The Blackened Column

The Blackened Column.

One object on the northern side of the Golden Horn is visible from every quarter of the Sultan's capital. It is a huge, white, circular structure, called the Tower of Galata. Originally built by a Christian emperor, fourteen hundred years ago, it was for centuries a tower of defense on the northern boundary of the city, growing in height with every new invasion, like a stupendous tree, the roots of which are fed with human blood. In those days, from its lofty summit rose the Cross of Christ; but the victorious Mohammed II, in 1453, caused that reminder of Christianity to be destroyed, and crowned the apex with a tapering cone. This monstrous tower is a hollow cylinder, around which, in a wall twelve feet in thickness, are stairways leading to the top. Here, as on several smaller watch-towers, watchmen, day and night, look through their field-glasses and telescopes at every portion of the city, to catch the earliest indication of a fire, and to give the alarm. The numerous conflagrations which occur in the enormous, densely-populated area outspread beneath them, should stimulate their scrutiny; for devastating fires have been the curse - of Constantinople, and have caused it to be practically rebuilt more than thirty times since it became the capital of Constantine.

A Watch Tower

A Watch-Tower.

But if the few-remaining ruin-above ground within the city seem imposing, still more so are its subterranean structures, - the gigantic reservoirs in which was stored the water brought over stately aqueducts, whose tiers of massive arches showed the way in which "New Rome " was imitating her great Latin predecessor. Nowhere else in the world was water furnished to a city on such a colossal scale. To guard against the possibility of a water-famine in war-time, enormous underground cisterns were constructed, all carefully connected, and capable of supplementing each other in time of need. From those which still exist, and can be visited, one gains a startling idea of the magnificence of the imperial capital. Some are six hundred feet in length, and look like subterranean lakes. One, which the Turks call "The Cavern of a Thousand and One Pillars," contains no less than sixteen rows of fourteen columns, which rise in perfect symmetry to a roof that was originally sixty-four feet high. This mighty reservoir, which contains no water now, is tenanted by lines of silk-spinners, who look like phantoms working in its ghostly light and chilling atmosphere. Still more remarkable than this, however, is the cistern called by the Moslems "The Underground Palace." This can be easily visited by torchlight, and no sight in the Sultan's capital produces a more profound impression. Founded by Constantine fifteen centuries ago, the massive solidity of its construction has enabled it to triumph over Time, and to-day it supplies the followers of the Prophet as perfectly and copiously as when it slaked the thirst of Justinian's admiring subjects. It is a weirdly fascinating scene that meets the eye of one peering out upon the mass of water, as black as ebony, save where it shimmers in the glare of the torch. The - shadowy maze of marble columns, - three hundred and thirty-six in number, and arranged in twenty-eight parallel rows, - produces the impression of a partially submerged cathedral, whose priests and worshipers seem to have been drowned. Occasionally a startled bat flits through the bar of light, from darkness into darkness, like the apparition of a tortured soul. No wonder that the place is haunted by innumerable legends, and that its sunless vaults are thought to echo in the dead of night to goblin laughter or the wail of demons. Tradition also tells of travelers, who have tried to explore in boats this Stygian labyrinth, but who have disappeared mysteriously in the darkness and the silence - to return no more.

Part Of An Old Aqueduct

Part Of An Old Aqueduct.

Turkish Houses Near The Mosque Of Suleiman

Turkish Houses Near The Mosque Of Suleiman.

Making A Bargain

Making A Bargain.

Often in walking through the thoroughfares of Stamboul, our serious thoughts were suddenly diverted by the sight or sound of its famous dogs. Constantinople is an immense kennel. The dogs that lodge here are a peculiar breed, half-wolf, half-fox, yellow in color, and with long sharp noses.