Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

are vineyards and orchards. The population of Beirut is about 120,000. The city is three miles in circumference, with suburbs outside which nearly equal it in size and population.

The American college.-Beirut is the seat of the Syrian Protestant College, an American school with more than a thousand students, of twelve races and several religious sects. This institution and Robert College in Constantinople have exerted a great influence on the development of the "Near East."

The streets of Beirut are narrow, but clean. Its harbor is poor, so only small boats can anchor there. This port is used by pilgrims of Damascus who are going to Mecca. The crafty Syrian boatmen charge them exorbitant prices to row them out to the large steamers outside the harbor. The crowd is usually great, as there is a rush to secure a good place on the steamer, and some are often left behind to catch the next boat.

Towns of the future.—Haifa and Acre will have great breakwaters stretching across the bay to inclose their harbor, which is the finest one on the Syrian coast. Haifa is destined to become the port for world trade in southern Syria, as Alexandretta is in the northern part.

The Dardanelles are now nationalized, and free passage from Europe to the Persian Gulf reopens the oldest routes of international trade. Railroads will be kept in repair and tourists will at no very distant day travel from Cape Town to Cairo over the “iron way.” From Cairo, after a pleasant boat or railway trip, they will land at Haifa or Acre to take the train for Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleppo, or ancient Babylon. When the projected roads are completed they can travel across Persia to India and Burma and northward into China to take passage for America at Shanghai. This route will pass through some of the richest river valleys of the world, as well as its most thickly settled portions, and will carry on a great business from the time the first train starts. 1. With your map before you, tell where you think most of the ex

ports of Beirut came from and to what countries they are going. 2. Name the cities of Europe that probably furnish each article

in the import list. Trace the route of shipment to Beirut. 3. Read 1 Kings, chapter 5, to see how Solomon obtained the

cedar for his temple from King Hiram. 4. The cedar tree is much celebrated in Scripture. What is com

pared with it in Psa. 92. 12? 5. Read Ezek. 27. 16–24 to learn about the commerce Phænicia

carried on with other parts of southwest Asia.

LESSON XIII

SYRIA-TRADE CENTERS AND ROUTES

The location of Syria on the great highway between the two richest and best-developed valleys of the ancient world was a dangerous one. For it became a trade route and battleground

[graphic]

Copyright by E. M. Newman.
SECTION OF DAMASCUS. IN THE DISTANT HAZE CAN BE SEEN AN-
OTHER SECTION OF THE CITY EXTENDING UP THE MOUNTAIN SIDE

for Egypt and Assyria, and none of its people were allowed to develop into a great nation. When a city or a people became rich from the trade that passed through it all its neighbors, large or small, sought to conquer it. The Egyptians, who were the masters of the route for one hundred and fifty years, were

finally dislodged by the Hittites. They in turn were conquered by the Assyrians.

THE QUEEN CITY OF THE DESERT Damascus, which claims to be the oldest city in the world, is surrounded by famous orchards. It looks so fresh and green as one approaches it from the desert that the Arabs call it One of the four gardens of Eden.” Mohammed would not enter Damascus because he said man could have but one paradise and that his own was in the next world.

"Rivers of Damascus.”—The city is situated on a plain which stretches away from the bare hills on the east side of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. The streams that water the city rise on the western slope of these mountains, pass through the deep gorges they have cut in the soft limestone, and carry water to the city. The chief streams are the Pharpar and Abana, of which Naaman the Syrian spoke when Elisha sent word to him, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, ... 'Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?'” (2 Kings 5. 10-12.)

These two rivers furnish the entire water supply for the city, which is six miles in circumference and has 260.000 inhabitants. The streams water a plain of irrigated groves and gardens 15 miles in circumference. At the northern walls of the city a branch of the river emerges, and one sees large gardens on its banks shaded by tall poplar and walnut trees. The Abana furnishes the power for the electric street cars of the city.

The Arabs are justly proud of the gardens, vineyards, and orchards here on the edge of the desert. There are orchards of pomegranates, figs, and apricots, with vegetables and flowers growing under the trees and surrounded by hedges of briar rose with grape vines running over them.

Walls of clay and walls of marble.—Damascus, which looks so grand at a distance, as it did in the days when Elisha visited it (2 Kings 8. 7-15), is really crumbling. The streets are dirty and narrow. They are lined with plain houses which have grated holes with red shutters for windows, and upper stories that usually project so far over the street that one may almost shake hands with his neighbor across the way. Many of the rich live in beautiful old marble houses handsomely furnished with rare rugs, carpets, and cushions. The air is heavy with sweet perfumes from the gardens with their fountains in the marble courtyards.

A great center for trade.-Damascus was the ancient center where the trade of Syria, Persia, and the surrounding countries focused. All the desert traffic east of the mountains passed through it. Its kings were wealthy rulers who pushed their caravans and settlements far and, after the decline of Babylon, controlled the commerce of western Asia.

On account of its location Damascus, though it has lost much of its ancient wealth, is still a great trade center. It has copper and iron foundries, glass works, soaperies and saddleries, but perhaps its most interesting places are the bazaars. These consist of long streets covered with high woodwork and lined with shops, stalls, and cafés. Great throngs of people jostle one another, some ragged and dirty and others richly dressed in gay gowns and gorgeous turbans. Everyone rides on donkeys or camels. The white donkeys are considered the most desirable animals, and the rich merchants pay very high prices for them.

[graphic]

Lupy riglit by Underwood & Linderwood.
A GRAIN BAZAAR IN SOUTH-

WEST ASIA

« AnteriorContinuar »