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Celydnus of antiquity: it extends in length more than thirty miles, and varies from four to six in breadth . it is inhabited by a population probably of 80,000 souls; near a hundred towns and villages may be enumerated, which are seen partly studding the sides of its huge mountain barriers that rise above them in Alpine grandeur, partly hid within their sinuous recesses, or embosomed in thick foliage: flocks of sheep and large Epirotic herds range through the green pastures, and numerous goats browse

upon the lofty precipices. A degree of animation is thus communicated to the solemn and impressive features of nature that is perfectly delightful; nor can I recal to mind a view which unites so much of the pleasing with the grand. In contemplating this scene imagination could not help picturing to itself the still more brilliant colours it may assume when the golden wings of Liberty shall be spread over its soil, when wisdom and justice shall direct the energies, restrain the vices, and encourage the emulation of its inhabitants: when industry shall lead into this terrestrial paradise the sister arts, teaching the transparent stream to fertilize every corner which is now deserted, mingle the various hues of every opening flower, spread the umbrageous grove along the plain, and cover the huge sides of every hill with foliage: when architecture shall distribute all around its elegant appendages of decoration, in the splendid dome, the lofty tower, and the columnated portico, scenes adapted to philosophical meditation or scientific research; and above all, when true religion shall once more raise her awful head amidst these shades, diffusing moral happiness amongst the people, recalling them from their long slumber of ignorance and barbarism, and animating their hearts to adore the Author of all good!

No district in Albania is half so populous as this, though the miserable tenure of the land, which is chiefly that of the chiflick, tends greatly to diminish its inhabitants. The principal articles of produce are corn, rice, and tobacco, besides vast flocks of sheep and goats, which are seen scattered over the mountains.

We re236

PALAIA-EPISCOPI-REMAINS OF ADRIANOPOLIS.

mained for about an hour at the beautiful village of Palaia-Episcopi, which is intersected by many transparent rills flowing from the upper parts of the mountain Mertzika, which turn the wheels of a number of water-mills, where the best snuff in all Albania is manufactured. A few miles beyond Episcopi we descended into the vale, and soon afterwards crossed the river nearly opposite the large scattered town of Libochobo, lying upon a steep acclivity of Mertzika, and near a vast chasm in that mountain chain, through which a torrent pours

its tribute into the Druno. This town, with its territory, is a chiflick belonging to Shaïnitza, the sanguinary sister of the Albanian tyrant, and at this time she occupied a large seraglio which had been constructed for her by the vizir. On the western side of the valley, nearly opposite Libochobo, and at no great distance from the river, Signore Nicolo pointed out the ruins of a small Roman theatre with a few vestiges of other ancient foundations, upon a spot which he designated by the name of Drinopolis, an evident corruption of Hadrianopolis, which in very early ages was called Phanote, and in later times of the Eastern Empire Justinianopolis*. Argyro-Castro has succeeded to its consequence, though not to its site, upon which it is erroneously placed in the maps. In a little more than one hour we arrived under that city, whose unequal rocky acclivities, intersected by deep chasms and dividing it into several distinct partitions, give it a truly grand and imposing aspect. The houses, which are generally good, and belong chiefly to Turkish proprietors, are not contiguous, but stand in various positions, some on commanding eminences, others beneath projecting crags, many on the ridges of precipices, but the greatest part upon the flat surfaces of rock, between its deep ravines : the whole appearance is singularly striking, and its fine effect is augmented not only by the minarets of its mosques, but by the

* "Ου δή και πόλις αυτή (sc. Justiniano) πεποίηται Ιυσινιανάπολις, ή πρότερον 'Αδριανόπολις καλαnévmProcop. de Ædif. l. iv. c. l.

ALBANIAN SOLDIERS--CAPTAIN GIANKO.

237

grand fortress of Ali Pasha, which was at this time nearly completed, upon a much larger scale than has ever been adopted in this country for works of a similar description. At about five o'clock in the afternoon we entered this city and obtained excellent lodgings in a house belonging to a friend of Signore Nicolo.

