Illustrated Description Of Russia

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Ekaterinburg, Iekaterinenburg, or Yekaterinburg (Catherine's borough), capital of the Ural mining district, is situated on the Asiatic slope of the Ural mountains, in the government of Perm, and one hundred and seventy miles southeast of its capital city, on both banks of the Iceth or Iset, at an elevation of nearly nine hundred feet above the sea level. The general external appearance of Ekaterinburg very much resembles that of one of the manufacturing towns of Europe. The streets are long and straight, but unpaved, having., however, planks or logs laid on each side for foot-passengers. The principal street runs parallel with the river, and is intersected by numerous smaller streets, leading directly to the bank of the Iset. A number of the houses are of wood, but there are also a great many of stone, built in a handsome and substantial style, and possessing as much internal comfort as exterior elegance. On the southeast bank of the river the buildings are spread over an extensive plain, which is connected with the city by a handsome bridge; these buildings include the government magazines, mills, factories, &c, and enclose an extensive square or market-place.

The principal part of the town, however, is on the opposite side. Here the streets are spacious and elegant, and the stone edifices, the habitations of merchants and mine-proprietors, exceedingly handsome. In this quarter there are a public granary, a public sale-room, a convent, and several churches.

The cutting, polishing, and engraving of precious stones, forms a principal branch of industry in Ekaterinburg, and the art is here brought to the greatest perfection. Men, women, and children, are met with at every step, offering bargains of these tempting valuables, consisting chiefly of topazes, amethysts, crystals, jasper, &c. " The greatest neatness," says Mr. Erman, " is observable in the dwellings of those who work in these gems, who, even when in possession of considerable wealth, retain their native simplicity of dress and manners." The in-door dress of the women is the ancient sarafan, and a covering for the head, called a kakoshnik, having a broad, staring border, and sometimes covered with jewels. This head-dress is worn by married women alone ; long, plaited tresses forming the distinction of the unmarried, who do not cover the head. The young men delight in flowing locks.

Ekaterinburg was founded by Peter the Great, in 1723, and named in honor of his empress, Catherine I. It is regularly fortified, and, being situated on the great road leading from Perm to Tobolsk, is regarded as the key of Siberia. Parties of exiles frequently pass through the town, numbering annually, it is stated, about five thousand. The women are generally in wagons; the men following, in couples, on foot. The population is from fifteen to eighteen thousand.

The government of Viatka lies between the fifty-sixth arid sixtieth degrees of north latitude, and the forty-sixth and fifty-fourth degrees of east longitude, having the government of Vologda on the north, Perm on the east, Orenburg and Kazan on the south, and Nijnei-Novgorod and Kostroma on the west. It contains about fifty-three thousand square miles.

The slope of the country is toward the west and south, in which directions the Viatka, a tributary of the Volga, flows, traversing the government nearly in its centre. The Kama, which forms part of its eastern and southern boundaries, also rises in this government. The surface is generally undulating, and even mountainous toward the east, where it consists of the lower Uralian ranges. The soil is mostly good, though encumbered in parts with extensive marshes. The climate is severe in winter, but not usually unhealthy.

Agriculture is the principal occupation of the inhabitants, particularly along the banks of the large rivers; and in ordinary years more grain is grown than is required for home consumption. Rye, barley, and oats, are the principal grains ; very little wheat is raised, but peas, lentils, and buckwheat, are grown, with large quantities of hemp and flax. The surplus produce goes chiefly to the northern provinces of the empire. Potatoes are not much cultivated. Fruit is not plentiful*; apples scarcely ripen. The forests are very extensive: they consist mostly of firs, intermixed with oak, elm, alder, lime, birch, and other trees. Cattle-breeding, though a secondary branch of industry, is still of importance; and a good many small but robust horses are reared. Sheep are few. Purs, tar, iron, and copper, are among the chief products.

Manufactures, though not extensive, appear to be on the increase: there are factories for woollen cloths, linen and cotton stuffs, paper, soap, potash, copper and iron wares, &c, employing eight or ten thousand hands. About two million yards of woollen (and perhaps nearly double that quantity of linen) cloth are supposed to be annually made in the houses of the peasantry ; and large quantities of spirits are distilled. Near Sarapoul is an extensive manufactory of arms; and at Votka, anchors, gun-carriages, and iron machinery of various kinds, are made on a large scale. The government exports grain, flax, linseed, honey, tallow, leather, furs, silk goods, iron, and copper, to Archangel, and grain and timber to Saratov and Astrakhan. It receives manufactured goods from Moscow and Nijnei-Novgorod, tea from Irbit, and salt from Perm. Viatka, the capital, is the great emporium of the trade. The government is subdivided into eleven districts. Viatka, Slobodoskoi, Malmych, and Sarapoul, are the chief towns

The inhabitants consist of various races — Russians, Votiaks (of a Finnish stock, and from whom the province has its name), Tartars, Bashkirs, Teptiars, &c, professing many different religions. The Mohammedans are estimated at about fifty thousand, and the Shamanists and idolators at some three or four thousand. In 1831, there were only nine public schools, in which about eleven hundred and fifty pupils were receiving instruction; but the number has since materially increased. This government is united under the same governor-general with Kazan; but the Tartars and Finns are subordinate to the jurisdiction of their own chiefs.

