Изображения страниц



an old well, into which the Janissaries were wont to throw some victims of their vengeance. Some of the boards were removed to allow us to look down, and the soldiers took brands from the fire and cast them into it that we might see by the glare, as they descended, the fearful depth, and the water at the bottom; one brief look was quite sufficient, and the boarding was replaced.

At this moment the French principal medical officer of the hospital entered to give some directions to the Sæur, and taste the soup, &c., which she was preparing for the patients. We were struck by the extreme courtesy of his manner to her, for although she was evidently not a lady either by birth or education, her office inspired more respect than if she had possessed both. The French doctor spoke courteously to us, expressing his pleasure at our visit to his hospital. Three huts were set apart for the Sisters' use, a fourth formed the chapel. There were at least one hundred huts altogether. They



appeared so securely built that we were astonished to hear from Madame la Supérieure that the rain came through in torrents, so that in wet weather the inhabitants were obliged to sleep under umbrellas.

The Seven Towers were built on the summit of a hill, and exquisite is the view which lay stretched before the eyes of the poor captives who spent their weary days within their walls-how they must have pined to be beside the blue Bosphorus breathing the free air of heaven!

After leaving the castle we drove about a mile further on, and arrived at the summit of the hill above Bebek, which is so steep that the carriages could not descend without injuring their springs; so we left them there, walked down the hill, and crossed to Koulali in caiques. The drive from Pera to the Seven Towers is one of the few that can be taken in a European carriage, as the ground is tolerably level for some miles, but the country around is very barren and uninteresting.


Old Byzantium—The Church of the Eternal Wisdom

The Palace of the Cæsars-Prices of admission to Santa Sophia-Description of its interior-Historical associations Visions of the past St. John Chrysostom-His life and times—The storm recommences -Farewell and exile — Death bed - Justinian's ambition—Signor Fossati engaged in the restoration of Santa Sophia-Its splendour-Imperishable Mosaics—Pictures on the walls--The rood screenThe holy vessels-Former days of glory-Mahomet the Second-The old legend—The Church of St. Irene-Exterior of Santa Sophia Baptistry-Mons. Salzenberg.

THERE is one spot in Constantinople to which the heart of the Christian must ever turn with the most intense interest. Old Roman and Byzantine remains, subterranean palaces, records of the ferocious Janissaries,



all fade away into nothingness as we approach the door of Agia Sophia (the Church of the Eternal Wisdom). This great edifice stands at the north of the Atmeidan, on an elevated ridge; the northern end of which ridge reaches to Seraglio Point.

Close by Santa Sophia once stood the great palace of the Cæsars, divided from it only by the forum of Augustus, which formed a common entrance to both church and palace. The gardens and terraces of the palace of the Cæsars must have extended from the ridge on which Santa Sophia was built to the seashore. We stood before Santa Sophia at the principal entrance through which the Sultan had entered on the Beiram. Here we were positively refused admittance.

We then proceeded to a side entrance, and on passing within the porch descended a flight of stone steps and found ourselves in a portico amid a host of imaums. A few yards from us

was a door covered only with

[blocks in formation]

carpet hangings. To our left was another small door, made in the wall, closely locked. Here ensued the usual quarrel with imaums about backshish.

I paid several visits to Santa Sophia, but shall condense all that I saw and learnt about it in one account. At these different visits we paid various sums for admission; at the time of Ramazan it was very high, and there was a great uproar before we gained admittance; we then paid one hundred piastres for a large party, at other times we paid less.

At length this knotty point was settled; one of the imaums opened the door in the wall and made us follow him, carefully locking it behind him. A winding inclined plane led us up to the women's gallery ; in the centre of this are raised some wooden steps, ascending which we obtained a more extensive view of the church.

The first feeling is that of admiration at the vastness of this wonderful building, and

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »