- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
22

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUGASUS TO THE VOLGA
22
entertaining accompaniment wc had a barrel-organ
wonderfully out of tune, whose sounds came down
to us with never a stop from the road beyond. Wc
guessed that it was especially provided by our
thoughtful host Napoleon. In the most melting
parts of the melting melodies several notes had been
lost, and this gave an irresistible effect. The notes
that were still left were like teeth in a faulty set :
their beauty was not heightened by the gaps.
Far below us along the Kura valley lay the town
with its thousands of lights, the church towers
lifted their silvery glistering domes above the
house roofs ; around us rose the hills one behind the
other, bathed in moonlight. In the mist far away
to the north were dimly felt the mighty ridges of
the Caucasus.
Tiflis is a central point in this part of the world,
and in it meet the manifold differing races of which
this area is made up : Georgians, Armenians,
Persians, Tatars, Kurds, Jews, Abkhasians,
Cherkesses (Circassians), Chechens, Svanetians,
Ossetes, Avars, and all the many other Caucasian
mountain tribes. The result is a many-coloured
picture of national types, from the stalwart, blond
Kurds and Cherkesses to the dark Tatars, or the
dark short-headed Avars and other Lesghis. It is
in the old town, that is, the southern part of it,
with its narrow streets and alleys, its bazaars, and
the busy market, that this motley humanity can best
be seen. Here the lively, enterprising Armenian
seeks to make you take his goods for a price that

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