Baghdad, the capital of Assyria, was founded during the reign of the Caliph Abu-Jasar-Almansor. A century later, in the reign of Haroun-al-Raschid, the best and most enlightened of all the caliphs, the town was at its highest pitch of prosperity; but at the end of another century, it was destroyed by the Turks. In the sixteenth century it was conquered by the Persians, and continued to be a perpetual source of discord between them and the Turks, although it at length became annexed to the Ottoman Empire. Nadir Schah again endeavoured to wrest it from the Turks in the eighteenth century.

The present population, of about 60,000 souls, consists of about three-fourths Turks, and the remainder of Jews, Persians, Armenians, and Arabs. There are only fifty or sixty Europeans living there.

The town is partly situated on both sides of the Tigris, but chiefly on the east. It is surrounded by fortified walls of brick, with numerous towers at regular intervals; both walls and towers, however, are weak, and even somewhat dangerous, and the cannons upon them are not in good condition.

The first thing that it was necessary for me to provide myself with here, was a large linen wrapper, called isar, a small fez, and a kerchief, which, wound round the fez, forms a little turban; but I did not make use of the thick, stiff mask, made of horse-hair, which covers the face, and under which the wearer is nearly suffocated. It is impossible to imagine a more inconvenient out-door dress for our sex than the one worn here. The isar gathers the dust from the ground, and it requires some dexterity to hold it together in such a way as to envelop the whole body. I pitied the poor women greatly, who were often obliged to carry a child, or some other load, or perhaps even to wash linen in the river. They never came from this work, except dripping with water. Even the smallest girls here are clothed in this way whenever they go out.

In my Oriental dress I could walk about without any covering on my face, perfectly uninterrupted. I first examined the town, but there was not much to see, as there are no remains of the old Caliphate buildings. The houses are of burnt bricks, and are only one story high; the backs are all turned towards the streets, and it is but rarely that a projecting part of the house is seen with narrow latticed windows. Those houses only whose facades are towards the Tigris make an exception to this rule; they have ordinary windows, and are sometimes very handsome. I found the streets rather narrow, and full of dirt and dust. The bridge of boats over the Tigris, which is here 690 feet broad, is the most wretched that I ever saw. The bazaars are very extensive. The old bazaar, a relic of the former town, still shows traces of handsome columns and arabesques, and Chan Osman is distinguished by its beautiful portal and lofty arches. The principal passages are so broad, that there is room for a horseman and two foot passengers, to go through side by side. The merchants and artisans here, as in all eastern countries, live in separate streets and passages. The better shops are to be found in private houses, or in the chans at the bazaars. Miserable coffee- stalls are everywhere numerous.

The palace of the pascha is an extensive building, but neither tasteful nor costly; it is imposing only from a distance. There are but few mosques, and those present nothing costly or artistic, except the inlaid tiles.

To be able to overlook the whole of Baghdad, I mounted, with great difficulty, the exterior of the dome of the Osman Chan, and was truly astounded at the extent and beautiful position of the town. It is impossible to form any idea of an Oriental town by passing through the narrow and uniform streets, no matter how often, as these are all alike, and, one with the other, resemble the passages of a jail. But, from above, I looked down over the whole town, with its innumerable houses, many of which are situated in pretty gardens. I saw thousands and thousands of terraces spread at my feet, and before all, the beautiful river, rolling on through dark orchards and palm groves, to the town, which extends along its banks for five miles.

All the buildings are, as already remarked, constructed of unburnt bricks, of which the greater part are stated to have been brought down the Euphrates, from the ruins of the neighbouring city of Babylon. By a close examination, traces of the old architecture are to be found on the fortifications; the bricks of which they are built are about two feet in diameter, and resemble fine slabs of stone.

The houses are prettier inside than out; they have clean plastered courts, numerous windows, etc. The rooms are large and lofty, but not nearly so magnificently furnished as those in Damascus. The summer is so hot here, that people find it necessary to change their rooms three times a-day. The early part of the morning is passed in the ordinary rooms; towards 9 o'clock they retire, during the remainder of the day, into the underground rooms, called sardab, which, like cellars, are frequently situated fifteen or twenty feet below the surface; at sunset they go up on to the terraces, where they receive visits, gossip, drink tea, and remain until night. This is the most pleasant time, as the evenings are cool and enlivening. Many affirm the moonlight is clearer here than with us, but I did not find this to be the case. People sleep on the terraces under mosquito nets, which surround the whole bed. The heat rises in the rooms, during the day, as high as 99 degrees; in the sun, to 122 or 131 degrees Fah.; it seldom exceeds 88 degrees 25' in the sardabs. In winter, the evenings, nights, and mornings are so cold, that fires are necessary in the rooms.

