful valley producing crops of both the hot and cold 
regions, and, as already stated, was the granary of Jiruft. One 
march to the north-west of this again was the Jabal-al-Ma'adin 
'Hill of Mines' where silver was found, more especially in a 
gorge that ran up into the Jabal-al-Fuddah or 'Silver Hill 8 / 

To the eastward of Jiruft was the hill country called Jabal 
Bariz, described as clothed with great forests in the 4th (loth) 
century, and here at the time of the first Moslem conquest the 
hunted Magians had found safe refuge from the troops sent 
against them by the Omayyad Caliphs. This country was only 
brought under the Moslem yoke by the Saffarid princes ; it was 
afterwards famous for its iron mines. Nearer the coast, and to 

470. Yak. ii. 57. Mst. 182. Ibn Ibrahim, 48, 49, 83. 
1898, p. 43 ; and The Book of Ser Marco Polo (Yule), i. 98. 

1 1st. 161, 189. I. H. 219, 225. Muk. 473. Idrisi, Jaubert, i. 423, and 
text in Paris MSS. Arabes, No. 2221, folio itfb ; No. 2222, folio 1040. Yak. 
ii. 151. Major Sykes (Persia, p. 444) would identify Hurmuz-al-Malik (which 
no longer exists under this name) with Carmana omnium mater of Ammianus 
Marcel linus. 

2 1st. 165, writes the name, probably merely by a clerical error, Durbdy. 
I. H. 22 r, 222. Muk. 467, 471. A. F. 335. 


the south-east of Jiruft, lay the hilly region known as Jabal-al- 
Kufs, the outlying regions of which, in the 4th (loth) century, 
were inhabited by mountain folk, while the Balds (or Balftch) 
tribes wandered on their eastern uorders, towards the lower limits 
of the Great Desert. Of the robber tribes of the Kufs mention 
will be made later when describing the Great Desert. Part of 
this outlying country was known as Al-Khawash, namely of the 
tribes called Al-Akhwash. These were camel-men, who lived 
in a valley where by reason of the heat much sugar-cane 
was grown for export to Sijistan and Khuris^n this being 
the tract of mountainous country which intervenes between the 
southern end of the Great Desert and Makran. In these highlands 
were seven separate mountains, each ruled, it was said, by its own 
chief, and 'Adud-ad-Dawlah the Buy id, in the 4th (loth) century, 
had made an expedition to conquer them. These people then 
had no horses, they were regarded as of the Kurds, for they 
owned flocks and herds, lived in hair-tents and possessed no 
cities. The date palm flourished abundantly in the lower regions 
of this country 1 . 

Some fifty miles south-west of Jiruft lies Gulashkird, which 
Mukaddasi writes Valashgird, stating that it was a strongly fortified 
town protected by a castle known as Kftshah, and with its gardens 
irrigated by underground watercourses. Maghftn, a town with 
many gardens growing orange-trees and the indigo plant, lay 
one march north of Valashgird towards Jfruft ; its ruins are pro- 
bably those now known as Fariyab or Pariyab*. Fifty miles south 
of Valashgird was the important town of Mantikan, now called 
Mantijan, which Mukaddasi refers to as ' the Basrah of Kirmin * 
to mark its commercial importance. The town consisted of two 
opposite quarters, divided by the dry gorge called Kalan ; one 
quarter was called Kftnfn, the other Zaman, and a fort, which still 
exists, stood between the two, with the mosque known as the 

1 Khwash is now the chief town of the Sarhad, a mountainous district 
described by Major Sykes (Persia, pp. 130, 353), which lies to the east of 
Narmashlr. 1st. 163, 164, 168. I. H. 220, 2*1, 224. Muk. 471. Yak. iv. 
148, where for Al-K&rin we should read Al-Bariz. 

a Major Sykes (Persia, p. 269) refers to Fariyab, which ' was once a great 
city, and was destroyed by a flood, according to local legend.' 


J&mi* Sayyin. One march from here, in the sandy plains nearer 
the coast, was the town of Darahfcan ; no trace of which, however, 
now appears to exist. There was a mosque in the town, and its 
gardens produced much indigo, water being procured by under- 
ground channels. 

Between Valashgird and Manftjan runs a river with many 
tributaries, now known as the Rtidkhanah-i-Duzdi : it is mentioned 
by Istakhri as the Nahr-az-Zankan, and by Yafcftt as the Raghan 
river. Mukaddasi refers to the populous town of Rtidhkin, which 
probably stood on its course, as surrounded by gardens growing 
date palms and orange-trees. To the north-east of Mantikan, and 
on the road to Rigan, being three marches from the port of 
Hurmuz, stood the twin cities of Bas and Jakin, each with its mosque 
and market. Nahr or Jfty-Sulayman (Solomon's Brook), a popu- 
lous town, one march west of Rigan, is referred to by Mukaddasi 
as of the Jiruft district. Its fertile lands were watered by a stream 
which ran through the town, in the centre of which stood a mosque 
and a castle. Lastly, in the northern part of the mountainous 
district of Jabal-al-Kufs, Mukaddasi mentions the town of Kfthistin, 
for distinction called after a certain Abu Ghanim. It was very 
hot, and palm-groves grew all round the town, in the midst of 
which was a castle beside the mosque 1 . 

Old Hurmuz, or Hurmuz of the mainland, lay at a distance of 
two post-stages, or half a day's march, from the coast, at the head 
of a creek called Al-Jir, according to Istakhri, * by which after one 
league ships come up thereto from the sea,' and the ruins of the 
town are still to be seen at the place now known as Minab, 
vulgarly Minao. In the 4th (loth) century Old Hurmuz was 
already the seaport for Kirman and Sijistan, and in later times, 
when New Hurmuz had been built on the island, this place 
supplanted Kays, just as Kays had previously supplanted Siraf, 
and became the chief emporium of the Persian Gulf. Istakhri 
speaks of the mosque and the great warehouses of (Old) Hurmuz, 
many of the latter being in the outlying villages, two leagues 
from the town. Palm-groves were numerous and dhurrah was 
cultivated, also indigo, cummin, and the sugar-cane. Mukaddasi 
praises the markets of Hurmuz, its water was from underground 
1 1st. 169. Muk. 466, 467. Yak. iv. 330. 


channels, and its houses were built of unburnt brick. On the 
sea-shore, half a day's march distant, was Al-'Arsah, * the Camp,' 
presumably at the entrance of the Hurmuz creek. 

The adjacent island is mentioned by Ibn Khurdadbih, in the 
middle of the 3rd (9th) century, under the name Urmtiz (which 
Mustawfi spells UrmAs), and this is doubtless the later island of 
Jirtin. At the beginning of the 8th (i4th) century one authority 
gives the year 715 (1315) the king of Hurmuz, because of the 
constant incursions of robber tribes, abandoned the city on the 
mainland, and founded New Hurmuz on the island aforesaid 
called Jirtin (or Zartin), which lay one league distant from the 
shore. At this period New Hurmuz was visited by Ibn Battitah, 
and it is described by his contemporary Mustawfi, who notes the 
abundance of the date palms and sugar-cane growing here. Ibn 
Battitah states that Old Hurmuz in his day was known as 
Mtighistan, and the new town had taken the name of the island, 
being called Jirim. It had a Friday Mosque, and fine markets, 
where goods from Sind and India were brought for sale. 

At the close of the 8th (i4th) century, Timtir ordered an 
expedition against the coast towns near Old Hurmuz, and seven 
castles in its neighbourhood were all taken and burnt, their 
garrisons escaping to the island of Jirtin. These seven castles, 
as enumerated by *Ali of Yazd, were, Kal'ah-Mina, 'the Castle 
of the Creek/ at Old Hurmuz, Tang-Zandan, Kushkak, Hisar- 
Shamil, Kal'ah-Mantijan (the town already mentioned), Tarzak, 
and Taziyan. In 920 (1514) Hurmuz, more generally called 
Ormuz, was taken by the Portuguese under Albuquerque, and 
their port of landing on the mainland became celebrated under 
the name of Gombroon. This is the place which a century later 
Shah 'Abbas renamed Bandar 'Abbas; it is the present harbour 
for Kirman, and probably occupies the position of Stirti or 
Shahrft mentioned above in the chapter on Fars. The name 
Gombroon is said to be a corruption of Gumruk (from the Greek 
Koupcpici ), which became the common term for a * custom-house ' 
throughout the East. In the Turkish Jahan Numa it is referred 
to as ' Gumrti, the port of Hurmuz, whence to the city of Lar 
(in Fars) it is four or five days' march 1 .' 

1 I. K. 62. 1st. 163, 166, 167. I. H. 220, 222, 223. Muk. 466, 473. 


Commercially Kirmin stood far behind Firs, and the Arab 
geographers give us no detailed account of the trade of the 
province. Kirman as a whole, Mukaddasi states, grew dates and 
dhurrah as food-stuffs; dates were exported to Khurasan, and 
indigo to Firs, while the cereal crops raised in the Valishgird 
district were taken down to Hurmuz, and thence shipped to 
more distant countries 1 . 

The geographers of the 3rd and 4th (9th and loth) centuries 
give far less detail concerning the high roads of Kirmin than is 
the case when they are treating of the Firs province. Further, 
as a rule, only the inexact measurement of the day's march 
(marhalaK) is given, and for most of the roads the reckoning 
from stage to stage in leagues (farsakh) is wanting. 

The roads from Firs into Kirmin converged on Bimand, 
which, as already said, lay four leagues^ to the west of Sirjin. 
From the north-east, one road from Unas and the Rtidhin 
district came down to Bimand (given by both Istakhri and 
Mukaddasi) ; while from Great Sihik to Bimand (and Sirjin) we 
have two roads, both measured in farsakhs, one by Shahr-i- 
Bibak (given by Ibn Khurdidbih only), and another leading 
directly across the desert to Bimand, to which there are two 
alternative routes, one (Ibn Khurdidbih) by Kariyat-al-Milh, 
'Salt Village/ the other by Rubit-Pusht-Kham, 'Crook-back 
Guard-house' (Kudimah and Istakhri). Further, Mukaddasi gives 
the road from Niriz (in marches) to Bimand and Sirjin ; while 
both he and Istakhri describe the route from the south-west which 
came up from Rustik-ar-Rustik in somewhat over four days' 
march, going direct to Sirjin 2 . 

From Sirjin to Bardasir (Kirmin city) it was two days' march. 
Mustawf! says 20 leagues, but no haltihg-place or town is 

Mst. 182, 222. I. B. ii. 230. A. F. 339. A. Y. i. 789, 809, 810. J. N. 258, 
260. The name of the king who transferred the capital to the island is 
variously given as Shams-ad-Dtn, Kutb-ad-Din, or Fakhr-ad-Din. The island 
of Hurmuz was taken by the English in 1622 ; for its present state see Stiffe, 
Geographical Magazine, 1874, i. 12, and J.R. G.S. 1894, p. 160. The name 
is spelt indifferently Hurmuz, and Hdrmuz. 

1 Muk. 470. 

2 I. K. 48, 53. Kud. 195. 1st. 131, 168. Muk. 455, 473. Mst. 201. 


mentioned in between, although, as already remarked, both 
Mashiz and Baghin must have been near the road followed, and 
both these places are frequently mentioned as existing in the 4th 
(loth) century by Ibn Ibrahim, who wrote in the nth (iyth) 
century. From Bardasir (Kirman) it was two marches to Zarand, 
Janzartidh lying half-way between the two. From Sirjin to 
Mdhan it was three days' march, and thence three more to 
Khabis, but the intermediate stages cannot be identified 1 . 

From Sirjan, eastward, the great caravan road towards Makran 
went through a number of towns that no longer exist, coming 
to Rayin, thence on by Darzin, Bam, and Narmasir to Fahraj 
on the desert border. The stages along this road are given in 
farsakhs (leagues) by both Ibn Khurdadbih and Kudamah, 
besides the stations by the day's march (marhalaK) in two of our 
other authorities 2 . 

From Sirjan south-east to Jiruft, in spite of the route being 
described in leagues by Ibn Khurdadbih, and in marches by 
Istakhri, none of the places mentioned, except Darfarid, can be 
surely identified ; for, possibly with the exception of the southern 
Baft, none of them are found on the map, and the true reading 
of the many variants in the MSS. is by no means certain. From 
Jiruft the road turned south, and passing through Valashgird and 
Mamlkan, came to the coast at (Old) Hurmuz. According to 
Istakhri, at Valashgird a branch struck off westward to the frontier 
of Pars, passing through a series of towns or villages that have 
now entirely disappeared, and unfortunately even the terminus 
of this road on the Fars frontier cannot now be fixed 3 . 

From Old Hurmuz, up to Rigan and Narmasir, Mufcaddasf 
gives the route in marches, passing through the towns of Bas and 
Jakin; while going south from Rayin to Jiruft the distances 
through Darjin and Hurmuz-al- Malik are given in marches by 
Istakhri 4 . 

1 1st. 169. Muk. 473. Mst. 201. 

2 I. K. 49. Kud. 196. 1st. 168. Muk. 473. 

* I. K. 54. 1st. 169. 4 1st. 169. Muk. 473. 



The extent and characteristics of the Great Desert. The three oases at Jarmak, 
Naband and Sanij. The chief roads across the Desert. The Makran 
province. Fannazbur and the port of Tfz. Other towns. Sind and 
India. The port of Daybul. Mansurah and Multan. The river Indus. 
The Turin district and Kusdar. The Budahah district and Kandabil. 

The Great Desert of Persia stretches right across the high plateau 
of Iran, going from north-west to south-east, and dividing the fertile 
provinces of the land into two groups ; for the Desert is continuous 
from the southern base of the Albur/ mountains, that to the 
porth overlook the Caspian, to the arid ranges of Makran, 
which border the Persian Gulf. Thus it measures nearly 800 miles 
in length, but the breadth varies considerably; for in shape this 
immense area of drought is somewhat that of an hour-glass, with 
a narrow neck, measuring only some 100 miles across, dividing 
Kirman from Sistan, while both north and south of this the 
breadth expands and in places reaches to over 200 miles 1 . 

The medieval Arab geographers refer to the Desert as Al- 
Mafazah, ' the Wilderness/ and carefully define its limits. On the 
west and south-west it was bounded by the Jibil province, by the 

1 The general outline of the Great Desert is given in Map I (p. i), 
details of the northern portion are shown in Map v (p. 185), of the lower part 
in Maps vi (p. 248), vn (p. 323), and vm (p. 335). At the present day the 
Desert, as a whole, is known as the Lut or Dasht-t-Lut (Desert of Lot); the 
saline swamps and the dry salt area being more particularly known as the 
Dasht-i-Kavir, the term Kavfr being also occasionally applied to the Desert as 
a whole. The etymology of the terms LA( (the Arab form of the Biblical Lot) 
and Kavir is uncertain ; see Major Sykes, Persia, p. 31. 



district of Yazd (originally counted as part of Fars) and by 
Kirman, south of which it spread out among the ranges of the 
Makran coast. To the east and north-east lay Khurisan with 
its dependent and adjacent provinces ; namely Kftmis to the north 
of the Desert, and next a corner of Khurasan proper; then 
Ktihistan, and below this Sijistan at the narrow part opposite 
Kirman, Sijistan being coterminous with what is now known as 
the Baluchistan desert, which in the middle-ages was considered 
as a part of Makran. 

Both Ibn Hawkal and Mufcaddasi write of the Desert from 
personal experience, for each had crossed its wastes on more than 
one occasion. Ibn IJawkal briefly describes it as a No Man's 
Land, belonging to no province, where robbers from every district 
found shelter, and where permanent villages, except in three in- 
stances, were conspicuously absent. Mukaddasi enters into the 
matter in some detail, and of his remarks the following is a 
summary : The Desert was, he writes, like the sea, for you could 
cross it in almost any direction, if you could keep a true line, and 
pick up the tanks and domes, built above the water-pits, which in 
the 4th (loth) century were carefully maintained along the main 
tracks at distances of a day's march. He, Mukaddasi, had once 
been 70 days on the passage across, and he speaks from experience 
of the countless steep passes over the ever-barring ranges of hills, 
the fearful descents, the dangerous salt swamps (sabkhah\ the 
alternate heat and bitter cold. He notices too that there was 
but little sand, and there were palm-trees and some arable lands 
hidden away in many of the minor valleys. 

At that date the Desert was terrorised by roving bands of the 
Balfts (Balftchi tribesmen), whose fastnesses were in the Kufs 
mountains of the Kirman border, 'a people with savage faces, 
evil hearts, and neither morals nor manners.' None could escape 
meeting them, and those they overcame they would stone to 
death ' as one would a snake, putting a man's head on a boulder, 
and beating upon it, till it be crushed in'; and when Mukaddasi 
enquired why they so barbarously put men to death he was 
answered that it was in order not needlessly to blunt their swords. 
'Adud-ad-Dawlah the Buyid, in Mukaddasi's day, had in part 
curbed these Balflch brigands, by carrying off a tribe of them to 


Firs as hostages, and caravans were after this tolerably safe, if 
they had a guide and letters of protection from the Sultan. These 
Balds, MuVaddasf adds, went mostly on foot, but possessed a few 
dromedaries (jammaz). Though nominally Moslems, they were 
more cruel to True Believers than either the Christian Greeks or 
the heathen Turks, driving their prisoners before them for twenty 
leagues a day barefoot, and fasting. Their own food was from 
the nut of the Nabk, or Sidr (Lotus) tree, and the men were 
famous for their power of bearing without complaint both hunger 
and thirst. 

About half-a-century after the time of Mukaddasi, namely in 
the year 444 (1052), Nasir-i-Khusraw crossed the northern part of 
the I>sert on his return from the pilgrimage to Mecca. He gives 
no special name to the Great Desert, referring to it merely as the 
Biyaban, 'the waterless land,' but he notes its two chief charac- 
teristics and dangers, namely the moving sands (Rig-ravan) and 
the salt swamps (Shtiristan), the latter often as much as six leagues 
across. He travelled from Nayin in the Jibal province to the 
central oasis at Jarmak, and thence on to Tabas in Kflhistan, 
by the route which will be mentioned presently. His description 
of the road, however, is vague and adds little to our information. 
He speaks of the Amir Gilaki, of Tabas, as in his day keeping 
such order throughout the Desert that the Kufs robbers, whom he 
calls the Kufaj, were powerless to molest travellers; and he 
mentions that every two leagues along the road he travelled there 
were cupolas (gumbad) over water-tanks, which marked the safe 
track to be- followed, and relieved the wants of the traveller. He 
remarks that if the tanks were only kept in order, the passage of 
the Desert could always be effected without much hardship, 
except for fear of robbers ; and his account in this matter is 
confirmed by the numerous caravan roads, crossing the waste in 
more than one direction and sufficiently supplied at each stage 
by water in pits, which are detailed in the itineraries given by Ibn 
tfawkal and Mukaddasi 1 . 

Three far-separated oases were found along the central line of 
the great waste, and to these naturally the various roads crossing 
from west to east converged. In the middle-ages these oases 
1 I. H. 287, 288. Muk. 488, 489. N. K. 93, 94. Yak. iv. 147. 


were known as Jarmafc, Naband (still so called), and Sanij ; this 
last according to Mufcaddasi being the only town that the Desert 
could boast as possessing within its compass. 

In the very centre of the upper expansion of the Desert, half- 
way across from Isfahan to Tabas in Ktihist4n, is the oasis now 
called Jandak or Biyabanak, which in the middle-ages was known 
to the Arabs as Jarmak, and in Persian was written Garmah. 
It consisted of three hamlets called Jarmak (or Garmah), Biyadak 
(or Piyadah in Persian), and Arabah. Ibn Hawkal names the 
whole settlement Sihdih, 'Three Villages'; and Nasir-i-Khusraw 
says there were from ten to twelve hamlets here in the 5th (nth) 
century. At Piyadah also there was a small fort, garrisoned by the 
Amir Gilaki, for the safe control of the Desert routes. In this 
oasis there were palm-trees, and arable fields of some extent 
where cattle throve ; and the three chief settlements, Ibn Hawkal 
says, all lay within sight of water, the population in the 4th (xoth) 
century numbering over 1000 men. Later authorities add nothing 
to these details, and in fact down to the time of Mustawfi in the 
8th (i4th) century the accounts are almost identical, all copying 
Ibn Hawkal. 

Naband, the second oasis, still bears this name, and it lies at 
the northern end of the narrow part of the Desert, between Ravar 
in Kirman and Khtir in Kuhistan. Ibn Hawkal describes Naband 
as possessing a Rubat or guard-house, with a score of houses 
round it, water being plentiful, enough indeed to work a small 
mill. Palms grew here, and many springs irrigated the fields ; 
and two leagues distant from the place was an outlying spring, 
surrounded by palms, \vhere there was a domed tank, of evil fame 
as a noted hiding-place for robbers. 

The third oasis lay somewhat further to the south again, and 
at the very narrowest part of the Desert, at the half-way stage 
on the road from Narmasir in Kirman to Zaranj, the capital of 
Sijistan. Here there is a small valley with springs, which 
is now known to the Persians as Nasratabad, but which the 
Baltichis still call Isp! or Isfi. This name is identical with the 
reading Isbidh for this oasis, which is otherwise called Sanij, or 
Sanig, by Mufeaddasi. He counts it as a town of Sijistan, while 
according to Ibn Ilawfcal it belonged rather to Kirman. It was, 


as already said, the only city in the Desert according to the Arab 
geographers, and Mukaddasi speaks of it as having a considerable 
population, with much arable land, watered by underground 
channels ; but all around and close up to the houses was the 
waterless wilderness 1 . 

The roads across the Desert are given in detail by the 
geographers of the 4th (roth) century. From the western side, 
starting from Isfahan and from Nayin, two roads converged on 
Jarmak ; the first (given by Mukaddasi) is in eight stages, while 
from Nayin it was five stages to Jarmak, and there were water- 
tanks and domes all along the way at distances of a few leagues 

From Jarmalj, Mukaddasi is our authority for a direct road 
due north to Damghan in Kumis ; the distance was 90 leagues, it 
being 50 leagues across to a place called Wandah, and thence 40 
on to Damghan. From Jarmak, going eastward, it was four days' 
march to a place called Naw Khani, of Nawjay, with water-domes 
all along the route at every three or four leagues. At Nawjay 
the roads bifurcated, going north-east to Turshiz, and south-east 
to Tabas, both in the Kuhistan province. The distance from 
Nawjay to Turshiz was four stages, the half-distance being at Bann 
Afridun (now known as Dih Naband, a place not to be confused 
with the oasis of Naband, just described); and from Jarmak 
to this Bann Afriduh, Mukaddasi also gives a route across the 
Desert direct, in seven days' march, with a tank (hawd) at each 
stage. From Nawjay, going south-east, Tabas was reached in 
three marches. The distances between Tabas and Turshiz via 
Bann Ibn Khurdadbih gives in leagues; elsewhere, and as a 
rule on the Desert routes, only the stages by the day's march 
(marka/a/i) are given 2 . 

From Yazd to Tabas, direct, the way went by Anjirah and 
Khazanah to Saghand on the Desert border, places already men- 

1 I. H. 289, 293. Muk. 488, 494, 495. N. K. 93, 94. Mst. 183. Yak. 
iii. 170. The oasis of Biyabanak (otherwise Jandak or Khur) is mentioned by 
Tavernier (Voyages * i. 769, La Haye, 1718) in the i7th century, and it was 
visited in 1875 by Col. Macgregor (Khar as an, i. 91). Both Naband and Isft, 
or Nasratabad, have been visited lately by Major Sykes (Persia, pp. 36, 416). 

2 1st. 231. I. H. 291. I. K. 52. Muk. 491. 


tioned as of Fars (see p. 285). From Saghand Ibn Khurdadbih 
gives the six stages in leagues to Tabas, an itinerary which is 
duplicated by Ibn Hawkal and Mukaddasi, but going by the 
day's march, and following a not quite identical route. Two 
stages from Saghand was the guard-house called Rubat Ab- 
Shuturan, 'of the Camel-stream/ the water coming from an under- 
ground channel, and flowing into a pool. Mukaddasi describes 
the guard-house as a fine building of burnt brick, with iron gates, 
and it was well garrisoned. It had been built by Nasir-ad-Dawlah 
Ibn-Simjftr, a famous general of the Buyids, who was governor in 
these regions during the middle of the 4th (loth) century. Three 
marches beyond this guard-house the Desert ended ; and here the 
road, as described by Ibn Hawkal (repeating Istakhri), leaves 
Tabas aside, going in a single march from the stage one march 
south of this town, to the stage one march north of it, on the 
road to Bann 1 . 

The next passage of the Desert starts from the village of 
Birah, of the district called Shtir, meaning ' the Salt-water,' which 
was on the frontier of Kirmin near Ktihbanan. From here the 
passage was made in seven or eight stages each halt at a 
watering-place to Kuri, a village on the Desert border of 
Kfthistan, situated a few miles to the south-east of Tabas. On 
this, which was known as the Shftr route, Istakhri states that at 
one point about two leagues to the north of the track there might 
be seen curious stones, doubtless fossils, in the likeness of 
various fruits, to wit, almonds, apples, nuts, and pears, while the 
forms of men and trees were simulated by the rocks here, with 
likenesses of other created things. In addition to the foregoing 
route, Mukaddasi states that there was a road direct from Ktih- 
banan to Kuri, in 60 leagues, with water in tanks at every second 

Rivar, as described in Chapter XXI, lies some leagues east of 
Kdhbanan on the Kirman frontier, and from this place a road 
went in five marches to Naband, the oasis mentioned above, and 
thence in three marches on to KMr in Kfthistan. There were 
the usual water-tanks at every three or four leagues along this 

1 I. K. 51. 1st. 236. I. H. 135. Muk. 491, 493. 


route also. The town of Khabis, three marches from Mahan on the 
Kirman border, was already almost within the Desert limits (see 
p. 308) ; and from here a road is given which reached Khawst 
(modern Khusf) in Kilhistan in ten marches. The frontier of 
Kfthistan was reached two marches before Khawst, at the village 
of Kftkitr, where the Desert ended ; and on this road, at a place 
where was the tomb of a certain Al-Kharij!, there were to be 
found curious white and green pebbles, 'as though of camphor 
and glass/ while at another place, about four leagues off the road, 
was a small black boulder of very remarkable appearance 1 . 

Lastly from Narmasir in Kirman to Zaranj, the capital of 
Sistan, the way crossed the narrow part of the Desert, going by 
the oasis of Sanij or Ispi, which has been described above. The 
first stage of this route was to Fahraj on the Desert border, and in 
four stages it brought the traveller to Sanij. Ibn Khurdadbih gives 
each stage of this route in leagues, Istakhri mentioning the day's 
march only, but the latter gives also a second route to Sanij by 
what he calls 'the New Road,' but this was a longer way. From 
Sanij it was seven or eight days' march to the city of Zaranj, the 
frontier of Sistan being crossed at Gavnishak, which was not far 
from Kundur, a place that is still marked on the map. Between 
Gavnishak and Kundur, and three or four stages south of Zaranj, 
was a Rubat or guard-house, built by 'Amr the SafTarid in the 3rd 
(9th) century, which according to Istakhri was known as Kantarah 
Kirman, 'the Kirman Bridge'; although, as he is careful to 
remark, no actual bridge existed here. This place marks an 
important point, for in the middle-ages the Zarah lake had its 
borders as far south as this, as will be noticed in the following 
chapter 2 . 

1 1st. 232, 233, 234. I. H. 292, 293, 294. Muk. 491, 492. 

2 I. K. 49, 50. 1st. 237, 251, 252. 1. II. 296, 306, 307. Muk. 492. 
Sir F. Goldsmid, Eastern Persia, i. 256. 


The province of Makr&n. 

The arid ranges of the Makran coast are, in their general 
physical features, a prolongation of the Great Desert, and though 
during the earlier middle-ages the country appears to have been 
more fertile and populous than it is now, Makran was never a rich, 
or, politically, an important province. The chief product of 
Makran was the sugar-cane, and the particular kind of white 
sugar, known to the Arabs as Al-Fanidh (from the Persian Panld), 
and made here was largely exported to neighbouring lands 1 . 

The earlier geographers name many towns as in Makran, but 
give scant descriptions of them. The chief commercial centre was 
the port of Tiz on the Persian Gulf, and the capital of the 
province was Fannazbftr or Bannajbflr, which lay inland, at the 
place now known as Panj-gftr. Bannajbtir, according to Mukad- 
dasi, had in the 4th (loth) century a clay-built fortress, protected 
by a ditch, and the town was surrounded by palm-groves. There 
were two city gates, Bab Tiz opening south-west on the road to 
the gulf port, and Bab Tilran opening north-east on the road 
to the district of that name, of which the capital was Kuzdar. 
A stream brought water to the city ; and the Friday Mosque 
stood in the market-place, though, according to Mukaddasi, the 
people were really only Moslem in name, being savage Bahlsis 
(Baltichis) whose language was a jargon*. 

The ruins of the great port of Tiz lie at the head of what was 
a fine harbour for the small ships of the middle-ages. Mukaddasi 
describes Tiz as surrounded by palm-groves, and there were great 
warehouses in the town, and a beautiful mosque. The population 

1 I. H. 226, 232, 233. Muk. 475, 476. Yak. iv. 614. The sites of the 
various medieval towns in Makran are ably discussed by Sir T. H. Holdich in 
the Geogiaphita I Journal for 1896, p. 387, and, in the present state of our 
information, his conclusions cannot be bettered. 

- Kannazbur, or Kannajbur, as the name has often been printed, is 
merely a clerical error for Fannazbur, by a doubling of the diacritical points 
over the first letter. 1st. 170, 171, 177. I. H. 226, 232. Muk. 478. Panj- 
giir, * Five Tombs,' is so called after the five martyred warriors of the first Arab 
conquest. It lies one march west of Kal'ah Naghah, and the surrounding 
district is also called Panj-gur. Sykes, Persia* p. 234. 


was of all nations, as is usual in a great seafaring port ; and in the 
6th (i2th) century the place had, in large measure, acquired the 
trade of Hurniuz, which had fallen to ruin 1 . 

