82 CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS ;
tains the seraglio of the pasha, a mosque, and accommodation for a garrison of 5000
men. To secure it against the effects of famine, the rock is hollowed into subterraneous
excavations, which form granaries always filled with corn; and in order to be independent
of either wind, water, or other uncertain power, the mill by which it is ground is moved
by a machinery of clock-work, invented by an ingenious native, which daily yields an
abundant supply of flour. The necessary element of water is conveyed from the neighbouring hills by a lofty aqueduct. The works are defended by eighty pieces of English
and French ordnance; so that it may be considered one of the most noble and secure
mountain-fortresses in Europe.
TOWN AND CASTLE OF PARAMYTHIA, IN ALBANIA.
More to the south than Joannina, and approaching the Adriatic, are the town and
castle of Paramythia. Unlike the former, there are here discovered certain indications
of its site having been that of some ancient Greek or Roman city: beautiful specimens
of ancient art are daily disinterred, and arches of ponderous and double masonry indicate
that its former inhabitants were in a far higher grade of social intelligence than its present
possessors. Yet of the ancient city which did occupy this spot, the name has perished,
while its remains attest its former existence.
Paramythia, like Argyro-Castro stands at the extremity of a fertile plain, suspended
on a rock which overhangs it. The houses, like those of the structure of Albanian towns
in general, are all built detached from each other. They indicate, however, the miserable
state of insecurity in which the inhabitants live. They resemble so many fortresses closed
up on the outside from light and air, pierced only with small loop-holes, from whence is
thrust the muzzle of a tophek. They are generally shaded by the spreading branches of
the Oriental platanus: this magnificent tree attains to such a gigantic size in the East, as
to have been the wonder of antiquity ; in the trunk of one tree, 22 people were entertained
at supper, and the branches of another overshadowed a whole village. At Paramythia
they grow to a magnificent size, and the town is partly covered by their leafy canopies.
This luxuriance of vegetation is probably caused by the numerous springs which issue from
the hills, and water the roots. Every tree seems to have a pure fountain connected with
it. The spacious bazaar of the city is peculiarly marked with this character, shadowed
over with a vast canopy of branches, and cooled by many rills of delicious water. Towering
above the town is the fortress, reposing on a vast rock, in some places one thousand feet
above the plain, and having the town spread over an inclined plain on the side of the
mountain just under it. The calcareous structure of this rock sometimes gives way
detaching large masses, which overwhelm and crush the houses below on which they fall.
The castle is surrounded by an extensive battlemented wall, crowned with turrets. Here
it is that the ruins of a former town are most conspicuous. The modern walls are raised
on still more ponderous remains of ancient foundations; and the gate-ways of arches yet
remain here, of evidently very ancient date.