Henry Fanshawe Tozer.

Researches in the highlands of Turkey; including visits to mounts Ida, Athos, Olympus, and Pelion, to the Mirdite Albanians, and other remote tribes (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryHenry Fanshawe TozerResearches in the highlands of Turkey; including visits to mounts Ida, Athos, Olympus, and Pelion, to the Mirdite Albanians, and other remote tribes (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 31)
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The right of Translation is restr-ved.









The journeys, of which an account is given in these
volumes, were made in the summers of 1853, 1861, and
1865. The first of these in order of time has been
placed last in order of narration, as it is best suited to
supplement the information given in the other two.

It has been my endeavour to compress what I have to
say into a moderately narrow compass, excluding for
the most part matters merely personal, together with the
ordinary features of Eastern life and daily incidents of
travel, with which most persons are by this time ac-
quainted. At the same time I have discussed, to the
best of my ability, the various questions — historical,
antiquarian, and topographical — which such a tour
naturally suggests, and have illustrated them by such
information as I have been able to obtain.

Turkey is at present the least known of all the coun-
tries of Europe, yet few contain so much to reward the
trouble of investigation. I shall be glad if I succeed in
persuading any persons, who are desirous of leaving the
beaten track of tourists, that there are no insuperable

vi Preface.

difficulties in the way of travelling in the interior, even
during the summer months. But in any case I shall be
amply satisfied, if I am able to impart to my readers a
fraction of the pleasure which the original tours fur-
nished to myself.

Oxford, March lo, 1869.




Departure from Constantinople — The Hellespont — The Flam of Troy —
Bunarbashi — An Earthquake — A wealthy Armenian — Rivers of
Greece and Asia Minor — Beyramitch — Evjilar — Guards and Robbers
— The Yuruk — Night Bivouac — Ascent of the Mountain — View
from the Suminit — Its Flora — Descent to Turcoman Encampment —
Source of the Scamander — Return to Bunarbashi Page i



The Springs at Bunarbashi — Mode of treating the Subject — Accuracy of
Homeric epithets and descriptions — Topography of the IHad — The
Springs near Troy — Correspondence with those at Bunarbashi — The
Bali-dagh — Its Tumuli — View from it — Floods of the Mendere —
Site of Troy — The Ileian Plain — Excavations on the Bali-dagh —
Batieia — Atchi-keui — The Hanai-Tepe — Ilium Novum — Return to
the Dardanelles 22



Departure for Mount Athos — Thasos — Cavalla — The Holy Mountain
— General Description — Vegetation, Scenery, and Climate — Rigorous
Fast— Monastery of Vatopedi — -Its Opulence — School of Eugenius
Bulgaris — Village of Caryes — Exclusion of Females — The Holy
Synod — Monastic Dispute — Phases of Monastic Life — Revenues —
Numbers — Races — Pantocratoros — A Russian Dignitary — The Sand-
bath 50

viii Contents of Vol. I.

MOUNT ATHOS {continued).

Monastery of Iveron — Description of it — The central Church — Byzantine
Pictures — The Refectory — The Library — Miraculous Picture — Theory
of Eastern Monastic Life — Occupations of the Monks — Their love of
tranquillity — Fallmerayer influenced by it — Mysticism — Monastery
of Philotheu — Caracalla — The Lavra — Relics and Jewellery — Retreat of
" the Forerunner" — A Conversation on Canals — A Painter — Legends
of the Peak — Ascent to the Summit — Festival of the Transfiguration
— Light of Tabor Page 76


MOUNT ATHOS {continued).

Descent to the Skete of St. Anne — St. Paul's — A Monastic meal — St.
Dionysius — St. Gregory's — Simopetra — Russians and Greeks —
Xeropotamu — Ancient diamonds — Xenophu — Docheiareiu — A Hermit
— Constamonitu — Monastic group — Zographu — Chilandari — The
Monks' views of other Churches 107


MOUNT ATHOS {contimied).

