Boats From Cyprus Land Here, Loaded
Principally With Wheat And Salt.
To the right of the road, between
Meinet Berdja and the sea, extends a narrow plain, called Watta Sillan
[Arabic]; its southern part terminates in a promontory, which forms the
northern point of the Bay of Kesrouan.
Near the promontory stands an
ancient tower, called Berdj el Kosszeir [Arabic]. In four hours and a
quarter we reached Djissr Maammiltein [Arabic], an ancient bridge,
falling into ruins, over a Wady of the same name. The banks of this Wady
ENTRANCE INTO KESROUAN.
[p.182] the boundary of separation between the Pahaliks of Saida and
Tripoli, and divide the district of Fetouh from that of Kesrouan.
The country of Kesrouan, which I now entered, presents a most
interesting aspect; on the one hand are steep and lofty mountains, full
of villages and convents, built on their rocky sides; and on the other a
fine bay, and a plain of about a mile in breadth, extending from the
mountains to the sea. There is hardly any place in Syria less fit for
culture than the Kesrouan, yet it has become the most populous part of
the country. The satisfaction of inhabiting the neighbourhood of places
of sanctity, of hearing church bells, which are found in no other part
of Syria, and of being able to give a loose to religious feelings and to
rival the Mussulmans in fanatisim, are the chief attractions that have
peopled Kesrouan with Catholic Christians, for the present state of this
country offers no political advantages whatever; on the contrary, the
extortions of the Druses have reduced the peasant to the most miserable
state of poverty, more miserable even than that in the eastern plains of
Syria; nothing, therefore, but religious freedom induces the Christians
to submit to these extortions; added perhaps to the pleasure which the
Catholics derive from persecuting their brethren of the Greek church,
for the few Greeks who are settled here are not better treated by the
Maronites, than a Damascene Christian might expect to be by a Turk.
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