The climate of this place is considered very healthy, even by Europeans. Nevertheless, there is a disease here of which the young females are terribly afraid, and which not only attacks the natives, but strangers, when they remain several months here. This is a disgusting eruption, which is called the Aleppo Boil, or Date-mark.

This ulcer, which is at first no larger than a pin's head, gradually increases to the size of a halfcrown piece, and leaves deep scars. It generally breaks out on the face; there is scarcely one face among a hundred, to be seen without these disfiguring marks. Those who have only one have reason to consider themselves fortunate; I saw many with two or three of them. Other parts of the body are also not exempt. The ulcers generally appear with the ripening of the dates, and do not go away until the next year, when the same season returns again. This disease does not occur more than once in a lifetime; it attacks children for the most part during their infancy. No remedy is ever applied, as experience has shown that it cannot be prevented; the Europeans have tried inoculation, but without success.

This disease is met with in several districts on the Tigris; there are no traces of it to be found at a distance from the river. It would appear, therefore, to be, in some way, connected with the evaporation from the stream, or the mud deposited on its banks; the former seems less probable, as the crews of the English steamers, which are always on the river, escape, while all the Europeans who live on land fall victims to it. One of the latter had forty such boils, and I was told that he suffered horribly. The French consul, who expected to remain here for several years, would not bring his wife with him, to expose her face to the danger of these ineradicable marks. I had only been here some weeks, when I discovered slight indications of a boil on my hand, which became large, but did not penetrate very deep, and left no permanent scar. I exulted greatly at escaping so easily, but my exultation did not continue long; only six months afterwards, when I had returned to Europe, this disease broke out with such violence that I was covered with thirteen of those boils, and had to contend with them more than eight months.

On the 24th of May I received an invitation from the English resident, Major Rawlinson, to an entertainment in honour of the queen's birthday. There were only Europeans present at dinner, but in the evening, all denominations of the Christian world were admitted - Armenians, Greeks, etc. This entertainment was given upon the handsome terraces of the house. The floor was covered with soft carpets; cushioned divans invited the fatigued to rest, and the brilliant illumination of the terraces, courts, and gardens diffused a light almost equal to that of day. Refreshments of the most delicate kind made it difficult for Europeans to remember that they were so far from their native country. Less deceptive were two bands of music, one of which played European, the other native pieces, for the amusement of the guests. Fire-works, with balloons and Bengal lights, were followed by a sumptuous supper, which closed the evening's entertainments. Among the women and girls present, there were some remarkably beautiful, but all had most bewitching eyes, which no young man could glance at with impunity. The art of dyeing the eyelids and eyebrows principally contributes to this. Every hair on the eyebrows which makes its appearance in an improper place, is carefully plucked out, and those which are deficient have their place most artistically supplied by the pencil. The most beautiful arched form is thus obtained, and this, together with the dyeing of the eyelids, increases uncommonly the brightness of the eye. The desire for such artificial beauty extends itself even to the commonest servant girls.

The fair sex were dressed in Turkish-Greek costume; they wore silk trousers, gathered together round the ankles, and over these, long upper garments, embroidered with gold, the arms of which were tight as far as the elbow, and were then slit open, and hung down. The bare part of the arm was covered by silk sleeves. Round their waists were fastened stiff girdles of the breadth of the hand, ornamented in front with large buttons, and at the sides with smaller ones. The buttons were of gold, and worked in enamel. Mounted pearls, precious stones, and gold coins, decorated the arms, neck, and breast. The head was covered with a small, pretty turban, wound round with gold chains, or gold lace; numerous thin tresses of hair stole from underneath, falling down to the hips. Unfortunately, many of them had the bad taste to dye their hair, by which its brilliant black was changed into an ugly brown-red.

