On reaching Ezra I went to the house of the Greek priest of the village,
whom I had already seen at the Patriarch's at Damascus, and with whom I
had partly concerted my tour in the Haouran.
He had been the conductor
of M. Seetzen, and seemed to be very ready to attend me also, for a
trifling daily allowance, which he stipulated. Ezra is one of the
principal villages of the Haouran; it contains about one hundred and
fifty Turkish and Druse families, and about fifty of Greek Christians.
It lies within the precincts of the Ledja, at half an hour from the
arable ground: it has no spring water, but numerous cisterns. Its
inhabitants make cotton stuffs, and a great number of millstones, the
blocks for forming which, are brought from the interior of the Ledja;
the stones are exported from hence, as well as from other villages in
the Loehf, over the greater part of Syria, as far as Aleppo and
Jerusalem. They vary in price, according to their size, from fifteen to
sixty piastres, and are preferred to all others on account of the
hardness of the stone, which is the black tufa rock spread over the
whole of the Haouran, and the only species met with in this country.
Ezra was once a flourishing city; its ruins are between three and four
miles in circumference. The present inhabitants continue to live in the
ancient buildings, which, in consequence of the strength and solidity of
their walls, are for the greater part in complete preservation
[p.58]They are built of stone, as are all the houses of the villages in
the Haouran and Djebel Haouran from Ghabarib to Boszra, as well as of
those in the desert beyond the latter.
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