Viatka, the capital of this government, is situated on the river of that name, near the confluence of the Teheptsa, two hundred and thirty miles west by north of Perm, and two hundred and fifty northeast of Nijnei-Novgorod. Its population is about eight thousand. It has several churches of stone, one of which, the cathedral, has a silver altar with bas-reliefs,and cost one hundred and thirty thousand roubles. Here are numerous convents, with an episcopal seminary, gymnasium, and high-school, founded in 1829. The city was annexed to the Russian dominions by the grand-duke Vassili-Ivanovich, about the middle of the sixteenth century.

The government of Simbirsk lies on both sides of the Volga, between the fifty-third and fifty-sixth degrees of north latitude, and the forty-fifth and fifty-first degrees of east longitude ; having on the north the government of Kazan, on the east that of Orenburg, on the south Saratov, and on the west Penza and Nijnei-Novgorod. It contains an area of about twenty-four thousand square miles.

It consists mostly of a gently-undulating plain, having a black and generally very fertile soil. The Volga passes through this government, and near its southern border it takes a bend to the eastward for a distance of a hundred and twenty miles, enclosing a mountainous peninsula, and forming an isthmus only nine miles across. The view on the opposite page shows the majestic Volga at this point. The river is here two miles wide, rapid and deep, and, for the first time, its left bank entirely changes its character: rising to a height of seven or eight hundred feet, the beetling crags overhang the mighty stream, and give an unusual boldness to the scene. Indeed, nowhere does the Volga, throughout its entire length, afford such striking views as are presented at this divergence.

Besides the Volga, the province is watered by the Sura and other affluents of the former. The climate is in extremes, the summer being very hot, and the winter equally cold. The Volga is annually frozen over for about five months. Rye, wheat, and other grain, are raised in quantities more than sufficient for home consumption. Hemp is largely cultivated, with flax, tobacco, poppies, &c. Except among the Calmucks, the rearing of cattle is not much attended to. In the north, the forests are abundant. Distilleries are numerous, the Russian grain-brandy being made here to perfection; and besides the coarse goods manufactured by the peasants, there are establishments for the manufacture of cloth, coarse linen and canvass, and coverlets, with glass-works, soap-works, candle-works, &c.

Simbirsk, the capital of this government, is situated on an isthmus between the Volga and the Sviaga. For a place of nearly twenty thousand inhabitants, it wears a mean and insignificant appearence—its situation, indeed, being its chief recommendation. It stands partly on an eminence., which commands a fine prospect, and partly on a plain. Prom the terrace, near the governor's house, a magnificent and expansive view is obtained over the basin of the Volga, which here spreads itself in narrow channels through the low land, beyond which the high hills of the Jigoulee bound the prospect to the south, while in every other direction the steppes seem illimitable. Immediately at your feet are cottages and gardens, and on the opposite bank of the river are some large villages. The white sails of many pashaliks, glistening on the broad surface of the stream, and the occasional passing of a steamer, complete a charming picture.

View on the Volga at Simbirsk — the Jigoulee

View on the Volga at Simbirsk — the Jigoulee
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The streets of Simbirsk are broad and straight. The houses are mostly of wood, but neat and commodious inside. There are numerous churches, which, with one exception, are all of stone, and two convents. Near the terrace before alluded to, and in the centre of a square from which the principal streets diverge, stands a statue of Karamsin, the celebrated Russian historian. The town is in. a fertile country; and, besides large quantities of grain, exports the produce of the fisheries on the Volga. There is an annual horse-fair held here; and the place is a good deal resorted to by the surrounding nobility.

The new government of Samara, as before remarked, has been formed out of three districts of the government of Orenburg, two districts of Saraatov, and of the districts of Samara and Stavropol in Simbirsk. It comprises an area of nearly forty thousand square miles, and its population may be estimated at about one million, six8 hundred thousand.

