MARITIME CITIES OF PALESTINE. I2.
with a laurel-wreath. Dora became an episcopal city in the province of Palestina Prima, but
it did not long enjoy this dignity, for St. Jerome, who died at Bethlehem (see page 131, vol. i.)
in the year 422, describes Dora as a city already in ruins and utterly deserted, but still worthy
of admiration. Out of these ruins at a later period grew a station of the Crusaders, of which
only a fragment remains, while the shore is strewn with relics of the Roman city (see page 105).
On leaving Tanturah we reapproach the coast road, which is here about three-quarters of a
mile from the shore and close to the low sandstone hills. Through an opening in the range we
see the shrub-dotted western slopes of Belad er Ruheh beyond the plain of Tanturah, or,
as it may be called, the " Vale of Dor," which is here about two miles in width, and is sometimes
partially cultivated as far south as the Nahr ed Dufleh (see map), but more frequently it is made
desolate by the incursions of the Bedawln. No neglect, however, can destroy the beauty of
this district in the early spring-time, when for a brief period all the uncultivated ground is
carpeted with verdure and with wild flowers of the most brilliant colours.
Exactly opposite Tanturah a footpath crosses the plain diagonally and leads south-east to
a little double village called El Fureidis (Paradise), nestled at the mouth of a winding valley
which comes down from the summit of Belad er Ruheh, and at the head of which stands the
village called Dalieh er Ruheh (the Trained Vine of the Breezy Land), seven hundred and
twenty-eight feet above the sea (refer to page 103). Lower down in this valley there is a
village surrounded by orchards called Umm et Tut (Mother of Mulberries).
But we must pursue our way southwards by the coast plain, which is here sandy and marshy
and quite uncultivated. We pass many ruined and nameless sites, probably representing " the
towns of Dor" (Joshua xvii. 11). We soon cross Nahr eel Dufleh (River of Oleanders) and
then hasten onwards to the Nahr ez Zerka (the Blue River), the northern boundary of the
broad Plain of Sharon (see map). Between these two rivers the Plain or Vale of Dor is
narrowed by the advance westward of a bold mountain spur called El Khashm, and here,
through neglect of the ancient system of drainage, it has degenerated into marsh-land. The
Nahr ez Zerka is easily crossed where the old road intersects it, about a mile inland ; but on one
occasion, in the month of July, we and some fellow-travellers forded it close to the seashore,
though not without some difficulty, for the river was broad, deep, and rapid, and there was no
one to guide us to the easiest fording-place. A few hours sometimes make a great difference
in the character of the mouth of a river—the wind may entirely carry away the sand-bar or
change its position. Our kawass made many experiments before he found a safe path for us,
which we traversed cautiously one after the other in single file, and landed on the opposite side
very wet and chilly. On the south side of the river, close to the seashore, there is a ruined
castle called El Melat, apparently an outpost of Caesarea, and a little way to the north of the
river there are a few rocky islands of the same name, Jezirat el Melat.
The Nahr ez Zerka was anciently known as the Crocodile River, and it is so called
by Pliny. According to common report it is still entitled to that name. Many people
living on the coast have assured me that they have seen crocodiles here, but it is admitted