The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Ruy Gonzalez De Clavijo


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On Wednesday, the 22nd of October, there was a light fair wind, so they made sail, after having been fifteen days between this island of Tenio, and the land of Turkey. On the same day, at noon, they were off a desert island called Mambre. The next day there was a calm, so that they could not enter the strait; but on Friday a fair wind sprung up, at the hour of vespers. They entered the strait of Romania {The Dardanelles}, and the entrance is so narrow that it is not more than eight miles across. On the right hand side is the land of Turkey, and there appeared a castle, on a high hill facing the sea, with a large town built round it, and a fortified wall. A year and a half ago they say that eight Genoese galleys arrived, and plundered the town. The castle is called 'the end of the roads;' and when the Greeks came from their country to destroy the city of Troy, they had their camp in this castle, and in front of it the Greeks made some great caves, leading towards Troy; three in number. On the opposite side of the strait, there was another castle, on a hill near the sea, called Xetea; and these two castles guard the strait of Romania. A little further on, on the Turkish side, there are two great towers, with a few houses near them, and this place is called Dubeque. They say that the city of Troy extended from Cape St. Mary to this place, which is a distance of sixty miles. At sunset the vessel was off a tower near the sea, on the Greek side, called the tower of Vituperio. On Saturday they were off Gallipoli, a castle and town on the Grecian side, but it is occupied by the Mussulman Ahalali, eldest surviving son of the Turk. In the said port of Gallipoli, the Turk has all his fleet of ships and galleys, forty in number; and the castle is strongly fortified, with a large garrison. Gallipoli was the first place occupied by the Turks, in the land of Greece; and it is not more than ten miles from this castle to the land of Turkey, By taking this castle, the Turks have gained all the places which they occupy in Greece, and if they should lose it, they would lose all their other conquests; as they have their fleet here, and can thus quickly bring over succour from the land of Turkey, which is so near. From the entrance of the strait to Gallipoli it is very narrow, but from this place forward, the sea is a little broader. Above Gallipoli there are two castles, called Satorado and Examilli. The Turkish side appeared to consist of high hills, while the Grecian side was more level, and covered with corn fields. At night they were off a cape on the Turkish side, called Quinisco; and they say that when Timur Beg defeated the Turk, certain troops, who were in the battle, fled to this cape, and converted it into an island. On Sunday they were off an inhabited island called Marmora, and this island yields the jaspers and marbles of Constantinople. On the same afternoon they were off a place, belonging to the emperor, called Redea; and in sight of an island called Calonimo {Kalolimno}, off the land of Turkey. On Monday morning they were near the same place, as there was little wind, so they anchored about two miles from the shore, and fifteen miles from Constantinople. The ambassadors then sent forward, to secure lodgings in the city of Pera, and to acquaint the emperor of their approach. On Wednesday, the 24th of October, they put all their luggage on board a large boat, and went on to Pera, where lodgings were prepared for them; and they did this because the wind was foul, and the vessel was unable to reach the port. It was necessary to lose no time in obtaining information, and completing their preparations for the rest of their journey.