CONSTANTINOPLE, FROM THE GOLDEN HORN.
The situations of Oriental cities, in general, possess advantages, in point of view, of
which those in the west are deprived: London, Paris, Vienna, and St. Petersburg present
only flat levels; and it is necessary to climb some impending height, to obtain a bird's-eye
view, so as to take in any portion except the first line of houses, and the tops of a few
of the more lofty edifices which rise behind them. But in the East, every city has
its Acropolis : some lofty eminence is chosen to build on, the summit of which is
crowned with a fortress, and the sloping sides covered with streets and houses. In this
way ancient towns are described by writers, who compare them to amphitheatres, with
their streets, like the seats, rising one above the other. Constantinople participates
in this advantage in an eminent degree.
The approach to this magnificent city, from the Sea of Marmora, is more beautiful, perhaps, than that of any other city in the world. Before the spectator lies a
romantic archipelago of islands covered with pine, arbutus, and oak woods, from
whence emerges, on every summit, some monastery of the Greek church. These lovely
islets seem to float upon a sea generally calm and unruffled, and are beautifully
reflected from a surface singularly pure and lucid. Beside them is the coast of Asia
Minor, from which rises, at a distance, the vast contour of Mount Olympus, not, as the
poet describes it, with " cloudy tops," but usually unveiled and distinct; its flanks
clothed with forests, and its summits crowned with eternal snows, glittering in sunlight,
imparting to the heated atmosphere below an imagined feeling of refreshing coolness.
In some states of the air, the effect of refraction is so deceptive, that the mountain
seems almost to impend over the spectator.
From hence the coast sweeps round to the mouth of the Bosphorus, in a recess of
which lies the town of Chalcedon. Beside it stretches, for more than three miles, the
great cemetery of the Moslems, the most extensive, perhaps, in the world; and rising