Canal of Xerxes — Sphigmenu — The Central Ridge — The Russian Mo-
nastery — Estimate of the Monastic System— The future of the Holy
Mountain — History of the Community — Earliest Period — Time of
the Comneni — Attack by the Latins — Time of the Paloeologi - — Canta-
cuzene — Theological Movements — Submission to the Turks — Later
History 127



Salonica — Its Triumphal Arches — Inscription — Population and History
— The Egnatian Way — Roads in Turkey — The Vardar — Khans —
Site of Pella — Yenidje — Vodena — Its Beautiful Situation — The
Ancient Edessa — Village and Lake of Ostrovo — Subterranean Chan-
nels — Gumitzovo — Pigs in Turkey — Nidje and Peristeri — Approach
to Monastir 143

Contents of Vol. I. ix



Monastir — Its Importance — Massacre of the Albanian Beys — Monastery
of Bukova — Plain of Monastir — Legend of the Temenidce — Turkish
Outrages — The Bulgarians — Their History — Bulgarian Church Move-
ment — Monastir to Ochrida — Lake of Presba — Lake of Ochrida —
The City — Ancient Statue and Crucifix — Legend of St. Clement —
Cyril and Methodius — Statues and Pictures Page 1 66



The Menzil — Primitive Boats — The Drin at Struga — Roman Milestone

Bulgarian School — Kukus — Wild Mountain Road — Elbassan —

Concealed Treasures — Illtreatment of Women — Value set on Water —
The Albanians — Their Origin — Character — Riddles and Superstitions
— Ghegs and Tosks — Albanian Heroes— History of Scanderbeg —
Ballad on his Death I95



Berat — Mount Tomohr — Local Chieftains — Castle of Berat — Siege
under Scanderbeg— Malaria Fever — A Mountain Residence — Sla-
vonic Names — Pass of Glava — The Viosa — Tepelen — Ali Pasha's
Palace — Argyro-Castro — Albanians and Greeks — Pass of Mount
Sopoti — Delvino — River Vistritza — Lake of Butrinto— Departure for
Corfu 2i8



Journey in 1865 — Coast of Dalmatia — Bocche di Cattaro — Austrian
Defences — Vievirs of the Black Mountain — Cattaro — The Scala —
Approach to Montenegro — Niegush — Laborious Agriculture — Monte-
negrin Dress — Destruction of Forests — Mount Lovchen — Plain of
Cetinje — History of Montenegro — The Vladika or Prince-Bishop —
Sicilian Vespers of Montenegro — Episode of Stephen the Little — The

Two Last Vladikas 234

VOL. I. l>

Contents of Vol. I.

MONTENEGRO (continued).

Cetinje — Political Constitution of the Country— Population and Revenue
—Need of a Port — The Monastery— Right of Asylum— The Archi-
mandrite and Bishop — The Montenegr-in Church— Ecclesiastical Views

— Feeling of the People towards England — Piesmas or National Songs
—Sitting of the Senate — The Credit Mobilier — Prince Nicolas —
Mirkho — Descent to Rieka — Estimate of the Montenegrins — Their
Political Importance — Atrocious Murder— Lake of Scodra — Fishery

— Pelicans Page 253



Bazaars and City of Scodra — Vendetta — Turkish Toleration — Turks and
Montenegrins — Ismael Pasha — The Castle — View from it — Sieges —
Departiire for the Mirdita — The Drin — First Impressions of the Mir-
(lita — Night-bivouac — Mirdite Dress — Extensive Oak -forests — The
Priest of St. George — Religious Views of the People— Their Fana-
ticism — Rivers of the Country — Arrival at Orosch 280

THE MIRDITA {continued).

The Mirdite Prince — History of his Family — Political Constitution of the
Mirdita — Administration of Justice — Fraternal Friendships — Ravages
of the Vendetta — The Prince's Hospitality — Derivation of the name
Mirdite -^ Excursion to the Monte Santo — View from it — Topography
of the Country — Capture of Wives — McLennan on ' Primitive
Marriage ' — Prevalence of the Custom of Exogamy — Bride-racing
— Mirdite Wives Mahometans 302



Departure from Orosch — A Native Guide — The Bertiscus Mountains —
Mirdite Shepherds' Encampment — Mode of Divination — Junction of
Black and White Drin — A Nocturnal Visitor — Prisrend — The Kaima-
kam — Turkish Administration- — The Castle — View from it — Churches

— Visit of Dr. Barth — The Roman Catholic Archbishop — Popula-
tion — Concealed Christians — Their Origin, Histoiy, and Present Con-
dition 327

Contents of Vol. I.



The Scardus Pass — Its Flora — View from the Summit — Calcandele —
The Khanji and the Mudir — Former Condition of the Country — Here-
ditary Pashas — The Tettovo — Mount Liubatrin — The Vardar —
Uskiub — Its History — General Geography of the Country — District
East of Scardus — District West of Scardus — The Kurschumli-khan
— Ancient Clock-tower — Justinian's Aqueduct — Circassian Colony.