Beautiful as this group of women were in appearance, their society was very uninteresting, for an unbroken silence was maintained by these members of our garrulous sex, and not one of their pretty faces expressed an emotion or sentiment. Mind and education, the zests of life, were wanting. The native girls are taught nothing; their education is completed when they are able to read in their mother tongue (Armenian or Arabian), and then, with the exception of some religious books, they have no other reading.

It was more lively at a visit which I made, some days later, to the harem of the pasha; there was then so much chatting, laughing, and joking, that it was almost too much for me. My visit had been expected, and the women, fifteen in number, were sumptuously dressed in the same way that I have already described; with the single exception, that the upper garment (kaftan) was shorter, and made of a more transparent material, and the turbans ornamented with ostrich feathers.

I did not see any very handsome women here; they had only good eyes, but neither noble nor expressive features.

The summer harem, in which I was received, was a pretty building, in the most modern style of European architecture, with lofty, regular windows. It stood in the middle of a small flower-garden, which was surrounded by a large fruit-garden.

After I had been here rather more than an hour, a table was laid, and chairs placed round it. The principal woman invited me to join them, and leading the way, seated herself at the table, when, without waiting till we were seated, she hastily picked out her favourite morsels from the various dishes with her hands. I was also compelled to help myself with my hands, as there was no knife and fork in the whole house, and it was only towards the end of the meal that a large gold teaspoon was brought for me.

The table was profusely covered with excellent meat-dishes, with different pilaus, and a quantity of sweet-meats and fruits. I found them all delicious, and one dish so much resembled our fritters, that I almost thought it was meant for them.

After we had finished, those who had not room to sit down with us took their seats together with some of the principal attendants: after them came, in succession, the inferior slaves, among whom were some very ugly negresses; these also seated themselves at the table, and ate what remained.

After the conclusion of the meal, strong coffee was handed round in small cups, and nargillies brought. The cups stood in little golden bowls, ornamented with pearls and turquoises.

The pasha's women are distinguished from their attendants and slaves only by their dress and jewellery; in demeanour I found no difference. The attendants seated themselves without hesitation upon the divans, joined, uninvited, in the conversation, smoked, and drank coffee as we did. Servants and slaves are far better and more considerately treated by the natives than by the Europeans. Only the Turks hold slaves here.

Although such strict decorum is observed in all public places, there is an utter disregard of it in the harems and baths. While a part of the women were engaged in smoking and drinking coffee, I slipped away, and went into some of the adjoining apartments, where I saw enough, in a few minutes, to fill me with disgust and commiseration for these poor creatures; from slothfulness and the want of education, morality appeared to be so degraded as to profane the very name of humanity.

I was not less grieved by a visit to a public female bath. There were young children, girls, women, and mothers; some having their hands, feet, nails, eyebrows, hair, etc., washed and coloured: others were being bathed with water, or rubbed with fragrant oils and pomades, while the children played about among them. While all this was going on, the conversation that prevailed was far from being remarkable for its decency. Poor children! how are they to acquire a respect for modesty, when they are so early exposed to the influence of such pernicious examples.

Among the other curiosities of Baghdad, I saw the funeral monument of Queen Zobiede, the favourite wife of Haroun-al-Raschid. It is interesting, because it differs very much from the ordinary monuments of the Mahomedans. Instead of handsome cupolas and minarets, it consists of a moderate sized tower, rising from an octagon building; the tower has a considerable resemblance to those of the Hindoo temples. In the interior stand three plainly built tombs, in one of which the queen is buried; in the other two, relations of the royal family. The whole is constructed of bricks, and was formerly covered with handsome cement, coloured tiles, and arabesques, of which traces still remain.

Mahomedans consider all such monuments sacred; they frequently come from great distances to offer up their devotions before them. They think it equally desirable to erect a burial-place near such a monument, which they show with pride to their friends and relations. Round this monument there were large spaces covered with tombs.

On the return from this monument, I went a little out of my way to see that part of the town which had fallen into ruins, and been desolated by the last plague. Herr Swoboda, an Hungarian, gave me a dreadful picture of the state of the town at that time. He had shut himself closely up with his family and a maid servant, and being well furnished with provisions, received nothing from outside but fresh water. He carefully plastered up the doors and windows, and no one was allowed to go out upon the terraces, or, indeed, into the air at all.

