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EARTHQUAQKE AT BROUSSA., Lyttelton Times, Volume V, Issue 297, 5 September 1855
EARTHQUAQKE AT BROUSSA.
The following particulars respecting tbe late earthquake in Turkey are furnished from the limes' Correspondent:— There is no mistake tbis time about tbe destruction of Broussa. The shock which took place on the evening of the llth has levelled to the ground tbe greater part of tbe ancient city, and destroyed some of the finest monuments of Roman, Byzantine, and Mussulman art which this country could boast of. Since the first shock, on the 28th of February, tbe population had taken precaution iv case of a recurrence of the calamity, and it is to these that tbe small number of casualties is due. Every one who had an open space before his house pitched a tent, where the family passed most of their time, and very often remained during the night. The upper stories of the houses were abandoned, and the household lived in the hall with open doors, so as to be ready for immediate flight whenever* the subterranean roar of the earthquake should make itself heard, and tbe trembling of the furniture denote the approaching destruction. The pre vious warning, and the fact that the fall of buildings does not take place till towards the end, and sometimes not till after the cessation of the vibration, is the reason that out of a population of 70,000 souls, not more than 100 have been killed or wounded by a catastrophe which has made half of them houseless and destitute. On the 16th the full extent of tlie calamity was known at Constantinople. The great shock ofthe llth was only the first of a series almost innumerable. At least 40 vibrations were felt during the first night, and not a day has passed since wi thou tjthree or four of more orless severity. Many of these have been attended with the fall of edifices which had been previously shaken, and the chief danger now to be apprehended is that the shattered walls which line the narrow streets will occasionally be thrown down on tbe inhabitants, even without the recurrence of tbe motion. The unhappy population is flying in all directions from the doomed city. On the 17th, the Porte, at the request of Lord Stratford sent a steamer to Guemlik to bring away tbe fugitives who were thronging the little port without food or means of transport. Mr. Whittall, a merchant of tbis place, also determined to go with a steamer belonging to him and bring to Constantinople as many as it would bold. Availing myself of this opportunity, I started for Guemlik the day before yesterday, to judge for myself of the extent of the calamity in the village we found all the inhabitants of Broussa who had been able to find means of transport to the seacoast. Among them was k John Zohrab, commonly called Schelebi John,
a well known'personage in these parte, and acquainted with everybody in the Province from Pashas to banditti. He had ridden in from the interior the day before, having had his farmhouse crushed flat to the ground, but as a ride of 40 miles through the mud is not much for him he offered to go back with us lo Brc.ussa and bring us back before sunset. Having with some difficulty found horses, we started, and on arriving at tbe ridge of the line of hills which overlooks the town, we saw that the plain below was thronged with crowds of fugitives—veiled Turkish];women, carrying with them all their goods on the back of a miserable horse, to obtain which they had probably parted with a number of necessaries. Tbe very poor, mostly Armenians and Jews, were on foot, bending under the weight of counterpanes and kettles and dragging after them their weeping and footsore children, who would be a couple of days in making the weary journey of 20 miles through the bush and quagmire before they arrived at Guemlik. The most fortunate were the peasantry, who lived at a distance from narrow lanes aud crumbling mosques. Most of these bad their cottages destroyed, but they had quietly erected rude tents among tbe mulberry trees, and were living as happily as if nothing had occurred. The lower classes in every country soon forget calamities, for they have been accustomed to so little material comfort that nothing can make a change for the worse in their condition. On approaching the city the results of the convulsion were visible on every side. The village of Tcbefiplik was in ruins, the houses seeming as if they had been crushed in by tbe fall of some enormous weight on their roofs. At last Broussa was plainly visible, its rsnowy mosques and dark red houses standing out against the sides of Olympus, which towered up above with its crown of snow. Perhaps no more romantic spot can be found in the world than this, which has been the site of an imperial ?eity for more than 2,000 years. The iapid torrent which passes through tbe midst of the city and