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Abercromby, John / A trip through the eastern Caucasus

A trip through the eastern Caucasus: chapter I: from Tiflis to Nukha,   pp. [1]-29

Page 12

than usual at such places, so here we lunched and 
rested for a couple of hours. 
The road was said to be much cut up by water- 
courses as far as Giullak, and      the  postmaster 
declared five horses must be attached      to each 
tarantass. We started at a hand-gallop through the 
paved streets of Zakatali, and caused a momentary 
sensation to the listless townspeople.  Near some 
of the water-courses, where water could be got for 
irrigation, were considerable fields of rice. In other 
respects the water-courses were less formidable diffi- 
culties than the postmaster had led me to expect. 
The route often lay between shady trees, and some of 
the Tatar villages were almost entirely hidden by 
foliage. The aspect of the hills that bounded the 
view to the south had changed considerably. They 
seemed to be covered with sand, and to be utterly 
barren. By this time we had left the districts in- 
habited by Georgians, and had entered one settled 
by Tatars, Lesgians, and Armenians. The Moslem 
faith, professed by the two former, became evident 
from the praying platforms we passed from time to 
time. These were either of stone, about two feet 
high, and built by the side of the road, or were 
composed of planks, supported by four props, either 
close to or actually standing in water. The vicinity 
of water is always desirable for the purpose of 
making the necessary ablutions. In some instances 
these plaforms were occupied by men engaged in 
repeating their evening prayers with the obligatory 
bows and prostrations. 

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