Journey Prom Aleppo To Mount Lebanon By Jeble El-Aala, Apamia, Ribla, Etc -- By: William M. Thomson
BSac 5:20 (Nov 1848) p. 663
Journey Prom Aleppo To Mount Lebanon By Jeble El-Aala,
Apamia, Ribla, Etc
Aug. 27th, 1846. Having accomplished the objects of my visit, and made all the necessary preparations for my journey back to Lebanon, I left Aleppo this morning at 10 o’clock. For the first few hours the road led over low, rocky hills, entirely deserted, naked and barren. We encountered a drove of more than 500 female camels, and my companions were not a little rejoiced when we were fairly rid of their wild and savage masters. In two and a half hours’ rapid riding we came to a ruined khan, with the mellifluous name of ’Asil (honey). The only living things, in sight, were flocks of pigeons, which appear
BSac 5:20 (Nov 1848) p. 664
to have taken possession of the premises, or at least, were congregated there—possibly to be near the only fountain of water in this region. This fountain is a curiosity in its way—being conducted to the khan by an artificial underground canal from, no one knows where, and carried off in the same way, to a destination equally uncertain. The canal is certainly an ancient work, as is also the Roman road, which led over the hills by this route to Antioch in olden times. We came to a village called Oorim or Urim in four and a half hours. Here is a building twenty-five feet square—constructed of heavy, smooth cut stones, with a Roman arched vault—and on one corner a tower, built solid throughout. The indications of great antiquity cannot be mistaken, but as it does not appear to have been either a church, temple or mosque, the particular design of the edifice is a matter for speculation. Probably it was a guard-house with a watchtower. Its elevated position, commanding a view of the desert in all directions, favors the supposition. Urim is a small village constructed out of the ruins of what must have been a considerable town. I felt rather nervous while riding amongst these ruins, to find myself perpetually in danger of falling into some of the cisterns, by which the whole rocky surface is pierced and honey-combed. Most of these cisterns are now “ broken,” but they tell of a large and industrious community, and many other relics bear a like testimony. There are no fountains in this region of chalky hills, and the dirty denizens of these wretched hamlets drink the horrible decoction of the cisterns, all alive as it is, with little pink-colored worms. In five and a half hours is Urim the Little, “without an inhabitant,” but with a well of living water, said to be 150 feet deep, and it may be so, for our ropes would not reach the water. At the end of six and a half hours we came to Ussack or Asak, also deserted. Here we left the cretaceous hills, and entered upon the great plain of Keftin. This plain is ve...
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