Some interesting details relative to Merv and its chief are published by the Vienna “ Frcmclenblatt ■— “ The city consists of an immense wall or fortification, inside which arc about 2000 houses, 9000 touts, and several mosques. Tfie Sirdar (Prince) has five palaces there, three of which are used as Government offices There is also in Merv a small quarter for the Jews, separated by a wall from the rest of the city. The present Sirdar, Isdigar Khan, is a man of fifty, more frequently seated on the back of a horse than on his throne, for he is constantly occupied in pillaging excursions on the side of Persia and the Russian possessions on the banks of the Caspian Sea. This does not prevent him from being fond of poetry, for in his suite are always a Persian poet and several bards, who amuse him of an evening by singing and playing the harp. Besides, Isdigar Khan is himself the author of several Turkish and Persian poems, in which he celebrates brigandage as a chivalrous pursuit. Tfie Prince’s revenue is estimated at 500,000 roubles, arising principally from the sale of prisoners and boot}'. There is even a special bazaar in Merv, where only Persian, Russian, &c., prisoners are sold as slaves. All the male inhabitants in the country, from their fourteenth year till they are seventy, are liable to military service. Consequently, the Prince can easily bring 80,000 men into the field. For cciflurics the people of Merv have carried on against the Russians and Persians, without interruption, the ‘ Dschihad’ (holy war), and they believe themselves authorised to commit all sorts of cruelties or outrages against these two infidel nations.”
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 50, 20 January 1880
MERV. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 50, 20 January 1880
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