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ALBANIA, THESSALY, MACEDONIA.
Special Introductory Information.
1. Historical Slietch and actual Condition.—2. Climate, Soil, &c.—3. Passports. —1. Boats awl Packets.—5. Money.—6. Character of the Albanian*.—!. Peculiarities of Manners and Dress.—8. Dances.—9. Directions for Travellinn, Accommodation, Ac.—10. Skeleton Tours.
40. Corfu to Joannina by Sayiida
and Philates 405
41. Corfu to Joannina by Detvino
and Zitza 405
42. Corfu to Joannina by Gomen
itza and Paramtjthia. .. 410
43. Pretesa to Joannina by Nico
polis and Suit 412
44. Prevesa to Joannina by
45. Joannina to Parga by Drami
sius (Possaron) and Suli .. 418
46. Joannina by Arnyrdltastro
and Apollonia to Berat .. 424
47. Joannina by Premedi to
48. Joannina by Grerena, Kan
toria, and Konylza to
49. Ddvino by Durazzo to Scu
50. Scutari to the Dalmatian
frontier and Cattaro.. .. 437
51. Tepeleni by Selinitzu to Av
52. Avlona by Khimdra to Bu
53. Joannina to Larissa .. .. 445
54. Larissa to Lamia 449
55. Larissa to Volo and Armyrd 450
56. Larissa by Tempe to Salo
57. Ealonica, by Berara, Senia,
and Ttimaro, to Larissa .. 45G
58. Salonica to Mount Atlios
and back to Salonica .. 457
59. Tour of the Monasteries of
Mount Athos 4G1
60. Salonica by Monastir to
61. Salonica to Constantinople.. 478
62. Scutari to Constantinople .. 4sl
1. Historical Sketch And Actual Condition.
For an acconnt of the history, institutions, and statistics of tho Turkish Empire, and of tho character, manners, and customs of tho Ottomans, see Handbooks For Constantinople, Ti Rkey In Europe, Syria, Egyit, And Asiatic Turkey. Thero are but few Ottomans, i. e. Turks by race, in Albania, ThcsBaly, and Macedonia. For an account of the inhabitants of those provinces, see General Introduction, O.
2. Climate, Son., &c. (See General Introduction, d, e).
Our remarks on these subjects in treating of tho Kingdom of Greece Section II., 2) are, in a great measure, applicable also to Thessaly, Macedonia, and Albania, excepting in so far that portions of these latter provinces are still more wild and mountainous than the more southern districts of Greece.
The Population of Oriental countries is more or less a matter for guesswork. Perhaps we shall not l>e far wrong if we set down that of European Turkey at about 8 millions, of which number not more than one million are Ottomans, and not quite 3 millions Mahommedans. The remainder are Greek, Wallachian, Slavonian, and Albanian Christians, chiefly of the Greek Church, and acknowledging tho Patriarch of Constantinople as their ecclesiastical head. The population of Albania may bo calculated at about 900,000, of which number above half are Mahommedan Albanians, while 60,000 are Latin, and the remainder Greek, Christians. On a rough estimate, Thesstily would contain about 300,000, all of them Greelis, except 50.000 Mahommalant and some 10,000 Jews. In Macedonia, with a total of 800,000, there are, in round numbers, 200,000 Afaliommedans, 120,000 Jews ami Armenians, the remainder being Slavonians and Greeks of tho Eastern Church. It is to be observed, however, that by other authorities the entire population of European Turkey has been calculated to amount to from 12 to 14 millions; but there is reason to believe that this latter is an exaggerated estimate.
3. Passports (see p. 8.)
Before commencing a tour in Albania from Corfu the traveller should endeavour to procure a letter from the English Consul for the Ionian Islands, or from the Ottoman Consul, to tho Pasha of Joannina, who will provide him with passports, with an escort, if necessary, and with every information respecting the state of tho country. If he start from Constantinople, ho should procure a Firman through the Embassy.
4. Boats And Packets.
From the number of boats generally passing at all hours of the day between Corfu and Albania, a stranger can never be at a loss for the means of conveyance; while it is easy to ascertain the exact state of the country, and how far it is practicable to penetrate into the interior. Whatever may be the political aspect of tho moment, the stranger who Conforms to tho customs, and respects the institutions and character of the people, may generally pass with security amidst the shock of conflicting parties, under the protection of the local authorities.
From Corfu he may either embark for Sayiides (Sayiida), a village immediately opposite the citadel, or for Butrinto, Parga, or Santi Quaranta, rememliering that in winter he may enjoy excellent shooting, the Albanian shore abounding in game. Another route is by the steam-packet to Prevesa. Boat-hire is moderate.
Steamers now run regularly between Constantinople and Salouica, so that the traveller can easily enter these provinces from the capital. There are also weekly steamers from Trieste to Corfu, and vice versa, touching at Durazzo, Avlona, &c, which render Albania accessible.