After dinner we took a walk into the city, accompanied by a fine youth, the son of our host: our appearance attracted great notice and curiosity from the inhabitants. Many Albanian guards came up and entered into familiar converse with us, but there was nothing uncivil or impertinent in their address, and they very freely communicated all they knew respecting the works going forward, the views of the vizir, his wars with the Argyro-Castrites, and their subsequent capitulation. Amongst these troops it was difficult to distinguish the officers from the privates, by dress, by style of conversation, or by any assumption of superiority. A captain of artillery, named Gianko, was extremely civil, and accompanied us during the whole of our walk. This man stood high in the confidence of Ali Pasha, and was present with him at the massacre of the Gardikiotes, where he led on the first body of troops to fire into the court of the Han, In the minute circumstantial account which he gave us of that horrid catastrophe, he said not more than eighty persons were selected by the vizir as objects of clemency, whom he spared. During our excursion we heard many doleful cries and loud lamentations, proceeding from several houses: we inquired the reason of this circumstance from our guides, who informed us that the women were still wailing for their husbands and sons who had fallen in battle against the vizir: now many of these had been thus occupied at least seven years previous to the time we heard them; yet no one appeared surprised at the folly of this observance. So powerful is the force of custom! I remember listening frequently at Ioannina to the cries of a matron who had lost her husband seventeen years before in a Russian campaign, but had never

238

DESCRIPTION OF ARGYRO-CASTRO.

omitted howling three times a day after she received the tidings of his death *.

υφ' ίμερον ώρσε γόοιο. The weather being extremely fine we never thought of abridging our excursion, by which means we considerably fatigued ourselves in making the circuit of this craggy city, standing, as it does, upon a steep acclivity and occupyin

occupying a very extended space sufficiently large for double its population, which is not computed at more than about 15,000 souls. The bazar is spacious, and appeared very well supplied with articles of commerce. The inhabitants, before the vizir's conquest, were the greatest merchants in this part of Albania, and Argyro-Castro was a great depôt for internal trade. Ali contrived to seize the persons of many of these traffickers, who were scattered about the country, and by this means facilitated greatly the reduction of the place. The most picturesque parts of its site are the chasms which intersect it, whose sides are lined with habitations beautifully intermingled with trees, shrubs, and gardens: these situations however, are exposed to great dangers from the mountain torrents, which, after heavy rains, or the melting of snow, sometimes sweep down with such a swell and impetuosity as to carry every thing before them. About three years ago a terrible inundation of this kind swept away more than sixty houses, with their inhabitants, in the deep ravine which lies to the north of the castle, where the ruins still attest the extent of the calamity. On our return home we found that poor Nicolo, being unwell, had retired to bed. An officer also

* In a similar manner the wandering Ulysses seems to have been lamented by his faithful Penelope.

Ές δ' υπερώαναβάσα συν αμφιπόλοισι γυναιξί,
Κλαίεν έπειτ’ Οδυσήα Φίλων πόσιν, όφρα οι ύπνον
Ηδύν επί βλεφάροισι βάλε γλαυκώπις Αθήνη.

Od. a. 362,

INSPECTION OF THE FORTRESS.

239

had arrived from young Salee Bey to inquire after our health, and offer his congratulations upon our arrival.

Next morning, after having sent a messenger to the young bey, to apprize him of our visit and deliver a letter from his brother Mouchtar Pasha, we set out to view the fortress. We were received at the

great entrance by our friend Gianko, and conducted into the apartment of the governor Hassan Bey, an elderly man, who had accompanied the vizir in most of his early campaigns: no greater mark of confidence could have been placed in him by his sovereign than the command of this fortress and the care of his favourite son and successor. The

person of this old chief was fine, though his apparel was coarse, and even dirty; he wore a little red skull-cap on his head, and a large coarse cloak of goat's hair thrown over his shoulders : he treated us with pipes and coffee, but spoke to us through the medium of an interpreter, as he was unacquainted with any other but the Albanian language. After remaining about half an hour in his little dirty apartment, which was totally devoid not only of grandeur but even of neatness and comfort, we departed, under escort of Gianko, to view the fortifications, deferring our visit to Salee Bey for the present, that we might not interrupt him in his studies. The area of this castle is extremely spacious, containing not only barracks for the accommodation of five thousand troops, but a very large seraglio and a mosque. The magazines are subterranean and well calculated to secure not only ammunition but provisions: the walls are of great thickness, though in some places they display too much haste in their construction: subterranean passages lead to all parts of the building, and water is brought by an aqueduct, from the hills that back it on the west, over a space of about six miles. In one apartment we were shewn a curious mill for grinding corn without either wind, water, steam or any other power but that of clock-work: it requires to be wound up only once in twenty-four hours, during which time the stone makes 42,000

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