Besika Bay (Be-zee'ka), a bay on the northwest coast of Asia Minor, to the south of the entrance of the Dardanelles. The English fleet was stationed here during crises in the Eastern Question, in 1853-54 and 1877-78.
Bessarabia, a government in the south-west of Russia, on the Roumanian frontier. Area, 17,627 sq. m.; pop. 1,932,175. The Dniester flows along the whole of its northern and eastern boundaries; the Pruth separates it from Moldavia on the west; and it has the Danube on the south. In the north-west the country is traversed by well-wooded offshoots of the Carpathian Mountains; generally, however, Bessarabia is flat and fertile. Bessarabia, which fell under the power of the Turks in 1503, was ceded to Russia in 1812. By the Treaty of Paris the portions lying along the Pruth and Danube - 3578 sq. m., with some 200,000 inhabitants - were assigned to Moldavia, but by the Berlin Congress of 1878 were again transferred to Russia.
Betanzos (Betan'thoas), a Spanish town, 10 miles SE. of Corunna. Pop. 8101.
Beth'any (' house of dates'), by the natives of Palestine called ' El' Azariyeh' or ' Lazariyeh' ('town of Lazarus'), is situated on the southern slope of the Mount of Olives, 2208 feet above the sea, 2 miles ESE. of Jerusalem. It was the home of Lazarus and his sisters, often visited by the Saviour, and the scene of his ascension. It is now a poor place of some 200 inhabitants, with nothing remarkable except the reputed house of Martha and Mary, and the cave or grave of Lazarus shown by the monks. - Bethany is also the name of three German mission stations in South Africa; one in Great Namaqualand, one in the Orange Free State, and one in the Transvaal.
Bethel (' house of God'), now called Beitin, 11 miles N. of Jerusalem, mentioned in Scripture as the scene of Jacob's dream. The old name of the place was Luz. Here Abraham pitched his tent; at a later date it was a resting-place of the ark, a royal residence, and a seat of idolatrous worship. It is a heap of ruins.
Bethesda, a small town of Carnarvonshire (so named from its Nonconformist chapel), 4 1/2 miles SE. of Bangor. Its inhabitants are mostly employed in the neighbouring Penrhyn slate-quarries. Pop. (1861) 7346; (1901) 5281.
Bethnal Green, an eastern suburb of London, since 1885 a parliamentary borough with two divisions, and since 1899 one of the metropolitan boroughs. It is largely peopled by silk-weavers, an offshoot of the Huguenot settlement in Spital-fields. Its museum is a branch of the one at South Kensington. Pop. (1901) 129,680.
Bethsaida, a village on the western shore of the Lake of Galilee, the birthplace of Peter and Andrew and Philip. Its site has been identified with a heap of grass-grown ruins. - At the northeastern extremity of the lake was another Bethsaida, a village, near which the five thousand were fed.