Of other towns in Makran the Arab geographers give only the 
names, and no descriptions. The names of the well-known town 
of Bampilr, and Fahraj its neighbour, occur in Mukaddasi as 
Barbftr (for Banbftr) and Fahl Fahrah, Yifcftt giving the last 
under the form Bahrah*. The town of Kasarkand, north of Tiz, 
is still a place of some importance ; and Raj, some distance to the 
east of this, is mentioned as Kij or Kiz. The names of Jalk and 
Dazak also occur ; and Khwash or Khwas, which is probably the 
modern Gwasht, lying to the east of Khwash in the Sarhad district 
(already mentioned, p. 317). Risk was, in the middle-ages, a 
town of some note on account of its fertile district called Al- 
Khartij, but, from the Itineraries, there is doubt whether it can 
be identical with the present township of this name. (^Armabil 
and Kanbali were two important towns, on or near the coast, 
about half-way between Tiz and Daybul at the Indus mouth. 
Istakhri describes these as cities of considerable size, lying two 
days' march apart, and one of them was situated half a league 
distant from the sea. Their people were rich traders, who had 
dealings chiefly with India 8 . 

1 Muk. 478. Yak. i. 907. For the present ruins of Tiz see Sykes, Persia^ 
101, 1 10, also Schindler, J.R.A.S. 1898, p. 45. See also the history of Afdal 
Kirmani, Houtsma, Z.D.M.G. 1881, pp. 394 and 402. 

2 Fahraj a few miles to the east of Barnpur in Makran, and Fahraj a few 
miles to the east of Narmasir in Kirman, must not be confused. There was 
also Fahraj near Yazd. 

:l 1st. 170, 171, 177, 178. I. H. 226, 232. Muk. 475, 476. Yak. i. 769; 
iv. 332, The spelling Arwaytlfor Armabil is a frequent clerical error of the 
MSS. The ruins of Armabil are probably at Lus Bela, and those cf Kanbali 
at Khayrokot. Sir T. Holdich, J.R.G.S., 1896, p. 400. The earlier Arab 
geographers in point of fact knew little about Makran, and the later ones 
add nothing worth mentioning. Yakut only repeats what his predecessors of the 
4th (loth) century have said. All that Kazvtnf (ii. 181) has to tell us of this 
province is that there was a wonderful bridge there, crossing a liver, and 
formed of one single block of stone. He adds, 'he who crosses it vomits up 
the contents of his belly, so that naught remains therein, and though thousands 
should pass over the bridge this always happens to each one. So when any 
man of that country requires to vomit he has only to cross this bridge/ 


The present work does not pretend to deal with medieval 
India, and indeed the Arab geographers give no systematic 
account of that country. (The Indian port best known to them, 
beyond the eastern end of the Persian Gulf, was Daybul, then a 
fine harbour at the principal mouth of the Indus. This was in 
the Sind province, of which the capital was Al-Mansftrah, called 
Brahmanabad by the Indians, a great city lying on one of the 
canals or branches of the lower Indus. The Indus was known to 
the Arabs as the Nahr Mihran, and many of the towns along its 
banks are named, more especially Al-Multan, the great city far up 
the affluent of the Indus called the Sindarftdh, where there was 
a famous idol temple) Istakhri, who compares the Indus with 
the Nile for size and importance, notices that the Indian river also 
had crocodiles like those of Egypt. The sources of the Indus, he 
says, were in the great mountains to the north, and near the origin 
of the Oxus. Of the Sind province were the people known to the 
Arabs under the name of Az-Zutt, called Jat by the Persians, who 
are now generally held to be identical with the forefathers of the 
Gipsies 1 . 

On the north-eastern frontiers of Makran, and close to the 
Indian border, the Arab geographers describe two districts; 
namely, Tiiran, of which the capital was Kusdar, and Budahah 
to the north of this, of which the capital was Kandabil. Kusdar, 
also spelt Al-Kuzdar, is mentioned among the earlier conquests 
of Sultan Mahmfld of Ghaznah. Ibn Hawkal describes it as 
standing on a river (wadi), and having a fortress in its midst. 
The plain around the town was very fertile, producing vines and 
pomegranates with other fruits of a cold climate. Mukaddasi adds 
that the city lay in two quarters, on either side of the dry river- 
bed ; on one side was the palace of the Sultan and the castle, 

1 1st. 171, 172, 173, 175, 180. I. H. 226, 227, 228, 230, 234, 235. Muk. 
47<& 479 4^2. 483- The ruins of the port of Daybul, now lying far inland, 
exist some 20 miles south-west of Thatta, and 45 miles east-south-east of 
Kurachf. Mansurah is on an old channel of the Indus delta, about 40 miles 
north-east of Hyderabad. Sind is of course only the old Persian form of the 
name Hind, but the Arabs used it vaguely to denote the great province to the 
east of Makran, which is now in part called Baluchistan and in part Is in- 
cluded in modern Sind. Sindarudh is the River of Sind. 


on the other, which was called Btidin, dwelt the merchants, 
whose shops in the market were much frequented by the Khuras&n 
folk. Mufcaddasi adds that the houses were clay-built, and there 
were underground channels for the water-supply, but this was 
bad in quality and scanty. 

TQran, the name given to the Kusdar district, was often held 
to include the lands to the north, known as the Budahah district, 
of which the chief town, Kandabil, has been identified with the 
present Gandava, lying south of Sib! and east of Kelat. Kandabil 
is described by Ibn Hawkal as a large city, standing solitary in 
a plain, and no date palms grew here. Of its dependencies was 
the town of Kizkanan, or Kikan, which from its position in the 
Itineraries is to be identified with modern Kelat. Both these 
towns were often described as of Ttiran, some others being also 
named which it is impossible now to identify, for no sufficient 
description is given of them, and the readings of the MSS. vary 
considerably as to orthography 1 . To the north of these districts 
was Balis, or Walishtan, with the towns of Sibi and Mastanj ; but 
these were held by the early geographers to be included in 
Sijistan, and will therefore be noticed in the next chapter. 

The routes across Makran are in continuation of the roads of 
the Great Desert already described, and their ultimate point is 
India. They are unfortunately as a rule only given in a summary 
way, so many days' march from one town to another, and the 
distances cannot be considered as reliable. Ibn Khurdadbih, 
however, gives the detail of one route in leagues, and stage by 
stage, though it is impossible now to identify the exact line 
across the Desert. Starting from Fahraj on the Desert border 
east of Bam and Narmasir in Kirman, he gives the 14 stages 
to Fannazbtir, the capital of Makran ; and thence, eastward, the 
names of three halting-places on the road to Kusdar. An almost 
parallel route, but in the contrary direction, is given by Mukaddasi, 
from Kusdar to Juy or Nahr Sulayman, which lay 20 leagues 
east of Bam, but this road keeps north of Fannazbflr, passing 
by Jalk and Khwas 2 . 

1 I. K. 56. 1st 171, 176, 178. I. H. 226, 232, 233. Muk. 476, 478. 

2 I. K. 55. Muk. 486. 


From the port of Tiz it was five marches to Kiz, and then two 
marches on to Fannazbtir, to which city a road also came in from 
Kasarkand, but by an indirect route. From Kiz, and from 
Kasarkand, it is given as six marches to Armabil, then two to 
Kanbali, and thence four on to Daybul at the mouth of the 
Indus 1 . 

It was reckoned as fourteen marches from Fannazbtir to Day- 
bul. The distances in round numbers are given from Kusdar to 
Kandibil, and to Kizkanan (Kelat), also from these places on 
to Sibi and Mastanj in Walishtan; and the Itineraries close by 
a summary of the number of days' march that it took to reach 
Multan and Mans&rah, the cities on the Indus, from Kusdar 
and from Kandibil, and from the frontiers of Walishtan beyond 
Sibi 2 . 

1 1st. 178. I. H. 233. Muk. 485. 

2 1st. 179. I. H. 233, 234. Muk. 486. 



Sijistan, or Nimruz, and Zabulistan. Zaranj, the capital. The Zarah lake. 
The Helmund liver and its canals. The ancient capital at Ram Shah- 
ristan. Nih. F?rah, and the Farah river.- The Khash river and the 
Nishak district. Karnfn and other towns. Riidbar and Bust. The 
districts of Zamln Dawar. Rukhkhaj and Balis, or Wahshtan. Kandahar, 
Ghaznah, and Kabul. The silver mines. The high roads through Sijistan. 

Sistan, which the earlier Arabs called Sijistan from the Persian 
Sagistan, is the lowland country lying round, and to the eastward 
of, the Zarah lake, which more especially includes the deltas of 
the Helmund and other rivers which drain into this inland sea. 
The highlands of the Kandahar country, along the upper waters 
of the Helmund, were known as Zabulistan. Sistan was also 
called Nimruz in Persian, meaning 'mid-day, 7 or the Southern 
Land, a name said to have been applied to the province in regard 
to its position to the south of Khurasan. Istakhri describes the 
Sijistan province as famous for its fertility ; dates, grapes, and all 
food-stuffs were grown here abundantly, also assafcetida, which 
the people were wont to mix with all their dishes 1 . 

It is to be borne in mind that the Zarah lake was, in the 
middle-ages, far more extensive than it has come to be at the 
present day. Besides the Helmund, a great river of many af- 
fluents, three other considerable streams drained into the lake, 
namely, the Khwash river, the Farah river, and the river from the 
neighbourhood of Asfuzar (Sabzivar of Herat), which is now 
known as the Harud. In Persian legend, Sistan and Zabulistan 

1 1st. 244. I. H. 301. 


were famous as the home of Zal, the father of the national hero 
Rustam, whose exploits are still current among the people. In 
the times of the early Abbasid Caliphate, Sistin further became 
known to fame as the place of origin of the Saffarid Amirs, 
who in the second half of the 3rd (9th) century governed most of 
southern and eastern Persia, being virtually in the condition of 
independent princes. 

The capital of the province, during the middle-ages, was the 
great city of Zaranj, destroyed by Timtir, of which the ruins 
still remain, covering a considerable area of ground. The name 
of Zaranj, however, has now entirely disappeared, and even in the 
later middle-ages had dropped out of use, the capital of the 
province being known to the later Arab geographers merely as 
Madinah Sijistan, ' the City of Sijistan,' the Persian form being 
the equivalent, Shahr-i-Sistan, which was in use when Timftr finally 
laid the town in ruins 1 . Under the Sassanian kings Zaranj was 
already a great city, and at the time of the first Moslem conquest, 
in the year 20 (641), it is more than once mentioned. It was 
situated near the Sanartidh canal, a great branch from the 
Helmund, which flowed out to the westward, and in flood-time 
reached the Zarah lake. 

Ya'kitbi, in the 3rd (9th) century, describes Zaranj as four 
leagues in circumference, and in the next century we have a 
detailed notice of the city by Ibn Hawkal. It was then 
strongly fortified, consisting of an inner town surrounded by a 
wall having five gates, beyond which lay the suburbs of the outer 

1 The ruins of Zaranj lie round the modern villages of Zhidan and 
Shahristan, along the old bed of one of the chief canals from the Helmund, 
which since the middle-ages has become dry. For the modern condition of these, 
and other ruined sites, see Sir H. Rawlinson,/./ > .<7.6'. for 1873, PP* 280, 283, 
284 ; Sir F. Goldsmid, Eastern Persia, i. 301 ; Sykes, Persia, pp. 375, 382, 
383. A sketch plan of the chief ruin is given by A. H. Savage Landor in 
Across Coveted Lands, ii. 228. Near Zahidan is still seen the remains of a 
tower about 80 feet high, called the Mtl-i-Zaliidan, having a spiral staircase, 
and two partly legible Kufic inscriptions. This tower, tradition says, was 
destroyed by Tlmur; see G. P. Tate, iny.A\A.S. 1904, p. 171. Nasratibad, 
the modern capital of Sfstan, lies a few miles to the south of these ruins; it was 
known at first under the name of Nasirabad, which name, however, has now 
gone out of use. According to Mr Savage Landor it is at the present day 
also known as Shahr-i-Nasrfyah. 

336 sijisxAN. [CHAP. 

town, enclosed by the outer wall, which had thirteen gates, these 
latter opening across a great moat filled with water from springs 
and from the overflow of the canals. The five gates of the 
inner town were all of iron. Two, close by one another, opening 
to the south-east towards Fdrs, and known as the Fars gates, were 
individually called the Bab-al-Jadfd and the Bib-al-'Atik, 'the New 
Gate' and 'the Old Gate. 7 To the north, towards Khurasan, was 
the Bab Karktiyah, called after the neighbouring town of Karkityah; 
the Bab Nfshak was on the eastern road, toward Bust ; while the 
Bab-at-Ta'am, ' the Victuals Gate,' which was most in use of all 
the five, opened on the road leading south through the markets 
and the gardens lying outside Zaranj. 

The Great Mosque, Masjid-al-Jami', was in the outer town, 
standing near the two south-western gates, on the Fars road, and 
the prison stood near it, beside the old Government House. 
Between the Nishak and the Karktiyah gates, in the north-east 
part of the town, was the ark or citadel containing the treasury, 
which had been erected by 'Amr, the second Saffarid prince. 
His elder brother Ya'ktib, the founder of the dynasty, had built 
himself a palace, which subsequently became the new Government 
House, in that part of the inner town lying between the two south- 
western gates and the Bab-at-Ta'am. Near this was also the 
palace of 'Amr ; and these, like all the other houses of the town, 
were constructed of clay bricks and vaulted, since no beams could 
be used here for roofing, all woodwork rapidly perishing from 
the damp climate, and from being lx>red through by worms. In 
both the inner and the outer town were many hostels (fand&k\ 
and in the outer town or suburb were the Government offices. 
The markets of the inner town stood near the Great Mosque. 
Those of the outer town were extremely populous, and especially 
famous was that called Sflk 'Amr, built by the second Saffarid 
prince, the rents from which, amounting every day to over 
1000 dirhams (^40), were divided between the Great Mosque, 
the town hospital (Bimaristan), and the Mecca sanctuary. 

In the outer town the markets extended for nearly half a 
league in length, with a continuous line of shops going from the 
two Fars gates of the inner wall, to the gate of the outer suburb 
wall. Throughout Zaranj water was plentiful, being brought from. 

xxiv] SIJISTAN. 337 

the Sanarftdh by a series of minor canals or watercourses, which 
entered the inner city at three points the New Gate, the Old 
Gate, and the Gate of Victuals. The three together had water- 
power 'sufficient to turn a mill/ and they flowed into two great 
reservoir tanks near the mosque, whence the water was distributed 
throughout the inner town. The houses of the outer town were 
also well provided by channels with running water, which was 
an indispensable convenience in this hot climate ; and each house 
had a Sardab, or cellar-room, for living in during the hot season, 
when the heat of Zaranj was most oppressive. Round the town 
lay the saJ>khah y or salt marshes, where date palms grew, environed 
by the desert sands. Here violent winds blew continually, moving 
the sands about in a dangerous way and often overwhelming 
whole villages and devastating the cultivated districts. The 
ceaseless wind was used by the people to turn their windmills, 
which were a feature peculiar to this country. The 'moving 
sands/ however, were a continual source of danger, and Ibn 
Hawkal gives a long account of how, in the year 360 (970) 
and odd, the Great Mosque of Zaranj became quite choked 
up with sand. 

Such was Zaranj in the 4th (roth) century, and this description 
is repeated by Mukaddasi. He refers also to the riches and the 
learning of the inhabitants, notes the strongly fortified castle 
(Kal'ah), and the two famous minarets of the Great Mosque, one 
of which had been built by Ya'kab the Saffarid. The city 
continued to flourish for many centuries, and even during the 
Mongol invasion of the year 619 (1222), when Changiz Khan sent 
his hordes to ravage Sistan, the capital seems to have escaped 
devastation, and it was for some time after this date under a 
Mongol governor. In the early part of the 8th (i4th) century, 
Mustawff speaks of Zaranj (the name of which the Persians 
pronounced Zarang) as very flourishing; and the city, he says, was 
protected from the ' moving sands ' of the neighbouring desert by 
a great dyke (Band)> stated to have been originally built by the 
ancient king Gurshisf, and to have been afterwards restored by 
King Bahman, son of Isfandiyar. Mustawf i praises the gardens 
of Zaranj, which produced excellent and abundant fruit, these 
gardens being irrigated from the Black Canal (Siyah Rftd) which 


was taken from one of the branches of the Helmund river. 
At the end of the century, however, in 785 (1383), Tlmur appeared 
with his armies before the city, which, as already said, was then 
known as Shahr-i-Sistan (Sfstan city), and its fate was not long left 
in doubt. Timftr had already taken and destroyed the neigh- 
bouring fortress, called the Kal'ah or Hisar Zarah, which probably 
stood to the north of Zaranj, near the borders of the lake. The 
capital of Sistan closed its gates, and declined to surrender. After 
a short siege it was taken by storm, all its inhabitants who could 
be found were massacred, its walls were then razed and its houses 
destroyed. Since that time Zaranj has come to be a nameless 
ruin 1 . 

The Zarah or Zirrah lake (Buhayrah Zarah), as already said, 
in medieval times had permanently a far greater extent than is 
now generally the case ; but at all times its area is noted 
as fluctuating in size, according as the rivers were in flood or 
drought 2 . It is described by Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (roth) 
century as having a length of 30 leagues (100 miles), counting 
from a place called Kurin in Kuhistan to the Sijistan frontier 
post near Kantarah Kirman, at the third stage on the road 
from Zaranj to Narmasir (see above, p. 328). The lake was 
reckoned as the equivalent of a day's journey (marhalah, about 
30 miles) across. It was of sweet water and full of reeds, and was 
plentifully stocked with fish; its borders, except on the desert 
side, were dotted with many farmsteads and populous villages, 
where the fish were caught and dried for export. 

The chief water-supply of the Zarah lake came from the 
great river Helmund, which Ya^ut rightly characterises as 'the 

1 Baladhuri, 392, 394. Ykb. 281. 1st. 239242. I. H. 297299, 301. 
Muk. 305. Mst. 183. A. V. i. 362. 

8 A number of sketch maps, showing the present condition of the Helmund 
delta and the lake, are given by Major Sykes, Persia, pp. 364, 372. At its 
southern extremity the great lake basin is in connection with an immense 
channel some 50 miles in length, and averaging 350 yards broad, with cliffs 
50 feet high which is called the Shela. This runs in a south-easterly 
direction into the Gawd-i-Zarah, or * Hollow of Zarah,' a second lake bed 
lying due south of the bend in the lower Helmund, and this Gawd, or hollow, 
in seasons of flood, receives the overflow of the lake. The Gawd-i-Zarah has 
an area measuring 100 miles from east to west by about 30 miles across. 
Sykes, Persia, p. 365. 

xxiv] SIJISTAN. 339 

river of the thousand affluents.' He spells the name Hindmand, 
Hidmand being a common variant probably due to clerical 
error, also Hirmand (or Hirmid), and by this name Mustawfi 
describes the river, which he also calls the Ab-i-Zarah, or Stream 
of the Zarah (lake). Helmund is the more common modern form. 
The great river rises in the mountain range lying between Ghaznah 
and Bamiyan, which now forms part of Afghanistan, but which, in 
the middle-ages, was known as the district (or kingdom) of Ghtir. 
Taking a south-westerly course it passed down through the broad 
valley known as the Zamin-Dawar to the city of Bust, where it 
was joined on its left bank by the Kandahar river, which 
watered the country called Rukhkhaj. Bust was the first city 
the river came to of Sijistan proper, and from here the Helmund 
began its great semicircular bend, flowing south, then west, and 
then north to Zaranj, whence turning west again its waters were 
discharged into the Zarah lake. 

When one march, or some 30 miles distant, from Zaranj the 
Helmund was checked by a series of great dams, which had been 
built to hold up its waters for irrigation needs, and at this 
point the greater volume of the main stream was drawn off into 
five great canals flowing out towards Zaranj and the lake. The 
first or southernmost of these was the Nahr-at-Ta'am, 'the Victuals 
Canal,' which irrigated the lands and farms outside the Bab-at- 
Ta'am, the gate of Zaranj already mentioned, which lands in part 
were of the Nishak district. The next canal was called the Nahr 
Basht Ritdh; and the third was the Sanarudh, which, starting from 
the main stream of the Helmund one league from Zaranj, was the 
waterway to the capital, so that, as Ibn Hawkal remarks, in flood- 
times a traveller could go by boat all the way from Bust to Zaranj. 
The fourth canal, which irrigated some thirty villages, was called 
the Nahr Sha'bah, and the fifth was the Nahr Mild. Beyond this 
what was left of the main stream of the Helmund entered the 
channel known as the Nahr Kazak, where its waters were again 
dammed back for irrigation purposes, except in the flood season, 
when the overflow escaped direct to the Zarah lake '. 

1 1st. 742744. I. H. 300, 301. Muk. 329. Yak. i. 514; iv. 272, 992, 
993. Mst. 216, 226. Mukaddast refers to the lake under the name of 
Buhayrah-as-Sanat, but this possibly is merely a clerical error. 


Zaranj, according to the earlier Arab geographers, had not 
been originally the capital city of Sijistin under the ancient 
Persian kings. Their capital had stood at Rim Shahristan, 
otherwise called Abrashahriydr, a city that had already in the 
4th (loth) century been swallowed up by the desert sands, but 
of which the ruins, with parts of houses, still remained standing, 
and visible at that date. The situation of this ancient capital is 
given vaguely as lying three marches from Zaranj, on the left 
hand of one going from that city towards Kirmin, 'near Darik 
and over against Rasak,' two unknown places. It is stated that 
in older days the main branch canal from the Helmund had 
brought water to this place, by which all the surrounding lands 
were fully irrigated. The dam across the great river which fed 
this canal had, however, suddenly burst, and the waters, pouring 
down another channel, became permanently diverted. As a result 
the whole region round the older city lapsed to the state of 
a desert, and the inhabitants, migrating in a body, founded 
the city of Zaranj. 

At some distance to the west of the Zarah lake, on the 
Ktihistan frontier and close to the border of the Great Desert, 
is the town of Nih, or Nih, which is named by earlier Arab 
geographers as belonging to Sistan. Mukaddasi mentions it as 
a strongly fortified town, the houses of which were built of clay, 
water being brought down *rom the hills by underground channels. 
Nih is also referred to by Yaktit and Mustawfi, who, however, add 
no details, except to state that it was founded by King Ardashir 
Babgan, though at the present day the remains of great fortifica- 
tions, and the immense ruins found here, would seem to prove 
that in the middle-ages it had been a place of much importance 1 . 
Of the rivers flowing into the Zarah lake from the north that 
which comes down from Asfuzar (Sabzivar of Herat), and is now 
known as the Hartid, does not appear to be mentioned by the 

1 1st. 242. I. H. 300. Muk. 306. Yak. iv. 871. Mst. 183. The 
position of Ram Shahristan is not certain. Sir H. Rawlinson (J.K.G.S. 1873, 
p. 274) would place it at Ramriid, near the beginning of the Shela, where there 
are extensive ruins. These ruins, which apparently at the present day are 
known as Shahr-i-Rustam, Rustam's city, are described, and a sketch plan 
given, by A. H. Savage Landor in Across Coveted Lands, ii. 370. The rains 
of Nih are described by Major Sykes, Persia, p. 413. 


Arab geographers. They notice, however, the Farah river, which 
takes its rise in the mountains of the Ghftr district This, the 
Wadi Farah, after leaving the hill country, soon entered the pro- 
vince of Sijistin, and came to the city of Farah, which Ibn IJawfcal 
speaks of as lying in a plain, being a large place of clay-built 
houses, and with sixty dependent villages having many farms 
where much fruit was grown, more especially dates. Mukaddasi 
adds that the city of Farah was in two quarters, occupied respec- 
tively by the orthodox Moslems, and by the Khirijite sectaries. 
One stage south of the city was the bridge over the river 
called the Kantarah Farah (Pfil-i-Farah, in Persian), where the 
high road down to Zaranj crossed from the right bank to 
the left. This bridge, where there was also a town, was four 
days' march above Juvayn, and about half-way between the two 
(according to Ibn Rustah) was a place called Kahan. Near 
Kahan, one league away to the westward, was a remarkable 
sand-hill, with strange acoustic properties ; for if water, or any 
small object, were thrown on the sand of this hillock 'a great 
noise was heard, like a buzzing sound, and very terrible to listen 
to.' This wonderful sand-hill is also mentioned by Blrftnt, 
writing in the sth (nth) century, and similar acoustic properties 
of 'the moving sand* have been remarked at the present day 
in the hillocks of the dunes forming the desert between Sijistan 
and Ktihistan. The modern double town of Ulsh-Juvayn, at the 
present time a place of much importance, is mentioned by Mufcad- 
dasi, under the form Kuwayn (for Guvayn), as a small city, strongly 
fortified, in which there was no Friday Mosque, for its inhabitants 
were all Kharijite sectaries; but except as a stage on the high 
road, no medieval authority other than Mukaddasi describes the 
place, and the name Lash is not found. 

About half-way between Juvayn and Zaranj the high road 
crossed the chief overflow canal of the Helmund by a bridge, and 
a few leagues south of this stood the important town of Karkfiyah. 
This last was one stage north of Zaranj, and gave its name, it will 
be remembered, to the northern city gate. Karkftyah was peopled 
by Kharijites, according to Yakfit, and many ascetics lived here, 
but it was chiefly remarkable for its great fire-temple, so much 
venerated by all the Magians of Persia. Kazvini, writing at the 


close of the yth (i3th) century, gives a long account of this 
building, which he says was covered by two domes, said to date 
from the mythical times of the national hero Rustam. Each dome 
was surmounted by a horn, the two horns curving apart one from 
the other like the two horns of a bull, and these were relics of 
the aforesaid hero. Under the twin domes stood the fire-temple, 
where the sacred fire had never been allowed to become extin- 
guished. A priest, who was at stated times relieved by his fellows, 
served this temple ; and he was wont to stand twenty ells away 
from the fire, having a veil before his mouth, lest his breath should 
defile the fire, and he fed the flame continually with span-long 
logs of tamarisk wood, which he laid on with silver tongs. 
Kazvini adds that this was one of the most venerated of the 
fire-temples of the Magians. Not far from Karktiyah, and three 
leagues from Zaranj, was the town of Kurunk, which Yak tit says 
was commonly pronounced Kurun, and under this last name it 
still exists. It was, Yakftt adds, a pleasant place, full of good 
things, with a population of Kharijites and weavers 1 . 

The Khash, Khwash, or Khuwash * river flows down to the Zarah 
lake between the Farah river and the Helmund. It is called by Ibn 
Hawkal the Nahr Nishak, Nfshak being the name of the populous 
district lying due eastward of Zaranj, which gave its name, as 
already stated, to the eastern gate of the capital. This river also 
took its rise in the Ghtir mountains, and the town of Khwash 
lies on its banks, being about one day's march from Zaranj. Ibn 
Hawkal describes Khwash as the largest town of this district, 

1 I. K. 1 74 ; and with regard to the acoustic sand-hill see Bfriint, Chronology 
of Ancient Nations* translated by C. E. Sachau, p. 235 (Arabic text, p. 146). 
For an example, at the present day, of a sand-hill that gives sounds like 'an 
Aeolian harp, 1 see Sir F. Goldsmid (Eastern Persia, i. 327), who visited this 
extraordinary hill, which is at the shrine of Imam Zayid, five miles west of 
Kal'ah-i-Kah. 1st. 244. I. H. 303, 304. Muk. 306, 329. Mst. 215. Kas. 
ii. 163. Yak. iii. 42, 888; iv. 263, 269. The site of Karkiiyah probably is to 
be sought among the immense ruins to the south of Pish a varan. There is an old 
bridge here, of two arches, called Takht-i-Pul ; cf. Sir V. Goldsmid, Eastern 
Persia, i. 315. Vate, Khurasan and Sistan, 1 18. The fire-temple was known 
to the Zoroastrians as the Mainyo Karko. 

2 There were in this region at lea^t three places of this or a similar name; 
viz. the present river and town of Khash, then the town of this name in the 
Jabal-al-Kufs (see p. 317), lastly, Khwas of Makiin (see p. 330). 

xxiv] sijisxAN. 343 

and famous for its date palms. When Y&kflt wrote the name had 
already come to be more generally pronounced Khash, as at 
the present day. The most famous city of the district, but a 
smaller place than Khwash, was Karnin or Al-Karnin, the birth- 
place of the Saffarid princes Ya%tib and 'Amr, sons of Layth, the 
famous coppersmith. Karnin was situated out in the desert plain 
to the north-west of Khwash, and one march from it on the road 
to Farah. They showed here, Ibn Khurdadbih remarks, the 
relics of the stall of Rustam's horse. Mukaddasi speaks of Karnin 
as a small place, but well fortified, having a stream going through 
the town, which had a Friday Mosque, and possessed suburbs. 
Mustawfi also refers to it, adding that both corn and fruit were 
grown in the neighbouring lands, which were very fertile. 

Half-way between Karnin and Farah stood the little town of 
Jizah, about equal to the former in size, which Ibn Hawkal 
describes as possessing many villages and farms, for it stood in 
a very fertile country, amply irrigated by underground water- 
courses. The buildings of the town were of sun-dried bricks ; 
and Yafctit adds that in his day the people pronounced the name 
Gizah. The whole district along the Khwash river, known as 
Nishak, was, as already said, extremely populous in the 4th (ioth) 
century. Harftri, 'a populous village belonging to the Sultan,' 
which still exists, lies on the river bank below Khwash, where the 
high road coming in from Bust crossed the Khwash river by a 
bridge of burnt brick. The village of Sartizan was the next stage 
on the way to Zaranj, and between these two was situated Zanbtik, 
a strongly fortified hamlet, which Mukaddasi ranks for size with 

One day's journey north of Zaranj, but its exact position is 
not given in the Itineraries, lay the important town of At-Tak, 
'the Arch.' It was very populous, and Mukaddasi records that 
grapes in abundance were grown here and in the adjacent 
farmsteads. Abu-1-Fidi in the 8th (i4th) century, quoting from 
Ibn Said, states that this place, which he names Hisn-at-Tlfc 
(the Fortress of the Arch), crowned a high hill at a bend of the 
Helmund, where, after throwing off the canals to Zaranj, the main 
stream finally turned westward and flowed out to the Zarah lake ; 
and the town is mentioned, together with the fort of Zarah (Kal'ah 


or Hisar-i-Zarah), as having been captured by Tfmflr immediately 
prior to his attack on Zaranj. In the days of the first Moslem 
conquest another fortress is mentioned as of this region, namely, 
Z&life, which is given as lying five leagues from both Karktiyah 
and from Zaranj. Nothing further, however, is known of it, 
and in later times the place is not referred to 1 . 