Tho old Turkish coinage, of which a quantity is still in circulation, is much adulterated. A new coinage, executed by English workmen and English instruments, has been issued of late years. Accounts are kept in piastres and paras, the piastre taking its name from the Spanish coin of which it was the representative, and to which, when first issued in Turkey, it was equal in value. Since that period it has undergone such changes, and the metal has become so debased, that it now rarely attains the value of 3cZ. English money. The rate of exchange varies; it is usually from 108 to 112 piastres for 11. The Spanish dollar is an excellent coin for travellers in Turkey, and varies in value from 18 to 22 piastres. Seraffe, or moneychangers, are found in all tlie towns. Hills and letters of credit should l>o obtained on merchants and vice-consuls in places where there are no bankers, so as to avoid having to carry much cash. Such letters can be procured at Corfu, Constantinople, Salonica, Syra, &c. The chief Turkish coins are:—
Paras, which resembles the scales of a flsh, and of which 40 = 1 piastre. Piastre . . . = about 2Jd. \
Half-piastre . = „ ljd. I
20 Piastre-piece = „ 4«. to 4». id. > Silver Coins.
'There are also in base metal 2j and 3 piastre pieces, and 5 and 6 piastre pieces; also gold coins of Binall value, but they are rarely seen in circulation.
6. Character Op The Albanians.
For an account of the character and customs of Albanians and the other inhabitants of Albania, Thessaly, and Macedonia, gee General IntroducTion, o.
The difference in their respective governments and circumstances has of course produced some distinction between the Greeks of the kingdom and tho Greek subjects of the Porte. The Greek character, however, has everywhere the same general traits (see General Introduction, pp. 41-50, and Section II., pp. 104-106.).
Since the establishment of the kingdom, education has been vastly extended among the Greek race generally; the language has been refined, until, from a mere patois, it has become once more almost identical with the dialect of Xenophon; the corruptions in the noble tongue of their ancestors, which centuries of oppression and floods of Slavonic immigration had introduced, have been thrown off by tho modern people, until the language of an Athenian newspaper has become as the language of the Gospels. "The feasts, tho fasts, and the fears of Greeks, ore," says Colonel Leake, " a great impediment to the traveller. During their feasts they will not work; the fasts, when prolonged and rigidly observed, render them unequal to any great exertion, while timidity is the necessary consequence of the Turkish yoke following long ages of the debasing tyranny and superstition of the Byzantine empire. But through this unamiable covering the ancient national character continually breaks forth; to which, in this mountainous part of the country, is added a considerable portion of the industry and activity of a northern race. Every traveller will occasionally be disgusted with the meanness, lying, and cowardice of the people, in the towns and in the parts of the country most frequented by travellers; but it should be remembered that their vices arise from their condition, that deceit is the only defence which their tyrants have left them, and that such defects are greater in proportion to that natural genius which is indisputably inherent in the race. They have a proverb, that the sweetest wine makes the sourest vinegar, which is well exemplified in their own character by means of a most corrupt despotic government acting upon a fine natural genius."
7. Peculiarities Of Manners And Dress.
The Albanians are decent in their manners and behaviour, rarely admitting an immodest word into their conversation, or indulging in frivolous discourse. The Mahoinmedans among them veil their women, and conceal them in harems. They seldom have more than one wife. Their habit of life, which forms them into bands of soldiers, renders them independent of the other sex, whom they never mention nor seem to miss in their usual concerns and amusements. They have, in truth, rather a contempt and aversion for them; obliging them, excepting those of the highest rank, to labour, and frequently punishing them with blows. Yet the men all marry as Boon as they can, as it is a sign of wealth. The bride often brings no dowry to her husband, and he is obliged to get together about 300 or 400 piastres before he can be accepted by her family. The women aro uneducated, speaking only their nativo tongue. Tho Turkish language is kuown but to few in European Turkey, except to the Ottomans and the officials. Greek is generally spoken throughout Albania, Thessaly, and Macedonia, both by Mahommedans and Christians. The Albanian is a distinct language, though corrupted by tho introduction of foreign terms. In common with all other inhabitants of the Levant, tho Albanians love money, of which they make little hoards, and then spend the whole sum at once on pipe-heads, silver-mounted pistols, shawls, &c. Their love of preserving wealth is far less than their desire of acquiring it. They have a great distaste for the labours of agriculture, in which they arc very inexpert. The Albanian at his plough is a picture of reluctant labour. In Albania, as throughout tho Turkish empire and tho east of Europe generally, the land, when not the property of the cultivator, is farmed on the mtftayer system. The productions of these southern provinces resemble those of the kingdom of Greece.
The Albanians are generally of the middle stature, muscular and straight, but slight round the waist. Their faces are oval, with prominent cheekbones, tho eyes, blue and hazel, are lively; the eye-brows, arched; the nose, high and straight. They wear no hair on the fore part of the head, but surfer it to flow from the crown. Their complexions are clear, but they have tho habit, which Strabo remarks as the custom of the Illyriaus, of tatooing their arms and legs. The women are tall and strong, but bear in their countenances the stamp of wretchedness and hard labour.
