Constantinople

The noblest avenue of approach to Constantinople leads from the Mediterranean through the Sea of Marmora. The next best way of reaching it is from the Black Sea through the Bosporus. The least impressive route - and one which corresponds to entering a palace by its backdoor - is that which brings the traveler along the dusty, tedious railroad from Vienna through Servia and Roumania. A voyage across the classic Mediterranean and AEgean is always an inspiring preparation for travel in the Orient. In the days of comparative idleness passed on the deck of a steamer sailing thither from Brindisi, Marseilles, or Athens, the mind is kept continually active on these waters by the historical memories they awaken. Their waves kiss the shores of immortal Greece; they lave the headlands of the plain of Troy; they reflect the snow-capped crest of Mount Ida; they skirt the ruins of ancient Carthage; they still caress the land of the Alhambra; they glitter on the sands of Egypt; they break in grand reverberation on the sacred coast of Palestine. Around them, like presiding genii, rise the mountains so familiar to classical memory, Atlas, Parnassus, Olympus, Pelion and Ossa, Hymettus, Etna, and Vesuvius; while to increase their volume sweep the tributary waters of the Rhone, the Tiber, the Meander, and the Nile. Moreover, on the northward journey to the Sultan's capital, we thread our way among the famous Grecian islands, forever consecrated by Homeric legend, or haunted by the memory of heroic deeds. As we speed through their labyrinthine beauties, scarcely has one of them sunk beneath the horizon when another appears, - blue with shadow or golden with sunlight. On the dark background of antiquity these clustered islands sparkle like the Pleiades upon the dome of night. Among them are Melos, where was found the matchless Venus of the Louvre; Paros, with its exhaustless quarries of Parian marble; Chios, the birthplace of the poet Homer; Delos, the cradle of Apollo; and Tenedos, whence the cunning Greeks returned to surprise and capture Troy. Through such memorials of Greek antiquity, one approaches with constantly augmented reverence and enthusiasm old Rome's successor in the sovereignty of the world, called the Bosporus, - an artery of aquatic life, through which for sixteen miles the water of the Black Sea pulsates to the Sea of Marmora. It is the most secure and attractive harbor that ever welcomed the navies of the world. Fringed with fair palaces and mosques from sea to sea, it glistens in the sunlight like a bridge of lapis-lazuli uniting the Orient and the Occident. It is the Grand Canal of Venice made colossal.

Constantinople 2Through The Dardanelles.

Through The Dardanelles.

The Sultan's Capital

The Sultan's Capital.

- Constantinople. Every one knows that its situation is unrivaled. Arriving from the south, on our right is Asia, on our left Europe. Between them speeds the ocean-current In this bewildering panorama, we know not what to admire first, for before us is an embarrassment of riches. But gradually we select, as the most conspicuous feature of the scene, a beautifully rounded promontory, called the Seraglio Point, because till recently it proudly bore upon its crest the Sultan's Palace or "Seraglio." It rises from the waves just where three famous bodies of water form a union: - the first, a glittering avenue named the Golden Horn; the second, that ocean-river called the Bosporus; the third, the Sea of Marmora, across which we have come in sailing northward from the Mediterranean.

The Seraglio Point

The Seraglio Point.

As Asia is separated from Europe by the Bosporus, so is the Sultan's capital divided by the Golden Horn into two great sections, - the Turkish and the European. The European portion on the northern bank is itself subdivided into two parts. - Galata and Pera. Galata, the business section, lies along the shore; Pera, the European residence-quarter, occupies the summit of the hill. In fact, its greater distance from Stam-boul has given to the loftier area its name, - Pera, or "Beyond." The Moslem district is chiefly situated on and near the Seraglio Point, and is still called distinctively "Stamboul." This is to thousands of Mohammedans the City of the Faithful, as Pera is the City of the Infidel, into which European section of Constantinople many conservative Moslems have never deigned to set foot.