Bust, approximately, lies in the same latitude as Zaranj, and 
the direct road from Zaranj thither goes due east by Hartiri as 
already described, and across the desert. The course of the 
Helmund, however, doubles the distance by making its semi- 
circular sweep to the south, and half-way along its course stands 
the town of Rtidbar. This place is apparently mentioned by 
Bal&dhuri, at the time of the first Moslem conquest, for he speaks 
of a town called Ar-Rtidhbar of Sijist&n as lying in the direction 
of Kandahar ; and near this Ar-Rftdhbar was Kishsh (or Kiss), 
which appears to be the place called Kaj, or Kuhich, at the 
present day. Rtidhbar is elsewhere -only incidentally mentioned 
by the Arab geographers; possibly it is identical with the Rtidhbar 
described by Istakhri as of the Firtizkand district near Bust. This 
place had many fruitful fields and farms, but the chief export is 
said to have been salt. Another place of this neighbourhood is 
Az-Zaiilcin, otherwise spelt Salafcin, or Jilifcin. It is described 
by Ibn Hawkal as one march from Bust, but in which direction is 
not stated, and the name does not occur in the Itineraries. It 
was a town mostly inhabited by weavers, but surrounded by 
extensive and fruitful lands, well watered by streams, and in the 
4th (loth) century it was of about the size of Karnfn. 

Bust (or Bast) on the Helmund, at the junction of the river 
from the Kandahar district, has always been an important place. 
Is{akhri mentions that at its gate was the great bridge of boats, 
Mike those used in 'Mfc,' across which the high road came in 
from Zaranj. Bust was the second largest city of Sijistan in the 
4th (loth) century, the people were in easy circumstances, and are 
described as dressing after the fashion of the men of 'Irak and 
as being for the most part merchants who traded with India. 
The neighbouring lands were extremely fertile, growing dates and 

1 Baladhuri, 393, 395. I. H. 301, 301, 303, 304. I. K. 50. Muk. 306. 
Yak. iL 7*, 486; iv. 371. Mst. 185. A. F. 343. A. Y. i. 370. 

xxiv] SIJISTAN. 345 

grapes; and Bust was accounted the chief town of all the 
mountainous country of eastern Sijistan, which included the two 
great districts of Zamin-Dawar and Rukhkhaj. Mufcaddasi states 
that the city and its fortress, surrounded by great suburbs, stood 
one league above the junction of the river Khardarfty (the modern 
Argandab) with the Hirmand (Helmund). It possessed a fine 
mosque, and the markets were well stocked. Half-a-league 
distant, on the Ghaznah road, was Al-'Askar, 'the Camp,' built 
like a small city, where the Sultan had his residence. In the 
7th (13*) century Yifctit writes that Bust was almost entirely 
a ruin, and he notices the heat of the climate, while mentioning 
the abundance of its gardens. At the close of the 8th (i4th) 
century the place and its neighbourhood were devastated by 
TimOr, who marched hither from Zaranj, destroying on his way 
one of the great dams across the Helmund, known as the Band-i- 
Rustam, that kept up the head of water which served to irrigate 
all the western lands of Sfstan 1 . 

The broad valley, down which the Helmund flows from the 
mountains of Hindi! Kush to Bust, still bears the name, Zamtn- 
Ddwar, by which the Arab geographers refer to the district 
This is the Persian form of which the Arabic equivalent is 'Ard- 
ad-Dawar or Balad-ad-Dawar, the meaning being the same, 
namely, the Land of the Gates,' or passes, into the mountains. 
During the middle-ages this was a fertile and very populous 
district, with four chief towns, namely, Dartall, Darghash, Baghntn 
and Sharwan, with numerous great villages and farmsteads. The 
chief town of the district was Dartal, Dartall, or Tall as Istakhri 
writes the name, which appears to be identical with the city of 
Dawar described by Mukaddasi. It was a fine large town, with a 
fortress, garrisoned by horse guards, who in the 4th (loth) century, 
held this as the frontier post on the road towards the Ghtir 
mountains. It lay on the bank of the Helmund river, three 
marches above Bust, and in the account of the first Moslem 
conquest it is stated that near here was the mountain, Jabal-az- 
Zflr, where the great idol called Ziir, or Ztin, had been taken as 

1 Baladhuri, 394, 434. 1st. 144, 145, 148. I. H. 301, 304. Muk. 997, 
304. Yak. ii. 10, 6ia ; iv. 184. A. Y. i. 370. 


booty by the Arabs, this idol being all of gold, with eyes of 
corundum (ya^Af). 

One march yet higher up the Helmund, and on the same bank 
as Dartall, was Darghash, while Baghnin lay one march to the west- 
ward of Dartall, in the country held by the Turkish tribes known 
as the Bishlank, among whom abode the tribe of the Khalaj. 
These Khalaj Turks afterwards emigrated westward, but Ibn 
Hawkal in the 4th (loth) century describes them as then living 
very contentedly in the Zamin-Dawar country, 'after the Turk 
fashion.' A fifth town of the Zamfn-Dwar was Khwsh (spelt 
like the place on the river of that name, just mentioned), which 
Istakhri described as an un walled city, but protected by a castle. 
Unfortunately its position is not given, but some authorities 
count it as belonging to Kabul. 

Between Bust and Dartall, and one march south of the latter 
town, being apparently not situated on the Helmund river, stood 
the city of Sarwan or Sharwan, which- Ibn Hawlcal describes as of 
the size of Karnin, but more populous and prosperous. Great 
quantities of fruit, dates and grapes especially, were exported from 
its district, and that of Firtizkand, which latter lay south of the 
Sharwan district and one march to the eastward of Bust 1 . 

The Rukhkhaj district, occupying the country round about 
Kandahar, lay to the eastward of Bust along the banks of the 
streams now known as the Tarnak and the Argandab. The 
capital of Rukhkhaj in the middle-ages was Banjaway, the Arabic 
form of Panj-way, * Five Streams,' which is still the name of the 
district west of Kandahar, near the junction of the two rivers 
Tarnak and Argandab. The Rukhkhaj district was immensely 
fertile during the middle-ages, and wool was exported thence in 
large quantities, bringing in a good revenue to the treasury. The 
site of Banjaway city is difficult to fix. It lay on the high road 
four marches from Bust, at the point where the ways bifurcated, 
one road going north in 1 2 marches to Ghaznah, the other east in 
six marches to Sibi. It probably was not far from Kandahar, 

1 Baladhuri, 394. 1st. 244, 245, 248. I. H. 302, 304. Muk, 305. Yak. 
ii. 541; iv. 220. None of these towns of the Zamin-Dawar now exist, but 
Dartall, the capital, must have occupied approximately the site of modern 

xxiv] sijisxAN. 347 

but the distance between the two cities is nowhere given. One 
league to the west of Banjaway city was the fortress of KAliak, 
' the Hillock,' with a town lying round the fort. Banjaway itself 
had good fortifications, as well as a fine mosque. It got its water 
from the neighbouring river. 

One stage from here, on the Stbt road, lay the town of 
Bakrawadh (for Bakrabad which Istakhri and Ibn Hawkal give 
as Takinabadh, probably from a clerical error), where there was 
a Friday Mosque in the town market-place; and this town too 
stood upon a stream that joined the Kandahar rivet. 

The city of Kandahar (or Al-KunduMr) is frequently men- 
tioned in the accounts of the first Moslem conquests of the places 
near the Indian frontier. Ba&dhurf says it was reached from 
Sijistan after crossing the desert, and the Moslems, he adds, 
attacked the place in boats from the river, destroying the 
great idol Al-Budd, doubtless a statue of Buddha. After this 
period only incidental mention of Kandahir occurs generally as 
of Hind or the Indian frontier in Mukaddasf, Ibn Rustah, and 
Ya'ktibi. Unfortunately no early Itinerary takes us to Kandahar, 
and in the systematic accounts of the province by Istakhri and 
Ibn Hawkal the name is altogether wanting. Possibly Banjaway 
replaced it during the earlier middle-ages, for Yakflt gives no 
description of the town, and the name only reappears in history 
when it is spoken of as being devastated first by the Mongols in 
the early part of the yth (i3th) century, and then again by Timftr 
at the close of the next century 1 . 

The district round Sibi was known to the Arab geographers as 
Balis, otherwise Balish, or Walishtan. The capital city according 
to Istakhri was Sibi, spelt Sivi or Siwah, but the governor generally 
resided at Al-Kasr (the Castle), a small town situated one league 
distant from Asfanjay, or Safanjavi, the second city of the district, 
the exact <site of which has not been identified, but which lay two 
marches north of Sibi on the road to Banjaway of Rukhkhaj. 
The town of Mastang, or Mastanj, is also mentioned by Istakhri 
and Mukaddasi, who name a number of other villages of this 

1 Baladhuri, 434, 445. 1st. 244, 250. I. H. 301, 302, 305. Muk. 305. 
Yak. iv. 331. A. Y. i. 376. Dr H. W. Bellew, From the Indus to the Tigris, 
p. 1 60. 


district, which was said to include in all some 2200 hamlets, but 
no description is given of any of these places l . 

Ghaznah, or Ghaznayn, became famous in history at the close 
of the 4th (beginning of the nth) century as the capital of the 
great MabmAd of Ghaznah, who at one time was master both of 
India on the east and Baghdad on the west. Unfortunately no 
adequate description has come down to us of Ghaznah at the 
time when it was rebuilt and adorned by Mahmtid with all the 
plunder of his Indian raids. A generation before this Istakhri 
describes the place as like Bimiyan, with fine streams but few 
gardens. He adds that no city of this countryside was richer in 
merchants and merchandise, for it was as the 'port' of India. 
Mukaddasi gives a long list of the names of its districts and towns, 
most of which, however, it is impossible to identify at the present 
day. He writes the name Ghaznayn, in the dual form, but to 
what the 'Two Ghaznahs' has reference is not stated, though 
Ghaznayn in later times is more generally used than the form 
Ghaznah. Mukaddasi adds that all the country between this and 
Kabul was known as Kabulistan. 

It was about the year 415 (1024) that Mahmftd had rebuilt 
Ghaznah, on his return home laden with the spoils of India, 
and the city then reached its greatest splendour, which lasted 
for over a century. The Ghilrid Sultan 'Ala-ad-Din, surnamed 
Jahan-sftz, 'world incendiary,' to revenge his brother's death at the 
hands of Bahrain Shah the Ghaznavid, took Ghaznah by storm in 
544(1149), and afterwards both sacked and burnt the city, which 
never recovered from this calamity. The tomb of the great 
Mahmtid in the mosque nevertheless appears to have been spared, 
or else it was restored, for Ibn Battttah saw it here in the 8th 
(i4th) century. He describes Ghaznah as then for the most part 
in ruins, though formerly, he adds, it had been an immense city. 
His contemporary Mustawfl speaks of it as a small town, with 
a very cold climate on account of its great elevation, but he gives 
no details of any importance 2 . 

1 1st. 179, 744. I. H. 301. Muk. 197. 

2 1st. 280. I. H. 328. Muk. 296, 297. I. B. iii. 88. Mst. 184. 
Unfortunately 'Utbf, in his History of MahmM of Ghaznah, gives no detailed 

xxiv] sijisxAN. 349 

As we have seen, the whole of the great mountainous district 
of the upper waters of the Helmund and the Kandahar rivers was 
known to the Arabs as Zabulistan, a term of vague application, but 
one which more particularly denoted the country round Ghaznah. 
On the other hand Kabulistan was the Kabul country, lying more 
to the north on the frontiers of Bamiyan ; and this is the division 
found in the accounts of the conquests of Timur. Already in the 
3rd (9th) century Ya'kitbi describes Kabul as much frequented 
by merchants, who brought back from this country the Kabul! 
Ahlilaj, or myrobalan of the larger sort 1 . Ya'kubi says the 
chief city was then known as Jurwas, while Istakhri in the next 
century gives the name as Taban. Kabul, however, appears also 
to have been the name in common use, but more especially for 
the district. 

There was here a famous Kuhandiz or castle, and the town 
which was approached by only a single road was well fortified. It 
was the great emporium of the Indian trade, indigo (nil) being 
brought here for export to the value of a million gold dinars 
yearly (about half-a-million sterling); further, most of the precious 
stuffs of India and China were warehoused here. As early as the 
4th (loth) century the Moslems, the Jews, and the idolaters, had 
each a separate quarter in Kabul, where the suburbs, the markets, 
and the merchants 1 warehouses were alike famous. Mukaddasi 
mentions, too, a wonderful well in the castle ; and for him Kabul 
is especially the country of the myrobalan. He counts Kabuli- 
stan as an outlying region of Sijistan. Kazwini, in the yth (i3th) 
century, states that Kabul was then famous for the breed of she- 
description of the capital. See the article on Ghaznah by Sir H. Yule in the 
Encyclopaedia Bntanntca (9th eel.), x. 560, where a plan is given. 

1 Myrobalan was a name applied during the middle-ages to certain dried 
fruits and kernels of astringent nature, imported from India, which had 
a high reputation in the concoction of the medicines of those days. The name 
is of Greek origin, the Indian fruits used in the manufacture of this condiment 
are of a variety of species, and one of the best known kinds of myrobalan was 
that called Chebuhc^ namely, that from Kabul. The Arabs named the drug 
(for this it came to be) Ahltlaj or Hulilaj, and Ibn Baytar in his Dictionary 
of Drugs (translated by Dr J. Sontheimer, i. 163 ; ii. 572) has two articles 
about it; see also Dozy, Supplement aux Dictionnaires Arabes, s.v. IhlUaj, 
and Glossary of Anglo-Indian Terms, by Yule and Burnell, s.v. Myrobalan. 


camels, known as Bactrian (Bukhti), the best in all central Asia. 
Ibn Batfltah. who visited Kabul in the next century, says that it 
had then sunk to be a mere village, inhabited by the tribe of 
Persians known as Afghans (Al-Afghan). 

The Kabul river is an affluent of the Indus, and is formed by 
the junction of two streams coming down from the Hindil Kush 
range, the mountains to the north of Kabul 1 . At the eastern 
souice are the celebrated silver mines, known to the Arabs as 
Banjahir (for Panj-hir, or 'Five Hills/ in the dialect of the country), 
from which large quantities of the precious metal were obtained, 
and Banjahir became a mint city under the Saffarid princes in the 
3rd (9th) century, the dirhams, of course, bearing the name also 
of the Abbasid Caliph. Banjahir city is described by Ibn Hawkal 
as standing on a hill, and inhabited by 10,000 miners, who were 
an unruly folk, much given to evil living. Jarbayah was a neigh- 
bouring town, also lying on the Banjahir, or Kabul river, which 
thence flowed out towards the plains of India, past Farwan, 
a large town with a mosque. Mukaddasl further mentions the 
town of Shiyan in the district of Askimasht, where there was 
a wondrous spring, and a fine mosque built by the Arab general 
Kutaybah-ibn-Muslim, who had commanded the troops at the 
time of the first Moslem conquest. Yaktit gives us a long account 
of these silver mines with their population of riotous miners. He 
says that the whole mountain side was hollowed out in caverns, 
where men worked in the bowels of the earth by torch-light. The 
people were given over entirely to a species of gambling, men 
found themselves rich one day and paupers on the morrow ; they 
would recklessly spend 300,000 dirhams (^"12,000) in the mere 
digging of a new shaft. The ruin of the place was due to Changiz 
Khan ; and when Ibn Batittah, who speaks of the blue waters of 
the neighbouring stream, came here in the 8th (i4th) century, he 
found no silver mine, but only the disused tunnels of the former 

1 Hindu Kush, in Persian, means (the Mountain that) * kills the Hindus.' 
Ibn BatCitah.(m- 84) is one of the first to give this name, which is unknown to 
the earlier Arab geographers. He explains that the range was so called 
because many Indian slaves died in crossing it \dien journeying to Peisia. 


The products of Sijistan were few in number ; and all that 
Mukaddasi records is that date-baskets, called zanabil, were made 
here for export, also ropes of palm-fibre and reed-mats 1 . 

The high roads in Sijistan all centred in Zaranj, to which in 
the first place led the desert road from Narmasir via Sanij, which 
has been described in the last chapter. From Zaranj north- 
wards, a road went to Herat, passing through Karktiyah, and 
thence by a bridge over the Helmund overflow to Juvayn on the 
Farah river. From Juvayn Farah city was reached by a road up 
the river bank, which crossed the river by the bridge of Farah 
(mentioned p. 341), beyond which was Farah city. Three marches 
north of Farah lay Asfuzar (or Sabzivar of Herat), the first town in 
Khurasan. The distances in leagues along this road unfortunately 
are not given, only the stages of each day's march, for which 
Istakhri and Ibn Havvkal are the chief authorities 8 . Moreover a 
good deal of uncertainty exists in the spelling of the names of 
many of the halting-places. 

From Zaranj the road east went to Harftn on the Khwash river, 
whence taking a straight line across the desert the city of Bust was 
reached in five marches. At Bust the roads bifurcated, one going 
to the Zamin-Dawar country of the upper Helmund, and another 
to Ban ja way of Rukhkhaj, in the neighbourhood of Kandahar. 
At Banjaway there was again a bifurcation of the roads, one going 
north-eastward to Ghaznah, and a second to Sibi, through the 
town known as Asfanjay. On these routes too it is to be noted 
that the distances are again given merely in marches, many of the 
names of the stages being most uncertain 3 . 

1 Ykb. 290, 291. 1st. 278, 280. I. H. 327, 328. Muk. 297, 303, 304, 
324. Yak. i. 473; li. 904, 905; ui. 454. Kaz. li. 162. A. Y. i. 558. I. B. 
iii. 85, 89. Mst. 1 88. 

2 I. R. 174. 1st. 248, 249. I. H. 304, 305. Muk. 350. 
* Ibt. 249252. I. H. 305307, Muk. 349, 350. 



The province called Tunocain by Marco Polo. Kayin and Tun. Turshtz and 
the Pusht district ; the Great Cypress of Zoroaster. Zavah. Buzjan and 
the Zam district. Bakharz district and Malm. Khwaf. Zirkiih. Dasht- 
i-Biyad. Gunabad and Bajistan. Tabas of^the dates. Khawst, or Khusf. 
Birjand and Muminabad. Tabas Masinan and Duruh. 

The province of Ktihistan, like Sijisfcan, was generally held to be 
a dependency of Khurasan by the Arab geographers. Kuhistan 
means 'the Mountain Land, ; and the province is thus named in 
accordance with its distinguishing physical features, the hills here 
being contrasted with the lowlands of Sijistan, lying to the east of 
Kuhistan on the Helmund delta. Kuhistan, as Ibn Hawkal remarks, 
has for the most part a cold climate from its elevation, and the 
date palm only grew at Tabas Gilaki on the edge of the Great 
Desert. In the 4th (loth) century the nomad inhabitants of the 
country were Kurds, who possessed great flocks of sheep and 
camels. Without doubt this province is identical with the 
* Tunocain kingdom* of Marco Polo, who took the names of its 
two chief cities (Tun and Kayin) to be the designation of 
the whole country 1 . 

The chief town of Kuhistan was Kayin, which Ibn Hawkal 
describes as protected by a strong fortress, surrounded by a ditch; 
and the governor's house stood here, also the Friday Mosque. 

1 1st. 273, 274. I. H. 324, 325. Muk. 301. Marco Polo, Yule, 
i. 87, 131. The name is spelt Kuhistan by the Arabs (with dotted K), and 
Kuhistan in Persian, where JCtih means 'mountain/ but the first vowel in the 
name is as often as not written short (Kuhistan or Kuhistan). 


Water was supplied by underground channels, but the gardens were 
not very fruitful or numerous, for the cold was severe in winter. The 
city had three gates, and its merchants carried on a considerable 
trade with Khurasan. Ibn Hawkal adds that at a place two days' 
marcn from Kayin, on the Nishapftr road, a kind of edible clay, 
called Tin NajAhi, was found, and this, he says, was exported to 
all the neighbouring lands and largely eaten by the people. Kiyin 
was visited in 444 (1052) by Nisir-i-Khusraw, who describes the 
inner town as forming a fortress of great strength. The Great 
Mosque here had in its sanctuary (Maksurah) the largest arch to be 
seen in all Khurasan, and the houses of the town, he says, had 
all domed roofs. Mustawfi in the 8th (i4th) century notes in the 
first place the central position 'of Kiyin, which was, he says, just 
20 leagues distant from every other important place in K&histin. 
It was a fine city : all the houses were supplied with water by 
channels below ground, and had cellar-rooms for the hot weather. 
The crops matured here very rapidly, and the harvest was early. 
Corn, fruit, and especially saffron were grown largely in the 
neighbourhood, and the cattle pastured on these lands quickly 
put on fat. Mustawff adds that the population were remarkably 

The city of Tfln lies rather over fifty miles to the westward 
of Kayin, and a little to the north. Mukaddasi speaks of it as 
a populous place, smaller than Kayin, protected by a castle and 
possessing a fine mosque. Woollen goods were manufactured 
here, and Nasir-i-Khusraw praises its carpets, 400 looms being at 
work at the time when he passed through the town. Much of the 
city, however, was in his day in ruin, though the great fort 
remaned. In the eastern suburbs were many fine gardens 
where pistachios were cultivated. Mustawff states that Tun 
had originally been built ' on the plan of a Chinese town/ but he 
does not further explain the matter. He speaks of the great 
castle with its deep dry-ditch ; this was surrounded by the streets 
and bazaars of the outer town. The neighbouring lands were 
very fertile, for he says that the people had the art of building 
dykes or dams (banf) to collect the rain-water and prevent it 
from flowing away, and on these lands they raised water-melons, 
noted for their sweet flavour. Much corn and fruit was grown, 


and silk was produced here abundantly, for the climate of 
Tiln was temperate, and the underground watercourses very 
numerous 1 . 

In the north-west corner of Kfthistin is the district of Bftsht, 
Ptisht, or Busht-al-'Arab, of which the chief towns were Turshiz 
and Kundur 2 . In the Arab geographers the older form of the 
name is given as Turaythith, or Turthith, later spelt Turshish and 
Turshis, and it was sometimes counted as of the Hnwmah or 
domain of Nishiptir. Ibn Hawkal speaks of Turshiz as a very 
populous city, with fertile lands, and in the PQsht district there 
were seven other townships with Friday Mosques. Mukaddas! 
describes the mosque of Turshiz as in his day rivalling that of 
Damascus for magnificence ; there was also a famous water tank, 
and the markets were renowned, so that Turshiz was considered 
the 'store-house of Khurasan/ where merchandise was exported 
and imported, to and from Pars and Isfahan. The neighbouring 
town of Kundur almost equalled Turshiz in wealth, and in the 
district immediately round it were 226 large villages. 

According to Ibn-al-Athir in 520 (1126) the Wazir of Sultan 
Sanjar the Saljtifc besieged and plundered Turshiz,* which had 
lately come into the possession of the Ismailis, or Assassins ; for 
the ' Old Man of the Mountain ' had recently conquered most of 
the strong places in the neighbourhood, building many fortresses 
to overawe all this part of Ktihistan. Yakftt places the advent of 
the Ismailis as occurring in the year 530 (1136), and relates that 
the governor of Turshiz had called in the Turkish tribes to aid 
him against the heterodox Mulahids or Ismailians, but they 
had failed to fight the enemy, and had themselves pillaged the 
country, thus bringing Turshiz to ruin. In the middle of the 

1 I. H. 324, 325. Muk. 321. N. K. 95. Mst. 184. There is an inscrip- 
tion in the mosque at Kayin dated 796 (1394). Sir F. Goldsmid, Eastern 
Persia, i. 341. 

2 The district of Tursjifz exists at the present day, but no town of that 
name. The small town of Kundur is still marked on the map, and according 
to Istakhri the city of Turshiz lay one march to the westward of it, which 
would place the site of Turshiz at the Firuzabid ruins, near the present 
village of *Abdulabd. In any case the medieval city of Turshiz cannot be 
identified with SuMnbd, the modem capital of the Turshiz district, for this 
lies east of Kundur. 

XXV] KtiHISTAN. 355 

7th (i3th) century Htildgii Khan, the Mongol, destroyed the power 
of the Assassins, and his troops, it is stated, conquered seventy of 
their castles in the Ktihistan province. After this Turshiz quickly 
recovered its importance; and less than a century later it is described 
by Mustawfi as one of the chief cities of Kuhistan, though still 
partly in decay. He mentions the four famous castles in the 
neighbourhood of the place namely, Kal'ah Bardarftd, Kal'ah 
Mikal (or Haykal), Mujihidibad (the Champion's Home), and 
Atishgih (the fire-temple) which doubtless had been those of 
the Ismailians. He praises the abundant crops of Turshfz, which 
he says were exported to all the northern districts round Nishaptir. 
At the close of the 8th (i4th) century Turshiz was deemed impreg- 
nable from its high walls ; but when Timtir appeared before it he 
soon undermined these, and after the sack nothing but ruins 
remained standing. This was in 783 (1381) and since that time 
Turshiz has disappeared from the map 1 . 

Mustawfi states that at the village of Kishmar, near Turshiz, 
had stood the celebrated cypress-tree, originally planted by 
Zoroaster as a memorial of the conversion of King Gushtasp to 
the Magian religion. This tree grew to be larger than any other 
cypress that had ever been, and according to the Shah N&mah it 
sprang from a branch brought by Zoroaster from Paradise. Such 
too was its power that earthquakes, which frequently devastated 
all the neighbouring districts, never did any harm in Kishmar. 
According to Kazvini the Caliph Mutawakkil in 247 (86 1) caused 
this mighty cypress to be felled, and then transported it across all 
Persia, in pieces carried on camels, to be used for beams in his 
new palace at Simarri. This was done in spite of the grief and 
protests of all the Guebres, but when the cypress arrived on the 

1 I. H. 795, 296. Muk. 317, 318. Yak. i. 618; iii. 534; iv. 309. Mst. 
183. A. Y. i. 344. Ibn-al-Athir, x. 445. The representative of the Old Man 
of the Mountain, at the present day (as was proved in the English law courts), 
is Aka Khan, chief of the Khujah community at Bombay, and it is curious to 
find that some of the Ismailian sect still linger in Kuhistan, who now pay their 
tithes to Aka Khan, as their predecessors did to the chief at Alimut. At the 
village of Sihdih, to the south of K&yin, Major Sykes (Persia, p. 409) found 
nearly a thousand families of these modern Ismailians, who yearly transmitted 
a considerable sum to their religious head in India. Marco Polo, Yule, i. 145. 


banks of the Tigris, Mutawakkil was dead, having been murdered 
by his son 1 . 

To the east of the Turshiz district is that of Zavah. The 
Zavah district, or part of it, was also known as Rukhkh, and 
the chief town was called Bishak or Zavah city. The name 
Rukhkh, when YaJktit wrote, was more commonly pronounced 
Rikh. In the yth (i3th) century Zavah town became celebrated 
as the abode of a very holy man, IJaydar by name, who dressed 
in felt, in summer was wont to enter the fire, and in winter to 
stand in the snow, and who founded a sect of Darvishes known 
as the Haydariyah. He was alive at the time of the Mongol 
invasion of the country in 617 (1220), and was afterwards known 
as Shaykh Kutb-ad-Din (Pole of Religion). When Ibn Batiitah 
visited Zavah in the 8th (i4th) century, he describes the votaries 
of the Shaykh as having iron rings fastened for penance in their 
ears, hands, and other parts of the body, and this the people 
took to be a proof of their sanctity. Mustawfi describes Zavah 
as a fine town, standing in a rich district, with some 50 dependent 
villages. It had a strong castle built of clay bricks. The 
irrigation was abundant ; corn, cotton, grapes, and much fruit 
grew here, and silk also was produced. He speaks, too, of the 
shrine of the Shaykh as greatly venerated in his day. At the 
present time Zavah is more commonly the name of the district, 
the town being generally known as Turbat-i-Haydarf, or 'the 
Tomb of Haydar,' and the shrine is still a place of pilgrimage 2 . 

To the east of the Zavah district, and in the north-east corner 
of Ktihistan, near the Herat river, was the district of Zam or Jam, 
of which the chief town was in the 4th (loth) century known as 
Bftzjan. This was a considerable city, and 180 villages were of 

1 Mst. 183. SAd/t Ndmahj Turner Macan, iv. 1067, eight lines from below. 
Kaz. h. 297, where the name is by mistake pnnted Kishm. The account in 
Kazvini (i3th century A.D.) of course only represents the tradition. There is 
nothing about the Kishmar cypress in Tabari or apparently in any of the earlier 
Arab chronicles. An amplified version of the story will be found in the 
DabtstAH) a work of the i6th century A.D. (transl. by Shea and Troyer, i. 
306309). The cypress of Zoroaster is reckoned to have been 1450 years 
old. It is possibly the origin of Marco Polo's 'Arbre Sol which we Christians 
call Arbre Sec.' Yule, Marco Polo, i. 131. 

2 Muk. 319. Yak. ii. 770, 910. Kaz. ii. 256. I. B. iii. 79. Mst. 188. 
Sir F. Goklsmid, Eastern Persia^ i. 353. 

xxv] KCr'HisrAN. 357 

its dependencies. The name Btizjdn was pronounced Bftzkan by 
the Persians, and in later times it was written Ptichkan. In the 
8th (i4th) century Mustawfi describes it, under the name of Jam, 
as occupying a most fruitful and well-watered district, yielding 
much silk, for the mulberry-trees grew abundantly. The town 
was celebrated for the number of its shrines, for many holy 
men had been buried here, and Ibn Batutah specially names 
the saintly Shihab-ad-Din Ahmad-al-Jimi, whose descendants had 
come to own much land in the neighbourhood. The saint indeed 
was so celebrated that Timflr, at the close of the 8th (i4th) 
century, visited his shrine in person, and at the present day the 
town, which is still a flourishing place, is commonly known as 
Shaykh Jim 1 . 

The district of Bakharz, or Guwakharz, lies to the south of 
Jim, and to the westward of the Herat river, which here takes its 
northern course. The chief town of Bakharz was Milin, which 
from the distances in the Itineraries would appear to have been 
identical in position with the modern city of Shahr-i-Naw, ' New 
Town,' and in the 4th (roth) century it was already a populous 
place. From here both corn and grapes were exported, and cloth- 
stuffs were also manufactured. YaMt explains that the name 
Bakharz had originally, in Persian, been Bad-Harzah^ ' the place 
where the wind blows/ and he mentions Jawdhakan as among its 
chief villages, of which 128 might be counted round and about 
Malin. Mustawfi, who gives the name of the chief town as 
Malan, expatiates on its fertility, and especially refers to the 
* long melon ' of this country, which was famous throughout 
Khurasan 2 . 

South-west of Bakharz is the district of Khwaf (earlier Khwab), 
surrounding the chief town of the same name. Khwaf in the 
4th (loth) century was famous for its raisins and pomegranates. 
Saltimak, later written Salim, had in early times been the largest 
town of the district, of which San Jin (or Sankan) and Kharjird 
were two other important cities. Under the form Kharkird the 

1 I. K. 24. I. R. 171. Ykb. 278. I. H. 313. Muk. 319, 321. Yak. i. 
756; ii. 909; iii. 890. Mst. 188, 197. I. B. iii. 75. A. Y. ii. 211, 229. 
C. E. Yate, Khurasan and Sistan^ p. 37. 

