The Walls Are Sometimes Of Stone,
But More Commonly Of Earth, Though Even The Latter Are Sufficient To
Withstand An [P.658] Attack Of Arabs.
The castle of Belka has a large
Birket of rain-water.
Its commander or Odabashi is always chosen from
among the Janissaries of Damascus. It serves the Arabs of the Djebel
Belka as a depot for their provisions. To the west of the castle the
mountain of Belka terminates. The Arabs of Belka live in tents round the
castle, and are Felahein or cultivators of the ground.
8. One day’s journey from the latter is the Kalaat el Katrane [Arabic],
whose Odabashi is likewise a Janissary from Damascus. It has a Birket of
rainwater. At one day’s journey to the N.W. of it is the Kalaat Kerek
[Arabic], from whence the Arabs of Kerek bring wheat and barley for sale
to the Odabashi of Katrane, who sells it again to advantage to the
9. One day’s journey Kalaat el Hassa, [Arabic], with a fine source,
whose water is drawn up by means of a large wheel. The castle is built
in the middle of a Wady running from E. to W.; in the winter a river
runs through the Wady, which is dry in summer; but at a quarter of an
hour W. from the castle, there are several springs of good water, which
are never dry. They collect into a river which empties itself into the
Jordan or Sheriat el Kebir at two days’ journey from El Hassa.
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