Page 350



Justinian's Birthplace — Kiuprili — Unexplored Route to Salonica — The
Site of Stobi — Negotin — Banja — Demirkapu or Iron Gate of the
Vardar — Boats Shooting the Rapids — Traffic to Perlepe — Lower
Course of the River — Ardjen Lake — Avret Hissar— Arrival at Salo-
nica — Railway Route across Turkey — Lines to India — Migrations of
Labourers — Commercial Treaty with England— The Eastern Ques-
tion—Greek and Slavonic Races — Future Prospects of Turkey .. 371


Monastery of Simopetra (Momit Athos) Frontispiece.

Map of the Plain of Troy P- 23

Map of Mount Athos P- 53

Monasteiy of Iverou (Mount Athos) (o face y>- "](>

Orosch ; residence of the Mirdite Prince (c face -p. ^00

Map of the Highlands of Turkey at end of volume.





Departure from Constantinople — The Hellespont — The Plain of Troy —
Bunarbashi — An Earthquake — A wealthy Armenian — Rivers of
Greece and Asia Minor — Beyramitch — Evjilar — Guards and Robbers
— The Yunik — Night Bivouac — Ascent of the Mountain — View
from the Summit — Its Flora — Descent to Turcoman Encampment —
Source of the Scamander — Return to Bunarbashi.

On the evening of the last day of July, 1861, I left Con-
stantinople by one of the Austrian Lloyd's steamers, in
company with an old travelling companion, Mr. Crowder,
bound in the first instance for the Dardanelles and the
Plains of Troy. We had spent the three previous weeks
partly at the Turkish capital, and partly at the delightful
old Ottoman city of Brusa in Asia Minor, in making pre-
parations for a succession of journeys into the interior, and
acclimatising ourselves in some degree to the heat of a
southern summer, a precaution which is almost necessary
after a rapid transition from a northern climate. Constan-
tinople can now be reached in a week from England by
two different routes. Persons who are not averse to a sea
voyage can take the express French steamers from Mar-
seilles, which only stop at Messina and Athens on the

Mount Ida. Chap. I.

way ; while those who prefer a land route have the option
of going by Vienna and the Danube, from the lower course
of which river a line of railway, crossing the base of the
Dobrudscha, leads to Kustendji on the Black Sea ; from
that point there is only a short sea passage to the
capital. Our travelling servant, whose name, as he
accompanied us on two separate occasions, I will men-
tion once for all at starting, was George Jacouthis, a
Greek of Constantinople, and the best dragoman I have
ever met with. His knowledge of Eastern languages
was excellent, and his versatility in adapting himself to
the emergencies of rough travelling in countries wholly
unknown to him, and his freedom from any desire to
take the lead or make difficulties, were qualities such
as one seldom finds in men of his occupation. Besides
this, he possessed unfailing good humour, and, what is
rarer still, the most scrupulous honesty. To him we
have good reason to ascribe much of the comfort which
we enjoyed on our expeditions.

On the 1st of August we landed at the town of the
Dardanelles, which lies on the Asiatic side, about half
way down the strait. Our first care was to procure
horses, for, as there are no roads in Turkey, but only
paths and tracks, all the travelling has to be performed
on horseback. By the assistance of Mr. Frederic Calvert,
who at that time was the English consul, we obtained
the number we required from one of the carriers of the
country, who are usually willing to enter into an arrange-
ment of this kind, as it is more profitable than their
ordinary occupation of transporting merchandize. In
such cases the horses are accompanied either by the
owner himself, or by some person employed by him.
Our baggage was of the lightest description. In addi-
tion to railway rugs to sleep on, and bags to serve as a

Chap. I. The Hellespont.

protection against vermin at night, we carried only a few
Icnives, forks, and tin plates, together with a supply of
coffee, sugar, and brandy, but nothing else except clothes
and books ; in this way all our belongings could easily be
strapped on one horse.

We started in the afternoon of the same day, and rode
along the coast under the sandy hills, which, on the
Asiatic as well as the European side, border the winding
waters of the Hellespont. The strangeness of the ap-
pearance of this "ocean stream" is not diminished by a
nearer acquaintance, forming as it does so narrow, and
apparently so slight, a boundary between two great con-
tinents. Yet in reality it has been a most effectual
barrier to prevent communication between them. Even
now, the Slavonic tribes, which form the bulk of the
population of European Turkey, are nowhere found in
Asia ; nor have the Turcomans and other nomad races,
which inhabit the mountains of Asia Minor, at any point
penetrated into Europe. Still, it is in reality but a salt-
water river ; and that it was regarded as such in ancient
times is clear from the epithet " broad " which is applied
to it by classical writers, and which would be unsuitable
if it was conceived of as a sea.