2 Muk. 319. Yak. i. 458; ii. 145; iv. 398. Mst. 187. 


latter town is mentioned oy Ibn Hawkal, who also names Farkird 
(written Farjird or Faljird by Yaktit) as lying one march to the 
east of it, while Kilstiy or Kfistiyah was nearer the Herat river, 
and to the north of Farkird. Of these three towns Kftsuy was 
the largest, being a third of the size of the neighbouring 
city of Bftshanj in Khurasan, to be described later, to which 
province many authorities count all three places to belong. 
The town of Kflstiy possessed many good houses of unburnt 
brick, and the other two towns, though small, had fine gardens 
and abundant irrigation. Yakflt also mentions Sirawand and 
Laz as places of importance in his day in the Khwaf 
district, but their position is unknown. Mustawfi praises the 
grapes, melons, pomegranates, and figs of Khwaf, and states that 
much silk was produced in the district. He names the three 
towns of Salam, Sanjan, and Zawzan ('or Ztizan) as the chief 
centres of population in the 8th (i4th) century. Zftzan when 
Mukaddas! wrote was already famous- for its wool- workers, and it 
was an important point in the road system, for it communicated 
with Kayin, Satem (Salftmak), and Farjird. Yakilt calls Zftzan 
' a little Basrah ' for its trade, and refers to it as a shrine of the 
Magians. Around it lay 124 important villages 1 . 

In this central part of Ktihistan, Mustawfi, writing in the 8th 
(i4th) century, mentions a number of places which are still found 
on the map, but which do not occur in the works of the earlier Arab 
geographers. He refers to the district of Zirkfth, * Foot-hills/ as 
most fertile, producing corn and cotton, which with its silk 
manufactures were largely exported. This is still the name of 
the hill country south of Zuzan and east of Kayin, and Mustawff 
mentions its three chief towns, Sharakhs, Isfad, and Istind, which 
exist to this day. To the north-west of Kayin is the district the 
name of which is written Dasht-Biyad, meaning ' the White Plain,' 
which the Persians at the present day pronounce Dasht-i-Piyaz. 
Its chief town was Faris, and Mustawfi, who praises its nuts and 
almonds, says it was the Yaylik, or summer quarters, of the people 
of Tito and Junabad. 

1 1st. 267. I. H. 313, 319. I. R. 171. Vkb. 278. Muk. 298, 308, 319, 
321. Yak. ii. 486, 958; iii. 910; iv. 341. Mj>t. 188. For the present 
condition of these places see C. . Yate, Khurasan and Sis tan, 128, 129. 

xxv] KOHisrAN. 359 

This last place, now generally called Gunabad, is a considerable 
town lying to the north-east of Tfln. It is named by Ibn Hawkal 
Yunabidh, and by Mukaddasi Junawad, and there are some other 
variants. It was a large place in the 4th (xotK) century, with clay- 
brick houses, and the 70 villages round it were well watered by 
artificial irrigation. Yakflt gives the name as commonly pro- 
nounced Gunabidh, for Junabidh. Mustawfl records that its two 
strong castles, each on a hill, aad on either hand of the town, 
were called Kal'ah Khawashir and Kal'ah Darjan respectively, 
and from their heights the neighbouring villages, and the desert 
beyond them, were clearly seen. The sand here, he remarks, did 
not blow into and invade the garden lands of Gun&bad, as was 
the case elsewhere in Ktihistan. The water-supply was from 
underground channels, described as often four leagues in length, 
coming from springs in the hill-flank, and the terminal shafts or 
wells at the fountain-head, were, he avers, sometimes as much as 
700 ells (gez) in depth. Much silk was manufactured here, and 
corn was exported. Some thirty miles to the north-west of 
Gunabad, and a like distance due north of Tim, is the small town 
of Bajistan, which appears to be first mentioned by Yafctit, who 
speaks of it as a village in his day ; and to this Mustawfi adds 
that it resembled Tftn, but gives no further details 1 . 

There were, and still are, two towns called Tabas in Kdhistin, 
and for this reason the name often appears in the Arab geo- 
graphers under the dual form of Jabasayn. Moreover the name 
Tabasayn, in error, is sometimes applied to one or other of 
these two towns, the dual form for the single place. The Arab 
geographers, however, clearly distinguish between the two towns, 
calling one Date Tabas, the other Tabas of the Jujube-tree, or 

Tabas of the Date Tabas-at-Tamr was on the border of the 
Great Desert, where many of the roads crossing it came in, and 

1 Dasht-Biyad, or Dasht-i-Piyaz, is a composite name, Persian and Arabic, 
very unusual in the nomenclature of Persia. If the last word be really the 
Arabic Biyad it seems likely that the Persians soon forgot its meaning 'White,' 
and took it to be a proper name. I. H. 335. Muk. 319, 320, 322. Mst. 183, 
184. Yak. i. 497; ii. no; iv. 106. Paris at the present time is generally 
known as Kal'ah Kuhnah, 'the Old Castle.' Bellew, Indus to Tigris, p. 329. 


hence BalAdhurf names it 'the Gate of Khur4s&n.' According to 
Ibn Hawfcal, the town was in the 4th (loth) century a somewhat 
smaller place than Klyin, and it had strong fortifications. The 
chief feature of the district was the forest of date palms that grew 
here, for being on the desert border the climate was very hot, 
and the water-supply from underground channels was abundant. 
Mufcaddasi speaks of its fine mosque, and of a great tank for storing 
the drinking-water. There were also excellent hot baths. ' It is 
(he adds) the only place in Kflhis&n where there are trees and 
a running stream ; and for the distance of a day's journey thence 
I passed through villages and palm-groves with running water- 

Nisir-i-Khusraw, who passed through Tabas in 444 (1052), 
speaks of it as a fine, populous town, unwalled, but enclosed in 
its gardens and palm-groves. It was then governed with a strong 
hand, so that all the neighbourhood was perfectly safe, by a certain 
Abu-1-FIasan ibn Muhammad Gilaki ' the native Gllan 'and to 
distinguish this from the other Tabas, it appears in later days to 
have been called Tabas Gilaki, after this famous governor, who, 
from what Nasir writes, must have been known far and wide for 
the vigour of his rule. In the second half of the sth (nth) century 
Tabas passed into the hands of the Ismailian heretics, and in 494 
(1102) the town was besieged and in part destroyed by the army 
sent against the Assassins by Sultan Sanjar the Saljftk. Yakftt and 
Mustawfi both refer to Tabas of the Date as Tabas Gilaki, and 
the latter authority notices the place both in his account of the 
Great Desert, and when describing Kfthistan. Besides dates, 
both lemons and oranges flourished here as they did nowhere 
else in all Khuris&n, and the water of the neighbouring spring 
flowed in sufficient abundance to turn two mills. A strong for- 
tress protected the town and the numerous villages lying around 
the place 1 . 

On the desert border north of Tabas, and about half-way to 
Turshiz, was the village of Bann, possessing a population of 500 
males when Ibn Hawkal wrote, and this place was apparently 
identical with the stage of Afridfln mentioned by Ibn Khur- 

1 Baladhuri, 403. I. H. 324, 325. Muk. 311, 322. N. K. 94. Yak. iii. 
5*3 5*4; iv. 333- Mst. 183, 184. Ibn-al-Athir, x. 221. 


dadbih. Ibn Hawkal apparently mentions in his itinerary another 
village called Bann (Bann Ukhri), but by the distances given the 
two stages, if not identical, must have had reference merely to two 
neighbouring villages of the same name. At the present day Bann 
is represented by Dih Niband (not to be confounded with the 
oasis in the desert of that name described on p. 325). It was 
an important point where one of the desert roads from Jarmak 
entered Ktihistan 1 . 

Some three leagues to the south-east of Tabas, on the edge 
of the desert where the Shftr road from Ktihbanan came in, 
was Kurt or Kurin, which Baladhuri mentions as one of the 
two fortresses of Tabas, which it would appear might justify 
the name of Tabasayn being given to Date Tabas alone. Ibn 
Hawkal describes Kuri as a meeting point of many roads, where 
stood a village of a thousand men with many farms. Kurin, as 
Mukaddasi spells the name, was a smaller place than Tabas ; and 
of its dependencies being 12 leagues from Tabas and 20 from 
Tiin was the village of Ar-Rakkah. This last place, when Nasir-i- 
Khusraw visited it in 444 (1052), had grown to be a fine town, 
with a Friday Mosque surrounded by numerous well-irrigated 
gardens. About three marches to the south-east of Tabas were 
the two towns of Khftr and Khawst, which respectively were the 
terminal stages of the two roads across the desert from Rlvar and 
Khabis in Kirman (see pp. 327, 328). Khftr, according to Ibn 
Hawfcal, was smaller than Tabas, but had a Friday Mosque; 
the water-supply was scanty and there were hardly any gardens. 
The place, too, according to Mukaddasi, was unfortified. 

Khawst on the other hand, though in the 4th (roth) century 
it had no Friday Mosque, was a place of greater importance. It 
was well fortified, with a castle to defend it, and the clay-brick 
houses of the town were surrounded by small gardens, though 
here too the watercourses gave but a poor supply. Mukaddasi 
says the town was larger but less populous than Tun ; there were 
but few trees, and behind it rose the arid hills of KtihistJin. Yaktit 
by mistake generally spells the name Jflsf, this being a clerical error 
for Khtisf or Khftsb, which is the modem form of the name, 
first given by Mustawff. Yaktit, it is true, acknowledges his 
1 I. K. 52. 1st. 231, 236. I. H. 295. 

362 KftHISTAN. [CHAP. 

ignorance and uncertainty of the true pronunciation of the name, 
which he says is sometimes written Jftzf : but in one passage he 
rightly gives Khawst, when quoting from Mukaddasi. As just 
stated the modern spelling first appears in Mustawfi, who describes 
Khftsf as a small town, with some dependencies, watered by 
a stream which irrigated its lands, so that excellent crops were 
produced 1 . 

About 20 miles east of KMsf lies Birjand, which at the present 
day has taken the place of Kayin as the capital town of Ktihistin. 
Birjand is not mentioned, apparently, by any of the Arab geo- 
graphers before Yaktit, who in the yth (i3th) century speaks of it 
as one of the finest villages of this province. Mustawfi in the 
following century refers to it as an important provincial town, 
surrounded by many fruitful farms and villages, where, in addition 
to grapes and other fruits, an abundance of saffron was cultivated. 
Corn, however, grew badly here. A day's journey to the east of 
Birjand, is the mountain district still known as Mftminabad ' the 
Believer's Home' which Mustawfi mentions as dominated by 
a strong fortress that had formerly been in the hands of the 
Assassins. This district included many fine villages ; and 
Mustawfi especially mentions Shakhin, on a stream called the 
Fasha Rtid, which still exists some three days' march to the 
south-east of Kayin 2 . 

About 50 miles due east of Birjand is the second town of 
Tabas, known to the Arab geographers as Tabas-al-'Unnab, 'of 
the Jujube-tree,' which the Persians called Tabas Masinan. This 
town Ibn Hawkal describes in the 4th (loth) century as larger 
than Yunabidh (Gunabad, north-west of K&yin); its houses were 
built of clay bricks, but the fortifications were then in ruins, and 
there was no castle. Mukaddasi speaks of the numerous jujube- 
trees growing here. Kazvfni in the yth (i3th) century states that 
on the summit of a neighbouring hill was the village called f rivah, 
where there was a fine castle, and gardens with trees, for many 

1 JBaladhuri, 403. 1st. 232, 274. I. H. 291, 325. Muk. 321, 322. Yak. 
ii. 152; iv. 23, 270. Mst. 184. N. K. 94. 

3 Yak. i. 783. Mst. 184. Sykes, Persia, pp. 305, 306. Major Sykes, who 
spells the name Shahkin, speaks of an ancient fort near this, possibly that 
mentioned as formerly held by the Assassins. 


streams flowed near the place. Mustawfi remarks of Tabas 
Masinan that the water-supply of the town lands during a drought 
would hold out for 70 days, while the outlying districts only had 
sufficient water for seven days. He relates that there was here 
a pit or well, at the bottom of which the earth was poisonous, so 
that if anyone by chance swallowed thereof even as much as 
a grain of millet seed, he forthwith died ; hence the water from 
this well had been carefully closed off. There was another pit 
or well here which in winter swallowed up all inflowing water, 
and in summer gave forth continuously enough water to irrigate 
all the neighbouring lands ; and there was also a third well, he 
says, where, when anyone looked down into it, the image of a fish 
could be seen. At the present day Tabas Masinan, still bearing 
this distinctive name, is an important place, being also known as 
Sunni-khanah (the House of the Sunnis), for it is now inhabited 
almost exclusively by Afghan Sunnis. About 60 miles south of 
1 abas of the Jujube-tree, is the village of Duruh, where there is 
an ancient fortress on the neighbouring hill -top. Duruh is ap- 
parently not mentioned by the earlier geographers. It is first 
described by Mustawfi, who speaks of Kal'ah Duruh as being 
a very strong place, with a spring of water welling up within the 
castle precincts. Jujube-trees and corn grew abundantly in the 
vicinity, with grapes and other fruit in less profusion. 

The products of Ktihistan were few in number. Mulcaddast 
states briefly that these highlands were famous for their carpets 
and prayer rugs, also for white cloth-stuffs, similar to those that 
were made in Ntehapflr 1 . 

What is known about the high roads crossing Kfthistan will be 
more conveniently dealt with in a later chapter in connection with 
the roads through Khurasan. Mufcaddasi and other authorities 
mention the total distances, by the day's march, between the 
various towns in Kflhistan : but the stages in leagues are not 
given ; and there appear to have been few direct routes crossing 
this mountainous province. 

1 I. H. 32$. Muk. 321, 3*4. Yak. iii. 513, 514. Kaz. ii. *o*. Mst. 184. 
Sykes, Persia, 396, 397. 



The province of Kumis. Damghan. Bistam. Biyar. Samnan and Khuvar. 
The Khurasan road through Kumis. The province of Tabaristan or 
Mazandaran. Amul. Sariyah. Mount Damavand, with the districts of 
Fadiisban, Karin, and Rubanj. Ftruzkiih, and other castles. Natil, 
Salus, and the Ruyan district. The fortress of Tak and the Rustamdar 
district. Mamtfr and Tamisah. Kabud Jamah and the Bay of Nfm 
Murdan. The province of Gurgan or Jurjan. The river Jurjan and the 
river Atrak. Jurjan city, and Astarabad. The port of Abaskiin. The 
Dihistan district, and Akhur. The high roads through Tabaristan and 

The small province of Ktimis stretches along the foot of the great 
Alburz chain of mountains which will be described below, and 
these heights bound it to the north, its fertile lands forming a 
narrow strip lying between the foot-hills and the Great Desert 
to the south. The Khurasan road traverses the province 
from end to end, going from Ray in the Jibal province to 
Nishapur in Khurasan, and the chief towns of Kumis are, so to 
speak, strung along this line. At the present day the name 
Ktimis is become obsolete. The province is included for the most 
part within the limits of modern Khurasan, while its extreme 
western end forms an outlying district of Ray or modern Tihran 1 . 
The capital town of the province was Damghan, which the 
Arabs wrote Ad-Damghan, and which in accordance with their 
usage is often referred to as Kftmis (sc. Madtnah Kflmis, 'the 

1 For the map of these provinces see p. 185, Map v. Muk. 353. Yak. 
iv. 203. Mst. 191. The Arab spelling was Kumis (with dotted k), the Persian 
form is Kumis; Mustawft, however, calls it Diyar Kumis, 'the Lands of 


City of K Amis'), the capital thus taking to itself the nrme of the 
province. Damghan, according to Ibn Hawkal, had a paucity 
of water-supply, and hence little cultivation, but the inhabitants 
manufactured excellent cloth-stuffs which were largely exported. 
Mukaddasi reports Damghan to have fallen much to ruin at the 
end of the 4th (loth) century; but it was. well fortified, and had 
three gates, of which he names two, the Bab-ar-Ray and the Bab 
Khurasan. He says that there weje two markets, the upper and the* 
lower ; and a fine Friday Mosque stood in the main street, with 
water tanks Mike those of Marv.' The extraordinary windiness of 
the town is mentioned by all the later authorities. Yakut and 
others state that there was a ceaseless wind blowing down from 
a neighbouring valley, so that the trees of Damghan were always 
waving about. Within the city was a great building, dating from 
the days of the Chosroes, which divided the waters flowing to 
Damghan into 120 channels for irrigation purposes. Excellent 
pears were grown in the town gardens. The walls of Damghan, 
Mustawfi reports, were 10,000 paces in circuit. Yakitt adds that 
one day's journey from Damghan (three leagues according to 
Mustawfi) up in the mountains, and visible from the town, was the 
great castle of Gird-ktih, which had been a celebrated fortress of 
the Assassins. This, writes Mustawfi, was called Diz Gunbadan, 
'the Domed Fort/ and its district, which was very fertile, was 
known as Mansftrabad. Mustawfi further speaks of a gold mine 
in the hills near Damghan at Kith Zar (Gold Mountain), but 
the situation of the place is not given 1 . 

The second town of Ktimis, for size, was Bistam (or Bastim, 
now Bustam), which Ibn Hawkal states to have been situated 
in the most fertile region of the whole province. Its gardens 
produced abundant fruit, and Mukaddasi refers to its magnificent 
Friday Mosque, which stood ' like a fortress ' in the market-place. 
Nasir-i-Khusraw, who visited the town in 438 (1046), appears to 
regard it as the capital of the province, for he calls it the City 
of Kflmis. He refers to the tomb here, already celebrated, of 
the great Sufi Shaykh Abu Yazid, more generally known as 
Bayazid Bistami, who had died and was buried here in 260 (874), 

1 I. K. 23. Kud. 201. I. H. 271. Muk. 355, 356. Yak. ii. 539. Kaz. 
ii. 245. Mst. 191, 104. 


and whose shrine is still at the present day greatly venerated. 
Yakut, speaking from personal experience, praises the apples of 
Bistam, and says that on a neighbouring hill-top stood a great 
castle with strong walls, said to date from the days of the Chosroes, 
having been built by Shapur Dhu-1-Aktaf (Sapor II). Yakut also 
commends the markets of the city, and its general air of prosperity, 
and Ibn Batutah who visited it in the 8th (i4th) century confirms 
this account, referring also to the shrine over the tomb of the Sufi 
saint 1 . 

Four leagues from Bistam, on the road towards Astarabad, was 

the town of Khurkan, a place of some importance in the 7th and 

8th (i3th and i4th) centuries. Mustawfi refers to it as a village, 

with a good climate and plentiful water-supply, and it was famous 

for the tomb of the local saint Abu-1-Hasan Kharkani. About 50 

miles south-east of Bistam, and on the edge of the Great Desert, 

is the little town of Biyar, 'the Wells,' which is now called Biyar- 

Jumand. Mukaddas! describes it in the 4th (loth) century as 

a small town with no Friday Mosque, but possessing a castle, 

good markets, and fertile fields, where grapes and other fruits 

were produced. Camels and sheep were also numerous. A 

small mosque for daily prayers stood in the inner castle, and the 

town was fortified, having three iron gates in its walls, with a 

single gate leading to the castle precincts. Mustawfi speaks 

favourably of the temperate climate and excellent corn crops. 

Less than half-way between Damghan and Ray is the city of 

Samnan, or Simnan, on the Khurasan road, of which Mufcaddasi 

notices the fine Friday Mosque standing in the market-place, 

with its great water tanks. Mustawfi mentions the pistachios of 

Samnan as famous, and a varied abundance of fruit was grown. 

He also mentions Ahuvan, a small town lying between Samnan 

and Damghan, noteworthy for several tombs of holy men, and 

for the plentiful crops of both corn and fruit that were raised 

in its neighbourhood*. 

1 I. H. 271. Muk. 356. N. K. 3. Yak. i. 623. I. B. iii. 82. The city 
of Shahriid, a couple of miles south of Bistam, which is at the present time the 
centre of trade and population m these parts, is not mentioned by any of the 
Arab or Persian geographers, so that the Sam'-ad-Dawlah confesses he could 
not discover when it was built. Mirat-al-Buld&n^ i. 210. 

2 Muk. 356, 357. Kaz. li. 243. Yak. ii. 424. Mst. 186, 191. Khurkan 


The westernmost town of Ktimis, also on the Khurasan road, 
and the first important place east of Ray, was Khuvar, written 
Al-Khuwir by the Arabs, which Ibn liawkal in the 4th (loth) 
century describes as a pleasant little town, a quarter of a mile in 
diameter, very populous, with streams that came down from the 
great Damivand mountain flowing through its lands. Khuvar, 
he adds, was the coldest place of all Ktimis, but its fields were 
very fertile. Kazvini says that much cotton was grown here for 
export; and Mustawff records that the place was also famous 
for its corn and 'Shalttik/ or rice in the husk. To distinguish 
this from the town of the like name in Fars (see p. 279) it was 
generally spoken of as Khuvar of Ray, and it is thus mentioned in 
the campaigns of Timtir. Mustawff, further, says that this Khuvar 
was also known as Mahallah-i-Bagh 'the Garden Place' in 

Of the products of Ktimis, Mukaddasi states that a peculiarly 
valuable kind of cotton napkin was made in this province. These 
famous napkins (mandil) were woven large and small, plain and 
ribbed, with a coloured border, and of so fine a texture as to fetch 
2000 dirhams (about ;8o) apiece. Kflmis also produced woollen 
stuffs for robes, and the head-veils called taylasdn 1 . 

As we have seen, the province of Ktimis was traversed in its 
length by the great Khurasan road, and this is given in all the 
Itineraries, from Ibn Khurdadbih down to Mustawfi. Leaving 
Ray the road goes in three marches to Khuvar, one march 
beyond which was Kasr or Kariyat-al-Milh (Salt Castle or 
Village), in Persian called Dih Namak, as given by Mustawfi, 
which is its present name. The next stage, according to all the 
Itineraries, was Ris-al-Kalb, ' Dog's Head,' a name not now 
found on the map, but the situation is that of the strange 
fortress-town of Lasgird (a name wanting in all the medieval 

is the pronunciation given by Kazvtnt ; the name is identical in form (without 
vowels) with Kharrakan in the Jibal province, with which it must not be con- 

1 I. H. 270. Muk. 367. Kaz. ii. 243. Mst. 191, 196. A. Y. ii. 212. 
The site of Khuv&r is occupied at present by the town of Aradthi, but the 
surrounding district still preserves the older name, Khuvar, of its former chief 


geographers) which now crowns a bluff overlooking the desert 
plain. Samndn is one long march beyond this, and Dimghin 
(which the earlier Itineraries give as Ktimis) again one long 
march to the eastward. One march beyond Damghan was Al- 
Haddadah (the Forge), which in Mustawff is given under the 
alternative name of MihrMn-Dftst (' Guest Friend '). From here it 
was a day's march up to Bistam ; or keeping the lower road the 
stage was at the post-house, lying two leagues from that city, 
which was, and is still, known as the village of Badhash, from 
which you enter the province of Khurasan, going by the post-road 
to Nishaptir. Further, Mukaddasf gives the road, in 3 days' march, 
from Bistam to Biyar, and from Biyar it was 2$ leagues across the 
desert back west to Damghan *. 

Tabaristdn or Mdzandardn. 

The region of high mountains, for the most part occupied by 
what is, at the present day, known as the Alburz chain 2 lying 
along the south coast of the Caspian Sea, being to the east and 

1 I. K. 22, 23. Kud. 200, 201. I. R. 169, 170 (giving details of the 
country traversed). 1st. 215, 216. I. H. 274, 275. Muk. 371, 372. Mst. 
196. For an illustration representing modern L&sgird see H. W. Bellew, 
From the Indus to the Tigris , p. 404. In regard to Badhash it is curious that 
Yakut in his Dictionary gives the name once rightly spelt, and then again (but 
in error) under the letter n as Nadhash. Yak. i. 530; iv. 773. 

2 Alburz, now generally pronounced Elburz, is the name at the present 
time given to the great mountain range dividing the high plateau of Persia 
from the lowlands of the Caspian Sea. This name, however, appears in none 
of the earlier Arab geographers, who give no single appellation to the range. 
Alburz is Persian, and according to Vullers (Lexicon Perstco-Latinum, s.v.) 
is derived from two Zend words signifying 'High Mountain/ Mustawfl 
(p. 202), who is perhaps the first authority to mention the name, used it in 
a very vague sense. In his chapter on the mountains of Persia he says that 
Alburz is a high range that runs continuous with the mountains of Bab-al- 
Abwab (i.e. the Caucasus): 'they are indeed the great mountains which are 
continuous, and form a chain, extending for over a thousand leagues, from 
Turkistan (in Central Asia) to the Hijaz (in Arabia), so that many consider 
them to be the (fabled) mountains of Kaf (which encircled the earth) and 
on the west they adjoin the mountains of Gurjistan (Georgia). 1 For the 
Alburz peak of the Caucasus see above, p. 181. 


to the north of Ktimis, was called Tabaristln by the earlier Arab 
geographers. Tabar has the signification of 'Mountain' in the 
local dialect, whence Tabaristan would mean 'the Mountain Land.' 

In the 7th (i3th) century, about the time of the Mongol 
conquest, the name of Tabaristan appears to have fallen into 
disuse, being replaced by MazandarSn, which since that date 
has been the common appellation of this province. Some- 
times also Mazandaran was held to include the neighbouring 
province of Jurjan. Yktit, who is one of the first to mention the 
name Mizandaran, writes that he does not know exactly when it 
came into use ; and, though never found in the older books, it was 
in his day already generally current throughout the country. Prac- 
tically the terms Tabanstin and Mazandaran were then synony- 
mous, but while the former name was applied primarily to the 
high mountains, and only included in a secondary use the narrow 
strip of lowland along the sea-shore running from the delta of the 
Safid Rtid to the south-eastern angle of the Caspian, Mizandarin 
appears in the first instance to have denoted these lowlands, and 
then included the mountain region as subsidiary thereto. The 
name Tabaristan is at the present day obsolete. 

During the earlier period of the Caliphate this province 
was politically of little importance, and it was in fact the last 
portion of the Sassanian kingdom to accept Islam. For more 
than a century after the Arab conquest of the rest of Persia the 
native rulers called the Ispahbads of Tabaristan were inde- 
pendent in their mountain fastnesses, and until the middle of 
the 2nd (8th) century their coinage continued to be struck with 
Pahlavi legends, and the Zoroastrian faith was dominant throughout 
the forests and fens of the great mountain range. In the 4th (loth) 
century, according to Mukaddasi, garlic, rice, and flax, with water- 
fowl and fish, were the chief products of the country, which, unlike 
the rest of Persia, had an abundant rainfall. At a later date, 
according to Kazvini, sericulture flourished, silk being plentifully 
exported. Wool-stuffs, carpets, veils, napkins, and cloth-stuffs 
were also largely manufactured, and various woods were cut in 
the forests, especially box-wood and that called Khalanj, of which 
arrows, bowls, and other utensils, were made. The houses in 
fabaristin were built of wood and reeds, for, as Ibn Hawl^al 


remarks, the rains were heavy, both summer and winter. They 
were built with domed roofs for the like reason l . 

The capital of Tabaristan under the later Abbasids was Amul, 
though the Tahirid governor, in the 3rd (9th) century, had 
generally resided at Sariyah. Amul, according to Ibn Hawkal, 
was in his day a larger place than Kazvin and very populous. 
Mukaddasi describes the town as possessing a hospital (Bimar- 
istan) and two Friday Mosques one, the Old Mosque, standing 
among trees on the market-place, the New Mosque being near 
the city wall. Each mosque had a great portico. The merchants 
of Amul did much trade. Rice was grown plentifully in the 
country round, and a large river which ran through the town was 
used for the irrigation of the fields. To this description Yaktit 
adds no new details, but Mustawfi, remarking on the hot, damp 
climate, says that dates, grapes, nuts, oranges, shaddocks, and 
lemons grew here abundantly, and the fragrant essences made in 
the city were celebrated far and wide. The port of Amul, where its 
river flowed out into the Caspian, was the small town of 'Ayn-al- 
Humro, a name which Yakflt writes Ahlum, and describes as of 
no great size. Timtir ravaged Amul at the close of the 8th (i4th) 
century, destroying the three castles of Mahanah Sar, which lay 
four leagues distant from the city towards the sea-coast. 

The second, and the earlier, capital of Tabaristan was Sariyah, 
now called Sari, which lies to the eastward of Amul. Mukaddasi 
describes Sariyah as a populous place where much cloth was 
manufactured, and its markets were famous. There was a small 
castle with a ditch, and a Friday Mosque where a fine orange-tree 
grew, also an immense fig-tree on the town bridge. The bridges 
of boats here were renowned. Of Sariyah in later times little is 
reported; it suffered much in the 7th (i3th) century during the 
Mongol invasion, and when Mustawfi wrote was almost a complete 
ruin, though its lands produced an abundance of grapes and corn, 
and silk was still manufactured from the produce of the worms 
reared here 2 . 

1 I. H. 270, 271. Muk. 354. Kaz. ii. 270. Yak. in. 502. For the 
word Tabar, see above, p. 217. 

2 I. H. 271, 272, 275. Muk. 354, 359. Yak. i. 354, 409. Mst. 109. 
A. Y. i. 391, 571. A. F. 437. 


The great mountain of Damavand dominates the whole of 
Tabaristan, and its snow-capped summit is visible from the plains 
of Persia a hundred miles and more to the south of Tihran 
Mustawfi even says from a hundred leagues distant, and he notes 
that the peak was always covered with snow. In Persian legend 
Dunbavand, as the name is written by the earlier authorities, 
figures as the home of the Simurgh, the fabulous bird which nursed 
and protected Zal, the father of Rustam, and Mustawfi relates a 
number of romantic stories in connection with the national hero. 
According to Ibn Hawkal the great mountain was visible from 
Savah, 'rising up like a dome in the midst of the other high 
mountains,' and he was of opinion that no one had ever climbed 
to the summit, from which, he adds, smoke was always seen to 
issue. Magicians much frequented it, and many legends were 
told of it, relating more especially how that ancient tyrant of 
Persia, Ad-Duhhak (Zuhak), still lived in its recesses. 