These precautions were the means of preserving his whole family in health, while many died in the neighbouring houses. It was impossible to bury all the dead, and the bodies were left to decompose where they died. After the plague had ceased, the Arabs of the desert made their appearance for the purpose of robbing and plundering. They found an easy spoil, for they penetrated without resistance into the empty houses, or without difficulty overpowered the few enfeebled people who remained. Herr Swoboda, among the rest, was obliged to make an agreement with the Arabs, and pay tribute.

I was glad to leave this melancholy place, and directed my steps towards some of the pleasant gardens, of which there are great numbers in and round Baghdad. None of these gardens, however, are artificial; they consist simply of a thick wood of fruit-trees, of all species (dates, apple, apricot, peach, fig, mulberry, and other trees), surrounded by a brick wall. There is, unfortunately, neither order nor cleanliness observed, and there are neither grass plots nor beds of flowers, and not a single good path; but there is a considerable number of canals, as it is necessary to substitute artificial watering for rain and dew.

I made two long excursions from Baghdad; one to the ruins of Ctesiphon, the other to those of Babylon. The former are eighteen, the latter sixty miles distant from Baghdad. On both occasions, Major Rawlinson provided me with good Arabian horses, and a trusty servant.

I was obliged to make the journey to Ctesiphon and back again in one day, to avoid passing the night in the desert; and, indeed, had to accomplish it between sunrise and sunset, as it is the custom in Baghdad, as in all Turkish towns, to close the gates towards sunset, and to give up the keys to the governor. The gates are again opened at sunrise.

My considerate hostess would have persuaded me to take a quantity of provisions with me; but my rule in travelling is to exclude every kind of superfluity. Wherever I am certain to find people living, I take no eatables with me, for I can content myself with whatever they live upon; if I do not relish their food, it is a sign that I have not any real hunger, and I then fast until it becomes so great that any kind of dish is acceptable. I took nothing with me but my leathern water flask, and even this was unnecessary, as we frequently passed creeks of the Tigris, and sometimes the river itself, although the greater part of the road lay through the desert.

About half-way, we crossed the river Dhyalah in a large boat. On the other side of the stream, several families, who live in huts on the bank, subsist by renting the ferry. I was so fortunate as to obtain here some bread and buttermilk, with which I refreshed myself. The ruins of Ctesiphon may already be seen from this place, although they are still nine miles distant. We reached them in three hours and a half.

Ctesiphon formerly rose to be a very powerful city on the Tigris; it succeeded Babylon and Seleucia; the Persian viceroys resided in the summer at Ecbatania, in the winter at Ctesiphon. The present remains consist only of detached fragments of the palace of the Schah Chosroes. These are the colossal arched gate-porch, together with the gate, a part of the principal front, and some side walls, all of which are so strong that it is probable that travellers may still continue to be gratified with a sight of them for centuries. The arches of the Tauk-kosra gate is the highest of the kind that is known; it measures ninety feet, and is therefore about fifteen feet higher than the principal gate at Fattipore-Sikri, near Agra, which is erroneously represented by many as being the highest. The wall rises sixteen feet above the arch.

On the facade of the palace, small niches, arches, pillars, etc., are hewn out from the top to bottom; the whole appears to be covered with fine cement, in which the most beautiful arabesques are still to be seen. Opposite these ruins on the western shore of the Tigris, lie a few remains of the walls of Seleucia, the capital of Macedonia.

On both banks, extensive circles of low mounds are visible in every direction; these all contain, at a slight depth, bricks and rubbish.

Not far from the ruins stands a plain mosque, which holds the tomb of Selamam Pak. This man was a friend of Mahomet's, and is on that account honoured as a saint. I was not allowed to enter the mosque, and was obliged to content myself with looking in through the open door. I saw only a tomb built of bricks, surrounded by a wooden lattice, painted green.

I had already observed a number of tents along the banks of the Tigris on first reaching the ruins; my curiosity induced me to visit them, where I found everything the same as among the desert Arabs, except that the people were not so savage and rough; I could have passed both day and night among them without apprehension. This might be from my having been accustomed to such scenes.

A much more agreeable visit was before me. While I was amusing myself among the dirty Arabs, a Persian approached, who pointed to a pretty tent which was pitched at a short distance from us, and said a few words to me. My guide explained to me that a Persian prince lived in this tent, and that he had politely invited me by this messenger. I accepted the invitation with great pleasure, and was received in a very friendly manner by the prince, who was named Il- Hany-Ala-Culy-Mirza.