The sun was setting when we came in sight of the open
sea. The splendid forms of Imbros and Samothrace
were standing out against the orange light; but we
looked in vain for Athos in the far west, though we knew
that it ought to be visible when the daylight was not
too bright, from having seen it on a former visit from the
hills above. At last, when the twilight was far advanced,
half an hour after sunset, its strange conical peak ap-
peared above the waters, like an effect in a diorama, and
continued to be distinctly seen until night came on. It
is here between 90 and 100 miles off It was dark when

B 2

Moimf Ida. Chap. I.

we reached the Plains of Troy, across which we had to
find our way as best we could, passing here and there
over narrow wooden bridges which span a number of
estuaries and lagoons ; the furthest of these is at the
mouth of the Mendere, the principal river of the plain,
the ancient Scamander. Late at night we arrived at the
villaee of Yenishehr, the Sio-eum of classical times, which
stands on a hill at the north-west angle of the plain,
overlooking the ^gean. Here we were lodged at the
house of a Greek priest called Hadji Papas, or the " Pil-
grim Father," for the name Hadji, which properly belongs
to Mahometan pilgrims to Mecca, is applied by the
Christians to -those of their body who have visited Jeru-

From this place is seen the whole of the Trojan plain,
which is seven miles in length from north to south, and
varies from two to three in breadth, enclosed on the two
sides by low ranges of hills, on which are numerous
tumuli. Instead of being a green swamp, as it is during
the winter and early spring, it had now a brown, or
rather, when seen from a distance, a golden hue, from the
crops having been lately removed ; in contrast to which
the serpentine course of the Mendere formed a conspi-
cuous object, from the line of willow trees by which its
banks are shaded. On the opposite side appeared the
site of Ilium Novum, the form of an ancient theatre,
excavated in the slope of the hill, being distinctly visible.
To the south-east, at a distance of 30 miles in a direct
line, the view is bounded by the heights of Mount Ida,
which are clearly seen from all the lower parts of the
plain, overtopping the nearer mountains. Towards the
Hellespont appeared the shining surfaces of the lagoons
which we had crossed the night before, and the Turkish
castle of Kumkaleh, one of the two which guard the

Chap. I. The Plain of Troy. 5

entrance of the strait on the European and Asiatic shore
respectively. On the slope of the hill of Yenishehr,
where it begins to sink down towards the village of
Kumkaleh, are the two tumuli of Achilles and Patroclus;
or rather, perhaps, the second is that of Antilochus, for it
would seem that the ashes of Achilles and Patroclus
were ultimately deposited in the same tomb.^ Their
mound is "described by Homer as serving for a landmark
to sailors when passing the headland.^ None of these
objects were new to us, for we had both of us explored
the plains eight years before ; on this occasion our object
was to examine more minutely some points in connec-
tion with the topography of the district, and to penetrate
further into the interior.

The following morning we proceeded along the foot of
the western range of hills in the direction of Bunarbashi,
the village which lies at the head of the plain. The
peasants whom we passed were mostly employed in
threshing, the operation being performed by cattle
drawing a hurdle on v/hich a man was standing. It was
easy to distinguish a Greek and a Turkish threshing-
floor. In the latter everything was transacted with a
dignified solemnity, while, on the other hand, the lively
Greeks might be seen poking fun at one another with a
strong sense of enjoyment. When we had ridden about
halfway we crossed the river of Bunarbashi, a full and
clear, though narrow, stream, which at one period must
have been a tributary of the Mendere (for the old
channel is traceable which joined the two), but now flows
into Besika Bay through an artificial cutting in the hills.
It was partly, I believe, in consequence of the nearness
of this, which, unlike so many of the rivers of the yEgean,

1 Horn. Od. xxiv. 76 foil. = Ibid. 82 foil.

Moitnt Ida. Chap. I.

