The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Shakrisabz to Samarkand

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The ambassadors were in this city of Kesh (Shakrisabz) during the Thursday on which they arrived; and, having departed on Friday afternoon, they passed the night in a village. On Saturday, the 30th of August, they dined at a great house, which the lord had built, in a plain near the banks of a river, and in the midst of a large and very beautiful garden. They passed the night in a large village, which was a league from Samarkand, called Mecer. The knight who conducted them, now left the ambassadors, as on that day they could easily reach the city of Samarkand; he said that he would announce their approach to the great lord, and that he would send a man to report their arrival; and that night the man was sent to report it to the great lord. Next day, at dawn, he returned with an order from the great lord to the knight, that the ambassadors, and the ambassador of the Sultan of Babylon, who travelled with them, should be taken to a garden near the village, and remain there until he gave further orders. On Sunday, the 31st of August, at dawn, the ambassadors were taken to this garden, which was surrounded by a mud wall, and might be about a league round. It contained a great number of fruit trees of all kinds, except citrons and limes; it was traversed by many channels of water, and a large stream flowed through the centre. These channels flowed amongst the trees, which were large and tall, and gave a pleasant shade. In the centre of the avenues formed by the trees, there were raised platforms, which traversed the whole garden. There was also a high mound of earth, made level on the top, and surrounded by wooden palings; and on this hill there were palaces, with chambers very richly ornamented with gold and blue, upon polished tiles. This hill was surrounded by a very deep ditch, full of water, into which the water poured down from a large pipe. To ascend the hill, there were two bridges, on opposite sides; and after the bridges were crossed, there were two doors, which opened upon flights of stairs leading up to the summit of the hill, where the palace stood. In this garden there were deer, and many pheasants. Beyond the garden there was a great vineyard, as large as the garden, which was also surrounded by a mud wall, and all round the wall there were rows of tall trees, which looked very beautiful. They call this garden and palace Talicia, and in their own language Calbet: and, in this garden, the ambassadors were given much food, and all that they required. They had their tents pitched on the grass, near a stream of water, and there they remained.