WITH, THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA MINOR. 23
While used as this extraordinary prison, the strangest tales of mystery were whispered
about, and are still told to visitors. A cavity is shown, called " the well of blood," which
imagination still pictures as overflowing with human gore, and its stained and darkened
sides countenance the tradition. In another place is " the cavern of the rock," where confession was extorted from the unhappy prisoners. A number of low arches are also
pointed out, into which the wretched victims were compelled to force themselves, too low
to admit their bodies through the aperture, and from whence they could not again extract
them—and there they were left to perish with hunger. Places, too, are still shown,
where skulls were piled so high as to rise above the surrounding walls.
The towers were originally seven in number, but are now reduced to four. Three of
them were thrown down by the great earthquake in 1786. They were never rebuilt by the
Turks; yet they still call them "yedde-kule," or the seven towers. The buildings
themselves are exceedingly unsightly. They are octagonal with conical roofs. The
most conspicuous, represented in the illustration, was somewhat of a better order. It is
that in which the foreign ambassadors were confined, and the apartments assigned to
them were not very inconvenient.
Connected with this edifice was the celebrated " Chrysopule," or golden gate, so
renowned for its splendour under the Greek empire. It opened into the area, and was
one of the entrances to the Seven Towers. It was covered with some beautiful sculptures
in basso-relievo, which were considered chef-d'ceuvres of art, and among them Venus
holding her torch over the sleeping Adonis, to examine his beauties. Its position is on
the right of the illustration. In the distance is the romantic archipelago of the Princes'
Islands, on one side, and on the other, the promontory of Scutari.
PETIT CHAMP DES MORTS.
FROM THE HEIGHTS OF PERA.
It is remarked by travellers, that the Turks pay more attention to the accommodation
of the dead than of the living; and hence the number and extent of the places they provide
for their reception. Their city is scarcely approached at any side but through receptacles
for the dead. Besides the vast cemetery at Scutari, there are several beyond the walls of
Constantinople ; and two, of great extent, on the peninsula of Pera. The first object of a
Turk's attention, in forming a cemetery, is a beautiful site ; hence they all occupy positions
commanding the best prospect, either of the Bosphorus or the Golden Horn. The isthmus
which connects Pera with the country, is entirely covered with tombs, where Greeks,
Armenians, Franks, and Turks repose in their respective burying-grounds, which are
but continuations one of the other. The Jews alone preserve their exclusive character,