The prince was a handsome young man, and said that he understood French; but we soon came to a stop with that, as his knowledge of it did not extend beyond "Vous parlez Francais!" Luckily, one of his people had a better acquaintance with English, and so we were able to carry on some conversation.

The interpreter explained to me that the prince resided in Baghdad, but on account of the oppressive heat, he had taken up his residence here for some time. He was seated upon a low divan under an open tent, and his companions reclined upon carpets. To my surprise, he had sufficient politeness to offer me a seat by his side upon the divan. Our conversation soon became very animated, and his astonishment when I related to him my travels increased with every word. While we were talking, a nargilly of most singular beauty was placed before me; it was made of light-blue enamel on gold, ornamented with pearls, turquoises, and precious stones. For politeness' sake, I took a few puffs from it. Tea and coffee were also served, and afterwards the prince invited me to dinner. A white cloth was spread upon the ground, and flat cakes of bread, instead of plates, laid upon it: an exception was made for me, as I had a plate and knife and fork. The dinner consisted of a number of dishes of meat, among which was a whole lamb with the head, which did appear very inviting; besides these, several pilaus, and a large roast fish. Between the eatables stood bowls of curds and whey, and sherbet: in each bowl was a large spoon. The lamb was carved by a servant with a knife and the hand; he distributed the parts among the guests, placing a piece upon the cake of bread before each one. They ate with their right hand. Most of them tore off small morsels of meat or fish, dipped them in one of the pilaus, kneaded them into a ball, and put them into their mouths. Some, however, ate the fat dishes without pilau; after each mouthful they wiped off the fat, which ran over their fingers, on the bread. They drank a great deal while eating, all using the same spoons. At the conclusion of the meal, the prince, in spite of the strict prohibition of wine, ordered some to be brought (my presence serving as an excuse). He then poured out a glass for me, and drank a couple himself - one to my health and one to his own.

When I told him that I intended to go to Persia, and in particular to Teheran, he offered to give me a letter to his mother, who was at court, and under whose protection I could be introduced there. He wrote immediately, using his knee for want of a table, pressed his signet ring upon the letter, and gave it to me; but told me laughingly not to say anything to his mother about his having drank wine.

After meal time, I asked the prince whether he would allow me to pay a visit to his wife, - I had already learned that one of his wives was with him. My request was granted, and I was led immediately into a building, near which had formerly been a small mosque.

I was here received in a cool arched apartment by a remarkably handsome young creature. She was the most beautiful of all the women I had ever yet seen in harems. Her figure, of middling proportions, was most exquisitely symmetrical; her features were noble and truly classical; and her large eyes had a melancholy expression: the poor thing was alone here, and had no society but an old female servant and a young gazelle. Her complexion, probably not quite natural, was of dazzling whiteness, and a delicate red tinted her cheeks. The eyebrows only, in my opinion, were very much deformed by art. They were in the form of a dark-blue streak, an inch wide, which extended in two connected curves from one temple to the other, and gave the face a somewhat dark and very uncommon appearance. The principal hairs were not dyed; her hands and arms, however, were slightly tattooed. She explained to me that this shocking operation was performed upon her when she was only a child, a custom which is also practised by the Mahomedan women in Baghdad.

The dress of this beauty was like that of the women in the pasha's harem, but instead of the small turban, she wore a white muslin cloth lightly twisted round the head, which she could also draw over her face as a veil.

Our conversation was not very lively, as the interpreter was not allowed to follow me into this sanctum. We were therefore obliged to content ourselves with making signs and looking at one another.

When I returned to the prince, I expressed to him my wonder at the rare beauty of his young wife, and asked him what country was the cradle of this true angel. He told me the north of Persia, and assured me, at the same time, that his other wives, of whom he had four in Baghdad and four in Teheran with his mother, very much excelled this one in beauty.

When I would have taken my leave of the prince to return home, he proposed to me that I should remain a little while longer and hear some Persian music. Two minstrels presently appeared, one of whom had a kind of mandolin with five strings; the other was a singer. The musician preluded very well, played European as well as Persian melodies, and handled his instrument with great facility; the singer executed roulades, and, unfortunately, his voice was neither cultivated nor pure; but he seldom gave false notes, and they both kept good time. The Persian music and songs had considerable range of notes and variations in the melody; I had not heard anything like them for a long time.