across its plain is crossed by massive stone bridges, two of which date from Roman times. The most solid of these structures, a work of-the earh- Caesars, is now shattered and impassable. Huge masses of masonry have been hurled down into the stream beneath, and tbe solid arch is cleftin two. Tbe greatest antiquarian loss which the place has suffered is,< however, in tbe demolition of tbe great mosque, formerly tbe convent of the Virgin, an edifice erected shortly after the age of Justinian, and second to St. Sophia alone for vastness and beauty. Tbe lofty dome is crushed ; the mosaic work, fresh and beautiful as if not 10 years.old, is scattered over the pa.'ement; the minarets—of course, a Mussulman addition —are broken short off at a third of their height from the ground ;] aud the structure, which lately was filled with worshippers, is now deserted by all but the Turkish guard which is placed at tbe gale to prevent tbe depredations which often follow a general calamity. The tomb of Sultan Orcban, son of Othtnan, is also crushed. The monarch who made Broussa the capital of his warlike state, and who has rested peacefully in the grave for 500 years, now lies under the ruins of his ancient city. Whole quarters of the town are level with the ground, not a house remaining. Amid the ru ins may be seen miserable women tending their wounded relations, who lie under the shelter of a bit of carpel fastened to three upright posts, or of a few boards placed slantingly against some tottering wall. The Jews suffered greatiy. The citadel stands on the slope of the bill; beneath and around it cluster the dwellings of this peaceful and suffering race. At the moment of the shock masses of wall were hurled down upon the small tenements below, and even portions of the solid rock came rolling down the mountain side like avalanches, and crushed everything in their. way. The Jews, with their lofty head-dresses, were to be seen sitting amid their fallen walls, destitute and desolate. Not even at such a moment does compassion subdue tbe dark aversion which separates this unhappy race from the people among whom it lives. Who will care for a Jew ? Not a piece of bread or a cup of water will Turk, Greek, or Armenian give to the expiring Hebrew, even at a time when tbe judgment of Heaven has involved all in a common misfortune ! The bounty of a Government and the subscriptions of individuals would be equally kept back from the despised race if tbe allotted funds were administered by pashas or bishops. From tbe Euvopean residents alone have the poor of all classes received help heretofore, a»<
now the Europeans, even the consuls, have fled the place. " It was reported in Constantinople that the springs had failed; and lhat want of water was to be added to tbe other horrors of the place. But the only foundation for this statement is, that the mineral waters Which form tbe chief attraction of Broussa to the stranger, are much diminished in quantity, and for a few days did not rise to the surface at all. Plenty of good water is to be had, as even the stream which flows through the^y^s fit to drink. The great want is of food": many of tbe ovens are destroyed, and bread is in consequence dear. The number of persons thrown out of work by tbe event is, of course, very great; but, happily, none of the silk factories have been injured, and in a few weeks, should no repetition of the shocks occur, the fugitives will take courage and venture back, work will be resumed, the city will once more rise from its foundations, and nothing but the ruins of a few vast edifices which tbe present age cannot restore will bear witness of tbe most fearful catastrophe which has befallen an eastern city for many hundred years. We returned to "Guemlik by sunset, and found every nook and corner of the vessel crowded with human beings, as many as 470 of all ages and conditions had hurried on board, and they lay packed thick along the deck, and in all the cabins, so that to lie down was almost impossible. The Turkish boat had left full, and a British steamer was ready to start. The fugitives hoped that some of their number mipht be able to-leave in this vessel; but it sooned appeared that it had been despatched to bring away " the British residents," who consist of the consul and his family. The answer of the captain to applications was, that no one- 1 could be received, and the steamer, sent down at tbe cost of probably £60 : left with four persons on board—the Consul, his two daughters, and a deputy assistant postmaster from Constantinople, who happened to be at Broussa on a pleasure excursion. We arrived tbis morning in the Golden Horn, when tbe unfortunates were allowed to land without going through any quarantine regulations.
EARTHQUAQKE AT BROUSSA., Lyttelton Times, Volume V, Issue 297, 5 September 1855
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