suffers no diminution of its supply of water during the
summer months, that the neighbouring harbour — now, as
of old, "a treacherous station for ships''^ — was chosen
for the allied fleets in the summer of 1853, before the
commencement of the Russian war. We followed it up
to its source at Bunarbashi, where it gushes out from a
number of springs in the limestone rocks in the midst of
a plantation of willows, fig-trees, and agnus castus bushes.
This position is one of considerable importance in con-
nection with the topography of Troy ; but we will not
enter on that subject at present, as it may be more con-
venient to defer it until after our return from Mount

At the principal house in this village we were enter-
tained by a Greek, who farmed a considerable amount of
ground in the neighbourhood. He was an intelligent
man ; and his son, he told me, was at a " higher school "
at the Dardanelles — one of the many excellent schools
which are found in those towns of Turkey where the
Greeks are congregated : there he was taught modern
languages as well as ancient Greek. As I was sitting on
the divan in one of the upper rooms, suddenly the house
was violently shaken, and there was a sound of cracking
and breaking in the lower story. " What is that ! " I
exclaimed. " It is an earthquake," he replied, quite
quietly, like one accustomed to it ; and then added that
they were not uncommon in those parts, and that the
great shock which destroyed a portion of the city of
Brusa in 1855 had been felt there. It is to the frequent
occurrence of these throughout Greece and Asia Minor,
both in ancient and modern times, that the extraordinary
disappearance of the old temples is for the most part to-

^ " Statio malefida carinis," Virg., ^n. ii. 23.

Chap. I. Aji EartJiqiiake.

be referred. No doubt the hand of man has had much
to do with the work of destruction, as squared blocks of
stone are too tempting objects to be spared in a country
where quarrying is almost unknown ; but this cause
would not be sufficient in itself to explain the downfall of
so many massive buildings, especially in remote parts
of the country.*

On the occasion of our former visit, in 1853, we passed
a night at this farm, at which time it was occupied by an
Armenian named Meyerditch. This man's subsequent
history shows that, though in the remoter parts of Turkey
life and property are insecure, yet in the more favoured
districts, and where European consuls are able to exercise
supervision, an intelligent and active man may rise
rapidly. We found him studying a French and Armenian
grammar, in hopes of having some commercial transac-
tions with the allied fleets, which were then lying together
in the neighbouring harbour. This augured well for his
future prospects ; and on inquiring for him eight years
afterwards, we found that he had become quite a great
man, had travelled in Syria, and was the proprietor of
several farms about ten miles off. At one of these we
stopped on our return from Ida, and witnessed the curious
sight of thirty Turkish women employed as labourers to
shell and pound the Valonia acorns, working and chat-
tering through their close veils, under the supervision of
a taskmaster. The owner himself was absent at Smyrna
where he had gone to be married, having no doubt made
a good match among the far-famed ladies of that city.
Anything relating to the Armenians is interesting, because
from their wealth and ability they are likely to have a
considerable share in deciding the Eastern question. So

■* Of Laconia in particular Strabo says, et'creicTTos r\ AaKoiviKi). (viii. 5,

Jllonnt Ida. Chap. I.

great is their national vitality and the hold their religion
has upon them, that Haxthausen, in his ' Transcaucasia,'
has given it as his opinion that, dispersed as they are
throughout the whole of Asia, it is their mission to over-
power Mahometanism by the united power of Christianity
and civilisation. And as regards their capacity for busi-
ness, Mr. Curzon has wittily remarked, that while it
takes four Turks to cheat one Frank, two Franks to
cheat one Greek, and two Greeks to cheat one Jew,
it takes six Jews to cheat one Armenian. In most points
their character is a great contrast to that of the Greeks.
One of the American missionaries at Constantinople, who
had educated a great number of young men of both
nations, told me that he found the Greek mind the better
of the two for the study of scientific subjects, and fonder
of them ; but that the Armenian mind was far deeper
and soberer, and suited to embrace moral and religious
truth. Some Armenians read (and understand) Butler's
' Analogy.'

It has been remarked of the principal rivers of Greece
and Asia Minor that there is a striking resemblance in
the general features of their courses. Each of them rises
in a lofty mountain range opposite the coast, and from
thence descends into an inland plain bounded at the sides
by transverse spurs, which run off from the main chain.
At the lower extremity of this, where the mountains close
in, the river passes by a narrow gorge into another plain,
through which it flows into the sea. This is exactly the
case with the Mendere. Rising in Mount Ida, which

Online LibraryHenry Fanshawe TozerResearches in the highlands of Turkey; including visits to mounts Ida, Athos, Olympus, and Pelion, to the Mirdite Albanians, and other remote tribes (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 31)