The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Neishabur to Mashhad

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On Saturday, the 26th of July, they arrived at a great city, which is called Neishabur {Neyshabur or Nishapore}.; and before they reached it, at a distance of about a league, they crossed some great plains, where many streams of water were conducted to numerous fruit gardens, and in these plains they found as many as four hundred tents pitched. These tents were not made in the usual way, but they were long, and of black cloth, and a people called Alabares lived in them. These people do not possess anything but their tents, and they do not live in cities or villages, but in the open plains, as well in winter as in summer. They have large flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, besides twenty thousand camels They wander, with their flocks and herds, over all the territory of the lord, and pay a yearly tribute of three thousand camels and fifteen thousand sheep to him, for the right of grazing in his territory. When the ambassadors came to their tents, the chief came out, and led them to a tent, and gave them much milk and cream, according to their custom They departed from the tents, and set out for the city, but Gomez de Salazar was left behind in a village, very ill, as he could not travel any longer. The city of Nishapore is in a plain, and is surrounded by gardens, and very handsome houses. The ambassadors were conducted to very fine lodgings, and the chiefs of the city came to them with meat, and fruit, amongst which were very large and good melons, and also they sent them much wine. After they had eaten, they were presented with a robe, as it was the order of the lord that, whenever they arrived at a city, they should either be presented with a robe or a horse. Five leagues before they reached the city, they met a knight who was marshal of the army of the lord, named Melialiorga {Malek Ali Oghlou ?}. He was sent to them, by the lord. He said that the lord had sent him, to do them honour, and to provide them with all that they required. When he heard that Gomez de Salazar was left behind sick, he went back for him, and found him so weak that he could not stand. On the same night he caused a litter to be made, and, placing Gomez upon it, caused him to be carried on men's shoulders, to the city of Nishapore, where he was lodged in a good house, and attended by the best doctors; but it pleased God that the said Gomez should end his days at this place. This city is very large, and well supplied with all things. It is the chief city of Media, and here they find torquoises, and, though they are met with in other places, those of Neishabur {Neyshabur or Nishapore}. are the best that are known {The torquoise mines are in a mountain glen, about thirty miles from Neishabur}. They are found in the earth, near a river which descends from a mountain, above the city. The neighbourhood is very populous, and fertile. Here the land of Media ends, and the land of Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) commences, which is a great empire. [Note: Neishabur is now famous as the birthplace of Omar Kyayyam. The poet is buried here].