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THE CITY OF CABUL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 51, 22 January 1880
THE CITY OF CABUL.
❖ Tiro Bala Hissar of Cabul comprises two portions ; one is the Bala Hissar Bala, or upper citadel; and the Bala HissarPahin, or the lower fortress—Pahin meaning -‘lower,” and is a common word as well as Bala, combined with Afghan names of villages. The Bala HissarPahin contains about a thousand houses. It is also divided into its Mallas, or quarters. One is called the Malla Araba, from an Arabic population ; another is the Malla Habashi, from its inhabitants being descendants of negroes ; and another is the Alalia Armani, from its Armenian residents. These tell something of the very great variety among the dwellers in Cabul. Timoor Shah, who began his ream in 1773, built a palace in the lowercitadel, where it forms a part of the walls. There were also without the walls a number of structures belonging to this palace, which the Baraokzias have simply allowed to go to ruin, for they were monuments of their hereditary enimies, Suddozias. Among these is the Eadshah Musjid, and near it is an old tree, now withered, and the Cabulese point to it as having become so from tho number of perjuries which have taken place under its branches, and they have a kind of superstitious horror in regard to it from the various, crimes and yillianics it has been the witness of,
There used to be seven gates to Cabul. These were the Lahore gate, the Sirdar gate, the Jabur gate, the Muzzling gate the Dob, Afghan Gate, the Guzzar Gall Gate, and the Pet Gate. The most of these are now closed up. The Lahore Gate still remains. The Ivohistan Gate, on the north, from which the road passes out leading to the mountains, as the name implies, is seemingly a newer name, as it is not among taeso older ones. It was about three miles away from the oily on this road that the .British cantonments and Sir William Macnagliten’s Residency stood, of which there now remains scarce a vestige to mark the spot. The houses were built of mud and wood, and such materials soon disappeared when a place is left iminhabit' , d. The Cabal River passes a gorge formed by the two hill ranges on the west, already mentioned, and flows through the centre of the town. At this gorge the walls and towers of defence come down on each side and join to a fortified bridge, with which is attached t’ne name of Birclar Jehan, by whom the linos of walls over the hills were constructed. The principal bridge is about the centre of the town. Opposite the Residency there was another bridge, audit was at a spot, on the left bank of the river, between these two last-named bridges that Sir William Macnaghton met Akbar Khan by appointment when tiic former was so treacherously murdered. Immediately after the river passes out from the eastern wall of the city the canal of Morad Khani begins. This runs parallel to the river, and passes along on the old English cantonments. Close to this, bat slightly westward, are the Bemaru heights, and cm the eastern side of the river are the Siah Sough heights. Cabal is proud of its bazaars. The principal one is called Bazaar Dunvaza Lahori, from the street connecting it with the Lahore Gate. The west-era end of this is called the Char Chouk, from its f our covered arcades. The construction of t!ic bazaar is attributed to Ali Mirdan Khan, of the time of Bhah Jehan, and to whom are attributed nearly all the archi: tectural buildings of Afghanistan. This market is described with such words as magnificent and handsome, and is embellished with pictures, while there are wells and fountains in it whore those who are thirsty may drink. The Shore Bazaar is situated nearer to the Bala liissar, and is of considerable size and importance. In these bazaars may bo got all the kinds of fruits for which Afghanistan is noted—melons, grapes, cherries, apples, mulberries, Ac. .Dried, fruits are also plentiful. Wine is still made as it was in the days of Baber, and it is also imbibed, in spite of the prohibition of the Koran. Cabul and its b izaars are also noted for their cookery. The quality and flavor of its various kinds of kabobs are spoken of by the Afghans with a gusto which makes one desire to taste and try. A “ kabob,’’ it may bo mentioned, is any [deco of meat iwhich is cooked by being roasted before the (ire. Most people who have travelled in the East limit their notions of kabobs to what they see in Turkey ; but a fowl or a log of mutton when roasted is a kabob. Afghanistan is again noted for another splendid disli—that is, a pillow. This triumph of cookery should bo a lamb, its inside cleaned out and tilled up with rice, plums, and various spices, then sowed up again and roasted whole, without removing the wool. A Cabules'3 utters a. sonorous “Lismillah ” whan ho extends his hand, and inserts his lingers to get the first mouthful of such a dish. The winter in Cabul is very cold. The snow covers the ground for a considerable time nd the people shovel the snow from tl r .op of the flat houses into the narrow „eets, whore it remains protected from the sun, and these thoroughfares become impassable masses of mud and filth. The people at tins season of the year do but little. It is a period of easy idleness. They live upon the dried fruits of the previous summer, and sit round a sanduli, where they eat, sleep, and exist in a hibernal state, something like the dormouse. Tne sanduli is a vessel to hold Are, with the poorer people it is simply a hole in the ground, and charcoal is generally used as fuel. Over this is QflacecV'a table,- on which food or other refreshment can be laid at meal times. Quilts, loonghis, or anything approaching the size of a sheet, is placed on the table, and extend over the knees of those sitting round, and thus the heat of the sanduli is preserved. When they wish to sleep they do not “retire for the night,” as wo put it, but simply recline where they arc, and draw the sheets over thorn, and thus where they have sat all day, and eaten and drunk, they use the same spot for their beds. It may be remembered that the Mir Akhor died last winter from being burned one nightat a fire of this sort. The population of Cabul is composed of Afghans, ivr zzlebashes, Tajiks, Hindoos, Armenians, and a very few Jews. The Hindoos arc not largo in numbers ; they are mostly money-lenders. Tire Armenians and Mohammedans seem to agree very well, and it is curious to find that they even intermarry, and they attend each other’s weddings .and funerals. The Armenians had at one time a Bishop, for in their burial ground there is a tombstone with a mitre on it. There is another burial ground, on the side of the Koh Assa Main, a tombstone of a Georgian Bishop, which is three or four centuries old. These are curious mementoes as evidence of Christian teaching at a pastdate.
THE CITY OF CABUL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 51, 22 January 1880
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