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of rose and violet, and finally sinking Imagine a bearded turban-wearer sitting under the dark shroud of night.
cross-legged, not on a broad divan, but on Who has joined in the crowd at the a Paris or Vienna armchair! Gone, too, bazaars, who has allowed the venerable is the old arrangement of the dwellingmonuments of the time of the Pharaohs house, so well suited at once to the Egypto work upon his mind, and has regretted tian climate and to the peculiarities of his decision of visiting Egypt? The ad. the Moslem family. He who builds now vice to make a pilgrimage to Cairo is good wishes to build cheaply and rapidly, and advice, and the sooner one follows it the in a sort of European style, and so, from better; for the city of the caliphs is al. never being considered, the wonderful art ready far from being what it was a few of the mason, which delights the connoislustra ago, when it was first our privilege seur in many of the older houses, has to visit it; and if we remain another de- been entirely lost. The picturesque latcade in the country, we shall see similarly tice-windows of the Meschrebijen, whose disappear one feature after another of all thousand finely moulded pieces seem like that to-day gives the place its special a veil of woven wood before the women, charm. The more firmly Western influ- enabling them to see everything doing in ence establishes itself in Egypt, the more the streets without themselves being seen, sensibly do its assimilating power and the are now, in many cases, replaced by the sober practical sense of utility charac. Venetian blinds of Europe. Fine examteristic of our civilization make their pres- ples of the old lattice-work find ready ence apparent. What grows organically purchasers, and they may be often enough among us is transplanted right off into met with in rooms fitted out in Arabian this foreign soil and starts up quite re- style in England, France, and Germany. markably. It is oftentimes like uproot. The same is true of the kursis, desks, ing the palms of the Nile and planting posts, and doors, inlaid with ivory, mothfirs and apple-trees in their place. The er-of-pearl, and various woods; and an. absurdity of many of the improvements cient implements are very eagerly sought everyone has felt who has formerly walked after by collectors of art and antiquities. under the shadow of the houses in the In my library stand two old Arabian jugs, narrow lanes of Cairo, and now finds him which Frank Dillon, of London, the exself in broad squares and wide streets cellent painter of Oriental landscapes and completely unprotected from the fiery architecture, found in an oil-ship, with darts of the sun of the south. This twelve others, and bought for an old song. change is lamented by every traveller I saw an American family send whole who has seen, in other days, riders, car- shipfuls of old Arabian ware to the New riages, camels, and foot-passengers pass- World, and I know that not less than ing like a full stream over the soft roadway seventy finely executed old fauns from of the Muski, with many a call and cr one of the most famous mosques were but without either rustle or tramp or clat- sold right off to tourists. Said Pasha, ter, and who has now his word drowned predecessor of the deposed kbedive at his mouth by the deafening din of Ismail, dressed in Eastern garb, and his wheels, hoofs, and footsteps that rises subjects imitated him. At present this from the glowing pavement. The shade light, soft dress, so well adapted for the dispensing boards and awnings which in climate of Egypt and at the same time so many places covered the most frequented becoming, has fallen into disrepute. Govstreets of the town have been removed, ernment servants are forbidden to wear it, because such things are not to be found and only the shopkeepers and lower midin any Western metropolis. In the dwell- dle classes still retain it. The truncated ings of the well-to-do Egyptians, European cone of the tarboosh has superseded the furniture has supplanted the native outfit. gayly colored, many-folded turban, which ting of the rooms, which is so picturesque lent dignity to the presence and protected and which originated in its suitability to the shaven head from chills when the cold the manners and customs of the Moslems. I of night came suddenly down. A heavy,
single-breasted black cloth coat, with stiff | the red was the red of new-burnt tiles. It collar, has replaced the light and beauti- offended eye and heart alike to look on fully colored silken or woollen robes. the harlequin costume in which the most Whoever can afford it, discards the pretty precious works of art were dressed up. and comfortable slippers, which can be so And then how carelessly were those mon. quickly put off in the house or the mosque uments allowed to fall into decay, and in and forces his feet into polished leather what a barbarian manner were their resboots, on which the sun burns, and which torations conducted, without so much as require some trouble to take off. In the guarding against the danger of their fallbazaars there are far more articles of lighting in! There was nowhere a fond or gold jewelry of foreign manufacture than even intelligent regard for the historical, of artistic native handicraft; far more and the noblest works in wood and stone chains and other things from England that had to be removed, were with shockand Saxony than of beautiful Arabian ing want of piety delivered over to deworkmanship. Sheffield and Solingen struction and suffered to perish. have far outstripped Damascus. The These enormities ought to be prevented