Damavand gave its name both to a small town lying on its 
southern spurs, which Mustawfi writes was also called Pishyan, 
and to the broad fertile district spreading round its flanks. Of 
this district, in the 4th (loth) century, the chief town was Wimah, 
which with the neighbouring town of Shalanbah, are described 
by Ibn Hawkal as places famous for their corn lands and vine- 
yards. Yakat, who had passed through Wimah (or Waymah) 
and found it a ruin, states that the castle of Firflzktih was 
visible from it. This latter castle he had also visited, and Mus- 
tawfi records that it took its water from the head of the stream 
that flowed out to the plain through Khuvar of Ray in Kftmis. 
Firtizktih was one of the castles of Mazandaran which are men- 
tioned as having been besieged and taken by Timur. Another 
equally famous fortress on the slopes of Damavand was the castle 
of Usttinavand, or Ustunabad, which, according to Kazvini, had 
never been taken for 3000 years, till in 613 (1216) the Mongols 
stormed it. Yakut, who says it was also called Jarhud and lay 
10 leagues distant from Ray, describes it as having been the 
stronghold of the ancient Magian ruler of the country, the 
Ispahbad. The last of the line, he adds, was overthrown here 
by Yahya the Barmecide, who carried captive the daughters of 
the Persian chief to Baghdad, where one of them, called 


Bahriyyah, married the Caliph Manstir and became the mother of 
Mahdi, the father of Hirftn-ar-Rashid. At a later date this great 
fortress, which had been restored in 350 (961) by Fakhr-ad-Dawlah 
the Buyid, fell into the hands of the Assassins '. 

The medieval geographers mention the names of many for- 
tresses and towns in Tabaristan which are no longer to be 
found on the map, having been brought to ruin either in the 
Mongol invasion of the ;th (i3th) century, or else stormed 
and destroyed by Tlmur, who ravaged Mazandaran more than 
once at the close of the 8th (i4th) century. Moreover, the 
names of most of these lost towns and fortresses not occurring 
in the Itineraries, it is impossible to mark their position, even 
approximately, on the map. Ibn Hawkal in the 4th (loth) century 
describes three mountain districts, well wooded and very fertile, 
which lay south of Sariyah, about a day's march from this town, 
and stretching westward towards the frontier of Daylam, in the 
province of Gilan. The first of these was the Jabal Fadusban, 
the Mountains of Badftsban (in the Persian form of the word), 
this being the name of the ruling family, who as semi-independent 
chiefs held these districts for nearly 800 years, namely from the 
time of the Moslem conquest down to the Mongol invasion The 
whole of this mountain district was covered with villages, of which 
the largest was named Kariyat Mans Or, * Manser's Village/ and 
another was Uram Khast or Uram Khastah with an upper and 
a lower village, these places all lying about a day's march from 
Sariyah, but throughout the mountain side there was no town of 
sufficient size to have a Friday Mosque. 

Adjoining Fadftsban was the mountain district called the 
Jabal Karin after the famous family of this name, which it is said 
was of Parthian origin ; in any case the names of nobles of the 
Karin occur in the history of the Sassanians, and in Moslem 
times they still governed this district. The great fortress strong- 
hold of the Karins, which they had held since Sassanian times, 
was at Firrim, and the chief centre of population was at the town 
of Sihmar (or Shihmar) where there was the only Friday Mosque 

1 1st. 202. I. H. 265, 270, 271. Muk. 392. Kaz. ii. 195 Yak. i. 243, 
244; iii. 930; iv. 944. Mst. 191, 203, 204. A. Y. ii. 577. Ftrfizkfth still 
exists, but the site of Ustdnavand appears to be unknown. 


of all this region. The position of Firrim, unfortunately, is not 
exactly given in any of the Itineraries It is mentioned by Yafctit, 
and also in the 8th (i4th) century by Mustawfi, who speaks of it 
as lying on the borders of Ktimis. The third mountain region 
was the Jabal-ar-Rubanj, lying north of Ray, and therefore nearer 
to the Daylam frontier. Of this no towns or villages are men- 
tioned, but it is said to have been extremely fertile and well 
watered, the mountain slopes being covered with trees and 
thickets 1 . 

One day's march, or five leagues, to the west of Amul, in the 
plain near the coast, was the town of Natil or Natilah, and a like 
distance further to the west of this was Salus, or Shaltis, which 
Mukaddasi describes as a city having a castle built of stone, with 
a Friday Mosque adjoining. The name was also spelt Saltish, 
and near it lay two other towns, namely Al-Kabfrah and Kajjah. 
In the accounts of the campaigns of Timftr Shalfls is written 
JalOs, and all this country appears to have been permanently 
ruined during his wars, together with the mountainous region to 
the south, namely Rtiyan and Rustamdar*. 

The city of Kalar, which Yaktit seems to think was identical 
with the above-mentioned Kajjah, was one march from Shalfts, 
but in the mountains and from Kalar it was one march on to 
the Daylam frontier. There is some confusion in the names, 
but Kalar, Kajjah, and Ruyan appear all to refer to neighbouring 
towns, if not to one and the same town, and Rftyan further was 
the name of one of the great districts in the mountains on the 

1 1st. 205, 206. I. H. 268, 269. Yak. i. 212; iii. 324, 890. Mst. ipr. 
For Fadusban the reading Kdditsiy&n has been wrongly printed in the texts 
of Istakhri and other geographers by a shifting of the diacritical points, and 
hence these people have often been supposed to represent the ancient Cadusii 
of Strabo ; see Ndldeke, Geschtchte der Perser und Araber zur Zeit der Sassa- 
niden, p 151, note 2, \\ho explains that under the Sassanians the Badusban 
were the civil governors of the district, as against the Ispahbads, who were the 
military commanders of this, the frontier province. See also Justi, Iranisches 
Namenbttch^ p. 156, s.v. * Karen/ and p. 245, s.v. 'Patkospan.' For the list 
of the Badusbin chiefs in Moslem times see G. Melgunof, Das sudliche Ufer 
des Kaspischen Metres, p. 50, and for the Karin chiefs, idem, p. 52. 

2 I. H. 275. Muk. 359. I. F. 305. Yak. iii. 13, 237, 504; iv. 726. 
A. Y. i. 391. ShalQs is said to be only eight leagues from Ray, but this must 
be a mistake if it lay on or near the shore of the Caspian. 


western border of Tabaristdn. Abu-1-Fidi says that the city of 
Rtiyin was also known as Sharistan, and that it crowned the 
summit of the pass 16 leagues from Kazvin. According to Yakut 
Ruyan was the capital city of the mountain district of Tabaristan, 
just as Amul was of the lowland plains ; it had fine buildings and 
its gardens were famous for their productiveness. Near Ruyin 
(or Kalar) was the little town of Sa'idibad. 

The great fortress of Tak (the Arch) on the frontier of 
Daylam, and the last refuge of the Ispahbad prince of Tabaristlln 
who was conquered in the time of the Caliph Mansur, must have 
been situated in this district of Ruyin. The place is described 
at some length both by Yakut and Kazvini, who quote older 
writers. Tak was deemed an impregnable stronghold, and had 
existed since the days of the Sassanian kings of Persia. It was 
situated high up in the mountains, and was only reached by a 
tunnel a mile long (it is said) which had been pierced through 
the encircling cliffs. The tunnel led to an open valley surrounded 
by precipices in which were many caverns, and from one of these 
a powerful spring gushed out, and after flowing a short distance 
disappeared into the depths of a neighbouring cave. Yakut adds 
a long account of the wonders of this place. 

At the head-waters of the great Shah Rud the eastern 
affluent of the Safid Rud (see above, p. 170) lay the district 
of Rustamdar, which Mustawfi describes as comprising near 
300 villages, and this country, which was watered by the numerous 
tributaries of the Shah Rud, thus lay between Kazvin and Amul, 
and to the eastward of the Ruyan district. On the Shah Riid, as 
already described in Chapter XV, p. 221, were the chief castles of 
the Ismailians or Assassins, and probably in this Rustamdar district 
also was Kalam, described by Yakut as an ancient fortress of 
Tabaristan, which had been in the hands of these sectaries, and 
was destroyed by Sultan Mubammad, son of Malik Shah the 
Saljfifc 1 . 

Two leagues to the eastward of Amul, and on the coast road, 
lay the town of Milah, and three leagues beyond this Barji, which 
was one march from Sariyah. The city of Mamtir or Mamatir, 

1 I. H. 275. Yak. ii. 873; in. 93, 490, 504; iv. 240, 296, 297. Kaz. ii. 
238. A. F. 435. Mst. 190. 


one march from either Amul or Sariyah, and six leagues from the 
coast, is identical with the later Barfartish. It had a Friday 
Mosque, Yafctit says, and much fertile land lay adjacent to 
the city. Near Sariyah, and probably to the eastward, were 
the towns called Namiyah (or Namishah), with a fine district, 
20 leagues from Sariyah, and Mihrawan, 10 leagues from Sariyah, 
where there was a Friday Mosque and a garrison of 1000 
men, but unfortunately the exact position of these two places is 
quite uncertain. On the eastern frontier of Tabaristan, and three 
marches from Sariyah, on the road to Astarabaxl, from which it was 
one march distant, lay the town of Tamfs, or Tamisah, standing 
on the great causeway across the marshes which, according to 
Yakfit, had been built to carry the high road by King Anftshirwan 
the Just 1 . 

At the south-east angle of the Caspian is the Bay of Ashuradah, 
as it is now named, where a long spit of sand stretches out east- 
ward till it almost reaches the Jurjan coast. This bay with its 
island or peninsula is described by Mustawfi under the name of 
Nim Murdan. The settlement here was very populous in the 
8th (i4th) century, and was a harbour for ships from all parts of 
the Caspian. The port was but three leagues distant from 
Astarabad, and the town behind it which carried on a brisk 
trade was called Shahrabad. The neighbouring district, which 
produced a great deal of silk, and where corn lands and vineyards 
abounded, was known as Kabtid Jamah. It had been a very 
rich country, but was entirely ruined by the wars of Timih at the 
close of the 8th (i4th) century. The city of RiVad, or Rtighad, 
which is also mentioned as passed by Timtir on his march into 
Mazandaran, was probably of the Kabftd Jamah district. It was, 
says Mustawfi, a fair-si/^d town, being -4000 paces in circuit, and 
it stood in the midst of many fertile lands, where much corn and 
cotton, besides various fruits, were grown in abundance. 

Of the products of Tabaristan, besides the commodities already 

1 I. H. 275. Yak. iii. 503, 504, 547; iv. 398, 642, 699, 733. The earliest 
mention of Bar far fish, under the form Barah Farush Dih ('the Village where 
Loads are Sold '), occurs in Haft Ikltm of Ahmad Razl, a work of the icth 
(i6th) century; see Dorn, Afuhammedantscke Quellen, iv. p. 99 of the 
Persian text. 


referred to on page 369, Mukaddasi mentions fine cloth for robes, 
and stuffs for the taylasan veils, also coarse linen cloths that were 
woven largely for export. Of natural products the Khalanj wood 
already named was cut and sent away in the rough to be made 
into bowls and other utensils by the craftsmen in Ray. The 
Khalanj is described as a tree that produced a variegated and 
sweet-smelling wood, of which the beads of chaplets were some- 
times made, and the best kind grew only on the Tabaristan 
mountains 1 . 


The province of, Jurjan, or Gurgan, as the Persians pronounced 
the name, lying at the south-eastern corner of the Caspian, con- 
sisted for the most part of the broad plains and valleys watered 
by the two rivers Jurjan and Atrak. In earlier days it was 
always held to be a province by itself, though dependent on 
Khurasan, but after the changes brought about by the Mongol 
conquest, it was annexed politically to Mazandaran. Like other 
districts near the southern shore of the Caspian it was overrun 
and devastated by the Mongol hordes in the yth (i3th) century, 
and then again by Timtir at the close of the 8th (i4th) century. 

Jurjan, as Mukaddasi writes, being rich in streams, its plains 
and hills were covered with orchards producing dates, oranges, and 
grapes in abundance. The most important river of the province 
was that generally called by its name, the Jurjin river, which 
Mukaddasi in the 4th (xoth) century states was then known as 
the river Tayfftri. The river Atrak he does not name. In the 
8th (i4th) century Mustawfi gives the name as the Ab-i-Jurjan, 
and says that the Jurjan river rose in the valley of Shahr-i-Naw 
(New Town), whence, passing through the plain of Sultan Darin, 
it reached the city of Jurjan, past which it flowed, and thence 
entered the Caspian, near the island of Abaskftn in the bay of 
Nim Murdan. Throughout its course the stream was deep, almost 

1 Muk. 367. Mst. 190, 191. J. N. 339, 341. A. V. i. 349. The forms 
of Ashuradah Bay and of the peninsula have of course changed greatly 
since the i4th century, when Mustawff wrote, and the exact sites of the town 
and port are unknown. 


unfordable, so that travellers were often drowned in crossing it ; 
and in flood-time its waters were carried off by channels and used 
up in irrigation, though much always ran to waste. 

The river Atrak is a longer stream than the Juijin, and 
rises in the plains of Khurasan, between Nisi and Khabtishan, 
near the sources of the Mashhad river, which latter flows off 
south-east, and in the opposite direction. The Atrak is very deep 
and like the Jurjan mostly unfordable, as Mustawfi writes, and 
flowing along by the Dihistan frontier, on the northern side of 
the Jurjan province, reaches the Caspian after a course of nearly 
120 leagues. The name Atrak is said to be merely a plural form 
of the word Turk, and the River of the Turks was so called from 
those who once lived on its banks. No name, however, appears 
to be given to this stream by any of the earlier Arab geographers, 
and Mustawfi in the 8th (i4th) century is one of the first to call 
it the Atrak, by which appellation it is still known l . 

The capital of Jurjan is the city of the same name, at the 
present day called Min Gurgan, which Ibn Hawkal in the 4th 
(loth) century describes as a fine town, built of clay bricks, 
enjoying a far drier climate than Amul, for less rain fell in Jurjan 
than in Tabaristan. The city consisted of two parts, one on 
either side of the Jurjan river, which was here traversed by a bridge 
of boats, and Jurjan was more properly the name of the eastern 
half of the town. On the west side lay Bakribad, the suburb, and 
the two parts of the city together, according to the description of 
Ibn Hawkal, who had been here, were nearly as large as Ray. 
The fruit from the gardens round was abundant, and silk was 
produced in great quantities. The main quarter of Jurjan, that on 
the east bank, Mukaddasi calls Shahrastin ; it had fine mosques 
and markets, where the pomegranates, olives, water-melons, and 
egg-plants, with oranges, lemons, and grapes of the neighbouring 
gardens were sold cheaply, and were all of superexcellent flavour. 
The town was intersected by canals, crossed by arched bridges or 
by planks laid on boats. A Maydan, or public square, faced the 

1 Muk. 354, 367. Mst. 212, 213. J. N. 341. Hfz. 32 a. The name 
Atrak is written (and pronounced) with the second vowel short, while the 
plural of Turk is Atrak ; hence the usual explanation of the name is probably 


governor's palace, and this quarter of the town had nine gates. 
The defect of Jurjan was the great heat of its climate, and the 
flies were numerous, as well as other insects, especially bugs of a 
size so large as commonly to be known as ' the wolves ' (Gurgan). 
Bakrabadh, as Mukaddasi spells the name, was also a populous 
city with its own mosques, and the buildings extended back for 
a considerable distance from the river, and for some distance 
along its western bank. 

When Kazvini wrote in the yth (i3th) century Jurjan was 
famous among the Shi'ahs for the shrine called Gftr-i-Surkh, 
1 the Red Tomb/ said to be that of one of the descendants of 
'All, whom Mustawfi identifies as Muhammad, son of Ja'far-as- 
Sadik, the sixth Imm. Mustawfi reports that the city had been 
rebuilt by the grandson of Malik Shah the Saljflk, and that its 
walls were 7000 paces in circuit. In the 8th (i4th) century, when 
he wrote, the town lay for the most part in ruins, never having 
recovered the ravages of the Mongol invasion. He praises, how- 
ever, the magnificent fruit grown here, and besides those kinds 
mentioned above names the jujube-tree as bearing freely here, so 
that trees which were only two or 'three years old gave good fruit, 
twice in each season. The population were all Shi'ahs in his 
time, but they were not numerous. In the year 795 (1393) Timtir, 
who had devastated ail Mazandaran and the neighbouring country, 
stopped at Jurjan and built for himself here on the banks of the 
river the great palace of Shasman, which is especially referred to 
by Hafiz Abrft l . 

The second city of the Jurjan province is Astardbad, near the 
frontier of Mazandaran. Mukaddasi describes it as a fine town 
in the 4th (roth) century, with the best climate of all the region 
round. Raw silk was its chief product, and in his day the fortress 
was already in ruin, for the Buyids had ravaged all this country 
during their wars against the Ziyarids ; and Mukaddas! adds that 

1 I. H. 272, 273. Muk. 357, 358. Kaz. ii. 235. Mst. 190. A. Y. i. 578. 
Hfz. 32 a. During the 4th (roth) century Jurjan was governed by a native 
dynasty, the Zi>ands, whose rule extended over Tabaristan and the neighbour- 
ing lands. Of these Ziyarids, one of the most famous was Kabus, who died in 
403 (1012) and whose tomb, called the Gunbad-i-Kabus, is still to be seen 
near the ruins of Jurjan city. C. E. Yate, Khurasan and Sis tan, pp. 239 241. 


there was the Friday Mosque built at the time of the first Moslem 
conquest still standing in the market-place near the city gate. 
Yiktit and Mustawfl merely confirm the above account, praising 
the climate of Astaribad and the abundant supplies, but adding 
no fresh details. The port on the Caspian of both Jurjan and 
Astarabad was at Abasktin, given as one day's march distant from 
either city, but the site would appear to have been engulfed in the 
sea during the 7th (i3th) century, following on the events of the 
Mongol invasion. Istakhri and Ibn Hawkal, writing in the 4th ( roth) 
century, describe Abasktin as a considerable market for the silk 
trade, being the border station at that time against the Turks and 
Ghuzz, and the chief port for the coasting trade of the Caspian, 
sailing towards Gilan. It was protected by a strong castle 
built of burnt brick, and the Friday Mosque was in its market- 
place. Mukaddasi writes of it as the great harbour of Jurjan,' 
and the Caspian itself, Yaktit adds, was often called the Sea of 
Abaskfln. In history Abaskun is celebrated as having been the 
final refuge of Muhammad, the last reigning Khwarizm-Shah, who, 
fleeing before the Mongol hordes, died here miserably in 617 

Six days' journey (or 50 leagues) north of Abasktin, and four 
marches from Jurjan city, was the settlement of Dihistan in the 
district of the same name, the outpost in the 4th (ioth) century 
of the Turk frontier. Ibn Hawkal speaks of Dihistan as lying 
near the Caspian shore. The only settlements were small villages, 
with some gardens, but only a sparse population. Adjacent 
was a shallow bay of the Caspian where boats anchored and 
much fishing was carried on by the coast people. The chief 
settlement was called Akhur, which Mukaddasi refers to as a city, 
surrounded by twenty-four villages, 'and these are the most 
populous of all the Jurjan province.' In Akhur was a minaret, 
or tower, which could be seen from a great distance away in 
the neighbouring desert. 

To the eastward of Akhur was Ar-Rubat, 'the Guard-house, 
an important settlement at the entrance of the desert route going 

1 1st. 213, 214. I. H. 273, 274. Muk. 358. Yak. i. 55, 242. Mst. 190, 
225. Ibn Serapion (folio 466) states that the town of Abaskun lay on the 
Jurjan river, near where it flowed out into the Caspian. Mas. Tanbih 60, 179. 


to Khwarizm. Mukaddasi speaks of it as having three gates, and 
though in his time it was for the most part in ruin, it was still 
populous, with good markets and a few well-built houses, and fine 
mosques. Of these last, the Old Mosque had been built on 
wooden pillars, Mufcaddasi says, and it was in his day half under- 
ground. Another of the mosques had a beautiful minaret. Yafcflt 
mentions these and some other places in the Dihistan district, 
namely the villages of Khartir, Farghtil, and Habrathdn, but he 
adds no details. Mustawfi, who gives the route from Jurjan to 
Khwarizm across Dihistan, describes this as the frontier between 
the Moslems and the heathen Turks and Kurds. The district 
had a warm climate and a stream watered its fields, but there was 
little fruit grown here 1 . 

Four stages from Dihistan on the desert border, where the 
road started for crossing to Khwarizm, stood the -city of Faravah, 
which is given by Istakhr! as a settlement of the Ghuzz Desert. 
In the 4th (loth) century it was strongly garrisoned by volunteers, 
and there was a great Rubat, or guard-house, to protect the 
country lying at the back of it against the Turkish inroads. Its 
gardens and fields were small in extent and the town or settlement 
numbered barely a thousand families. Mukaddasi spells the 
name Afravah, and Yaktit says that it was a Rubat built by 'Abd 
Allah, the Tahirid, during the reign of the Caliph Mamftn. From 
its position there is little doubt that Faravah is identical with the 
modern Kizil Arvat, a corruption of Kizil Rubat, ' the Red Guard- 
house.' The names only of a number of other places in the 
Jurjan province are given by Yafcflt, these being the various villages 
belonging to JurjSn city, or to Astarabad. No details, however, are 
added, their positions are not indicated, and too often the reading 
of the name is uncertain 8 . 

Mukaddasi mentions, among the products for which Jurjan 

1 The ruins of these towns lying on the border of the Khwarizm desert are 
still to be seen at Misriyan, near the mountains now called the Koren Dagh, but 
all cultivation has long ceased in this district, which is now a waterless desert. 
I. H. 277, 286. Muk. 358, 359. Yak. i. 59, 500; ii. 418, 633; iii. 880; 
iv. 949. Mst. 190, 197. 

2 1st. 273. I. H. 324. Muk. 333. Yak. iii. 866. Mst. 197. For these 
villages see for instance sixteen names given by Yakut. Yak. ii. 137, 489, 
782; iii. 323, 923, 930; iv. 277, 376, 395, 396, 555, 699, 728, 926, 927. 


was famous, a particular kind of face-veil woven of raw silk, which 
was in his day largely exported to Yaman in southern Arabia. 
An inferior kind of brocade (dibdj) was also largely manufactured, 
and of fruits Jurjan was especially famous for its grapes, figs, and 
olives 1 . 

The high roads through T a t>aristan and Jurjan are not 
numerous, since in the first-named country the mountains are for 
roads almost impassable. Istakhri (duplicated by Ibn Hawkal) 
and Mukaddasi give the road from Ray northwards across the great 
chain to Amul, passing through Ask and Bulftr (Pulfir), but many 
of the stages are now difficult or impossible to identify. Travelling 
westward from Amul along the coast, Ibn Ilawlcal and Istakhri 
give the marches through Natil and Salfts to the frontier of Gtl&n 
(Daylam) ; also eastward from Amul to Astardbad and Jurjan city. 
From Jurjan city north to Dihistan the stations are given by 
Mukaddasi, as also by Mustawfi in his account of the road from 
Bistam in K ft mis to the capital of Khwarizm. Mukaddasi also 
gives the road from Bistam to Jurjan city across the mountain 
pass, through Juhaynah, which is described by Ibn Hawkal as 
a fine village on a river. Lastly from Jurjan eastward into 
Khurasan Mukaddasi gives a route in 5 days to Isfarayin in the 
Juvayn plain, passing through Ajgh, which is now called Ashk. 
This district will be described in the following chapter 2 . 

1 Muk. 367. 

* 1st. 214 217. I. H. 274 276. Muk. 372, 373. Mst. 197. 




The four Quarters of Khurasan. The Nishapur quarter. Nishapur city, and 
Sh&lyakh. The Nishapur district. Tus and Mashhad, with its shrine. 
Bayhak and Sabzivar. Juvayn, Jajarm, and Isfarayin. Ustuva and 
Kuchan. Radkan, Nisa, and Abivard. Kalat. Khabaran and Sarakhs. 

In old Persian Khurasan means ' the Eastern Land/ and in the 
earlier middle-ages the name was applied, generally, so as to 
include all the Moslem provinces east of the Great Desert, as far 
as the frontier of the Indian mountains. Khurasan, therefore, was 
taken in this larger sense to include all Transoxiana on the north- 
east, besides Sijistan with Kfthistan on the south, and its outer 
boundaries were the Chinese desert and the Pamir towards Central 
Asia, with the Hindd Kush ranges towards India. Later, however, 
these limits became more circumscribed, and Khurasan as a province 
of medieval Persia may conveniently be held to have extended 
only as far as the Oxus on the north-east, but it still included all 
the highlands beyond Herat, in what is now the north-western 
part of Afghanistan. Further, the country of the upper Oxus, 
towards the Pamir, as known to the medieval Arabs, was always 
counted as one of the outlying districts of Khurasan. 

Arab or medieval Khurasan is conveniently divided into four 
Quarters (Rub*), named from the four great cities which at 
various times were, separately or conjointly, the capitals of the 
province, to wit Naysabur, Marv, Herat, and Balkh. After 
the first Moslem conquest the capitals of Khurasan had been at 
Marv and at Balkh. The princes of the Tahirid dynasty, how- 
ever, shifted the centre of government westward, and under their 


sway Nays&bftr became the capital city of the province, being 
also the chief town of the westernmost of the four Quarters 1 . 

In modern Persian the name is pronounced Nishaptir, the 
Arab form being Naysibftr, which is from the old Persian Niv- 
Shahpuhr, meaning the good (thing, deed, or place) of Shapftr/ 
and the city is so called after the Sassanian king Shapftr II, who 
had rebuilt it in the 4th century A.D., for Naysabtir owed its 
foundation to Shapftr I, son of Ardashfr Babgan. Of the chief 
towns of the Nays&bflr district, in which was included most of the 
province of Ktihistan already described, long lists are given by 
the Arab geographers of the 3rd (gth) century, but these are 
chiefly interesting for the archaic spelling of some of the names, 
and many places named cannot now be identified 2 . 

In early Moslem days Nays&btir was also known as Abrashahr, 
meaning ' Cloud-city ' in Persian, and as such appears as a mint 
city on the early dirhams of both the Omayyad and Abbasid 
Caliphs. The name tran-shahr the City of lrn is also given 
to it by Mukaddasi and others, but probably this was merely used 
officially and as a title of honour. In the 4th (loth) century 
Naysabftr was already a most populous place, measuring from half 
a league to a league across every way, and consisting of the citadel 
or fortress, the city proper, and an outer suburb. The chief 
Friday Mosque stood in the suburb ; it had been built by 4 Amr 
the Saffarid, and faced the public square called Al-Mu'askar, 'the 
Review Ground.' Adjacent thereto was the palace of the governor, 
which opened on another square called the Maydan-al-Husayniyin, 
and not far from this was the prison all three buildings standing 
within a quarter of a league one of the other. 

The fortress had two gates, the city four. These last were 
named B&b-al-Kantarah (the Bridge Gate), next the gate of the 
street of Ma'lpl, then Bdb-al-Kuhandiz (the Fortress Gate), and 
lastly the gate of the Takfn bridge. The suburbs lying beyond 

1 1st 253, 154. I. H. 308, 309, 310. Muk. 295. Mst. 185. 

2 1st. 258. I. H. 313. I. K. 24. Ykb. 278. I. R. 171. The first 
syllable of the name Nfshapftr in old Persian was Ntv, or Ntk> which in 
modern Persian exists in Ntk&> 'good'; the Arab diphthong Nay(sabftr) 
changes in modern Persian to the long vowel, becoming Nish&pftr, for the Arab 
is in Persian pronounced/. Noldeke, Stusanulen, p. 59. 


and round both fortress and city, where the great markets were 
situated, had many gates. Of these the chief were the gate of 
the domes (Bab-al-Kubab), opening west, and on the opposite 
quarter the war gate (Bab Jang) towards the Bushtafrftsh district ; 
then to the south was the Bab Ahwasibad, and the names of some 
others are also given. The most famous market-places were those 
known as Al-Murabba'ah-al-Kabirah, and Al-Murabba'ah-as-Sa- 
ghirah ('the great quadrangle' and 'the little quadrangle'), of which 
the great quadrangle was near the Friday Mosque, already men- 
tioned. The little quadrangle was at some distance from the other, 
in the western part of the suburbs, near the Maydan-al-Husayniyin 
and the governor's palace. A long line of streets flanked by shops 
went from one quadrangle to the other ; and a like street of shops 
crossed this at right-angles, near the great quadrangle, going south 
as far as the graveyard known as the Makabir-al-Husayniyin, and 
extending north to the head of the bridge over the river. 

In these market streets were many hostels for the merchants, 
and every sort of merchandise might be found each in its separate 
mart, while cobblers, clothiers, bootmakers, and men of every trade 
were abundantly represented. Every house in the city had its own 
separate underground water channel, the supply coming from the 
stream of the Wad! Saghavar, which flowed down through Naysabftr 
from the neighbouring village of Bushtankan. These water chan- 
nels, which were under the inspection of a special officer within 
the city, often ran as much as a hundred steps below the ground 
level. Beyond the city the channels reached the surface, and were 
here used for the irrigation of the garden lands. 

No town in all Khurasan, says Ibn Hawkal, was healthier or 
more populous than Naysabflr, being famous for its rich merchants, 
and the store of merchandise coming in daily by caravan. Cotton 
and raw silk were its chief exports, and all kinds of stuff goods 
were manufactured here. Mukaddasi fully bears out this account, 
adding some further details. He says that there were forty-two 
town quarters in Naysabur, some of which were of the size 
of half the city of Shiraz. The main streets (darfr) leading to 
the gates were nearly fifty in number. The great Friday Mosque, 
which was built in four wards, dated, as already said, from the 
days of *Amr the Saffarid. Its roof was supported on columns of 


burnt brick, and three arcades went round the great court. The 
main building was ornamented with golden tiles, there were 
eleven gates to the mosque, each flanked by marble columns, 
and both the roof and walls were p*ofusely ornamented. 
The river of Naysabftr, as noted above, came from the village 
of Bushtankan; it turned seventy mills, and from it the 
numerous underground watercourses were led off, for the river 
itself flowed past the place at a distance of a league. Within 
the city and among the houses there were many wells of sweet 
water 1 . 

