- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
105

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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TO DAGHESTAN
105
thread on veivet, silk, and leather; saddle-bags
and clothes-bags of carpeting ; coarse corn and flour
sacks of goat’s hair ; saddle-cloths and boots of felt
or frieze, and so forth.
The Lesghis are often good craftsmen: stone
workers, masons, carpenters, smiths; and among
the Kasimukhians especially there are skilful silver
and coppersmiths and weapon-makers. Particu
larly famous were the weapon-makers of Ku
bachi, who are often spoken of as early as the
6th century a.d. ; their blades and gun-barrels
were largely sent to Russia. The most important
district for gold- and silversmiths, and for inlay
work in steel, ivory, horn, and mother-of-pearl, is
that between Kaitago and Tabassaran.
Communications in this wild, riven mountain
tract are, of course, difficult ; there are only narrow
pack-horse roads, which often go up the sheer
mountain-sides, high above the streams that fill
the narrow valleys. Where the mountain walls are
too steep, wooden balks are driven in, and on them
are laid lengths of wood and twigs and stones.
Small bridges are generally of wood; everything
has to be carried on the backs of horses, asses, or
men and women.
The conditions of life altogether are uncommonly
hard in the valleys between these mighty mountains,
and the life there is one of grinding toil ; but it
rears a rugged, brave, warlike race. They are
splendid horsemen, particularly the Chechens, and
have extraordinarily good and tough horses, with
which they can ride up to 150 kilometres in a day.

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