locomotive is taking the place of the by the influence of England. They were horse, the camel, and the ass; and a criticised severely by the Oriental Contramway will soon be laid through Cairo. gress, held in London in 1874, by the How long will it be before factories are learned Consul Rodgers, well known as built on the cheap ground of the desert, an authority on Oriental coins; but neverand befoul with coal-smoke its most pre. theless much evil has been done in this cious air, which you can to-day enjoy the matter, even since my last visit to Cairo, moment you leave the gates of the city ? | as I perceive from a recent and stirring It is certainly right to pay some attention paper of Rhone's. There are almost no even here to hygiene, which has made old mosques in the city of the caliphs such marked progress in Europe ; but in that are not in a crazy state. the process of sanitation, what has not But to say the truth, we cannot attribute gone to naught in Cairo ? The khedive this lamentable circumstance exclusively Ismail bas vied with the prefect Haus- to the negligence of the government. We mann in the demolition of venerable build- have pointed out in another place how ings and ancient quarters of the town, much of all the ills of the country must and every sin he committed in this mat- be laid at the door of Oriental habits of ter was laid at the door of the public thinking. Whatever brings no profit, is health,
in their eyes deserving of nothing but deThe injury is simply shocking which struction. They are entirely wanting in has been done to the noblest specimens what we call the “historical sense." The of Arabian architecture by the monarch past and its works have small value for just mentioned. The ancient architects them. God gives the present, and what followed the plan of laying over a founda- is to come lies in his hand. When a notion of yellow stone another layer of free. ble monument of antiquity falls to pieces, stone of delicate natural color, and they they comfort themselves with the proverb got thereby a splendid effect; for this of Lebid: “ Know, O soul, that every. plan enlivened the most extensive sur. thing in the world that is not God, is faces, and lent them a harmonious aspect. doomed to perish.” The Mussulman When the invitations were issued for the Cairene despises what dates from the time opening of the Suez Canal, the khedive of the Pharaohs; to him it is through and began to lose taste of the old weather- through kupri, or heathenish; if it disapbeaten walls, to whitewash the mosques: pear from the earth – just so much the and in order not to give up altogether the better! Unfortunately, too, the architects idea of the alternate layer of stones, to of the age of the caliphs must bear part daub them with long stripes of red and of the blame of the rapid decay of their yellow. But what a choice of color! the masterpieces, for they built with an unacyellow was the yellow of the buttercup, countable carelessness which is certainly
calculated to fill their colleagues of the governor of the Nile valley, exclaimed, present day with an aversion to come to after receiving an unfavorable dispatch the rescue.
from his imperial master in Constanti“ Time mocks all, but the pyramids nople: “By God! these Arabs, with mock time,” says an Arabian proverb. their smaller numbers, are stronger and They have been used as quarries, and they mightier than we, with all our multitudes; have only not been blown into the air, be a single man of them is as good as a hun. cause danger to the town was apprehended dred of us; for they seek death, which is from the explosion; the face of the great dearer to them than life, and is a positive Sphinx has served as a target for the guns joy: we cannot hold out against them.” of the Mamelukes; but these remains of And those fearless heroes, whose gallant the age of the Pharaohs have neverthe- deeds on Egyptian fields are chronicled in less survived, and will maintain their history, were at the same time statesmen place even when everything that is ven- of remarkable sagacity. erable for age or beauty in the noble No other place seemed at that time to metropolis of the heyday of Mussulman | be entitled to be the capital of the Nile life shall have perished, and when Cairo valley except Alexandria, and the comshall be no more than a cluster of miser. mander ·Amr was disposed to recognize able hovels like a modern Italian town. it as such, but the caliph Omar ordered
The father has survived the son for him to look elsewhere, for he could not thousands of years, for although Cairo conceal from himself that this restless was founded by Arabs, it yet stands, not maritime city that continually lent itself only outwardly but even inwardly, in a re- to insurrectionary movements, and was lation of sonship to Memphis. The his. situated besides at the extreme verge of tory of the foundation of Cairo, together the new province, was but ill adapted to with the anecdotes that belong to it, has constitute the centre of the life which he been narrated a hundred times, but no wished to plant in the Nile valley. A one has yet attempted to show how much place as yet unreached by the threads of many sides of its rapid and brilliant de party, and the bloody religious disputes velopment owed to the Hellenized, Chris- in which the age abounded, should be tianized, but still genuinely Egyptian city chosen for the seat and centre of the of the pyramids on the other bank of the home and foreign administration of the Nile. A handful of those Moslem heroes newly conquered country. The new capwho, in the fresh inspiration of their new ital was accordingly founded