The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Sultanieh City

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On Friday, the 20th of June, the ambassadors departed from Tabreez, and passed the night at a castle called Zaydana {Sirdarud ?}. On Saturday they dined at a village called Hujan {Gogan ?}, and passed the night in the open air. On Sunday morning they reached a village called Santguelana, and dined at another village called Tucelar, inhabited by a people called Turcomans; and the country was more level than any they had yet passed through, and very hot. At each village the people brought out plenty of meat, and gave it to the ambassadors, and the custom was as follows: -when the ambassadors arrived, they had to dismount, and sit upon small carpets, which were placed in the open air, under the shade. Then from each house came something to eat, either bread, or cream, or other dishes of the country; and if they wished to remain, they received much more food. When night came on they continued their journey, for they could not travel in the day time, on account of the great heat, and the number of insects, which kill both men and beasts. Although, when they arrived at the village of Tucelar, the sun was not very powerful, the insects were such that the beasts could not endure it, so that there came from them so much blood, that it was quite wonderful. On Monday they came to a place called Miana, which means 'half way,' and they stayed there all day, and departed at night, on good horses which had been provided for them, travelling all night. On Tuesday, being St. John's day, at dawn, they found themselves near some large buildings, which were erected for the use of merchants and other travellers; and they remained there until the hour of vespers. While they were there a messenger arrived from Miran Meerza, eldest son of the lord {Timur Beg. From this place, Clavijo usually calls Timur the lord}, who said that his master desired them to ride as fast as they could, to a plain where he was encamped with his army, which was not far off, where they would be provided with fresh horses. At night they set out, and at dawn they met another messenger from Miran Meerza, who said that his master had gone to Sultanieh, and wished them to ride on as fast as possible, that he might see them. At noon they came to a house, near the banks of a river, where they took their siesta, starting again in the afternoon. At night they came to a city called Sanga {Zengan ?}, which was almost deserted. They were told that it was formerly one of the greatest cities in Persia. It was situated on a plain, between two ranges of mountains, without woods, and the city wall had fallen down. Inside there were large houses and mosques, and streams of water flowed through the streets. This was the chief city of the dominions of Darius, and the one which he liked best, and in which he resided most; and from this place he marched forth, to fight Alexander. They remained during the night, and were provided with fresh horses, and plenty of meat and fruit, and were very well treated. On Thursday, the 22nd of June, at noon, they arrived at the great city of Sultanieh, where they found Miran Meerza, the eldest son of Timur Beg {The city of Sultanieh was founded by Mohammed Khodah Bundah, a ruler of Persia, of the house of Genghis, in 1303. He was the first Persian ruler of the sect of Ali, and is consequently much venerated by the modern Persians. Sultanieh was situated in a pleasant and fertile plain, seventy miles from the present town of Kazveen. It is now a mere mass of ruins, but the splendid tomb of Khodah Bundah is still standing, with a dome one hundred feet in diameter, and one hundred and twenty feet high, covered with green tiles. The building is of an octagonal form, and once had a minaret at each angle, but there is only one left entire. The plain is a favourite place of encampment, for the modern shahs of Persia}. On Friday morning they went to see the said Miran Meerza; and as it is the custom for every one who goes to see him, to give him something, the ambassadors brought some cloth, and other things. They found him in a palace, where there was a large fruit garden, full of armed men; and he received them very well, and invited them into a tent where he was sitting, asking them after the health of the lord our king. After they had talked for a long time, they were asked to eat, and the ambassadors ate according to their custom, and, when they wished to go away, they were given some robes to dress in. This city of Sultanieh is in a plain, and has no wall; but it has a castle with strong walls, and handsome towers, and all the towers and walls were ornamented with patterns, and each tower had a small catapult on the top.