Yaktit says that in his day, namely the yth (i3th) century, the 
name of the city was commonly pronounced Nashavur. He 
declares that in spite of the ruin which had been the result of 
the great earthquakes in the year 540 (1145), followed by the 
sack of the place at the hands of the Ghuzz hordes in 548 (1153), 
he had seen no finer city in all Khurasan, and its gardens were 
famous for their white currants (ribas) and for other fruits. 
After this Ghuzz inroad, when Sultan Sanjar the Saljtik was 
carried away prisoner, and the city devastated, the inhabitants 
for the most part removed to the neighbouring suburb of Shad- 
yakh, which was then rebuilt, being surrounded with a wall and 
enlarged by Al-Mu'ayyad, the governor, who acted in the name 
of the captive Sultan Sanjar. This suburb of Shadyakh, or 
Ash-Shadhyakh, had formerly been a garden, occupied by 'Abd 
Allah the T&hirid in the early part of the 3rd (9th) century, when 
he made Naysabtir the seat of his government. Round his palace, 
what had been originally the camp of his troops became the chief 
suburb of Naysabftr, which, after the Ghuzz invasion, took the place 
of the capital. Yafctit, who spent some time at Nishapftr about 
the year 613 (1216), lodged in Shadyakh, which he describes. 
Shortly after this, namely in 6 18 (1221), the capital was taken and 
sacked by the Mongols under Changiz Khn, a Yafcilt himself 
heard and reports, he having by this time sought safety in Mosul. 
According to his information the Mongols left not one stone 
standing upon another. 

Nishapur, however, must have quickly recovered from the 

1 1st. 254, 255. I. H. 310312. Muk. 314316, 329. 


effects of the Mongol invasion, for when Ibn Battitah was here in 
the 8th (i4th) century it was again a populous city, with a fine 
mosque encircled by four colleges, while the plain round the city 
was 'a little Damascus' for fertility, for it was watered by four 
streams coming from the neighbouring hills. They manufactured 
here, Ibn Battitah adds, silk velvets called kamkhd and nakhkh, 
and the markets were much frequented by foreign merchants. 
Mustawf!, his contemporary, gives a long account of the city of 
Ntshiptir and of its district. He says that in the days of the 
Chosroes, as it was reported, the old town of Naysabtir had been 
originally laid out on the plan of a chess-board, with eight squares 
to each side. Then under the Saffrids Nishaptir had increased 
in size and wealth, becoming the chief city of Khurasan, till the 
year -605 (1208), when it was almost completely destroyed by 
earthquakes. It was after this date, according to Mustawf!, that 
Shadyakh first took its place as the centre of population, this 
latter city having a wall 6700 paces in circuit. Nfshipflr, how- 
ever, was forthwith rebuilt, but again destroyed by the earthquakes 
in the year 679 (1280), when a third city of Nishaptir was re- 
founded on a different site, and this was the place which Mustawfi 
describes. Its walls then measured 15,000 paces in circuit, and 
it stood at the foot of the hills, facing south. The water-supply 
was plentiful, for the NtsMptir river, which rose in the mountains 
two leagues or more to the eastward, had a sufficient current to 
turn 40 mills before it came to the town. He relates, further, 
that most of the houses in Nishaptir had cisterns for storing water 
in the dry season. 

The present city of Ntshapftr lies on the eastern side of a 
semicircular plain, surrounded by mountains, and facing the 
desert, which is to the south. This plain is watered by many 
streams coming down from the hills to the north and east, 
and Mustawfi gives the names of a great number of these, 
which, after irrigating the lands round NfshUptir, become 
lost in the desert. Five leagues north of the city, at the 
head-waters of the Nishaptir river, was a little lake in the 
mountains at the top of the pass, called Chashmah Sabz, ' the 
Green Spring,' from which, according to Mustawfi, two streams 
running west and east took their rise, the eastern stream flowing 


down to the valley of Mashhad. This lake appears to have been 
in the hill called Ktih Gulshan, where there was a wonderful 
Cavern of the Winds, and from its depths a draught of air and a 
current of water perpetually issued, the latter sufficiently strong to 
turn a mill. The lake of Chashmah Sabz is described as a league 
in circuit, and many wonders were related of it, for it was reported 
to be unfathomable, and an arrow could not be shot from one 
bank to the other. 

Four districts of the Naysabtir plain were famous for their 
fertility, and Mukaddasf in the 4th (loth) century enumerates 
these, namely, Ash-Shamit ('the Beauty Spots '), Rivand, which 
still exists to the west of Nishaptir, Mazftl, and Bushtafrtish. The 
district of Maztil lay to the north, and its chief village was 
Bushtakan (or Bushtankn), a league from the city, where 'Amr 
the Saffarid had planted a famous garden. The currants of this 
district were especially renowned. The Bushtafrtish district, now 
known as Pusht Fartish, extended for a day's journey eastwards 
from the Jang Gate of Naysabtir, according to Mukaddasf, and 
from the gardens of its villages, which Yakut says numbered 126 
in all, apricots were exported in immense quantities. The Shamat 
district, Mukaddas! says, was named Tak-Ab by the Persians, 
meaning * whence waters flow,' and its fertility was extraordinary. 
Rivand, a small town in the district of the same name, lay one 
stage west of Naysabftr; in the 4th (loth) century the town had 
a Friday Mosque built of burnt brick, and it stood on its own 
river. Its vineyards were famous and its quinces were in great 

One of the main streams of the NisMptir district, according 
to Mustawfi, was the Shtirah Rtid, 'the Salt River/ which was 
joined by the waters of the stream from Dizbad, and after watering 
many districts ultimately became lost in the desert. A number 
of other streams are also mentioned by Mustawfi, but many of 
their names are misspelt and they are now difficult to identify. 
Some, however, present no difficulty, as for instance the river of 
Bushtakan, rising in the Chashmah Sabz neighbourhood, already 
mentioned, and the Bushtafrftsh river, both of which in the spring 
freshets, he says, joined the Shfirah Rtid. Finally, there was the 
stream named the *Atsh&bSd, or * Thirst ' river, which, though in 


spring-time it had water enough to turn 20 mills throughout its 
course of a score of leagues, at other seasons did not give enough 
to quench a man's thirst, from which cause came its ill-omened 
name 1 . 

To the south-east of Nishipftr the great Khurasan high road 
bifurcates at the stage which the Arabs named Kasr ar-Rih, 
4 Castle of the Wind/ and the Persians Dizbad or Dih Bid. 
Its river has been already mentioned among the streams which 
flowed to the Shftrah river. From here the road to Marv went 
due east, that to Herat turning off south-east. On this last, two 
stages from Dih Bad, was the village of Farhadan, which is also 
called Farhadhjird by Yifcftt. Its district, which was counted as 
of Naysibfir, Mukaddasi calls Asfand ; in Ibn Rustah the spelling 
given is Ashbandh, and Yaktit writes Ashfand, adding that this 
district comprised 83 villages. , The old name of the district 
appears now to be lost, but the village called Farajird (for the 
older Farhdhjird) is still marked on the maps at the place in- 
dicated by the Itineraries 2 . 

Due east of Nishapftr, but separated from it by the range of 
mountains in which most of the streams of the Nishaptir plain 
take their rise, lies Mashhad 'the Place of Martyrdom,' or 
* Shrine' of the Imam now the capital of the Persian province 
of Khurasan, and a few miles to the north of it may be seen the 
ruins of Tus, the older city. Ttis, in the 4th ( roth) century, was 
the second city of the NaysaMr quarter of Khurasan, and con- 
sisted of the twin towns of At-Tabaran and Nftkan, while two 
post-stages distant was the great garden at the village of Sanabidh, 
where lay the graves of the Caliph Hartin-ar-Rashid, who died in 
193 (809), and of the eighth Imam 'Ali-ar-Ridd, who was poisoned 
by Mamftn in 202 (817). This village of Sanabadh was also 
known as Barda', meaning ' a pack-saddle,' or as Al-Muthakkab, 
'the Pierced 8 / presumably from the windows of the shrine, or for 
some other fanciful reason. 

1 I. R. 171. Muk. 300, 316, 317. Yak. i. 630; iii. 228231 ; iv. 391, 
857. 858- I- B- "i- 80, 81. Mst. 185, 206, 219, 220, 226. J. N. 328. For 
the Chashmah Sabz lake and the Cave of the Winds, see C. E. Yate, Xhurasan 
and Sistan, pp. 351, 353. Both places are still famous in Khurasan. 

* I. R. 171 Muk. 300, 319. Yak. i. 280; iiu 887. Mst. 196, 197. 

1 Al-Muthakkab was a name given to various fortresses; one near Al- 


In the 3rd (9th) century, according to Ya'ltflbi, Nfcfcan was 
the greater of the two halves of TQs, but in the following century 
T^baran had outgrown it, and was the larger city down to the 
time of Yakftt, when Tils was ruined by the Mongol hordes. In 
early days Ntikan was celebrated for its stone jars made of 
serpentine (Baram), which were largely exported; and there 
were mines for gold and silver, copper and iron, which were 
profitably worked in the neighbouring hills. Turquoises, and the 
stone known as 'santalum' (khumahan\ also malachite (dahnaj), 
were all found in the neighbourhood of Tils, and brought for sale 
to the markets of Ntikan. This part of Tils, however, was rather 
deficient in its water-supply. The fortress of the adjacent quarter of 
Tabaran was a huge building, 'visible afar off,' as Mukaddasi writes, 
and the markets of this half of the town were well supplied. Its 
Friday Mosque was beautifully built and finely ornamented. The 
neighbouring tombs at Sanabadh were already in the 4th (loth) 
century surrounded by a strongly fortified wall, and che shrine, 
as Ibn Hawkal reports, was constantly thronged by devotees. 
A mosque had been built near the tomb of the Imam Rida by 
the Amir Faik 'A mid-ad- Da wkh, than which, says Mukaddasi, 
* there is none finer in all Khurasan.' The grave of Hartin-ar- 
Rashid had been made by the side of that of the Imdm, and many 
houses and a market had been built in the vicinity of the great 

The description given by Yakilt adds little to the above, but 
he mentions, as one of the most famous tombs at Tabaran, the 
shrine of the great Sunni theologian, the Imam Ghazzalt, who had 
died in 505 (mi), after having served some years at Baghdad as 
chief of the Nizamiyah college. When Yakilt wrote, in the ?th 
(i3th) century, the name Tils was more generally used to denote 
the surrounding district, where there \vere, he says, over a thousand 
flourishing villages. In 617 (1220), however, all this country, 

Massfsah (Mopsuestia) has been mentioned in Chapter IX, p. 130. The 
origin of the name Barda' is not explained. Nukin, pronounced Nugan, is 
still the name of the north-east quarter and gate of modern Mashhad, leading 
out doubtless towards Nftk&n of Tus, and the San^bad watercourse at the 
present day supplies the north-west quarter of Mashhad. I. R. 172. I. K. 
24. Yak iv. 414. C. E. Yate, Khurasan and Sistan, 316, 317. 


including the two cities of T&S, with the shrines at Sanabadh 
(Mashhad), was devastated and pillaged by the Mongol hordes. 
From the Mongol sack Ttis appears never to have recovered, 
though the neighbouring shrines under the fostering care of the 
rich Shi 'ahs soon resumed their former splendour ; and Mustawfi, 
in the 8th (i4th) century, is one of the first to refer to the 
SanHbadh village as Mashhad, 'the Place of Martyrdom/ a name 
that it has since always borne. 

The Caliph and the Imam, as Kazvini remarks, lay under one 
dome, and the latter only was held in honour by the Shi'ahs, who, 
however, knew not which tomb to revere, for by order of the 
Caliph Mamftn (son of Hirfln-ar-Rashfd, and the poisoner of 'Ali- 
ar-Ridi), the two graves had been made exactly alike. When 
Mustawfi wrote, Mashhad had already become a great city, 
surrounded by immense graveyards with many famous tombs, 
that of Ghazzili, just mentioned, lying to the eastward of the 
shrines, where also was shown the grave of the poet Firdftsi. 
Around the city lay the fertile plain known as Marghzar Takan, 
12 leagues long by 5 across, where grapes and figs were more 
especially grown. The people of the Tils district were, Mustawff 
adds, *a very excellent folk and good to strangers.' 

Ibn Batfttah, who visited the Mashhad of Imam Rida a few 
years later, gives a careful description of the shrine. Mashhad, 
was, he says, a large city, plentifully supplied as to its markets, 
and surrounded by hills. Over the tombs was a mighty dome, 
covering the oratory, and the mosque with a college (Madrasah) 
stood adjacent. All these were finely built, their walls being 
lined with tile-work (kashani). Above the actual grave of the 
Imam was a sort of platform, or casing in wood, overlaid with 
silver plates, many silver lamps being hung from the beams round 
about. The threshold of the door into the oratory was overlaid 
in silver, the aperture being closed by a gold-embroidered silk 
veil, and the floor under the dome was spread with many fine 
carpets. The tomb of the Caliph was also covered by a casing of 
wood, on which candlesticks were set, but it was not held in 
honour, for, says Ibn Batfttah, * every Shi'ah on entering kicks 
with his foot the tomb of HSrftn-ar-Rashid, while he invokes a 
blessing on that of Imam Rida.' The magnificence of the shrine 


of the Imam is alluded to by the Spanish envoy Clavijo, who 
visited the court of Thnfir in 808 (1405), and on his way passed 
through Mashhad. In those days it is noteworthy that Christians 
might enter the shrine, for the Persian Sht'ahs were not then as 
fanatical in this matter as they are at the present time 1 . 

Four days' march due west of Ntsh&pftr in the district of 
Bayhak were the two cities of Sabzivdr and Khusrftjird, a league 
only separating them; Sabzivir, the chief town, being itself 
generally known in the middle-ages as Bayhak. The Bayhak 
district, which extended as far east as Rlvand, measuring 25 
leagues across in all directions, comprised according to Yafcflt 
321 villages, and he adds that the name Bayhafc was from the 
Persian Bay hah or Bah&yin, which signified 'most generous.' 
According to the same authority Sibzavir was the more exact 
name of the town, which the common people had shortened to 
Sabzvar; and Khusrtijird had originally been the chief town of 
the district, but the pre-eminence in his day was gone over to 
Sabziv&r. Mustawff says that the markets of this town were 
covered by a wooden roof on arches, very strongly built ; grapes 
and other fruits were grown in the district round, and most of the 
population in the 8th (i4th) century were Sht'ahs 2 . 

From Bistam in the Ktimis province to Nishaptir there were 
two roads. The more direct, the post-road, lies along the edge of 
the desert, going through Sabzivir. The longer caravan road is to 
the north, and curves through the great upland plain of Juvayn, 
which is separated from the Great Desert by a range of hills. This 
district of Juvayn, which, according to Mufeaddasi, was also called 
Gtiyin, was very fertile in food-stuffs, and its chief town was Az&- 
dhvir or Azadvar. The Isfariyin district was in its northern part; 

1 The name of the Imam is at the present day pronounced Riza by the 
Persians. Ykb. 277. 1st. 257, 258. I. H. 313. Muk. 319, 333, 352. Yak. 
ih. 154, 486, 569, 561; iv. 824. Kaz. ii. 262. Mst. 186. I. B. iii. 7779. 
Narrative of the Embassy of Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, p. no (Hakluyt 
Society). 'The ambassadors went to see the mosque, and afterwards, when 
in other lands people heard them say that they had been to this tomb, they 
kissed their clothes, saying that they had been near the holy [shrine of] 
Horazan. 1 

1 Muk. 317, 318. Yak. i. 804; ii. 441. Mst. 186. For the ruins of 
Bayhak see C. . Vate, Khurasan and Sistan, p. 398. 


while at the western end, on the Ktimis border, was the Arghiyin 
district round Jajarm. Nearly two hundred villages, according to 
Yakilt, were dependencies of Azadhvar, which he describes as a 
populous town with fine mosques, and outside its gate was a great 
khan for merchants, for its markets were much frequented. The 
gardens of its villages stretched continuously all down the valley, 
and the water for their irrigation was brought by underground water- 
courses from the springs in the southern hills. In the 8th (i4th) 
century, according to Mustawfi, the capital of the Juvayn district 
had changed to Fariyftmad, some miles to the south of Azadvar. 
Khudashah, a stage east of Azadvar on the caravan road, was also 
a place of importance, where, at the close of the 8th (i4th) century, 
Hajji Barlas, the uncle of Timftr, was slain, as is mentioned by 
'Alt of Yazd in his history l . 

The town of Jajarm, also called ArgKiyan, which is more par- 
ticularly the name of its district, had, according to Mukaddasf, 
a fine Friday Mosque, and was a well-fortified city, with 70 villages 
of its dependencies. Yaktit describes the three towns of Samal- 
kan or Samankan, said to lie east of Jajarm, Ar-Rawanir' (or 
Rawansar), and Ban, as being all of the Arghiyan or Jajarm 
district, but their exact positions are not given. He also mentions 
Sabanj or Isfanj, which still exists to the south-west of Jajarm on 
the road to Bistam, and this place Mustawfi calls Rubat Savanj. 
Mustawfi describes Jajarm as a fair-sized town, which no army 
could come against, for within the circuit of a day's journey round 
it the plain was everywhere covered by a grass poisonous to all 
cattle. On the other hand, at the foot of its castle, there grew 
two plane-trees (chinar), whose bark if chewed on a Wednesday 
morning infallibly cured toothache. Mustawfi adds that this bark 
was largely exported. The district round was very fertile, growing 
fruit and corn. The Jajarm river, which ran south and ended in 
the desert, he names the Jaghan Rtid : it rose by three springs, 
each of which could have turned a mill, and these after coming 

1 Muk. 318. Yak. i. 230; li. 165. 186, 196. A. Y. i. 58. There 
is some confusion between the names of Khudashah four leagues to the east 
of Azadvar, and Khurashah, which is about the same distance to the north 
of Azadvar. The two names are written much alike in the Arabic character. 

xxvn] KHURASAN. 393 

together ran for a course over 12 leagues in length, the water 
being much used for irrigation 1 . 

The great plain of Isfarayin (or Asfarayn), Mukaddasi says, 
grew much rice and fine grapes. Its chief town, of the same 
name was very populous, and had good markets. Yakut states 
that the town of Isfarayin was of old called Mihrajan, this, when 
he wrote in the yth (i3th) century, being still the name of a village 
near the ruined town, and 51 villages were of its dependencies. 
The name Isfarayin, according to Yakut, was originally written 
Asbaraytn, and meant 'the shield-bearers/ from asbar, 'a shield. 1 
Mustawfi relates that in the mosque at Isfarayin was a great bowl 
of brass, the largest ever seen, for its outer edge measured a dozen 
ells in circumference. To the north of the city was the Kal'ah-i- 
Zar, ' Gold Castle/ and the town took its water from a stream that 
flowed past at the foot of the castle hill. Throughout the sur- 
rounding plain nut-trees abounded; the climate was damp, but 
grapes and corn were grown plentifully 2 . 

In the marshy plain, where the river Atrak takes its rise to 
flow westward, while flowing in a contrary direction eastward, the 
river of Mashhad also has its source, lies the town of Kuchan, 
which in medieval times was called Khabushan, or KhiYjan. Its 
district the Arab geographers name Ustuva, praising it as a very 
fertile country ; the name is said to mean ' the Highland ' ; and 
beyond Ustuva, eastwards, was the Nisa district. Yakut, who 
states that the name of the chief town was in his day pronounced 
Khushan, says that 93 villages belonged to it. In the Jahan 
Numd the name appears as Khuchan, and Mustawfi says that 
though the name of Ustuva for the district was still written in the 
fiscal registers, it was in his day no longer in common use. The 
surrounding plain he praises for its fertility, and adds that Hulagu 
Khan, the Mongol, had rebuilt Khabushan in the yth (i3th) 
century, his grandson Arghun, the Il-Khan of Persia, afterwards 
greatly enlarging the town. About half-way between Khabushan 

1 Muk. 318. Yak. i. 209, 249, 485; li. 4, 742; in. 35, 145. Mst. 186, 
196, 220. 

* Muk. 318. Yak. i. 246. Mst. 186. The medieval city of Isfarayin (the 
plain is still known by this name) is probably to be identified with the ruins 
called Shahr-i-Bilkis. C. E. Yale, Khurasan and Sistan, 378, 379. 


and Tfis is Rldkin, which is mentioned by Ibn Hawfail, and 
described by YakOt as a small town celebrated as the birth-place 
of Nizam-al-MuJk, the great Wazfr of Malik Shah, the SaljOfc 1 . 

The famous district of Nas or Nisi is the broad valley now 
known as Darrah Gaz, ' the Vale of Manna.' The city of Nis4 is 
described by Ibn Hawfcal as being a large town, of the size of 
Sarakhs, having an abundant water-supply from the neighbouring 
hills. Mu^addas! praises its fine mosque and excellent markets. 
Nearly all the houses, he says, had gardens, and rich villages 
were dotted about the valley all round the town. Yaktit, how- 
ever, speaks of Nisa as most unhealthy, chiefly on account of 
the guinea- worm (the 'Medina worm,' he calls it), which in 
summer could hardly be avoided by those living in the place, 
and the suffering it caused made life unbearable. Kazvini adds 
that the town was also called Shahr Ffrflz, after the ancient Persian 
king who was reported to have built it*. 

To the east of Nis, beyond the mountain ridge and on the 
edge of the Marv desert, lies Ablvard, the name being sometimes 
spelt Bavard. Mukaddasi says that its markets, in the midst of 
which stood the Friday Mosque, were finer even than those of 
Nisi, and more frequented by merchants. Mustawf i praises the 
fruit grown here, and he counts as belonging to Abivard the 
great guard-house (rubat) at Kftfan, six leagues distant, standing 
in a village. This guard-house had been built by 'Abd-Allah, the 
Tahind, in the 3rd (9th) century ; it had four gates, and a mosque 
was built in its midst. The district in which Abfvard stood was 
called Khabaran, or Khavaran, of which Mihnah, or Mayhanah, 
was the chief town ; further, Yaktit names Azjah, BfUihan, Kharv- 
al-Jabal and Shtikan as among the important places of this 
district; but Mayhanah, when he wrote, was already in ruins. 

1 I. H. 313. Muk. 318, 319. Yak. i. 143; ii. 400, 487, 730. Mst. 186. 
] N. 323. The present town of Bujnurd, lying north of Isfaiiyin, and about 
60 miles to the north-west of KCichan, was founded a couple of centuries ago, 
hut near it was an older town called Bizhan, the ruined castle of which, known 
as the Kal'ah, still exists. C. . Yate, Khurasan and Sistan, 195, 196. 
Sykes, Persia, 22. 

* 1st. 273. I. H. 324. Muk. 320. Yak. iv. 776. Kaz. ii. 311. The 
city of Nisa is probably identical with the modern Muhammadabad, the chief 
town of Darrah Gaz. 


In the following, 8th (i4th), century Mustawfl speaks of the 
many fine gardens of the Khavaran district he also gives the 
name as Khavardin and he says that in its chief town had 
resided the poet Anvari, who flourished in the 6th (i2th) century, 
having been the panegyrist of Sultan Sanjar the Saljtik 1 . 

In the mountains, and about half-way between Abivard and 
Mihnah, lies the huge natural fortress now known as Kilat-i-Nadir, 
after Nidir Shah, the celebrated king of the Persia of the 
1 8th century A.D., who stored his treasures here. This stronghold 
does not appear to be mentioned in any of the Itineraries, or by 
the Arab geographers of the 3rd and 4th (Qth and loth) centuries, 
and Yikilt does not notice it. The earliest mention of Kilat 
appears to be by 'Utbi, in his History of Mahmud of Ghaznah, 
and he merely states incidentally that a certain Amir went < from 
Nishaptir to Kilat, which is also in the Arabic fashion written 
Kal'ah.' Mustawfi gives a succinct description of the place, 
adding that its chief towns were called Jurm and Marinan ; 
further, Kilat had much water, besides arable lands that produced 
abundantly, and many villages belonged to it of the surrounding 
districts. In history it first became famous for the siege of the 
fortress by TimQr, at the close of the 8th (i4th) century, and 
after it had fallen into his hands he caused its fortifications to be 
carefully rebuilt and strengthened 2 . 

The city of Sarakhs lies on the direct road from Tfls to Great 
Marv, and on the right, or eastern bank of the Mashhad river, 
which is now known as the Tajand. This river does not appear 

1 Muk. 321, 333. /ak. i. in, 232, 462; ii. 383, 395, 428; in. 337; iv. 
311, 723. Mst. 189. A. Y. i. 382. J. N. 318. The name of Khavaran 
stands for the older form Kharvaran, meaning ' the west country * (the opposite 
of Khurasan, 'the east country'), and this small district of the foot-hills on the 
Marv desert thus preserves at the present day the name applied originally to all 
western Persia that was formerly not counted as Khurasan, 'the country of the 

2 'Utbi, Kitab-i- Yaminf, Arabic text (Cairo, 1286 A.H.), i. 215. Persian 
text (Tihran, 1272 A.M.), p. 151. Mst. 187. A. Y. i. 334, 337. J. N. 323. 
Kilat or Kalat, in Persian, is equivalent to the Armenian Qalaq, signifying 
'a city,* and in Arabic appears under the well-known form Kal'ah, or Kalat, 
*a castle. 1 Kilat-i-Nadir was visited by Col. MacGregor (Journey through 
Khurasan, 11. 51) in 1875 and carefully described. 


to be named by any of the medieval geographers; it rises, as 
already described, in the marshes near Kftchan, and at first flows 
south-east, passing Mashhad. When it has gone about a hundred 
miles beyond this city it receives from the south, as a great 
affluent, the Herit river, and thence turning north flows to 
Sarakhs. At some distance further north, in the latitude of 
Abivard, its waters spread out and became lost in the desert 
sands, at a place called Al-Ajmah, * the Reed-beds/ where there 
were many tamarisk trees. Istakhrf and Ibn IJawfcal speak of 
this river Tajand merely as an affluent of the Herat river. 
Ibn Rustah, who regards it in the same light, says that two leagues 
before coming to Sarakhs the Herat river (that is, the lower 
course of the Tajand) throws off a branch canal that goes direct 
to this city. Other canals too were taken from it to water the 
Sarakhs district, more especially one named the Khushk Rfid 
(Dry River), across which had been built a great masonry bridge, 
but for a great part of the year even the main stream at Sarakhs 
carried no water. 

Sarakhs in the 4th (xoth) century was a great city, being half 
the size of Marv, with a healthy climate. Camels and sheep 
were numerous in its pastures, though its arable lands were 
limited for lack of a constant water-supply. Mukaddasi praises 
its Friday Mosque and fine markets, adding that throughout the 
suburbs there were many gardens. Kazvini, who speaks of it as 
very populous, says that they made here, for export, scarfs for 
turbans, and veils that were most beautifully embroidered in gold 
thread. In the 8th (i4th) century Mustawfi describes the walls 
of Sarakhs as 5000 paces in circuit and protected by a strongly 
built fortress. Their drinking water, he says, was from the river 
* coming from Tfls and Herat' (he does not name the Tajand), 
a fine stream, and of very digestible water, which further served 
to irrigate the fields round Sarakhs, where melons and grapes 
grew abundantly 1 . 

1 I. R. 173. 1st. 272. I. H. 323, 324. Muk. 312, 313. Kaz. ii. 261. 
Mst. 189. Modern Sarakhs lies on the west hank of the Tajand. 


KHURASAN (continued}. 

The Marv quarter. The Murghab river. Great Marv and its villages. Amul 
and Zamm, on the Oxus. Marv-ar-Rud, or Little Marv, and Kasr Ahnaf. 

The second of the Quarters of Khurasan, that of Marv, lies along 
the Murghab, or Marv river. This river flows down from the 
mountains of Ghur to the north-east of Herat, and passing Little 
Marv turns thence north to Great Marv, where its waters were 
divided up among a number of canals, after which it became lost 
in the sands of the Ghuzz Desert, on about the same latitude as 
the swamps of the Tajand or Herat river, but some 70 miles to 
the eastward of the latter. 

Besides the various towns lying along the Murghab, the Marv 
quarter also included the places on the great Khurasan road, 
beyond Marv, north-eastward to the Oxus at Amul, where the 
crossing for Bukhara took place. 

The name Murghab, or Marghab, is said by Ibn IJawkal to 
have been originally Marv-ab, 'the Marv-water'; but, says Istakhri, 
Murghab is the name of the place where its streams rise. 
Mukaddasi, who calls the Murghab the river of the Two Marvs, 
describes it as flowing past Upper (or Lesser) Marv towards Lower 
(or Great) Marv. One march south of the latter city its bed 
was artificially dyked with embankments faced by woodworks 
which kept the river-bed from changing. This embankment in 
the 4th (loth) century was under the wardship of a specially 
appointed Amir who acted as water-bailiff, with 10,000 workmen 


under him and horse guards, and saw to the up-keep of the dykes, 
and the regulation of the water-supply. There was on the em- 
bankment a measure which registered the flood-height ; in a year 
of abundance this would rise to 60 barleycorns above the low- 
level, and the people then rejoiced, while in a year of drought 
the water would only attain the level of six barleycorns. 

At a distance of one league south of Great Marv the waters of 
the stream were dammed back in a great round pool, whence 
four canals radiated to the various quarters of the city and suburbs. 
The height of the pool was regulated by sluices, and it was a great 
festival when at high flood-time the various dams were cut, and 
the waters were divided off according to rule. These four main 
canals were called respectively the Hurmuzfarrah canal, flowing 
towards the west, next to the eastward that of Majan, then the 
Nahr Zark or Ar-Razik, and finally the Nahr As'adi. Of these 
four the Nahr-al-Majan appears to have carried the main stream 
of the Murghab, and after passing- through the suburbs of the 
city, where it was crossed by many bridges of boats, it came out 
again to the desert plain, and flowed on till the residue of its 
waters were lost in the swamp. Yaktit in the yth (i3th) century 
states that the Murghab was in his day known as the river Razik 
(probably identical with the canal already mentioned), a name 
which he states was often incorrectly spelt Zarlk, and the Jahan 
NumA adds, as a third variant, Zarbak. These names are also 
mentioned by Mustawfi, who gives Murghab as the common 
appellation in his day, and by this name the great river is still 
known l . 

Great Marv, in the middle-ages, was called Marv-ash-Shihijan, 
to distinguish it from Marv-ar-Rfld, Little Marv, and Shihijan is 
probably merely the Arab form of the old Persian Shahgatij 
'kingly/ or 'belonging to the king/ though Yaktit and others 
explain the term as Shah-i-Jan to mean ' of the soul of the king.' 
Marv, as described by Istakhrt, Ibn IJawkal, and Mukaddasi, 
consisted of an inner citadel (Kuhandiz) ' high-built and itself of 

1 1st. 260, 261. I. H. 315. Muk. 330, 331. Yak. ii. 777. Mst. 214. 
J. N. 328. The place where the Murghab ultimately became lost in the sands 
is called Miyab by Hafiz Abru. Hfz. 32 . For the places round Marv, see 
Map x, p. 447. Presumably 60 barleycorns (Sha'irah) went to the ell. 


the size of a town,' surrounded by the inner city with its four gates, 
beyond which again were extensive suburbs stretching along the 
banks of the great canals. The four gates of the inner town were 
the Bib-al-Madlnah, 'the city gate' (S.W.), where the road from 
Sarakhs came in ; the Bib Sanjin (S.E.) opening on the Bani 
M&hin suburb and As'ad! canal; the Bib Dar Mashkin (N.E.) on 
the road to the Oxus; and lastly the Bab Bilin (N.W.). In the 
4th (loth) century there were three Friday Mosques in Marv, first 
the citadel mosque called the Jmi' of the Bant Mihin ; next the 
Masjid-al-'Atifc, 'the Old Mosque,' which stood at the gate opening 
on the Sarakhs road, the Bab-al-Madinah; lastly the New Mosque 
of the Mijan suburb, outside this same gate, where the great 
markets of Marv were found. 