I reached home safely before sunset, and did not feel very much fatigued, either by the ride of thirty-six miles, the terrible heat, or the wandering about on foot. Only two days afterwards, I set out on my road to the ruins of the city of Babylon. The district in which these ruins lie is called Isak-Arabia, and is the seat of the ancient Babylonia and Chaldea.

I rode, the same evening, twenty miles, as far as the Chan Assad. The palms and fruit-trees gradually decreased in number, the cultivated ground grew less and less, and the desert spread itself before me, deadening all pleasure and animation. Here and there grew some low herbage scarcely sufficient for the frugal camel; even this ceases a few miles before coming to Assad, and from thence to Hilla the desert appeared uninterruptedly in its sad and uniform nakedness.

We passed the place where the town of Borossippa formerly stood, and where it is said that a pillar of Nourhwan's palace is yet to be seen; but I could not discover it anywhere, although the whole desert lay open before me and a bright sunset afforded abundance of light. I therefore contented myself with the place, and did not, on that account, remember with less enthusiasm the great Alexander, here at the last scene of his actions, when he was warned not to enter Babylon again. Instead of the pillar, I saw the ruins of one large and several smaller canals. The large one formerly united the Euphrates with the Tigris, and the whole served for irrigating the land.

31st May. I had never seen such numerous herds of camels as I did today; there might possibly have been more than 7,000 or 8,000. As most of them were unloaded and carried only a few tents, or women and children, it was probably the wandering of a tribe in search of a more fruitful dwelling-place. Among this enormous number, I saw only a few camels that were completely white. These are very highly prized by the Arabians; indeed, almost honoured as superior beings. When I first saw the immense herd of these long-legged animals appearing in the distant horizon, they looked like groups of small trees; and I felt agreeably surprised to meet with vegetation in this endless wilderness. But the wood, like that in Shakspere's Macbeth, shortly advanced towards us, and the stems changed into legs and the crowns into bodies.

I also observed a species of bird today to which I was a complete stranger. It resembled, in colour and size, the small green papagien, called paroquets, except that its beak was rather less crooked and thick. It lives, like the earth-mouse, in small holes in the ground. I saw flocks of them at two of the most barren places in the desert, where there was no trace of a blade of grass to be discovered, far and wide.

Towards 10 o'clock in the morning, we halted for two hours only at Chan Nasri, as I was resolved to reach Hilla today. The heat rose above 134 degrees Fah.; but a hot wind, that continually accompanied us, was still more unbearable, and drove whole clouds of hot sand into the face. We frequently passed half-ruined canals during the day.

The chans upon this road are among the best and the most secure that I have ever met with. From the exterior, they resemble small fortresses; a high gateway leads into a large court-yard, which is surrounded on all sides by broad, handsome halls built with thick brick walls. In the halls, there are niches arranged in rows; each one being large enough to serve three or four persons as a resting- place. Before the niches, but also under the halls, are the places for the cattle. In the court-yard, a terrace is also built five feet high for sleeping in the hot summer nights. There are likewise a number of rings and posts for the cattle in the court, where they can be in the open air during the night.

These chans are adapted for whole caravans, and will contain as many as 500 travellers, together with animals and baggage; they are erected by the government, but more frequently by wealthy people, who hope by such means to procure a place in heaven. Ten or twelve soldiers are appointed to each chan as a guard. The gates are closed in the evening. Travellers do not pay anything for staying at these places.

Some Arabian families generally live outside the chans, or even in them, and they supply the place of host, and furnish travellers with camel's milk, bread, coffee, and sometimes, also, with camel's or goat's flesh. I found the camel's milk rather disagreeable, but the flesh is so good that I thought it had been cow-beef, and was greatly surprised when my guide told me that it was not.

When travellers are furnished with a pasha's firman (letter of recommendation), they can procure one or more mounted soldiers (all the soldiers at the chans have horses) to accompany them through dangerous places, and at times of disturbances. I had such a firman, and made use of it at night.

In the afternoon we approached the town of Hilla, which now occupies a part of the space where Babylon formerly stood. Beautiful woods of date-trees indicated from afar the inhabited country, but intercepted our view of the town.

