« PreviousContinue »
The shape of the city is irregular, but it may be said generally to have its sides facing the cardinal points. Its circumference has been variously estimated, both in the measurement by time and by paces; that of Maundrell may, perhaps, be the most safely relied on, and this makes it altogether 4630 paces, or just two miles and a half. JERUSALEM
Olivarunk Psephiņa O Turris
A CR A
could find, is given in the account of our visit to that place; and most of the conspicuous objects seen from thence have been enumerated in detail. Its boundaries could not be more accurately described in prose than they have been in the animated verse of Tasso, in his admired
poem on its delivery. *
* “ Gerusalem sovra due colli è posta
D'impari altezza, e volti fronte a fronte.
per lo mezzo suo valle interposta,
La città dentro ha lochi, in cui si serba
Ha da quel lato donde il giorno appare,
Gerusalemme Liberata, Canto iii. s.55.
During our stay here, I made the most accurate estîmate that my means of information ada mitted, of the actual population of Jerusalem at the present moment. From this it appeared that the fixed residents, more than one half of whom are Mohammedans, are about eight thousand; but the continual arrival and departure of strangers, make the total number of those present in the city from ten to fifteen thousand generally, according to the season of the year.
The proportion which the numbers of those of different sects bear to each other in this esti. mate, was not so easily ascertained. The answers which I received to enquiries on this point, were
* In the time of Benjamin of Tudela, Jerusalem is said to have been small, and surrounded by a triple wall, inhabited by a mixture of all the nations in the world. The knights had then there two buildings, in one of which were 500 armed men always ready for action, and the other was used as a hospital for pilgrims. The first stood on the site of the temple, where the great mosque of Solomon now stands. These armed men were of the knights themselves, who had taken the vow of perpetual adherence, besides many French and Italians, who came here to fulfil a vow of service for a limited time. Benjamin merely mentions the temple over the sepulchre of Jesus of Nazareth, and describes the four gates of the city. In the palace of Solomon were then seen the stables of his building. The palace is described as a noble edifice, and the Picine, or place where the victims were sacrificed, still existed, on the walls of which the Jews wrote their names when they visited it. - Bergeron's Collection.
framed differently by the professors' of every different faith. Each of these seemed anxious to magnify the number of those who believed his own dogmas, and to diminish that of the professors of other creeds. Their accounts were therefore so discordant, that no reliance could be placed on the accuracy of any of them. *
The Mohammedans are certainly the most numerous, and these consist of nearly equal portions of Osmanli Turks, from Asia Minor; descendents of pure Turks by blood, but Arabians by birth; a mixture of Turkish and Arab blood, by intermarriages ; and pure Syrian Arabs, of an unmixed race. Of Europeans, there are only the few monks of the Catholic convent, and the still fewer Latin pilgrims who occasionally visit them. The Greeks are the most númerous of all the Christians, and these are chiefly the clergy and devotees. The Armenians follow next in order as to numbers, but their body is thought to exceed that of the Greeks in influence and in wealth. The inferior sects of Copts, Abyssinians, Syrians, Nestorians, Maronites, Chaldeans, &c. are scarcely perceptible in the crowd. And even the Jews are more
* Two centuries ago there were in Jerusalem three Christians for one Turk. - See Travels of Two English Pilgrims, in the Harleian Miscellany, vol. iii. p. 339.
remarkable from the striking peculiarity of their features and dress, than from their numbers, as contrasted with the other bodies.
From Christmas to Easter is the period in which the city is most populous, the principal feasts of the Christians falling between these great holidays. At the latter festival, indeed, it is crowded, and the city exhibits a spectacle no where else to be seen in the world. Mecca and Medina offer, perhaps, a still greater variety of persons, dresses, and tongues ; yet there the pilgrims visit but one temple, and are united in one faith ; while here, Jews, Mohammedans, and Christians, all perform their devotions within a few yards of each other, each proudly believing that this city of the Living God is holy and noble to himself, and his peculiar sect alone. It is this persuasion that conjures up between them that feeling which Mr. Browne meant to describe, when he says of the Moslems and the Christians, that “there exists between them all that infernal hatred which two divinely revealed religions can alone inspire.” *
In Jerusalem, there is scarely any trade, and but few manufactures. The only one that at all flourishes, is that of crucifixes, chaplets, and relics, of which, incredible as it may seem, whole
* Browne's Travels in Africa and Asia, p. 362. 4to.