46 CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS*,
it left its own colour upon the tower, which it has ever since retained in memory of
The palace of the " Tersana emini," or master of the arsenal, next comes in view
and the extensive and noble establishment over which he presides. The stores, docks,
and other edifices connected with it, extend for nearly a mile and a half along the shores
of the harbour. They are constructed of solid masonry, and contain rope-yards, and an
hospital: 500 labourers, and the same number of slaves in chains, condemned for
various offences, are daily at work there. The forests near the Black Sea furnish an
inexhaustible supply of timber; hemp for cordage, and metal for ordinance, are ready
in abundance in the neighbouring shores of Russia. Should any cause interrupt the
communication, and render these resources unavailable, supplies of all kinds are found
within the limits of the Ottoman empire. Negroponte sends pitch, tar, and rosin ; Sam-
soun, hemp; Gallipoli^ and Salonichi, gunpowder. With these materials the Turks
launch the largest ships in the world; but, manned by inferior crews, they are weak
and worthless. They are seen riding before the arsenal, and among them the Mahmoud,
supposed to be the largest .vessel of war ever built. She is 223 feet long, is pierced for
140 guns, some of her carronades carry sixty-pound balls, and her burden is 3,934 tons.
During the Greek war, these vast machines suffered severely from the small-craft of
their more skilful and active enemies; and such was the terror their brulots inspired,
that the Turks did not consider their ships safe, even within the protection of their
harbours. Each of them, therefore, was insulated by a pile of stakes, to which were
moored rafts, where sentinels kept watch night and day, warning off even the smallest
caique that approached. They were supplied with heaps of stones, piled on the rafts
like cannon-balls, and pelted without mercy every incautious straggler that came within
the reach of their missiles.
On the water's edge, raised on piles, is seen the elegant edifice of the " Divan Hane,"
or Council Chamber of the Admiralty. It is a light and airy specimen of Oriental architecture, of which the Turks are vain. It was built by two ingenious Greek architects,
who soon after disappeared. It was said they were put to death by their employers, lest
they should build another to rival it. Besides, it is the " Caique Hane," or Arsenal of
the Sultan's Barges : and near this, the quarters of " Galiongees," or Marines. These
soldiers of the fleet are distinguished by the richness and gaiety of their dress, and by
the assumption and insolence of their demeanour.
In the rear of the arsenal appears the tower of Galata, shooting up its tall spire
above the hills, that its vigilant sentinel should command a view of whatever fire may
burst out, and its beacon-drum may be heard far and near, whenever it announces one to
the Bektchi, who, with his iron-shod pole stamping on the pavement below, alarms the
sleepy inhabitants. From hence the sweep of the shore gives to the water the appearance of a lake, and the peninsula of Constantinople seems joined to that of Pera.
Along the horizon are seen the Imperial mosques, crowning the seven hills ; Santa Sophia
impending over the gardens and koisks of the seraglio; the mosque of Achmet dis-