James Silk Buckingham.

Travels in Palestine, through the countries of Bashan and Cilead, east of the River Jordan; including a visit to the cities of Geraza and Gamala, in the Decapolis (Volume 2) online

. (page 26 of 26)
Online LibraryJames Silk BuckinghamTravels in Palestine, through the countries of Bashan and Cilead, east of the River Jordan; including a visit to the cities of Geraza and Gamala, in the Decapolis (Volume 2) → online text (page 26 of 26)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

enquiries respecting Sanhoor, and as I had no
h h 3


opportunity of seeing it but from without, ex-
cepting only the small portion which we passed
through in our way from the gate to the house,
I knew little more of it than its outline features.
It is a walled town, seated on a hill, the ascent
of which is steep on all sides ; and it commands
the view of a fine broad valley or plain to the
northward, and of a narrower one to the south-
ward of it, both of which are cultivated. The
walls of Sanhoor are strongly built, and are ap-
parently of old Saracenic work. There are two
gates of entrance, in opposite quarters of the
town ; but the whole circuit of the walls is less
than half a mile. The houses within are thickly
placed, and well built ; the streets are narrow ;
the population is abundant for the size of the
place, and the whole of the inhabitants are Mo-
hammedans. Hadjee Ahmed Jerar, the chief,
is tributary to Damascus, but is still an absolute
lord within his own domain, as there are no
military or other agents of the superior govern-
ment ever stationed throughout his territory.
His establishment is quite a feodal one, and he
has several other towns and villages, besides ex-
tensive lands around them, attached to his ser-
vice and governed by his will. But notwith-
standing that his power is absolute, his moderate
use of it renders his government mild ; and his
dependants seemingly all rejoiced in the superi-


ority of their privileges and their happiness.
Every thing that I saw myself within the benign
influence of this man's paternal government,
wore an appearance of industry, security, abun-
dance, health, and satisfaction ; and furnished
the most striking contrast that could be wit-
nessed to the aspect of Turkish and Arabian
settlements in general.

18th. As our way was thought to be only a
short day's journey to Nazareth, we were not
suffered to depart without taking an early meal,
which Hadjee Ahmed had ordered to be pre-
pared on the preceding evening, and of which
he himself partook with us.

On setting out, he said he could hardly wish
that I should be driven from Nazareth back to
Sanhoor again, in search of a caravan for Da-
mascus, as he hoped, for my sake, that I should
find one direct from thence ; but he made me
promise, if ever I should again come into Syria
or Palestine, either on my return from India, or
at any subsequent period, that I would come
and stay within his castle for a month at least.

Leaving Sanhoor at eight o'clock, we passed
for half an hour over a small, but well-cultivated
plain, to the northward of the town. From the
northern edge of this we went for about an hour
and a half over stony ground, when we reached
Cabaat. This village, which we had before


passed after it was dark, on our way hither from
Jeneen, contains from fifty to eighty dwellings,
and is altogether peopled by Mohammedans.

To go by what our guide thought a shorter
route, we kept to the westward, leaving Jeneen
on our right ; and in about two hours more, over
uneven and generally barren ground, we came to
the village of Birreheen. This is seated on the
brow of a hill, and contains from forty to fifty
dwellings ; and just opposite to it, on the west,
distant about a mile, is another village of the
same size, called Cufr-Cudt.

Below this, we turned to the north-east,
through a narrow pass, in which a deep well was
sunk down in the rock at the foot of an over-
hanging cliff. Pursuing our way from hence,
we came out at noon upon the Great Plain of
Esdraelon, having Jeneen in sight about two
miles to the eastward of us.

Going nearly in a northern direction over the
plain, we came at two o'clock to Makheably,
passing close to its western edge, where we ob-
served the scattered fragments of buildings,
pottery, sarcophagi, and other proofs of former

The rest of our way back was precisely that
by which we had come from Nazareth. In the
course of it we observed, that what is called the
Great Plain of Esdraelon, taking the hills we


had quitted to be its southern boundary, and
the range on which Nazareth stands to be its
northern limit, is not strictly a plain, in the
sense in which we generally understand the
word, but consists of a series of elevations and
depressions, some of which are very consider-
able. It is in contrast to the more rugged parts
of the hill-country only that it can be called so,
or from the circumstance of those ridges in it
not interrupting the general surface of corn-land
to which it is mostly appropriated, since all the
elevated parts are cultivable even to their sum-

The Hermon of this place, as compared with
Tabor, is a small range of hills standing nearly
in the middle of the Great Plain, and isolated on
all sides round. But this is not the principal
Hermon of the Scriptures, as invoked in the
writings of Solomon and David, as will be shown
in its proper place, though this range here oppo-
site to Tabor is always pointed out by the guar-
dians of the holy places as the only mountain so

The length of the Great Plain of Esdraelon,
within the limits prescribed to it on the east and
west by geographers and travellers, is estimated
at about eight hours' journey, or at least thirty
miles. Its breadth from north to south, in the
way we came over it, is about five hours travel,


or nearly twenty miles ; as we entered it at noon,
and reached the foot of the Mountain of the Pre-
cipitation exactly at sunset, having halted only
to water our horses at the wells of Fooli in the
way. Nearly the whole extent of this land now
lies waste, though its fine soil is every where
capable of cultivation.

We reached the Convent of Nazareth at seven
o'clock, and were received with surprise at the
cause of our return from Nablous ; but we found
as hearty a welcome among the friars there as


London :

Printed by A. & R. Spottiswoode,

New-street- Square.


Santa Barbara



3 1205 02655 9672


AA 000 863 025 3

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26

Online LibraryJames Silk BuckinghamTravels in Palestine, through the countries of Bashan and Cilead, east of the River Jordan; including a visit to the cities of Geraza and Gamala, in the Decapolis (Volume 2) → online text (page 26 of 26)