WITH THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA MINOR. 81
THE TRIPLE WALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
ON THE LAND SIDE, NEAR TOP KAPOUSI.
The walls of Constantinople, notwithstanding the shocks of earthquakes, the numerous assaults of besiegers, the decay of time, and the dilapidations of neglect, are at this
day surprisingly perfect; and though fifteen centuries have passed since their first erection, they include the same space, and stand at the same elevation. The great wall,
forming as it were the base of the triangular area on which the city is built, and running
from sea to sea, is nearly five miles in extent: a broad high road passes parallel
to and just under it, so that a traveller can view without interruption the whole line,
from the Golden Horn to the Propontis, and contemplate, during a delightful walk, the
most interesting remains perhaps existing in the world. In some places the rising
ground so elevates him, that he sees a considerable part of the interior of the city over
the walls, and he looks down upon places, hallowed by various recollections, which the
narrowness and obscurity of the streets prevent his viewing from within.
This wall, originally erected by Constantine the Great, was enlarged by Theodosius,
and is therefore called after his name. It suffered various shocks by violence of different
kinds—of nature, time, and the hand of man—and was finally repaired by Leo and
Theophilus. From the district called Blacherne, where it meets the harbour, it rises
to an immense height, and towers to a surprising elevation above the head of the passenger. The uniformity is broken, however, by the remains of edifices on the summit of
the wall, and the rich drapery of ivy and various trailing plants, which cover it Here
the wall, secured by its magnitude, is single, and presents but one defence. But at the
gate called Egri Kapousi, or the crooked gate, where it forms an angle, the elevation is
less, and the defence increased by a triple wall of three parallel fortifications, which
extend to the Seven Towers and the sea. The walls are eighteen feet asunder, crowned
with battlements, and defended by fifty-nine towers, of various forms and sizes.
Inserted in different places are tablets of stone or iron, containing inscriptions which
commemorate events, or persons who repaired the walls; but most of them are now
entirely effaced, particularly those on iron, by the rust and corrosion of the metal. The
masonry in some parts consists of huge blocks of granite, resembling those early structures in Greece called Cyclopean, from the fancy of mythologists, that they had been
erected by gigantic architects. In others, they are composed of alternate courses of
broad flat bricks, resembling our tiles, and stones twice the thickness Arcades and
arches, both in the walls and towers, are formed, in a curious manner, of similar materials. The wall is entered by seven gates, called by the names of the towns to which
they lead, or some circumstance connected with them. Of the latter, is the gate of