Four miles from Hilla we turned off the road to the right, and shortly found ourselves between enormous mounds of fallen walls and heaps of bricks. The Arabs call these ruins Mujellibe. The largest of these mounds of bricks and rubbish is 2,110 feet in circumference, and 141 feet in height.

Babylon, as is known, was one of the greatest cities of the world. With respect to its founder there are various opinions. Some say Ninus, others Belus, others Semiramis, etc. It is said that, at the building of the city (about 2,000 years before the birth of Christ), two million of workmen, and all the architects and artificers of the then enormous Syrian empire, were employed. The city walls are described as having been 150 feet high, and twenty feet thick. The city was defended by 250 towers; it was closed by a hundred brazen gates, and its circumference was sixty miles. It was separated into two parts by the Euphrates. On each bank stood a beautiful palace, and the two were united by an artistic bridge, and even a tunnel was constructed by the Queen Semiramis. But the greatest curiosities were the temples of Belus and the hanging gardens. The tower of the temple was ornamented with three colossal figures, made of pure gold, and representing gods. The hanging gardens (one of the seven wonders of the world) are ascribed to Nebuchadnezar, who is said to have built them at the wish of his wife Amytis.

Six hundred and thirty years before Christ, the Babylonian empire was at the highest point of its magnificence. At this time it was conquered by the Chaldeans. It was afterwards subject in succession to the Persians, Osmans, Tartars, and others, until the year A.D. 1637, since which time it has remained under the Osman government.

The temple of Belus or Baal was destroyed by Xerxes, and Alexander the Great would have restored it; but as it would have required 10,000 men for two months (others say two years) merely to remove the rubbish, he did not attempt it.

One of the palaces is described as having been the residence of the king, the other a castle. Unfortunately they are so fallen to decay, that they afford no means of forming a satisfactory opinion even to antiquarians. It is supposed, however, that the ruins called Mujellibe are the remains of the castle. Another large heap of ruins is situated about a mile distant, called El Kasir. According to some, the temple of Baal stood here, according to others the royal palace. Massive fragments of walls and columns are still to be seen, and in a hollow a lion in dark grey granite, of such a size that at some distance I took it for an elephant. It is very much damaged, and, to judge from what remains, does not appear to have been the work of a great artist.

The mortar is of extraordinary hardness; it is easier to break the bricks themselves, than to separate them from it. The bricks of all the ruins are partly yellow and partly red, a foot long, nearly as broad, and half an inch thick.

In the ruins El Kasir stands a solitary tree, which belongs to a species of firs which is quite unknown in this district. The Arabs call it Athale, and consider it sacred. There are said to be several of the same kind near Buschir - they are there called Goz or Guz.

Many writers see something very extraordinary in this tree; indeed they go so far as to consider it as a relic of the hanging gardens, and affirm that it gives out sad melancholy tones when the wind plays through its branches, etc. Everything, indeed, is possible with God; but that this half-stunted tree which is scarcely eighteen feet high, and whose wretched stem is at most only nine inches in diameter, is full 3,000 years old, appears to me rather too improbable!

The country round Babylon is said to have been formerly so flourishing and fruitful, that it was called the Paradise of Chaldea. This productiveness ceased with the existence of the buildings.

As I had seen everything completely, I rode on as far as Hilla, on the other side of the Euphrates. A most miserable bridge of forty- six boats is here thrown across the river, which is four hundred and thirty feet broad. Planks and trunks of trees are laid from one boat to the other, which move up and down at every step; there is no railing at the side, and the space is so narrow that two riders can scarcely pass. The views along the river are very charming; I found the vegetation here still rich, and several mosques and handsome buildings give life to the blooming landscape.

In Hilla I was received by a rich Arab. As the sun was already very near setting, I was shown to a beautiful terrace instead of a room. A delicious pilau, roast lamb, and steamed vegetables were sent to me for supper, with water and sour milk.

The terraces here were not surrounded by any walls, a circumstance which was very agreeable to me, as it gave me an opportunity of observing the mode of life and customs of my neighbours.