on a wellfaith, and penetrated with moral earnest- situated spot, opposite Memphis, on the ness and the sanctity of their cause, threw banks of the still undivided Nile, and down kingdom after kingdom, conquered according to a well-known story, it was Egypt on their way. True, they found a founded on the very site where the tent powerful ally in the religious hatred that of the commander-in-chief had stood. separated the monophysite Egyptians When 'Amr was to go to Alexandria, and from the orthodox Byzantine authorities, gave orders for his tent to be struck, he and this hatred was so great that to the was told that a pair of pigeons had setCopts it seemed more tolerable to go into tled on the roof of it. " God forbid,” he subjection to infidels than to be ruled by exclaimed, " that a Moslem should refuse Greek Christians of another rite from his shelter to a living being, a creature of their own, who besides were further from God, that has committed itself in conf. them by race than their Arabian neigh-dence to the protection of his hospitalbors. One of their own pastors, Bishop ity.” The tent was forbidden to be Benjamin, of Alexandria, induced them touched, and when 'Amr returned from to conclude an alliance with the infidel, Alexandria victorious, he found it there in the same way as in recent times the still, occupied it, and made it the centre Bishop of Kū has got his Coptic congre- from which he proceeded in founding the gation to go over with him to Protestant- new capital, which was called Fostat ism. The commander of the Moslem i.e., the tent. As the town grew, the army knew well what he was about when Arabic na of Egypt, Misr or Masr, he detained the Egyptian embassadors in was transferred to it, and among the preshis camp, in order to show them the 'moral ent Moslem inhabitants of the Nile val. earnestness of his soldiers, and the lofty ley and the Cairenes themselves, it is still piety that animated them. After the called nothing else but Masr-Kabira. The sword had decided in favor of the adhe. Arabic form of Cairo came to be added to rents of the Prophet, and the Greeks had the old name three hundred years after lost the day, Mukankas, a Copt, who was the foundation of the city, and though Europeans use the latter name exclu. | Egyptian Nile began there, that it was sively, it is very seldom beard among the measured there, and that from thence it natives. Many of them at the present sought its way in the arms of the Delta. day would understand as little what you It further appears from the inscription of meant if you asked them about Cairo or the Ethiopian Pianchi, that a street of Kahira as a Saxon peasant would under. Memphis (across the Nile) led to Cher stand if you asked him about the “ Flor. (Babylon), and from thence to Heliopolis. ence of the Elbe ” (Dresden). Dschötar, This rout must have passed through the the commander of the Fatimide Muizz, island Rõda, which, at the time of the who added to Fostat the new quarter Moslem invasion, was connected with which forms the Cairo of to-day, gave to both banks of the river by a bridge of this quarter the name of Masr-el-Kāhira, boats; Memphis was thus closely joined because the planet Mars (El-Kābir) to Babylon. The water-mark, measuring crossed the meridian at the very time the height of the stream, that stands on when the foundation-stone of the walls that the island Röda (exactly opposite Babysurrounded it was laid. Since El-Kāhir lon), and still indicates to the Cairenes means the victorious, Masr-el-Kāhira may the fall of the food of the Nile, appears to be rendered Masr the Victorious. The have existed at the time of the Pharaohs, foundation of Fostat, now old Cairo (in and perhaps it was carried at a later Arabic, Masr-el-Atika), took place in the period from the mainland to the island. year 638, so that it belongs by right to The town which was the base of the the younger towns of the world.
Fostat of 'Amr was by no means unimIts outward, and still more its inward, portant, whereas the streets and quarters development proceeded with remarkable which the governor erected under four rapidity. When we consider that this building inspectors, and distributed among town owes its origin entirely to illiterate his soldiers according to their tribes, must children of the desert, and then reflect have been at first small and thinly inhabthat not two hundred years after its foun-ited. Among the Christian churches in dation Harun-er-Raschid's son Māmūn Old Cairo (Babylon), there are some which (7 883), found here in full bloom a rich must certainly have existed before the scientific life which embraced all, includ- foundation of Fostat. The most remarking even the most difficult, disciplines, we able of them, the Coptic Church of St. are in presence of a phenomenon which Mary, was in its main parts not built behas been hitherto noted and ascribed to fore the eighth century after Christ; but it the fine and susceptible mind of the contains much that shows it to have been Arabs, but which, on closer inspection originally a Greek temple of a very early becomes simply inexplicable, unless we period. From Babylon there stretches take into account the non-Moslem factors out a fertile, well cultivated, and thickly that co-operated in this rapid development. populated plain, full of garden-trees and We shall direct our special attention to vineyards, as far as Mokattam; and high these factors, and try to show how the above the houses and villas of the EgypArabs have contrived in Cairo to build tians rises the lighthouse - tower (Kaer the house of their peculiar culture out of esch-Schama), in which the Roman and Egyptian wood.