The Razifc canal flowed into the town, coming to the gate called 
Bab-al-Madfnah and the Old Mosque, after which its waters were 
received and stored in various tanks for the use of the inhabitants 
of the quarter. The Mijan canal, flowing to the west of it, watered 
the great Majan suburb, which lay round the Maydin, or public 
square, on which stood the New Mosque, the Government-house, 
and the prison ; all these having been built by Abu Muslim, the 
great partizan of the Abbasids. To him was principally due their 
accession to the Caliphate, as history relates, and in a domed 
house of this quarter, built of burnt brick, the dome being 55 ells 
in diameter, says Istakhri, the place was shown where the first 
black Abbasid robes had been dyed, that having become the 
distinguishing colour of the new dynasty. 

West of the Nahr Majan, as already said, was the canal of 
Hurmuzfarrah, on the limit of the suburbs of Marv, and along its 
banks were the houses and quarters built by Husayn the Tihirid, 
who had transferred many of the markets to this quarter. Yifcftt, 
at a later date, speaking of the great western suburb of Mijin, 
mentions two'of its .chief streets, namely, the thoroughfare known 
as Barirjin (for Baridar-Jin) or Brother-life' in upper Majin, 
and the street of Tukhiran-bih. The Hurmuzfarrah canal ulti- 
mately reached the township of that name, near the swamps of 
the Murghib, and the town had its own Friday Mosque. One 
league distant from Hurmuzfarrah was Bashan, also a town with 
its Friday Mosque, while the two hamlets of Kharak (or Kharah) 


and As-Stisankan, standing a league distant one from the other, lay 
also on this side of Marv and were likewise of sufficient size for 
each to have its own Friday Mosque. 

One march to the westward of Marv was the town called Sinj 
(in Mukaddasi spelt Sink), with a fine Friday Mosque, standing 
on a canal with many gardens, and beyond it, two marches to 
the south-west of Marv on the road to Sarakhs, lay the important 
town of Ad-Dandankan. This was small but well fortified, having 
a single gate, with hot baths (Hammams) outside the wall. Its 
ruins were seen by Yakut in the ;th (i3th) century, for it had 
been pillaged by the Ghuzz in 553 (1158). This was the limit of 
cultivation of the Marv oasis to the south-west, while Kushmayhan, 
one march from Marv on the Bukhara road, was the limit of 
cultivation on the north-eastern side. This Kushmayhan, or Kush- 
mahan, according to Ya'kubi, was famous for the Zablb Kushma- 
hani, a kind of raisin. The town also possessed a fine Friday 
Mosque and good markets ; it was watered by a great canal, and 
there were many hostelries and baths here ; much fruit being 
grown in the surrounding gardens. 

Immediately outside the Dar Mashkan gate of Marv, which led 
to the town of Kushmayhan, had stood the great palace of Mamun, 
where he had lived when he held his court at Marv, previous to 
setting out for Baghdad to wrest the Caliphate from his brother 
Amin. The south-eastern gate of Marv, the Bab Sanjan, opened 
on the As'adi canal, along which lay the Bani Mahan (or Mir 
Mahan) quarter, with the palace of the Marzuban of Marv, the 
Persian Warden of the Marches. From this gate the road led up 
the Murghab river by Al-Karinayn to Marv-ar-Rud. Six leagues 
from the city in this direction was the town of Jiranj (or Kirang, 
in Mukaddasi) on the river bank, while one league beyond it lay 
Zark. Here had stood the mill where Yazdajird III, the last of 
the Sassanian kings, fled for shelter, and was murdered by the 
miller for the sake of his jewels. According to Ibn Hawkal, 
it was at Zark township that the waters of the Murghab were 
first canalised, channels being led off to irrigate the gardens 
round Marv. These gardens had at all times been famous 
for their melons, also for the assafoetida root (ushturghdz) 
grown here, which was exported to other parts of Khurisin. 


Silkworms, too, were raised here largely, the silk being manu- 
factured into the stuffs for which Marv was celebrated 1 . 

In the latter half of the 4th (loth) century, when Mukaddas! 
knew Marv, a third part of the suburb was already in ruin, and 
the citadel was in no better state. In the next century, however, 
the city gained in size and importance under the Saljtiks, and 
here Sultan Sanjar, the last of the great Saljtiks, was buried in 
552 (1157), and the remains of his tomb may still be seen at the 
present day. Yakflt, who was in Marv in 616 (1219), describes 
the grave of Sultan Sanjar as lying under a great dome covered 
with blue tiles, so high as to be visible a day's march away over 
the plain; and the windows under the dome looked into the 
adjacent Friday Mosque. It had been built in memory of him, 
Yafcftt was told, long after the Sultan's death by some of his 
servants. At the village of Andarabah, two leagues from Marv, 
which had been the private property of Sultan Sanjar, the remains 
of his palace were still standing in the 7th (i3th) century, the 
walls being intact, though all the rest had gone to ruin, as was 
the case also, Yakftt adds, with the adjacent village. 

Yaktit describes Marv as in his day possessing two chief 
Friday Mosques, enclosed by a single wall, one for the Hanafites, 
the other belonging to the Shafi'ites. He himself lived in Marv 
for three years, collecting the materials for his great geographical 
dictionary, for before the Mongol invasion the libraries of Man* 
were celebrated ; ' verily but for the Mongols I would have stayed 

1 Ykb. 280. 1st. 258263. I. H. 314316. Muk. 298, 299, 310312, 
331. Yak. i. 534, 827; ii. 610; iv. 507. The town and mill of Zark lay 
seven leagues from Marv, while the pool where the waters of the Murghib 
were divided among the four city canals, of which the Nahr Razik was one, 
lay at a distance of but one league from Marv. The Razik canal and the 
Zark mill, therefore, were probably not adjacent, but from the shifting of the 
diacritical point there is much confusion between Zark or Razk, and Zarfk or 
Razik. The name of the mill is sometimes given as pronounced, Zurk or 
Zurrak, and the Zarik canal appears as Zarbak, on whose banks, according to 
some accounts, King Yazdajird came to his death. See Yak. ii. 777, 925; iv. 
508. Mukaddast (p. 33) records that some two leagues from Marv, but in 
which direction is not stated, was a small guard -house in which stood a tomb, 
popularly said to contain the head of Husayn, grandson of the Prophet, but 
this is a relic that was also shown in divers other localities, and certainly at 
the time of Husayn's death his head was not sent to Marv. 


and lived and died there/ he writes, 'and hardly could I tear 
myself away.' Thus among others he mentions the two libraries 
of the Friday Mosque, namely the 'Azfziyah with 12,000 and odd 
volumes, and the Kamdliyah. There was also the library of Sharaf- 
al-Mulk, in his Madrasah or college, and that of the great Saljuk 
Wazir the Nizam-al-Mulk. Among the older libraries were those 
founded by the Samanids, and one in the college of the 'Umay- 
diyah ; also that in the KMttiniyah college, and that which had 
belonged to Majd-al-Mulk. Finally, and especially, there was the 
Dumaynyah library in one of the Khankihs, or Darvish convents, 
containing only 200 volumes, but each volume, Yakut writes, worth 
two hundred gold pieces (dinars), for all the books there were 
unique and beyond price. 

At the approach of the Mongol hordes in 617 (1220) Yakut 
sought safety at Mosul in Mesopotamia, 'and all the glories of the 
Marv libraries fell a prey to the flames, which followed in the 
wake of the Mongol sack of this great city, when nine million 
corpses are said to have remained unburied among the ruins. 
The tomb of Sultan Sanjar, Ibn-al-Athir states, was set on fire by 
the invaders, together with most of the mosques and other public 
buildings; and Hafiz Abru adds that they broke down all the 
great dams and dykes of the Murghab, which under the early 
Saljuks had been increased in number, and carefully seen to, in 
order thus to regulate the irrigation of the oasis, which now 
lapsed into a desert swamp. In the 8th (i4th) century, when 
Ibn Batutah passed through Marv, it was still one great ruin. 

The account which his contemporary, Mustawfi, gives of Marv 
deals with its past glories in the 2nd (8th) century, when it was 
under the government of Abu Muslim, who brought the Abbasids 
to power, and when the Caliph Mamun resided at this place 
previous to marching on Baghdad. Then the Saffarids had re- 
moved the capital of Khurasan to Nishapur, but the Saljuks 
restored the primacy to Marv, and Sultan Malik Shah built the 
great wall round the city 12,300 paces in circuit. The crops of 
the Marv oasis were a marvel of productiveness ; Mustawff reports 
that seed corn gave a hundred-fold the first year, and from the 
ungathered overfall some thirty-fold for the second year was 
obtained, with as much as ten-fold of the original sowing even in 


the third year. The climate, however, being damp was unhealthy, 
and the rishtah, or guinea-worm, was a terrible scourge. The 
moving sands of the neighbouring deserts had in his day over- 
whelmed many of the fruitful districts, but excellent water-melons 
were still grown, which were dried and largely exported, also 
grapes and pears. 

Mustawfi describes the city of Marv as still almost en- 
tirely a ruin, though at the close of the 8th (i4th) century it 
must have regained some of its former splendour, for Tlmftr 
frequently stopped here in the intervals of his campaigns. He 
generally lived at a place which 'Alt of Yazd writes Makhan, 
probably a clerical error for Majan, which as already said had 
been in earlier days the name of the great western suburb of 
Marv, though Yakut mentions a place also called M^khin as a 
village near the city. Marv was in part restored to its former 
state of greatness under the reign of Shah Rukh, the grandson of 
Timtir, who rebuilt much of the city in the year 812 (1409), so 
that in 821 (1418), when Hafiz Abrti wrote, he describes it as 
once more being in a flourishing condition 1 . 

On the left bank of the Oxus about 120 miles to the north-east 
of Marv, where the great Khurasan road crossed to Bukhara 
and Transoxiana, stood the city of Amul, and about a hundred 
miles to the eastward, higher up on the same bank was Zamm, 
also at a crossing-place. Amul, which in the later middle-ages 
was also known as Amtiyah, and then came to be called Chahar 
Jtiy ( 4 Four Canals/ a name the place still bears), is described by 
Ibn Hawkal as a fertile and pleasant little town, of great import- 
ance by reason of the constant passage of caravans going to and 
coming from the countries beyond the Oxus. All along the road 
south-west to Marv there were wells at each stage, but otherwise 
the territory of Amul was enclosed on all sides by the desert, which 
here came close up to the river bank. Mukaddasi praises the 
excellent markets of Amul. The town, with its Friday Mosque 
crowning a small hill, lay a league distant from the Oxus among 
well-irrigated fields, where there were vineyards. Opposite Amul, 

1 Ibn-al-Athir, xii. 256. Yak. i. 373; iv. 378, 509, 510. I. B. iii. 63. 
Mst. 189. A. Y. i. 147, 150, 569. Hfz. yib. 


on the right bank of the river, in the Bukhara district, was the 
town of Firabr. 

To distinguish this Amul from the town of the same name 
which was the capital of Tabaristan (see above, p. 370), Yifcut 
states that it was known in books as Amul of Zamm (after the 
next Oxus passage upstream), or Amul of the Jayhun (Oxus), or 
Amul-ash-Shatt (of the Stream), or further as Amul-al-Mafazah 
(of the Desert). In his day, however, in place of the name Amul 
the town had come to be called Amu, or Amuyah, by which 
denomination it is frequently mentioned in the accounts of the 
Mongol invasion, and of the campaigns of Timur. It is also 
known as Kal'ah Amflyah, or 'the Amuyah Castle.' In the 
nth (lyth) century Abu-1-Ghazi gives the name as Amtiyah when 
dealing with the marches of Changiz Khan, but speaking of the 
events of his own day writes of Chahar" Juy, in .reference to this 
Oxus passage, which proves conclusively that the two places are 
identical. The town of Zamm, also on the Khurasan bank, as 
already stated, is the modern Karkhi, and in the middle-ages 
the town of Akhsisak faced it on the further side, towards 
Bukhara. Ibn Hawkal speaks of Zamm as a town of the same 
size as Amul, but it was only approached on the Khurasan side 
by the road up the Oxus bank in four marches from Amul ; for 
from Zamm direct across to Marv the waterless desert intervened. 
From Zamm, eastward, Balkh could be reached, and after crossing 
the Oxus, Tirmidh. Zamm is also briefly mentioned by Mukaddasf, 
who speaks of its Friday Mosque standing in the market-place, so 
that in the 4th (loth) century it must already have been a place 
of some importance 1 . 

Coming back now to the Murghab river, about 160 miles 
higher up than Great Marv stood Upper, or Little Marv, at that 
part of the river where, after leaving the Ghur mountains, it turns 
north through the desert plains towards Great Marv. Little Marv, 
or Upper Marv as Mukaddasi and others call it, is the place 
known as Bala Murghab, 'Upper Murghab/ to the Persians. 
It is now a complete ruin, and has been so since the invasion 
of Timur. In the 4th (loth) century, however, Marv-ar-Rildh, or 

1 1st. 281, 314. I. H. 329, 363. Muk. 291, 292. Yak. i. 69; ii. 946, 
A. Y. i. 148, 334, 568. A. G. 124, 329. 


'Marv of the River/ as it was then called, was the largest city 
of this, a most populous district, which had besides four other 
towns with Friday Mosques. It lay at a bow-shot from the bank 
of the Murgh&b, in the midst of gardens and vineyards, being 
three leagues distant from the mountains on the west, and two 
leagues from those on the east. In the market-place was the 
Friday Mosque, a building according to Mufcaddasi standing on 
wooden columns, and Kudamah adds that one league from Upper 
Marv (as he calls it) was the castle of Kasr-'Amr in the hills, 
blocking the mouth of a small valley. Yaktit states that in his day 
the name Marv-ar-Rtid was pronounced Marrftd by the common 
folk. It appears to have escaped the utter ruin which was the fate 
of Great Marv at the hands of the Mongols. At any rate in the 
8th (i4th) century Mustawfi describes it as still a flourishing place, 
with a wall 5000 paces in circumference, which had been built by 
Sultan Malik Shah the Saljftk. The surrounding country was 
most fertile, grapes and melons were grown abundantly, and 
living was cheap 1 . 

One day's march from Marv-ar-Rftd, on the same bank and 
down the river towards Great Marv, was the castle called Kasr 
Afenaf, after Al-Ahnaf ibn Kays, the Arab general who in the days 
of the Caliph 'Othman, in the year 31 (652), had conquered these 
lands for Islam. It was a large place, Ibn Hawkal says, with many 
vineyards round it, and fine gardens, the soil and climate being 
alike excellent, and Mukaddasi mentions its Friday Mosque 
situate in the market-place. At the present day the site of Kasr 
Ahnaf is marked by the village of Marftchak, or Marv-i-Kftchik 
(Little Marv) as the Persians call the place. In the middle-ages, 
four leagues above Marv-ar-Rtid, stood Dizah, a town occupying 
both banks of the Murghab, the two parts being connected by 
a stone bridge. This place too had a fine Friday Mosque, and 
Yaktit adds that it had originally been called Sinvin. 

The hamlets of Panj-dih (Five Villages) lie below Marftchak 
on the Murghab, and the place was visited by Nasir-i-Khusraw 
in 437 (1045) on his wa Y to Mecca; Yakftt too was there in 
616 (1219) and alludes to it as a fine town. The place is also 

1 Kud. 210. 1st. 269. I. H. 320. Muk. 314. Yak. iv. 506. Mst. 190. 
For the ruins at Bala Murghab, see C. E. Yate, Northern Afghanistan^ p. o8. 


mentioned in the time of Tfmur at the close of the 8th (i4th) 
century, when 'Ali of Yazd says it was known as Pandf (but 
the reading appears uncertain, and some manuscripts give Yandf). 
During the earlier middle-ages all the country from Little Marv 
to Great Marv, along the Murghab, was under cultivation, and 
studded with villages and towns. Al-Karinayn, already alluded to, 
was four marches above Great Marv, being two below Marv-ar- 
Rud ; and half-way between Karinayn and the latter was Lawkar, 
or Lawkara, which Mukaddasi mentions as a populous place, as 
big as Kasr Ahnaf. Above Marv-ar-Rud, and all up the Murghab 
into the mountains of Gharjistan, there are many flourishing dis- 
tricts, as will be noticed in the next chapter, when speaking of 
Ghur in the Herat quarter 1 . 

1 Ykb. 291. 1st. 270. I. H. 321. Muk. 29^, 314. N. K. 2. Yak. i. 
743; iv. 108. A. Y. i. 353. For the ruins at Maruchak, see C. E. Yate, 
Afghanistan , pp. no, 120, 194. 


KHURASAN (continued). 

The Herat quarter. The Herat river, or Hari Rud. Jhe city of Herat. 
Malin and towns on the upper Hart Rud. Bushanj. The Asfuzar district. 
The Badghis district and Us towns. Kanj Rustak. Districts of Ghar- 
j is tan and Ghur. Bamiyan. 

The Herat quarter of Khurasan lies entirely in what is now known 
as Afghanistan, and, for the most part, is watered by the Herat 
river or Hart Rud. This river takes its rise in the mountains of 
Ghur, and at first flows for some distance westward. In order to 
irrigate the Herat valley many canals were here led from it, some 
above and some below Herat city, seven in particular being named 
by Mukaddasi as serving to water the fruitful districts round the 

The Herat river, flowing from east to west in its earlier course, 
passes Herat city several miles from its southern gate, near the 
town of Malin. Here there was a bridge ovfer it, unequalled in 
all Khurasan for beauty, says Mukaddasi, it having been built by 
a certain Magian, and bearing his name on an inscription 'and 
some say that he afterwards became a Moslem, others that he 
threw himself into the river, because the Sultan would put his 
own name upon that bridge/ Mustawfi gives the names of 
nine of the chief irrigation canals that were taken from the 
Hari Rud in the neighbourhood of Herat. Beyond Herat the 
Hari Rud passed the town of Ftishanj near its south bank, and 
turning north flowed on to Sarakhs, before reaching which it took 
up the waters of the Mashhad river, as has been mentioned 
in the previous chapter. Beyond, to the north of Sarakhs, its 


waters were lost in the desert. According to Hifiz Abrft the 
Herat river also bore the name of Khajacharan (the spelling, from 
the shifting position of the diacritical points, and the true pronun- 
ciation are alike uncertain), and he asserts that its source was at 
a spring not far from the place where the Helmund river took its 
rise 1 . 

In the 4th (loth) century, as described by Ibn Hawkal and 
Mukaddasi, Herat (written more exactly Harit) was a great city, 
with a citadel, surrounded by a wall with four gates. These were, 
the Bab Saray or 'Palace Gate' to the north on the Balkh road; 
then to the west, towards Naysabtir, the Bab Ziyad ; the Firtlzabad 
gate, which Mukaddasi calls the Bib Ffruz, was to the south on 
the road towards Sijistan ; while to the east was the Bab Khushk 
towards the Ghur mountains. These four gates were all of wood, 
except the Bab Saray, which was of iron; says Ibn Hawkal ; and 
the citadel of Herat (called the Kuhandiz or Kal'ah) had also four 
gates of the like names, respectively,, to the city gates. The city 
measured half a league square, and the government house was at 
a place called Khurasanabad, a mile outside the town on the 
western road towards Fushanj. At each of the four city gates, 
within the town, was a market; and outside each gate was an 
extensive suburb. The great Friday Mosque of Herat stood in 
the midst of the chief market, and no mosque in all Khurasan or 
Sijist&n was its equal in beauty. Behind it, on the west side, was 
the prison. 

To the north of Herat the mountains lay two leagues distant 
from the city, and here the land was desert, not being irrigated. 
These mountains produced mill-stones and paving-stones, and on 
the summit of one of the hills was an ancient fire-temple, called 
Sirishk, which was in the 4th (loth) century much frequented by 
the Magians. A Christian church also stood at a place lying half- 
way between this fire-temple and the city. To the south of Herit, 
down to the Malin bridge over the Hari Rtid, the land was like 
a garden, well cultivated and profusely irrigated by numerous 
canals, and divided into many districts. Populous villages lay 
one after the other, for a day's march and more, along the 
Sijistan road. 

1 1st. 266. I. H. 318. Muk. 329, 330. Mst. 216. Hfz. 320. 


The prosperity of Herit continued unabated till the inroad of 
the Mongols; and in 614 (1217) when Y&fc6t was here, some four 
years before that disastrous event, he considered Herat to be the 
richest and largest city that he had ever seen, standing in the 
midst of a most fertile country. His contemporary Kazvini, who 
confirms this account, notes that here might be seen many mills 
' turned by wind, not by water,' which was to him an uncommon 
sight. Herat, however, must have recovered quickly from the 
effects of the Tartar inroad, and Mustawf i in the following century 
bears out the statement of Ibn Battitah that, after Nishapfir, it 
was the most populous city of all Khurasar. Its walls were then 
9000 paces in circuit, and 18 villages lay immediately round the 
town, watered principally by a canal (Nahrichah) taken from the 
Hari Rtid. The grapes of the kind called Fakhri, and the figs 
were both superlatively excellent. Already in the 8th (i4th) 
century the people of Herat were Sunnt. It was in the 6th (i2th) 
century, during the supremacy of the Ghtirid dynasty according to 
Mustawfi, that Herat had reached its greatest splendour. There 
were then 12,000 shops in its markets, 6000 hot baths, and 659 
colleges, the population being reckoned at 444,000. 

A strong fortress lay to the north of Herdt, when Mustawfi 
wrote, called the castle of Shamlran, this having been built on the 
site of the older fire-temple of Sirishk, mentioned by Ibn Hawkal, 
which was two leagues distant from the city on a hill-top. This 
fortress also went by the name of the Kal'ah Amkalchah. At the 
close of the 8th (i4th) century, Timftr, after taking possession of 
Herat, destroyed its walls, and sent most of its artificers to 
augment the population of his new town of Shahr-i-Sabz in 
Transoxiana. In the Turkish Jahan Numd it is stated that at 
that period, in the year 1010 (1600), Herit had five gates; that 
called Darvizah-i-Mulk, * the Government Gate,' to the north, the 
'Irk gate to the west, that of FirQzabad to the south, the Khush 
gate to the east, and the Kipchak gate to the north-east this last 
being of late origin. The ten Bulfiks, or districts, round Herat 
are also enumerated, but no statement as to the relative positions 
of these is afforded 1 . 

1 1st. 264266. I. H. 316318. Muk. 306, 307. Yak. iv. 958. Kaz. ii. 
321. I. B. iii. 03. Mst. 187. J. N. 310 312. A. Y. i, 322, 323. Theinfor- 


Two leagues, or half a day's journey, to the south of Herat, 
and presumably beyond the great bridge that spanned the Hart 
Rfld, to which bridge it gave its name, was the town of Milin, or 
Milan, with the district of the same name lying a day's journey 
in extent all round it. This Milan was called As-Safalkat, and 
Milan of Herat, to distinguish it from the place of the same name 
in the Bakharz district of Ktihistin (mentioned in Chapter XXV, 
p. 357). It was a small town, surrounded by most fruitful 
gardens, and the produce of its vineyards was celebrated. Yakut 
who had been there, writes the name Malin, but adds that the 
people in his day pronounced it Milan. Twenty-five villages 
belonged to its district, and of these he specially mentions four, 
Murghib, Bishinin, Zandin, and 'Absakan. 

One march to the north-east of Heri^ lies Kartikh, or Kirflkh, 
which Ibn Hawkal says was in the 4th (loth) century the largest 
town of the Herat district after the capital. Apricots and raisins 
were exported in great quantities from hence to all the neighbour- 
ing districts and cities ; the Friday Mosque stood in the quarter 
of the town called Sabidin, and the houses were built of sun- 
dried bricks. Kar&kh stood in a mountain valley, 20 leagues in 
length, the whole of which was under cultivation, many villages and 
broad arable lands lying on its various streams. Its chief river 
flowed to the Hari Rftd, and appears to be that v/hich Yakut names 
the Nahr Karigh. 

Eastward from Herit, and lying in the broad valley of the Hari 
Rfld, a succession of towns are mentioned by the geographers of 
the 4th (loth) century, namely, Bashan, one day's journey from 
Herat, then Khaysir, Astarabyin, Marabadh, and Awfah, each 
situated a day's journey beyond the last, and to the east of it; 
finally two days' journey beyond Awfah was Khasht, a place that 
was counted as in the Ghtir district. Of these towns, Awfah was 
almost as large as Kartikh, and only second to it in importance. 

mation given by Hajji Khalfah, in the fahAn NumA, is in part taken from the 
monograph on Herat written by Mu 'in -ad -Din of Asfuzar in 897 (1492). This 
monograph has been inserted by Mfrkhwind in the Epilogue (Khdtimah) of the 
Rawdat-as-Safdi pt vii. 4551, and it was translated by M. Barbier de Meynard 
in \^A Journal Asiattqite, 1860, ii. p. 461 ; 1861, i. pp. 438, 473 ; 1862, ii. p. 769. 
For the present condition of Herat see C. E. Yate, Afghanistan, pp. 25 28. 


The other four towns are described in similar terms as being well 
watered and populous ; all were smaller in size than Milin, each 
had gardens and fertile fields, and while Astarabyin grew no 
grapes, being near the hill country, Marabadh was especially noted 
for its rice, which was largely exported ! . 

One day's march to the west of Herat was the considerable 
city of Bftshanj or Fflshanj, which apparently occupied the site of 
the present Ghurian, lying a short distance from the left bank of 
the Hart Rfld, and to the south of it. Ibn Hawkal describes 
Bftshanj as about half the size of Herat in the 4th (loth) century, 
and, like the latter, it lay in a plain two leagues distant from the 
mountains. The town was well built, and surrounded by trees, 
among which the juniper throve amazingly, its wood being largely 
exported The town was strongly fortified, and was surrounded by 
a wall and a ditch. There were three gates, the Bab 'Ali towards 
Naysabtir, the Herat gate to the east, and the Kfthistan gate to 
the south-west. Yaktit, who had seen the town in passing, lying 
hidden in its wooded valley, gives the name as Bushanj or 
Ftishanj He adds that the Persians pronounced it Btishang. 
Mustawfi describes Ftishanj, in the 8th (i4th) century, as famous 
for its water-melons and grapes, of which last there were 105 
different varieties. A peculiarity of the place was that it possessed 
numerous windmills, their origin or invention being popularly 
attributed to the Pharaoh of Egypt, of the days of Moses, who 
had once come during a campaign as far east as this city. In 
783 (1381) Fftshanj was stormed and sacked by Timftr, and this 
in spite of its high walls and deep water-ditch which are especially 
mentioned by 'Ali of Yazd. For some unexplained reason the 
name of Ftishanj after this disappears from history, and at a later 
date the town of Ghurian, which is now a flourishing place, sprang 
up on the ruins of the city which Timiir had pillaged and 
destroyed. It is to be added that the three towns of Farjird, 
Kharjird, and Ktisfty, which have already been described as of the 
Kuhistan province (see p. 358), are often given as belonging to 
Fiishanj 8 . 

1 1st. 267, 285. I. H. 318, 334. Muk. 50, 298, 307, 349. Yak. i. 470; 
ii. 950; iii. 605; iv. 247, 397, 499. 

2 1st. 267, 268. I. H. 319. Muk. 298. Yak. i. 758; iii. 923. Mst. 187. 


The Asfuzr district lies to the south of Herit, on the road 
towards Zaranj, and in the 4th (xoth) century four towns of 
importance existed here, besides the capital Agfuzir, namely 
Adraskar, Kuwiran, Kftshk, and Kuwashan. Asfuzir, now the 
chief town, at the present day goes by the name of Sabzivar (called 
Sabzivar of Herat, to distinguish it from Sabzivir to the west of 
Nishaptir; see p. 391). In early times, however, Kuwashan was 
the largest city of the district, which extended for three days' 
march from north to south with a breadth across of a day's march. 
According to Istakhri there was here a famous valley, called 
Kashkan, with many populous villages, and the river which has 
its head-waters near Asfuzir (Sabzivar) is that now known as the 
Hartid of Sistin, which flows into the head of the Zarah lake 
to the west of Juwayn. All these towns of Asfuzar are de- 
scribed as surrounded by fertile lands and gardens. In the 
Itineraries Asfuzar bears the second name of Khastin (or Jashdn, 
for the reading is uncertain), and 'it seems not unlikely that 
Kuwashan is merely another form of this name, and therefore 
really identical with Asfuzar (Sabzivar). The town of Adraskar, 
or Ardsakar, as it is also spelt, still exists to the east of Asfuzir, 
the name at the present day being written Adraskan. Yiktit 
records Asfuzar as of Sijistin, and Mustawfl speaks of it as a 
medium-sized town, with many villages and gardens rich in grapes 
and pomegranates, where already in the 8th (i4th) century most 
of the people were Sunnis of the Shafi'ite school. The relative 
positions of the other towns of the district are, unfortunately, not 
given in the Itineraries ! . 

The high road from Herit northward to Marv-ar-Rtid crosses 
the great district of Badghis (Badhghis), which occupied the 
whole stretch of country lying between the Herat river on the 
west (to the north of Ftishanj) and the upper waters of the 
Murghab on the east, where these issue from the mountains of 
Gharjistan ; and Badghis ^was itself watered by many of the left- 

A. Y. i. 312. The Sanf '-ad-Da wlah states (Mirdt-al-Bulddn, i. 298) that he 
passed near and saw the ruins of Bushanj when travelling down from Nishiptir 
to Herat, near but not at Ghurian. 

1 1st. 249, 264, 267. I. H. 305, 318, 319. Muk. 298, 308, 350 Yak. i. 
248. Mst. 187. 


bank affluents of the MurgMb. The eastern part of Bidghis, 
beginning some 13 leagues to the north of Herit, was known as 
the Kanj Rustalt district, and had three chief cities, Baban, Kayf, 
and Baghshftr, the positions of which can approximately be fixed 
by the Itineraries. In the remainder of Badghis a list of nine 
large towns is given by Mukaddasi, but unfortunately the positions 
of none of these can be fixed, for they are not mentioned in the 
Itineraries, and at the present day the whole of this country is an 
uninhabited waste, having been ruined in the yth (i3th) century 
by the Mongol invasions. The numerous ruins scattered through- 
out the district still attest the former state of prosperity of this 
well-watered country, but the modern names are not those given 
by the medieval authorities. 