The Albanian costume is extremely elegant, and may bo made very costly. Those who can afford it wear two or three jackets of velvet or cloth, richly embroidered with gold and silver, white fustanelles or kilts, bound round tho waist by a shawl and belt, which contains their pistols, embroidered garters and sandals, the bottom of which is of goat-skin, and the upper part of catgut. To this aro added the small red cap, and the shaggy capote or cloak, which is worn by all classes, and forms their chief defence against the weather. The dress of the common people is, when clean, entirely white, and, with the exception of the shirt and drawers, which are cotton, is nil woollen. Almost every Albanian makes his own clothes, and carries in the pouch which holds his cartridges a quantity of leather, catgut, &c, for tho manufacture of his sandals. The dress of the women is fanciful, and varies in different districts. In some they wear a kind of white woollen helmet, and the younger women a skull-cap, composed of pieces of silver coin, with their hair falling in long braids, also strung with money. This is a prevailing fashion, and a girl before she is married wears her portion on her head as she collects it (seo Genebal Intkoduction, O).
Although lazy in the intervals of peace, there is one amusement in which the Albanians partake with delight, viz., their dances, in which thero is only one variation. Either the hands of tho party (a dozen or more) are locked in each other behind their backs, or every man has a handkerchief in his hand, which is held by his neighbour. The first is a slow dance. The party stand in a semicircle, with the musicians in the centre; a fiddler, and a man with a lute, who walk from side to side, accompany their movements with the music. These aro nothing but tho bending and unbending of the two ends of tho semicircle, with some very slow steps, and an occasional hop.
The handkerchief-dance, which they accompany with a song, is very violent. The leader opens the soug, footing it quietly from side to side; then hops forward, quickly dragging the whole circle after him ; then twirls round, frequently falling on his knees, and rebounding from the ground with a shout; every one repeats the song, and follows the example of tho leader, who, after repeating these movements several times, resigns his place to the man next to him. Thus the sport continues for hours, with very short intervals. In the account given of the armed dances of the Laconians may be recognized the contortions and whirling of the Albanians, whoso sudden inflexions of the body into every posture seem as if they were made to ward and give blows. For a graphic description of Albanian dances see 'Childe Harold,' Canto II., 71, 72.
9. Directions For Travelling; Accommodation, Etc.
There are no inns in the interior of Albania, Thessaly, and Macedonia. Foreigners provided with letters of recommendation from tho authorities, or private friends, are hospitably entertained in the houses of the Mahommedan Beys, or principal Christian inhabitants. In such cases, no money remuneration is of course given, except a present to the servants; but one may leave a token of remembrance with his host, such as an English knife, a pencil-case, a pair of pistols, or the like. The only places of public accommodation aro khans, erected by the Government for the use of travellers, and which are frequent on the main roads. They are entirely unfurnished; in some there are many rooms, and the building is surrounded by a wall enclosing a courtyard, into which horses are turned for the night. The khanji, as tho keeper of the khan is called, generally sells wine, and Indian corn cake or bread. The khans in the towns are frequently tenanted by the rabble, and aro very dirty. Those in the country are cleaner.
A traveller should bring with him an English saddle; also a thick quilt to sleep on, as ho will seldom be able to obtain more than bare boards or a mat on his journey. An unfurnished room can be hired for a few days in any of the large towns. Travellers should always arrive at the end of their day's journey by sunset, or a littlo after, in order to make sure of getting a room in the khan. A servant who can speak Albanian and Greek is indispensable. Albanians are faithful, hardy, and resolute. Travellers should avoid sleeping out of doors, as malaria fevers are very common. It is best, also, not to rest near marshy ground. The months for travelling in Albania, Thessaly, and Macedonia, are April, May, and June.
Horses are to be procured in abundance in tho large towns and villages from the carriers, called in Turkish Katerjis, and in Greek i-yayidrcu. The government or menzil horses are stationed only along the principal lines of road. Thev should be used when possible, as they are better than those of the Katerjis in general. Travellers provided with the proper Turkish passports have a right to be supplied with the menzil horses, and to pay for them the same price as a Turkish government officer, i. e., so many piastres an hour for the horses, with a gratuity to tho surudji, or postilion, who takes the horses back. Should the traveller, on arriving at a town or khan, find tho gates closed, the word balwhish will make them open; while the same term will smooth all difficulties about custoni-houseB, passports, horses, &o. In making a bargain in these countries, it is expedient to leave a part of tho sum covenanted as bakshish to be paid or not, according to punctuality and civility. The general rules for Greek travelling apply to journeys in the Greek provinces of Turkey. (See General Introduction, a, c, d, e, f, i.)