WITH, THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA MINOR.
over to ascertain the fact. They found that all the cannon on the wharf had been left
loaded with ball, which the Turks never thought of drawing, and when the fire reached
them, they discharged their balls of themselves, which passed across the Bosphorus to
Scutari on the other side.
Behind the Tophana is the Eski Djami, or old mosque, to distinguish it from the
Yeni Djami, or new one, lately erected by the present Sultan in this district; and on
the left, crowning the summit of the hill, are the heights of Pera, covered with the
residences of European ministers and merchants; whose houses, the finest in the city,
command a magnificent view on all sides of the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmora.
These edifices are situated in a street ascending the spine of a ridge, like the High-
street of Edinburgh, and approached only by steep narrow passages, like the Wynds of
that town. They are so precipitous, that it is necessary to form them into broad steps,
to enable a passenger to reach the top.
The Turks are not fond of multiplying names, so they often make one serve for a
whole district Tophana, therefore, includes a large space, altogether unconnected with
the cannon foundery. At the base of Pera hill is a low alluvial flat, once overflowed,
perhaps, by the waters of the Bosphorus. This has been enlarged by casting upon it
all the offals of the cities of Pera and Galata, so that it has encroached upon the harbour.
Here are heaps and hillocks of all manner of decaying vegetable and animal substances,
festering and dissolving, which continually exhale a cadaverous odour. This attracts
the foul animals of the region; packs of savage dogs like wolves or jackals, flocks of
kites and vultures in their season, and at all times flights of gulls and cormorants, who
almost cover and conceal these heaps with their multitudes, and deafen the ear with their
howling and screaming. When gorged with their foul meal, these harpies light upon
the roofs of the houses, where they exhibit a singular spectacle — sleeping off the
effects of repletion, and waiting again to attack their prey. They enjoy among the
Turks such perfect security, that they often light on a caique, and dispute the possession
of it with the passengers.
But what has rendered Tophana so distinguished is, that it is the great point of
embarkation, either for the Bosphorus or the Sea of Marmora. In a country where
there are no carriages, nor, properly speaking, roads to run them upon, water is the
great medium of conveyance. This then is the resort of a continual moving mass, of all
nations and costumes. Along the shore, beside a modern slip and platform, light caiques,
and the heavier barges of the Princes' Islands, are in constant attendance. Above is a
range of coffee-houses, where the caique-gees sit over their coffee and chiboque till a
passenger appears, and they are invited to attend him. The characteristic traits of the
people are here strongly marked. The Greek, bustling and shouting, almost forces you
into his caique; the Turk, grave and decorous, seldom utters a word, but merely points
to his boat just covered with a rich and fresh carpet. A Hadgee, with a green turban,
grey beard, badge, and silver-headed baton, interposes, and lets you choose for yourself,
never giving a preference to his own countrymen.