The Castle Of Asia.
Like the Rhine, the Bosporus is not without its ruins. The most picturesque, and, at one time, the most massive of them all, is known as the Castle of Europe. Four hundred and fifty years have come and gone since this was built here by Mohammed II. It was his first important step toward the great object of his life, - the capture of Constantinople. His predecessor, Mohammed I, had already erected a menacing fortress on the opposite Asiatic promontory, but this one was a step in advance, and, - more significant still, - a step on European soil. The stronghold was, for that age, marvelous. A thousand laborers toiled upon its walls like galley slaves. Altars and columns, plundered from Christian churches, were used in its construction. Its lofty walls were thirty feet in thickness, and on their summits were placed heavy cannon, by which the Moslems held the Bosporus completely at their mercy, preventing any food-supplies from coming by way of the Black Sea to the Christians, and making them practically prisoners in their capital. It is said also, that, partly from caprice, partly from enthusiasm, Mohammed II so arranged the towers of this castle, that they should trace against the sky the Arabic letters which expressed not only his own name, but that of the Prophet. Now the old fortress is in ruins. The foremost actor in a great tragedy performed here half a cen-tury before America was discovered, it now lags superfluous on the stage, from which it will eventually disappear beneath the unsparing tooth of time.
A Fishing Station On The Bosporus.
The Sultan Going To Pray.
The Two Continents.
Almost within the shadow of these ruined battlements, the steamer brings us to the place where the two continents most closely approach each other. Here Europe and Asia advance as if to cast themselves into each other's arms, yet on the brink stand pausing, allowing only white-winged messengers to pass between. The space which intervenes is only sixteen hundred feet in breadth. Here, standing on one continent, one can distinguish voices on the other. Between these headlands, fourteen centuries before the birth of Christ, sailed the explorer Jason with his Argonauts, returning with the Golden Fleece. Five hundred years before the Christian era, Darius stretched here, from one shore to the other, a bridge of boats, on which were led from Asia into Europe his host of seven hundred thousand men. Here, too, the Bosporus was crossed by the ten thousand Greeks whom Xenophon led back from Persia, in that retreat of which all boys who enter college still read in Xenophon's "Anabasis."
Leaving A Landing.
Between these headlands, sailing northward on his way to exile, came the illustrious poet Ovid, banished from Rome and destined never again to behold the city on the Tiber so imperishably connected with his verse.
In Christian centuries, the hosts of the Crusaders repeatedly crossed this narrow strait, in their enthusiastic march to rescue the Holy Sepulchre from the Saracens; while, at the time of the Crimean war, the united fleets of France and England passed between these promontories to reduce Sebas-topol.
Eight thousand British victims of that conflict now repose in Asiatic soil on a magnificently situated height overlooking the blue Bosporus. Above them is the noble monument by Marochetti, commemorative of their courage and fidelity. At each of the four corners of the structure stands a colossal angel, pen in hand, as if about to write upon the scroll of immortality the names of the heroic dead, who nevertheless rest here in nameless graves. Mute though they are, these sculptured seraphs call to mind one who was here an angel of tenderness and mercy to the suffering and dying, - the woman loved and reverenced throughout the world, - Florence Nightingale.
The Devil's Stream.
The Black Sea is the cradle of the Bosporus,.as the Sea of Marmora is its grave. Where the great northern ocean sends its mighty volume into this narrow channel, the current is so strong that it is called the Devil's Stream. Beyond it is that vast, imprisoned sea, still formidable even to modern navigators, and fairly awe-inspiring to the ancients, whose ships were ill-adapted to resist its winds and waves. Hence, in former times, every one who entered it was wont to drop into its inky depths a coin, to propitiate its angry deities.