- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
26

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
26
In among them wound overgrown, shady paths on
the hillsides. The remarkable thing is that nearly
all the earth they grow in has been brought up to
these ledges on the rock, and the whole is the work
of busy human hands. Everywhere water was
trickling down, led along small channels and
courses ; but on the other side of the valley there
were stretches without water or trees, with brown,
withered grass. An old ruined Mohammedan
graveyard was to be seen over there, a reminder
of what had once been, when Islam laid its strong
grasp also on these oldest of Christian lands,
which, ringed in and forsaken, were fighting their
lone fight for faith and freedom. But Mohammed’s
arm has lost its strength ; his time is over.
High up on the ridge of hills north of the garden
stand the walls of the old "Persian" fort pointing
to the sky. It lies at the edge of the precipice over
the bazaars and warm baths of the town, looking
far away over the valley and the Kura—which
winds and falls in a gleaming yellow ribbon between
the huddled houses ofthe town—and over the many
glistening domes of the churches, and to the north
as far as the blue mountain wall, with Kasbek’s
shining snowy top high up in the clouds.
Wc were again asked to dinner in the evening
with our friend Napoleon ; but our miserly ideas of
time have not yet reached the spendthrift East :
the minutes sped and no car came to fetch us.
With our Western lack of resignation wc find it
just as hard to wait as the Oriental finds it natural.
On one occasion one of my men had arranged to

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