Greek governors resided when they vis. Cairo is not so modern as it seems. ited the district before the conquest of The Fostat which 'Amr founded is con- the country. The inhabitants of this town pected with the Fort Babylon which was and its vicinity enjoyed great comfort, and certainly erected in prehistoric times. 'Amr's reports of the caliphs are full of One legend relates that prisoners of war the plenty in which the peasantry lived of the great Ramses — and another that and the wealth with which many Egyptian the Babylonians in the army of Cambyses, towns were blessed. A Copt of the name which conquered Egypt in 525 A.D. — of Peter, who kept his riches obstinately founded it as a “New Babylon;” and concealed, was on friendly terms with a history records that among the Romans monk in El.Tūr (Sini Monastery). ‘Amr one of the three legions that occupied sent to this monk and demanded in a letEgypt had their quarters here. But this ter, sealed with the ring of Peter, and in fort existed long before the Persian inva. Peter's name, the delivery of the goods ension, and even before Ramses II. Early trusted to him. The messenger brought writings call it Cher or Cheran (Battle. back a soldered case, and when this was town), and in a text in the temple of opened it was found to contain a letter on Kurna, dating from the fourteenth cen. which was written that the money was tury B.C., we are told of it that the lower | deposited under the largest water-tank.
On search there were found there fifty- I livion; even her wonderful ruins disapthree large measures (more than twelve peared from the earth, and to-day green millions of denarii) of coined gold. asters and palm groves occupy the place
On the whole the Egyptians were mildly where once stood one of the most ancient treated, and so they did not fear building and celebrated cities of the world. Only close to the skirts of the garrison town. the monuments in the city of the dead, the Thirty-seven years after the foundation of great graveyard of the Memphites, many that place, so many Copts had settled in miles long, have escaped destruction. The it that the governor Maslema had to per- city of the living, the colossal temples of mit them to build a church of their own. their gods, the "white walls” of the faFostat and Babylon got completely united, mous fort of the town, and the other public and the new place soon became the cen buildings which once raised proud heads, tral seat of the government, and by its have vanished from the face of the earth. fresh energetic growth cast the venerable, The rapidly extending Cairo needed but back-going and age-enfeebled, Mem- hewn stones, freestones, and columos, phis on the other bank of the Nile com- and the devastated Memphis was the rich pletely into the shade. The celebrated quarry from whence she got them. The city of the pyramids had been a populous same fate befell Heliopolis on the same court city down to the end of the reign of bank of the river, to the forth of the the Ptolemies, and even under the Ro- new metropolis. This_famous city of mans and Byzantines it might still be scholars, the centre of Egyptian sun-worcalled a great town. But its old fame ship, has also disappeared from the earth, was gone; Christianity had dispersed the and was already in the time of El-Magreat fraternities of heathen priests; and krizi (+ 1442) no more than a country town Egyptian learning, which had been culti- containing some ruins of dismantled sancvated for thousands of years in the tem- tuaries. A great part of the obelisks ples of Ptah, Imhotep, and other divini- brought from the Nile to the countries of ties, had lost its peculiar character; it western Europe originally stood in this had, in great part, perished altogether, place, in front of the temples of the sun, and where it was still cultivated by indi- and among others, the so-called Cleopa. viduals, had accommodated itself to cir- tra's Needle, now in London, and its cumstances by the assumption of new twin-sister, transported to America. forms. Greek art had completely sup- Hewn stones were easily carried to Fosplanted the old national Egyptian; Alex. tat by water, or by the old road which andria had absorbed the trade of Mem- connected Heliopolis with Memphis phis; and what Alexandria left of it was through Babylon; and so one may as. diverted by the new and active town on sume that the houses and palaces of this the other bank of the river. The sinking town rest in good part on ancient Egypman always makes for the side of the tian foundations. More than one buildstrong swimmer, and so it came about ing has been discovered in Cairo containthat the Memphites left their own declining stones inscribed with hieroglyphics. ing town in thousands, and sought for Among these a mighty stele (stone table) more favorable conditions of life in Fos. of black granite, that was found during tat. The excellent Arabic writer “Abdel- the excavations made at the foundation of latif († 1232), found on the site of Mem- a house that was pulled down, acquired phis nothing but deserted ruins ; but these special celebrity. It contains a perfectly remains were still so extensive that he uninjured inscription, which was devoted calls them a world of walls, which con. to the honor of Ptolemy Soter before his fused the mind and baffled the descriptive official recognition as successor of Alexpowers of even the most accomplished ander II., and establishes by first-hand writer. He concludes, from a glance at evidence that he restored to the priests of the popular belief, that the ancient Egyp. this place the lands in the northern part tians were long-lived giants, who were of the delta that had been taken from the able to move heavy blocks of stone from temple of Bulo; other stones, carved with one spot to another by the use of their bieroglyphics, were appropriated in the magical wands. The only inhabitants of building of mosques; and who has visited these ruins are said to have been bands the mosques of Cairo, and not observed of robbers, who were employed by com- the great number of pillars from old hea. mercial companies to search the fallen then buildings that are employed in their edifices and vaults for gold, silver, and construction? other treasures.
In the mosque of 'Amr, the oldest in Memphis soon sank into complete ob. all Egypt, stands a forest of pillars. Ev.