Page images


Europeanization of Belgrade.—Lighting and Paving.- Interior of the Fortress.—Turkish Pasha.—Turkish Quarter. - Turkish Population.—Panorama of Belgrade.- Dinner party given by the Prince.

The melancholy I experienced in surveying the numerous traces of desolation in Turkey was soon effaced at Belgrade. Here all was life and activity. It was at the period of my first visit, in 1839, quite an oriental town; but now the haughty parvenu spire of the cathedral throws into the shade the minarets of the mosques, graceful even in decay. Many of the bazaar-shops have been fronted and glazed. The oriental dress has become much rarer; and houses

[ocr errors][merged small]

several stories high, in the German fashion, are springing up everywhere. But in two important particulars Belgrade is as oriental as if it were situated on the Tigris or Barrada-lighting and paving. It is impossible in wet weather to pay a couple of visits without coming home up to the ankles in mud; and at night all locomotion without a lantern is impossible. Belgrade, from its elevation, could be most easily lighted with gas, and at a very small expense; as even if there be no coal in Servia, there is abundance of it at Moldava, which is on the Danube between Belgrade and Orsova; that is to say, considerably above the Iron Gates. I make this remark, not so much to reproach my Servian friends with backwardness, but to stimulate them to all easily practicable improvements.

One day I accompanied M. de Fonblanque on a visit to the Pasha in the citadel, which we reached by crossing the glacis or neck of land that connects the castle with the town. This place forms the pleasantest evening lounge in the vicinity of Belgrade; for on the one side is an

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

extensive view of the Turkish town, and the Danube wending its way down to Semendria ; on the other is the Save, its steep bank piled with street upon street, and the hills beyond them sloping away to the Bosniac frontier.

The ramparts are in good condition; and the first object that strikes a stranger on entering, are six iron spikes, on which, in the time of the first revolution, the heads of Servians used to be stuck. Milosh once saved his own head from this elevation by his characteristic astuteness. During his alliance with the Turks in 1814, (or 1815,) he had large pecuniary transactions with the Pasha, for he was the medium through whom the people paid their tribute. Five heads grinned from five spikes as he entered the castle, and he comprehended that the sixth was reserved for him; the last head set up being that of Glavash, a leader, who, like himself, was then supporting the government: so he immediately took care to make the Pasha understand that he was about to set out on a tour in the country, to raise some money for the vizierial strong-box. “Peh eiu,"

[ocr errors][merged small]

said Soliman Pasha, thinking to catch him next time, and get the money at the same time; so Milosh was allowed to depart; but knowing that if he returned spike the sixth would not wait long for its head, he at once raised the district of Rudnick, and ended the terrible war which had been begun under much less favourable auspices, by the more valiant but less astute Kara Georg.

We passed a second draw-bridge, and found ourselves in the interior of the fortress. A large square was formed by ruinous buildings. Extensive barracks were windowless and tenantless, but the mosque and the Pasha’s Konak were in good order. We were ushered into an audience-room of great extent, with a low carved roof and some old-fashioned furniture, the divan being in the corner, and the windows looking over the precipice to the Danube below. Hafiz Pasha, the same who commanded at the battle of Nezib, was about fifty-five, and a gentleman in air and manner, with a grey beard. In course of conversation he told me that he was a Circassian. He asked me about my travels : and with reference to Syria


said, “Land operations through Kurdistan against Mehemet Ali were absurd. I suggested an attack by sea, while a land force should make a diversion by Antioch, but I was opposed." After the usual pipes and coffee we took our leave.

Hafiz Pasha’s political relations are necessarily of a very restricted character, as he rules only the few Turks remaining in Servia; that is to say, a few thousands in Belgrade and Ushitza, a few hundreds in Shabatz Sokol and the island of Orsova. He represents the suzerainety of the Porte over the Christian population, without having any thing to do with the details of administration. His income, like that of other mushirs or pashas of three tails, is 80001. per annum. Hafiz Pasha, if not a successful general, was at all events a brave and honourable man, and his character for justice made him highly respected. One of 'his predecessors, who was at Belgrade on my first visit there in 1839, was a man of another stamp,—the notorious Youssouf Pasha, who sold Varna during the Russian war. The

« PreviousContinue »