The City Of Derbent Is Situated On The Shore Of
The Caspian, Which The Mardians Call The Sea Of Bachaan Or Bacou.
city is said to have been built by Alexander the Great, and is called the
_Iron Gate_, because
It entirely closes up the only passage from Tartary
into Media and Persia, by means of a deep valley reaching from Circassia.
Derbent is fortified with a thick well built wall, reaching from the
castle at the foot of the mountain all the way to the sea; but not above
a sixth part of the space within the walls is inhabited, all that end
nearest the sea being in ruins, among which are several tombs. The
country about this city produces abundance of all kinds of fruits, among
which are plenty of grapes, from which the inhabitants make wine.
The Caspian, or Sea of Hircania, which has no communication whatever with
the ocean, is about the same size with the Euxine or Black Sea, and is
very deep. They catch in this sea great quantities of sturgeons, and sea-
wolves as they are called; and there are prodigious quantities of sea-
dogs, or seals, having the head, feet, and tail like ordinary dogs. The
only other remarkable fish is of a round form, about a yard and a half in
diameter, with no perceptible head or other member, from which the
natives extract a great quantity of oil, which they use in their lamps,
and with which they anoint their camels.
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