Constantinople is far from being a beautiful city, yet its natural position and picturesque appearance combine to make it one of the most gorgeous sights in the world—at a distance, which in this case truly °lends enchantment to the view.) No other city can claim to be sit uated on two continents, Europe and Asia; and certainly none has a more thrilling and ro mantic history. Poets, artists and authors have endeavored in song, color and prose to depict the vision of Constantinople from the deck of a vessel on a fine sununer's morning. It re sembles rather some enchanted city of the (Arabian Nights) than a real town or stone, bricks and mortar. The seven low-lying hills covered with buildings of all descriptions down to the water's edge, painted in more colors than the rainbow can boast of, with white lciosks, marble palaces, cypress trees, minarets and cupolas piercing the heavens, with a background of soft blue Oriental slcy and a foreground of the Sea of Marmora, in the limpid waters of which the town is reflected as in a mirror; the Golden Horn, crowded with shipping and bright with the flags of all nations; innumerable calques (rowing and sailing boats) and steam launches bearing gaily-attired civilians and uni formed officials; the multitude of different languages and jargons that greet the ear, mark ing the dividing line between the poetic East and the prosaic West : all these make up a rare confusion of form, color and sound, land, slcy and water, that create a lasting and in describable impression on the mind. Gibbon was fascinated by the scene, ((formed by Nature for the centre and capital of a great monarchy); Aubrey de Vere wrote that °the view of Con stantinople from the sea is the most splendid of all the pageants presented to the human eye by the metropolitan cities of the earth.) More recently Dr. Edwin A. Grosvenor wrote, °In the word • 'Constantinople) there is the blended magic of mythologic romance, history, and poetry . the queen city of the earth, seated upon a throne.) He also calls attention to the remarkable fact that the same great parallel which encircles the globe between 40° 20' and 41° 50' in north latitude includes Constanti nople, Rome, Madrid, New York and Chicago.
But the scene changes suddenly and painfully when the traveler steps ashore and proceeds to stumble along the narrow, dirty, wretchedly paved alleys which do duty for streets, and climbs the rocky staircase leading from Galata to Pera. Until 1910 he had to pick his way cautiously among and over the countless mangy, half-starved pariah dogs which infested the town and lived on street garbage. These have since been captured by gypsies, conveyed in calques to the isle of Oxia in. the Sea of Mar 'flora and left to devour each other. Noisy, vociferating hamals or porters shuffle along the streets staggering under heavy loads and shouting ((warda!) (look out!) ; donkey drivers and muleteers yelling at their animals; hawkers and pedlers shrielcing out the excellence and cheapness of their wares; vermin-ridden beggars thrust mutilated stumps of limbs under the pedestrian's gaze to evoke sympathy; while over all hovers the insufferable stench arising from heaps of garbage.
In the absence of any re liable official statistics the population of Con stantinople is estimated at between 1,000,000 and 1,200,000, about half being Mohammedans and the rest Orthodox Greeks, Arrnenians, Jews, Europeans, Africans and Asiatics.
The climate is healthy on the whole but extremely variable, and unsuited for those suffering from pulmonary affections. The best time for visiting Constantinople is in April, May, September and October, before and after the hot season.
Constantinople was formerly walled on all sides; very little now remains of the walls on the seaward sides, but those on the land side are still in a fair state of preservation and extend across the peninsula from Ayub to Yedi Kuleh (Seven Towers) on the Sea of Marmora, from which begin the Walls of Theodosius (3% miles), a double line with a moat 64 feet wide and a breastwork 58 feet thick running between them. The moat is now divided into
market garden plots. The inner wall is 36 feet high and was flanked by 116 towers, of which about 90, in a dilapidated condition, still re main. The outer wall is 31 feet high and 13 feet thick, and was flanked with 78 towers, most of which are still there. Fourteen gates lcd through the walls, seven being formerly used for military purposes. Of the Seven Towers, the Byzantine citadel, three were de stroyed by earthquake in 1758. The place also served as a state prison. The main gates are the Golden Gate, Yedi Kutch Kapu, Yeni Kapu (New Gate), Silivri Kapu, Mevlevi Hanch Kapu, Top Kapu (Cannon Gate), Eghri Kapu (Crooked Gate) and Edirneh Kapu (Adrianople Gate). Near the Golden Gate is the grave of Ahmed Kiupruli Pasha, who was hanged on his return from the capture of Candia after.a 24 years' siege. Each of the gates is rich kri historical associations, inscriptions and archi tectural embellishment. An excellent account of these is given in the Constantinople guide book of D. Coufopoulos (London 1895). Be yond Tekfur Sarai stand the Wall of Leo the Armenian (813 A.D.) and the Wall of Herac.lius (627 A.D.).
Mosques and Churches.— There are 379 mosques scattered over Constantinople and environs, all of them more or less distinguished by grandeur and beauty; but the most remark able are the royal mosques, of which there are about 15, among the finest in the world. Of these the largest and most splendid is the Suleimanieh, situated on the northeast side of the city, and standing in the midst of a large square, surrounded inside by an arcade upon pillars of granite and marble. Next to it in extent, but of much older date, is the famous mosque of Saint Sophia (gAyiah Sofie), near the east extremity of the city, the pattern of almost every mosque in the land; its walls and domes, of which last it has 20 of equal dimensions, springing from the same level, and sustained by 12 huge columns, are encrusted with mosaics, forming various figures and de vices. The court or open square in which it stands is paved with marble and shaded by fine plane-trees. It was restored by Italian and English architects in the 19th century by order of the sultan, and the layer of plaster removed by which the superb mosaics and frescoes that decorate its walls were covered. The mosque of Ycni Djarni, known also as that of the Sultana Valideh, was built by the mother of Mohammed IV, and is esteemed one of the most magnificent in the capital. It is con structed of white marble and has two peculiarly elegant minarets, encircled by three galleries of richly perforated worlananship. The principal dome rests upon four lesser ones, which appear to lift it to the clouds. The celebrated mosque of Sultan Ahmed is noted for its vastness and its enormous columns, 75 feet in circumference. The minarets are of great beauty and ascend to an immense height. The mosque of Sultan Bayazid contains the finest courtyard in the city. A vast number of pigeons haunt its pre cincts. Rustem Pasha mosque is remarkable for its tile work. The church of Saint Irene is now used as a museum of ancient arms. Among its relics are the swords of Mohammed II and Skander Bey and an armlet of Tamer lane. The Mehemet Pasha mosque is supposed to be the ancient church of Saint Anastasia Pharmakolytria, of the 5th century. All the other mosques are much less in size than those described, but very much resemble them in plan and other features. All of them are encircled by splendid columns of marble, Egyp tian granite or serpentine, and have massive and highly ornamented gateways and porches, and handsome courts and cisterns for ablution. The church of the Fountain of Life and the Blachernz Church are Byzantine edifices still belonging to the Greeks.