The remains of the city of Baghshtir, one of the chief towns of 
Kanj Rustak, appear to be those now known as Kal'ah Mawr. 
In the 4th (roth) century Ibn Hawfcal describes Baghshftr as 
one of the finest and richest cities of Khurasan, being of the size 
of Bushanj. The governor of the district generally lived at Babnah 
or Baban, a larger town even than Bushanj, while Kayf is described 
as half the size of Baghshtir. All these places had well-built 
houses of sun-dried bricks, and were surrounded by fertile gardens 
and farms, for this district was abundantly irrigated by streams, 
and from wells. Yakftt, who visited these countries in 616 (1219), 
confirms the above account of the former riches of Baghshtir and 
its neighbouring towns, but says that in his day the whole country 
had gone much to ruin, though this was before the Mongol 
invasion. Babnah he names Bavan, or Bawn, and he had himself 
stayed here ; having also visited another town called Bimiyin, or 
Bamanj, which lay at a short distance only from Babnah. The 
country round he saw to be most fertile, and pistachio trees grew 
and flourished here abundantly 1 . 

In regard to the southern part of the Badghis district the 

1 I. R. 173. 1st. 269. I. H. 320. Muk. 298, 308. Yak. i. 461, 481, 
487, 694 ; ii. 764 ; iv. 333. For the present condition of the Badghis country 
and its ruins, see C. E. Yate, Afghanistan, pp. 67, 68. There are ruined forts 
and remains at Gulr&n, and Sagardan, and Kira Bagh (p. 101), also at Kal'ah 
Mawr (pp. 96, 103), and at Kara Tappah, some of which must be those of 
the towns named by the Arab geographers. 


accounts of its former prosperity are as circumstantial as those 
describing Kanj Rustak, but its towns have now completely 
disappeared from the map, and the medieval names are difficult 
to locate, or identify with those given to the existing ruins. The 
capital by all accounts was Dihistan, the position of which may 
correspond with the present shrine of Khwajah Dihistan to the 
north-east of Herat ; and Mukaddasi mentions seven other great 
cities, namely Kfighanabadh, Ktifa, Busht, Jadhawa, Kabrun, 
Kalwtin, and Jabal-al-Fiddah or ' the Silver Hill,' the positions of 
which can only be very approximately indicated. Dihistan, the 
second largest city of Badghis, was in the 4th (loth) century a place 
half the size of Bushanj, and stood on a hill, its houses built of clay 
bricks, with good underground chambers for use in the summer 
heats. It had few gardens, but much arable land. The governor 
of the province lived at Kughanabadh, a smaller place than 
Dihistan. Jabal-al-Fiddah, as its name implied, was a town 
where there was a silver mine in the neighbouring hill, and it lay 
on the direct road from Herat to Sarakhs, and apparently to the 
north of Ktighanabadh. Fire-wood grew abundantly in its district. 
The town of Ktifa was a larger place than Jabal-al-Fiddah, and 
stood in a plain with excellent gardens ; but of the four other 
towns mentioned by Mukaddasi no details are afforded, except 
the fact that they all lay near the road running from Herat north 
to Sarakhs. 

Yakut, who mentions Dihistan as the capital of Badghis, says 
the name ot the district signifies Bdd-khlz, * where the wind rises/ 
on account of its tempestuous climate. The account which 
Mustawfi gives of Badghis is difficult to understand, for the 
names of places have been much corrupted in the MSS. Dihistan 
was the capital, and the silver mine is referred to under the 
Persian form of Ktih Nukrah, 'silver mountain'; a third place of 
importance was Oh Ghunabad (for KCighanabadh), where the 
governor lived ; and a fourth town was apparently called Buzurg- 
tarin, but the reading is uncertain. Mustawfi also mentions a 
town named Kdriz (or Karizah), 'the Watercourse/ which he 
adds was the native place of Hakim Burka'i -'the physician with 
the face-veiP commonly known as the Moon-maker of Nakhshab, 
in other words the Veiled Prophet of Khurasan, whose revolt in 


the 2nd (8th) century gave the Caliph .Mahdi so much trouble to 

Other places are also mentioned (with many corruptions in 
the text), reproducing the list given by Mukaddasi and the earlier 
Arab geographers, but no details are added. In the 8th (i4th) 
century, according to Mustawfi, BMghis was chiefly remarkable 
for its pistachio forests; and at the time of harvesting the 
nuts, great numbers of men assembled here, each gathering 
what he could carry away, and the nuts being afterwards sold 
in the neighbouring districts. Such was the abundance of the 
pistachio trees that Mustawfi adds, 'many make their liveli- 
hood for the whole year round by what they can gather here 
at harvest-time, and it is indeed a wonder to behold.' At the 
close of the 8th (i4th) century the ruin of Badghis appears to 
have been finally brought about by the passage of the armies of 
Timtir on their devastating march from Herat to Marv-ar-Rud l . 

To the east of Badghis, at the head-waters of the Murghab 
river, is the mountainous region known to the earlier Arab geo- 
graphers as Gharj-ash-Shar. The prince of these mountains had 
the title of the Shar, and Gharj, according to Mukaddasi, meant 
* mountain ' in the local dialect, so that Gharj-ash-Shar was equi- 
valent to the ' Mountains of the Shar.' In the later middle-ages 
this region came to be more generally known as Gharjistan, and 
as such figures largely in the account of the Mongol invasion. 
Further, as Yakftt remarks, Gharjistan, often spelt Gharshistjin or 
Gharistan, was often confounded with Ghuristan, or the Ghftr 
country, lying to the east of it, which will be more particularly 

1 1st. 268, 269. I. H. 319, 320. Muk. 298,^08. Yak. i. 461; ii. 633. 
Mst. 187, 188. J. N. 314, 315. A. Y. i. 308. C. E. Yate, Afghanistan, 
p. 6. The route from Herat to Marv-ar-Rud, given in the Itineraries of the 
earlier Arab geographers, goes from city to city through Kanj Rustak, and the 
southernmost stage (Babnah) is two days' march from Herat. Mustawfi 
(p. 198) gives a rather different road in seven stages, namely, from Herat in 
5 leagues to Hanganaabad, thence 5 to Badghis (to be understood doubtless as 
Dihistan the capital), thence 5 to Bawan (or Babnah), thence 5 to Marghzar 
Darrah, 'the Valley of the Meadow-lands,' thence % to Baghchi Shur (Baghshur), 
thence 5 to Usrud, or Lvisrud, and finally, 4 leagues into Marv-ar-Rud. For 
the ruined caravanserais which still apparently mark this route see C. . /ate, 
Afghanistan^ pp. 194, 195, 222. 


discussed presently. The Shir, or prince of Gharjistan, had of 
old been known to the Arabs as Malik-al-Gharjah (the king of 
the Gharj people), and in the 4th (loth) century this was a rich 
district, counting ten Friday Mosques as standing in its various 

The two chief cities of Gharjistin were called Abshfn and 
Shurmin, the exact sites of which are unknown. Abshtn (Afshtn, 
or Bashfn) lay a bow-shot distant from the eastern bank of the 
upper Murghab, and four marches above Marv-ar-Rud. Round 
it were fine gardens, and much rice was sent from thence to 
Balkh. It had a strong castle, and a Friday Mosque. Shurmin 
(or Surmin) lay in the mountains four marches southward of 
Abshin, and likewise four marches from Karflkh to the north-east 
of Her^t From it they exported currants to all the neigh- 
bouring places. The prince of the country, the Shar aforesaid, 
resided at neither of these places, but at a great village in the 
mountains called Balikan (or Balkiydn). Yaktit gives the names 
of two other cities of Gharjistan, namely Sinjah and Baywar, but 
except that they lay in the mountains, ' as a man of the country 
told me,' he cannot indicate their position 1 . 

The great mountain region to the east and south of Gharjistdn 
was known as Ghfir, or Ghtiristan, and it stretched from Her&t 
to Bimiyan and the borders of Kabul and Ghaznah, also south- 
ward of the Hert river. The medieval geographers refer to it 
as the country of the head-waters of many great rivers, namely of 
the Hari Rftd, also of the Helmund, the Khwish, and the Farah 
rivers (which drained to the Zarah lake), while on its Gharjistan 
frontier rose the Murghab. The geography of this immense 
region of mountains is, unfortunately, a complete blank, for the 
sites of none of the towns and castles mentioned in its history 
are known. In the 4th (loth) century, according to Ibn IJawfcal, 
Ghtir was infidel land, though many Moslems lived there. Its 

1 1st. 771, 272. I. H. 323. Muk. 309, 348. Yak. i. 803; in. 72, 163, 
1 86, 785, 786, 823. Gharjistin of Khurasan has nothing to do with Gurjistn 
south of the Caucasus (see Chapter XII, p. 181) now commonly known to us 
as Georgia, and it is quite a mistake to give the name of Georgia to Gharjistdn, 
as has been done by some writers when describing the Mongol invasion of this 
region of the upper Murghib, for there is no Georgia of Afghanistan. 


valleys were populous and extremely fertile ; it being famous for 
mines, both of silver and gold, which existed in the mountains 
towards Bimiyan and Panj-hir (see above, p. 350). The richest 
of these mines was called Kharkhfz. After the fall of the 
dynasty of Mafrmftd of Ghaznah, the Ghftrid chiefs, at first his 
lieutenants, became independent, and eventually founded their 
capital at Firftzkflh, an immense fortress in the mountains, the 
position of which is not known. 

The Ghtirid princes ruled independently from the middle of 
the 6th (i2th) century to 612 (1215), when they were defeated 
by the Khwarizm Shah, and a few years later the dynasty dis- 
appeared at the time of the Mongol invasion. Before this, 
however, in 588 (1192), the Ghftrids had conquered much of 
northern India, holding all the country from Dehli to Herat, and 
after the dynasty had been annihilated by the Mongols the Slave 
Kings (their Mamluk generals) continued to rule Dehli in a long 
line of Sultans, down to 962 (1554). 

Ghur, or Ghftristan, attained its highest point of splendour and 
riches between 543 and 612 (1148 and 1215) under the Ghtirid 
princes of the Sam dynasty. Yakftt speaks of their great capital 
at Firtizktih, or Birtizkfth (Turquoise Mountain), but gives no 
details; Mustawfi also briefly refers to this fortress, and says that 
another of its chief towns was Rftd Hangaran, but the reading is 
very uncertain. In 619 (1222) the whole country was overrun by 
Changiz Khan, Firflzkfth being stormed and left in ruins. Two 
other great fortresses are named as having given much trouble to 
the Mongol troops, namely Kalytin and Flvr, lying ten leagues 
distant one from the other, but the position of neither is known, 
and both are said to have been entirely destroyed by Changiz 
Khin. Kazvtnl in the yth (i3th) century also names Khftst as 
one of the great cities of Ghftr, and possibly this is identical with 
Khasht, the place previously mentioned (p. 410) as near the head- 
waters of the Hari Rftd. In the time of Timflr the only place 
referred to in Ghftr appears to be the castle called KaVah Khastir, 
but, again, nothing is known of its position 1 . 

1 1st. 272. I. H. 304, 323. Yak. iii. 823; iv. 930. Kaz. ii. 244. Mst. 
184, 1 88. A. Y. i. 150. On Ghftr see the article by Sir H. Yule in the 
Encyclopedia Briianniea (pth edition), x. 569. 

4i 8 KHURAsAN. [CHAP. 

The city of Bamiyan was the capital of a great district of 
the same name which formed the eastern part of Ghftr, and 
as its very ancient remains show, was a great Buddhist centre 
long before the days of Islam. Istakhri describes Bamiyan as 
half the size of Balkh in the 4th (loth) century, and though 
the town, which stood on a hill, was unfortified, its district was 
most fertile, being watered by a considerable river. Mukaddasl 
names the city Al-Lahtim, but the reading is uncertain, and 
he praises it as 'the trade-port of Khurasin and the treasure- 
house of Sind. It was very cold and there was much snow, 
but in its favour was the fact that bugs and scorpions were 
conspicuously absent. The city had a Friday Mosque, and rich 
markets stood in the extensive suburbs, while four gates gave 
egress from the town. In the 4th (loth) century the Bamiyan 
territory included many large cities, the sites of which are now 
completely lost The three chief towns are said to have been 
called Basghfirfand, Sakiwand, and JLakhr&b. 

Yakfit in the beginning of the yth (i3th) century describes in 
some detail the great sculptured statues of Buddha still to be seen 
at Bamiyan. High up in the mountain side, he writes, there was 
a chamber supported on columns, and on its walls had been 
sculptured the likenesses of ' every species of bird that Allah had 
created most wonderful to see.' Without the chamber-entrance 
are 'two mighty idols cut in the live rock of the hill-side, from 
base to summit, and these are known as the Surkh Bud and the 
Khing Bud [the Red and the Grey Bliddha] and nowhere else in 
the world is there aught to equal these.'" Kazvini speaks of 
a 'Golden House' at Bdmiyan, and likewise describes the two great 
statues of Buddha; further he mentions a quicksilver (z\ba$) 
mine and a sulphur spring as of this neighbourhood. The ruin 
of Bamiyan and all its province, even as far east as the Panj-hfi 
mines, as already mentioned, was due to the wrath of Changlz 
Khan, whose favourite grandson Mfttflkin, son of Jaghatay, 
was killed at the siege of Bamiyan. The Mongol troops were 
ordered to level with the ground the town walls and all the houses, 
and Changfz forbade any to build or live here ever again, the 
name of B&miyin being changed to Mav Balifc, which in the 


Turki dialect means 'the accursed city.' Since that time Bamiyan 
has been an uninhabited waste 1 . 

1 1st. 277, 280. I. H. 327, 328. Muk. 296, 303, 304. Yak. i. 481. 
Kaz. ii. 103. Mst. 188. A. G. 114, 149. For illustrations of the great 
Buddhist sculptures at Bamiyan see Talbot and Maitland, in/. R. A. S. 
1886, p. 323. 


KHURASAN (continued). 

The Balkh quarter of Khurasan. Balkh city and Naw Bahar. The district 
of J&zj&n. Talikan and Jurzuwan. Maymanah or VahCidfyah. Faryab, 
Shaburkan, Anbar, and Andakhdd. The Tukharistan district. Khulm, 
Siminj&n, and Andarabah. Warwallz and^ Tayikan. The products of 
Khurasan. The high roads through Khurasan and Kuhistan. 

Balkh 'Mother of Cities'" gave its -name to the fourth Quarter 
of Khurasan, which, outside the district of the capital, was 
divided, west and east, between the two great districts of Jtizjan 
and Tukharistan. 

In the 3rd foth) century Ya'ktibi speaks of Balkh as the 
greatest city of all Khurasan. It had had of old three concen- 
tric walls, and thirteen gates, and Mukaddasi adds that it had 
been called in early days the equivalent, in Persian, of Balkh-al- 
Bahiyyah, 'Beautiful Balkh. ' Outside the town lay the famous 
suburb of Naw Bahar, and the houses extended over an area 
measuring three miles square. There were, says Ya'fcftbf, two 
score Friday Mosques in the city. Istakhr! remarks that Balkh 
stood in a plain, being four leagues from the nearest mountains, 
called Jabal Kft. Its houses were built of sun-dried bricks, and 
the same material was used in the city wall, outside which was 
a deep ditch. The markets and the chief Friday Mbsque stood in 
the central part of the city. The stream that watered Balkh was 
called Dahis, which, says Ibn Hawkal, signifies 'ten mills' (in 
Persian); the river turns these as it runs past the Naw Bahar gate, 
flowing on thence to irrigate the lands and farms of Siyahjird on 
the Tirmid road. All round Balkh lay gardens producing oranges, 
the Nilftfar lily, and the sugar-cane, which, with the produce of its 


vineyards, were all exported in quantity. Further, its markets were 
much frequented by merchants. 

The city possessed seven gates, namely Bab Naw Bahar, Bab 
Rahbah (the Gate of the Square), Bab-al-Hadid (the Iron Gate) 
Bab Hinduwan (the Gate of the Hindus), Bab-al-YahM (the Jews' 
Gate), Bab Shast-band (the Gate of the Sixty Dykes), and Bab 
Yahya. Mukaddasi describes in general terms the beauty, splen- 
dour, and riches of Balkh, its many streams, its cheap living, for 
food-stuffs were abundant, the innumerable broad streets, its walls 
and its Great Mosque, also its many well-built palaces ; and in this 
state of prosperity Balkh flourished till the middle of the 6th 
(i2th) century, when it was laid in ruins for the first time by the 
invasion of the Ghuzz Turks in 550 (1155). After their departure 
the population carne back, and rebuilt the city in another but 
closely adjacent place. In part Balkh before long recovered its 
former splendour, and thus is described by Yakftt in the early 
part of the 7th (isth) century, immediately before its second 
devastation at the hands of the Mongols. 

Of the great suburb of Balkh called Naw Bahar, where accord- 
ing to Mas'udi had stood, in Sassanian days, one of the chief 
fire-temples of the Guebres, Yaktit has a long account, which 
he quotes from the work of 'Onjar-ibn-al-Azrak of Kirman, and 
a similar description is found in Kazvini. Of this fire-temple at 
Balkh the chief priest had been Barmak, ancestor of the Barme- 
cides, and in Sassanian days his family had been hereditary 
chief-pontiffs of the Zoroastrian faith in this city. The account 
given of Naw Bahar, briefly, is that it was originally built in 
imitation of, and as a rival to, the Ka'abah of Mecca. Its walls 
were adorned with precious stones, and brocaded curtains were 
hung everywhere to cover these, the walls themselves being 
periodically unguent^d with perfumes, especially in the spring- 
time, for Naw Bahar means * First or Early Spring,' the season 
when pilgrimage was made to the shrine. The chief building was 
surmounted by a great cupola, called Al-Usttin, a hundred ells 
and more in height, and round this central building were 360 
chambers, where the priests who served had their lodgings, one 
priest being appointed for each day of the year. On the summit 
of the dome was a great silk flag, which the wind blew out at 


times to a fabulous distance. This principal building was full of 
figures or idols, one of which in chief the pilgrims from Kabul, 
India, and China prostrated themselves before, afterwards 
kissing the hand of Barmak, the chief priest. All the lands 
round Naw Bahar for seven leagues square were the property of 
the sanctuary, and these brought in a great revenue. The great 
Naw BahSr shrine was destroyed by Afonaf ibn Kays, when he 
conquered Khurasan in the days of the Caliph 'Othm&n, and 
converted the people to Islam 1 . 

The Mongols in 617 (1220) devastated Balkh, and according 
to Ibn Battitah, Changiz Khan ruined the third part of its Great 
Mosque in his fruitless search for hidden treasure. When Ibn 
Battitah visited this district in the earlier half of the 8th (i4th) 
century Balkh was still a complete ruin, and uninhabited, but 
outside the walls were a number of tombs and shrines that were 
still visited by the pious pilgrims. In the account of the campaigns 
of Tfmtir, at the close of the 8th (r4th) century, Balkh is often 
mentioned, and by this date must have recovered part of its former 
glory. Timiir restored the fortress outside the walls called Kal'ah 
Hinduwan, the Castle of the Hindus, which became the residence 
of his governor, and at a later date he also rebuilt much of the 
older city. 

Balkh at the present day is an important town of modern 
Afghanistan, and is celebrated for its great shrine, called Mazar- 
i-Sharif (the Noble Tomb), where the Caliph 'Ali known as 
Shah-i-Mardin, 'King of Men* is popularly supposed to have 
been buried. According to Khwandamir this, supposititious, grave 
of the martyred 'Ali was discovered in the year 885 (1480), when 
Mirza BaykarS, a descendant of Timtir, was governor of Balkh. 
For in that aforesaid year a book of history, written in the time of 

1 Ykb. 287, 288. 1st. 275, 278, 280. I. H. 325, 326, 329. Muk. 301, 
302. Mas. iv. 48. Yak. i. 713; iv. 817, 818. Kaz. ii. 221. The curious 
passage about Naw Bahar will be found translated, in full, by M. Barbier 
de Meynard in his Dictionnaire Geographtqut de la Ferse, p. 569. The 
presence of the idols, great and small, and the (sacred) flags, suggested to 
Sir H. Rawlinson the idea that Naw Bahar had been originally a Buddhist 
shrine, and the name he explained as Naw Viharah, 'the New Viharah/ 
or Buddhist Monastery. See/. R. G. S. 1872, p. 510. 


Sultan Sanjar the Saljftk, was shown to Mirza Bayfeari, in which 
it was stated that 'All lay buried at the village of Khwajah 
Khayran, a place lying three leagues distant from Balkh. On 
the governor forthwith going there and making due search a slab 
was discovered bearing the inscription in Arabic, 'This is the tomb 
of the Lion of Allah, and His saint, 'Alt, brother [for cousin] of 
the Apostle of Allah.' A great shrine was therefore built over this 
grave, and ever since this has been highly venerated by the people 
of central Asia, and is still a notable place of pilgrimage '. 

Jftzjan (Al-Jftzajan or Juzjinin) was the western district of the 
Balkh quarter, through which the road passed from Marv-ar-Rftd 
to Balkh city. During the middle-ages this was a most populous 
district, possessing many cities, of which three only now exist 
under their old names, though the positions of most of the other 
towns mentioned by the Arab geographers can be fixed from the 
Itineraries. Though the names are changed, ruins still mark 
their sites. The whole district was extremely fertile, and much 
merchandise was exported, especially hides, which were tanned 
here and carried to all parts of Khurasan 8 . 

Three marches distant from Marv-ar-Rftd, towards Balkh, was 
the city of T&tik&n, the name of which is no longer found on the 
map, but the ruins and mounds of brick near Chachaktft probably 
mark its site. Already in the 3rd (gth) century T^li^an was 
a town of much importance, and Ya'fcdbf says that the Tdlil^in 
felts made here were celebrated. The town lay among the 
mountains, and there was a magnificent Friday Mosque here. 
Istakhri in the following century stated that Tilikan was as large 
as Marv-ar-RAd, and its climate was more healthy. Its houses 
were built of sun-dried bricks. Near by was the village of 
Junduwayh, where, according to Yakftt, in the 2nd (8th) century, 
the great battle had been fought and won by Abu Muslim at 
the head of the Abbasid partizans against the Omayyad troops. 
Shortly after the time when Yafcftt wrote, in 617 (1220), Taliban 
was stormed after a siege of seven months by Changiz Khan, and 

1 I. B. iii. 58, 59. A. Y. i. 176. Khwandamfr, iii. pt 3, p. 238. C. E. 
Yate, Afghanistan , 256, 280. 

* 2 1st. 271. I. H. 322. Muk. 298. Yak. ii. 149. 


all the population were massacred, its castle being razed to the 

In the mountains with a situation at the foot of hill-spurs 
and gulleys that, it was said, resembled Mecca was the town of 
Jurzuwan, where the governor of the Jflzjan district passed the 
summer heats. The name of Al- Jurzuwan, as the Arabs called 
it, the Persians pronounced Kurzuwan or Gurzuvan, and it was 
also written Jurzubdn or Gurzuban. It lay between Tdlifcan 
and Marv-ar-Rtid, in the district towards the Ghflr frontier, 
and, Yikflt says, was very populous and full of rich folk. No 
place of this name now exists on the map, but the ruins at 
Kal'ah Wai! most probably mark its site 1 . 

The city of Maymanah, which lay two marches beyond Tilikan 
on the Balkh road, still exists as a flourishing town. In the 
earlier middle-ages it was called Al-Yahtidan, or Al-Yahtidiyah, 
'the Jews' Town,' and was often counted' as the capital of Jtizjan. 
Its Friday Mosque, Ibn Hawkal says, had two minarets. Yafctit, 
who gives the name also under the form Jahfldan-al-Kubra, ' the 
Great Jewry,' says that it was first settled by the Israelites whom 
Nebuchadnezzar sent hither from Jerusalem. The name was 
changed to Maymanah, meaning 'the Auspicious Town,' for the 
sake of good augury, since ' Jew-town ' to the Moslems was a term 
of reproach, and as Maymanah it exists at the present day. 
Maymanah is apparently also mentioned by. Mustawf i, who speaks 
of it, in the 8th (i4th) century, as a medium-sized town of the hot 
region, growing corn, fruit, and dates, and taking its water-supply 
from the neighbouring river. There is, however, possibly some 
confusion between this Maymanah of Jtizjan, and Maymand for 

1 Ykh. 287. 1st. 270. I. H. 321, 322. Yak. 11. 59, 129; iii. 491; iv. 258. 
A. G. 114. C. E. Yate, Afghanistan, 157, 194, 195, 196, 211. The ruins at 
Chachaktu (Tahkan) are 45 miles as the crow flies from Bala Murgh&b (Maiv- 
ar-Riid), which would be an equivalent of the three days' march, in a moun- 
tainous country, from this last place to Tahkan. The name of ChachaktA 
(written Jijaktu) is mentioned by 'Alt of Yazd (i. 806 ; ii. 593) in his accounts 
of the campaigns of Timiir, but Talikan is not mentioned by him. The ruins 
at KaTah Walt (probably Jurzuwan) he 27 miles from Bali Murghib. An 
alternative site might be found at the considerable remains existing near Takht- 
i-Khatun. Either of these places may be Gurzuwan, which it is to be noted 
was a mint city under the Khwarizm Shahs. 

xxx] KHURASAN. 425 

Maywand in Zabulistan, half-way between Girishk and Kandahar; 
and this confusion reappears in the pages of Yakut, who writes of 
Maymand (or Mimand) of Ghaznah, and says it 'lay between 
B&miyin and Ghur/ evidently meaning Maymanah or Yahudiyah. 
One march from Yahudiyah or Maymanah was the town of 
Kandaram, also written Kandadram, the residence, according to 
Ya'kubi, of the governor of Juzj&n. It was a city of the mountains, 
Istakhri writes, rich in vineyards and nut-trees, and abundantly 
irrigated by running streams 1 . 

One of the most important towns of Juzjan during the middle 
ages was Al-Faryb, the name of which has completely disappeared 
from the map, but from the position given by the Itineraries the 
ruins of Faryab may be identified as those now known as Khay- 
rabad, where there is an ancient fort surrounded by mounds of 
brick. Al-Fariyab, as Ibn Hawkal spells the name, was in the 
4th (icth) century a smaller town than Talikan, but more fertile 
and with finer gardens. It was very healthy, and much merchan- 
dise was to be found collected here. It had a fine Friday Mosque, 
which however possessed no minaret. Yakut, who also spells the 
name Firyab, gives its position in regard to Talikan and Shaburkin, 
but adds no details. In 617 (1220), shortly after his time, Faryab 
was completely ruined by the Mongols, and it is only incidentally 
mentioned by Mustawfi. Between Al- Yahudiyah and Al-F&ryftb, 
according to Ibn Hawkal, there stood the city of Marsan, nearly 
of the size of Al-Yahudtyah in the 4th (loth) century; and possibly 
this is identical with the village of Nariyan which Yakut mentions 
as in a like position. Of this mountain region also was the small 
city of San which Ibn Hawkal describes as having many fruitful 
gardens growing grapes and nuts, for its streams brought water 
without stint*. 

1 Ykb. 187. 1st. 770, 271. I. H. 321, 322. Yak. ii. 168; iv. 719, 1045. 
Mst. 185. C. E. Yate, Afghanistan, 339. 

2 1st. 270. I. H. 321,322. N. K. 3. Yak. iii. 840, 888; iv. 775. >Lst. 
1 88. C. E. Yate, Afghanistan, 233 Faryab of Juzjan is called Dili Baiy&b 
by Nasir-i-Khusraw, who passed through it going from Shaburkan to Talikan. 
It is also given as Barab in the Ja/iAn Nitnui (p. 324), and it is not to be 
confused with Farb, also called Barab, which is Otrar on the Jaxartes, as will 
be mentioned in Chapter XXXIV. 


Shaburfen, spelt variously AshbArl^n or Ushburfcan, also 
Shubftrkan or Sabftrghan, which still exists, had in the 3rd (9th) 
century been once the seat of government of the Jfizjan district, 
which afterwards was removed to Yahftdfyah (Maymanah), at 
that time its equal in size. Its gardens and fields were 
wonderfully fertile, and large quantities of fruits were exported. 
Yaktit, who spells the name Shubrukan or Shufrukan and Shabftr- 
kan, says that in 617 (1220), at the time of the Mongol invasion, 
it was a very populous town, with much merchandise in its 
markets. A century later Mustawfi speaks of it in similar terms, 
coupling Shubftrkan and Faryab together, also adding that corn 
was abundant and cheap here. 

One day to the south of Shubtirkan, and the same distance 
eastward of Yahftdiyah, was Anbir, otherwise written Anbir, which 
Ibn Hawkal says was larger than Marv-ar-Rfld. Here the 
governor of the district had his residence in the winter. No town 
of this name now exists, but by position Anbar is probably 
identical in site with Sar-i-pfll, on the upper part of the Shubftrkan 
river, still a place of some importance. The town was sur- 
rounded by vineyards and its houses were clay-built. It was 
often counted as the chief city of Juzjan, and is probably the 
town which Nasir-i-Khusraw visited on his road to Shuburghan, 
and which he calls the city (or capital) of Jtizjanan. He speaks 
of its great Friday Mosque, and remarks on the wine-bibbing habits 
of the people. Out in the plain, to the north-west of Shubtirkan, 
lies the town of Andkhuy, the name of which in the earlier 
geographers is spelt variously Andakhud, Addakhftd, and An- 
Nakhud. Ibn Hawkal speaks of it as a small town out in the 
desert, with seven villages lying round it, and, in the 4th (loth) 
century, for the most part inhabited by Kurds, who possessed 
many sheep and camels. Yaktit mentions it, but adds no details ; 
the name also frequently occurs in the accounts of TimOr's 
campaigns 1 . 

The great district of Tukharistan lay to the eastward of Balkh, 
stretching along the south side of the Oxus as far as the frontiers 

1 Vkb. 287. 1st. 270, 271. I. H. 321, 322. N. K. 2. Yak. i. 367, 
372; iii. 254, 256, 305, 840. Mst. 188, 189, 190. A. Y. i. 805; ii. 593. 
C. E. Yate, Afghanistan^ 346. 


of Badakhshan, and bounded on the south by the mountain 
ranges north of Bamiyin and Panj-hir. It was divided into Upper