In the court-yards I saw the women engaged in making bread, and in the same way as at Bandr-Abas. The men and children meanwhile spread straw mats upon the terraces, and brought dishes with pilaus, vegetables, or some other eatables. As soon as the bread was ready, they began their meal. The women also seated themselves, and I thought that the modern Arabs were sufficiently advanced in civilization to give my sex their place at table. But to my regret I saw the poor women, instead of helping themselves from the dishes, take straw fans to keep off the flies from the heads of their husbands. They may have had their meal afterwards in the house, for I did not see them eat anything, either upon the terraces or in the courts. They all slept upon the terraces. Both men and women wrapped themselves in rugs, and neither the one nor the other took off any of their clothing.

1st June. I had ordered for this morning two fresh horses and Arabs as a guard, that I might proceed with some safety to the ruins of Birs Nimroud. These ruins are situated six miles distant from Hilla, in the desert or plain of Shinar, near the Euphrates, upon a hill 265 feet high, built of bricks, and consist of the fragments of a wall twenty-eight feet long, on one side thirty feet high, and on the other thirty-five. The greater part of the bricks are covered with inscriptions. Near this wall lie several large blackish blocks which might be taken for lava, and it is only on closer examination that they are found to be remains of walls. It is supposed that such a change could only have been brought about by lightning.

People are not quite unanimous in their opinions with respect to these ruins. Some affirm that they are the remains of the Tower of Babel, others that they are those of the Temple of Baal.

There is an extensive view from the top of the hill over the desert, the town of Hilla with its charming palm-gardens, and over innumerable mounds of rubbish and brick-work. Near these ruins stands an unimportant Mahomedan chapel, which is said to be on the same spot where, according to the Old Testament, the three youths were cast into the furnace for refusing to worship idols.

In the afternoon I was again in Hilla. I looked over the town, which is said to contain 26,000 inhabitants, and found it built like all Oriental towns. Before the Kerbela gates is to be seen the little mosque Esshems, which contains the remains of the prophet Joshua. It completely resembles the sepulchre of the Queen Zobiede near Baghdad.

Towards evening the family of my obliging host, together with some other women and children, paid me a visit. Their natural good sense had deterred them from visiting me on the day of my arrival, when they knew I was fatigued by the long ride. I would willingly have excused their visit today also, for neither the rich nor poor Arabs have much idea of cleanliness. They, moreover, would put the little dirty children into my arms or on my lap, and I did not know how to relieve myself of this pleasure. Many of them had Aleppo boils, and others sore eyes and skin diseases. After the women and children had left, my host came. He was, at least, clean in his dress, and conducted himself with more politeness.

On the 2nd of July I left Hilla at sunrise, and went on, without stopping, to the Khan Scandaria (sixteen miles), where I remained some hours; and then went the same day as far as Bir-Zanus, sixteen miles further. About an hour after midnight I again halted, and took a soldier to accompany me. We had scarcely proceeded four or five miles from the khan when we perceived a very suspicious noise. We stopped, and the servant told me to be very quiet, so that our presence might not be detected. The soldier dismounted, and crept rather than walked in the sand to reconnoitre the dangerous spot. My exhaustion was so great that, although alone in this dark night on the terrible desert, I began to doze upon the horse, and did not wake up till the soldier returned with a cry of joy, and told us that we had not fallen in with a horde of robbers, but with a sheikh, who, in company with his followers, were going to Baghdad. We set spurs to our horses, hastened after the troop, and joined them. The chief greeted me by passing his hand over his forehead towards his breast; and, as a sign of his good will, offered me his arms, a club with an iron head, covered with a number of spikes. Only a sheikh is allowed to carry such a weapon.

I remained in the sheikh's company until sunrise, and then quickened my horse's pace, and at about 8 o'clock was again seated in my chamber at Baghdad, after having, in the short space of three days and a half, ridden 132 miles and walked about a great deal. The distance from Baghdad to Hilla is considered to be sixty miles, and from Hilla to Birs Nimroud six.

I had now seen everything in and around Baghdad, and was desirous of starting on my journey towards Ispahan. Just at this time the Persian prince, Il-Hany-Ala-Culy-Mirza, sent me a letter, informing me that he had received very bad news from his native country; the governor of Ispahan had been murdered, and the whole province was in a state of revolt. It was therefore impossible to enter Persia by this route. I decided in this case to go as far as Mosul, and there determine my further course according to circumstances.

Before concluding my account of Baghdad, I must state that at first I was greatly afraid of scorpions, as I had heard that there were great numbers there; but I never saw one, either in the sardabs or on the terraces, and during my stay of four weeks only found one in the court.