Merv, a town of Turkistan, in the khanate and 300 m. S. E. of the city of Khiva, and 12 m. E. of the Murghab river; pop. about 3,000. It was one of the four imperial cities of Khorasan, and was the capital of many of the Persian sultans, especially of the Seljuk dynasty. It is on the caravan road from Meshed to Khiva and Bokhara, and though in a very unhealthy country was once a nourishing town, surrounded by beautiful gardens, whose fruits had a high reputation. It was sacked by the Uzbecks about the beginning of the present century, and since then has steadily declined.
Mescala, a river of Mexico, rises near the city of Puebla, and flows westwardly 400 in. to the Pacific, forming the boundary between the states of Guerrero and Michoacan. In Puebla it is known successively as the Atoyac and the Rio Pablano, further on also as the Rio de las Balsas, and at its mouth it is called the Zacatula. It was long regarded as a probable route of interoceanic communication, but it is not navigable on account of frequent rapids. The waters of the Mescala are supposed to contain deleterious elements, which have caused a loathsome disease of the skin, prevalent among the Pinto (i. e., spotted) Indians living on its banks. Rich gold placers are found near its mouth.
Meshev, a town of Russia, in the government and 35 m. S. E. of the city of Tcherni-gov, on the Ostr; pop. in 1872, 20,516, including many Greeks. It contains a cathedral, 21 other churches, a monastery, a lyceum, a gymnasium, and several schools. The principal article of trade is tobacco, which is raised in large quantities; and there is much activity in other branches of industry.
Mesilla, a town of Doila Ana co., New Mexico, on the right bank of the Rio Grande, about 240 m. S. by W. of Santa Fe; pop. in 1870, 1,578. The town, which lies in a valley of the same name, obtained notoriety from a dispute between the United States and Mexico in the settlement of the boundary under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, made in 1848. It was subsequently included in the purchase by the United States under the "Gadsden treaty" of 1853. Mesilla is the diminutive of the Spanish mew, table; as here applied, it means a small plateau, or table land, on the bottom land of the Rio Grande, to distinguish it from the great table land, which is more elevated, and which extends for many hundred miles on both sides of the river. The Mesilla valley is about 30 m. long and from 1 to 4 m. wide. The soil is a rich alluvium, but artificial irrigation is required.
Messene, the capital of Messenia in the Peloponnesus, founded by Epaminondas after his victory of Leuctra over the Laeeda3inonians, 371 B. C. It was at the foot of the hill of Ithome, the fortress of which formed the acropolis of the new capital, and was surrounded by massive stone walls, flanked with towers, of which there are still considerable remains at the modern village of Mavromati. Messene with its acropolis was, next to Corinth, the strongest city of the Peloponnesus. It was supplied with water from a fountain called Clepsydra, the spring of which still exists.