The capital of the government is the city of Samara, situated at the confluence of the Samara with the Volga, five hundred and fifty miles east-southeast of Moscow. It contains two wooden and three stone churches; has manufactures of leather and soap; and carries on an extensive trade. The town is built on a sloping bank, is growing with great rapidity, and already numbers a population of fifteen or twenty thousand. It is said to be the busiest port on the Volga. Backed by an immense grain-growing country, it supplies a great part of the interior of Russia with wheat. No less than nine millions of poods are shipped here annually, and carried down either to Astrakhan, and so across the Caspian, or, on the backs of camels, from Orenburg to the adjacent countries; or conveyed by water to St. Petersburg. Much of the sudden growth and prosperity of the city is doubtless owing to the introduction of steam-navigation on the Volga.

At the great annual fair held here, the numerous races assembled at it are said to be even more diversified than at Nijnei-Novgorod. ' Situated only about two hundred and fifty miles from the Asiatic frontier, a large trade is carried on with the inhabitants of those distant steppes, who flock hither in great numbers, the representatives of each tribe wearing a different costume. The rapid increase of the population of this town is but in accordance with the prospering condition of the new government of which it forms the capital. There is not a more highly-favored region throughout the whole Russian empire than Samara; and those inhabitants of the neighboring districts, who, belonging to the crown, have been allowed to migrate to this land of plenty, have done so to such an extent, that the population has doubled itself within the last few years. Where the Volga, more capricious than usual, reaches the most easterly point of its whole course, the city of Samara has sprung up ; and, forming a sort of port for the town of Orenburg, which is situated on the Tartar frontier, it helps to connect the distant. regions beyond with the Cis-Volgan countries, and thus, as it were, completes the last link of European civilization in this direction.

The government of Penza lies principally between the fifty-third and fifty-fifth degrees of north latitude, and the forty-second and forty-seventh degrees of east longitude; having the government of Nijnei-Novgorod on the north, Tambov on the west, Saratov on the south, and Simbirsk on the east. Its greatest length from east to west is one hundred and seventy miles, and its greatest breadth one hundred and forty-five, comprising an area of about fourteen thousand square miles.

As a whole, this province is an extensive flat, somewhat monotonous, but occasionally intersected by small hills, which in the southwest form the water-shed between the basins of the Volga and the Don. To the latter basin only a very small portion of the government, drained by the Khoper and its tributary the Vorona, belongs; the affluents of the Volga are the Soura, Insara Isa, Moksha, Vad, and Vicha. The climate is mild and salubrious, though the winter cold is occasionally severe.

The soil is fertile, and well adapted for raising all kinds of grain and roots. Hemp and flax are extensively cultivated, and tobacco and hops occasionally grown. The principal fruits are apples, pears, and cherries. The forests are extensive, and consist chiefly of beech, oak, birch, and alder. Considerable attention is paid to the rearing of cattle, particularly horses, of which several good breeding-studs are kept. The rearing of bees is so general as to form one of the most important branches of rural economy. All kinds of game abound, but fish are very scarce. The principal mineral is iron, of which valuable mines are worked in the vicinity of Troitsk. Millstones are also quarried extensively. The manufactures are chiefly confined to the cottages of the peasantry, where great quantities of flax and wool are spun, and coarse stuffs woven; but there are several blast-furnaces and other iron-works, soap-works, glass-works, sugar-refineries, tanneries, and, above all, distilleries, which are both numerous and on a large scale. The chief exports are grain, flour, brandy, leather, soap, wax, honey, potash, wool, and timber. Education, nominally under the superintendence of the university of Kazan, is miserably neglected; and the only printing-press in the government belongs to the crown.

Penza, the capital of this government, is situated on a height near the junction of the Penza and Soura, two hundred and ten miles south-southeast of Nijnei-Novgorod. It is meanly built of wood, with the exception of the cathedral, which is of stone. Besides the cathedral, there are eleven parish-churches. The principal manufactures are leather and soap, and in these a considerable trade is carried on. Penza is the residence of the governor; the see of a bishop conjoined with Saratov; and possesses several courts of justice, a theological seminary, and a gymnasium. The population is about twelve thousand.

The government of Kazan comprises that portion of the territory of the former kingdom which lies between the fifty-fourth and fifty-seventh degrees of north latitude, and the forty-sixth and fifty-second degrees of east longitude ; and is bounded on the north by the government of Viatka, east by Orenburg, south by Simbirsk, and west by Nijnei-Novgorod. Its average length is two hundred and fifteen miles, and its breadth one hundred and twenty-five, containing an area of about twenty-three thousand five hundred square miles.

On entering the government from the west, the ground descends at first gradually, but afterward more rapidly, almost to the level of the Volga, and spreads into a plain clothed with the richest green, intersecting an elevated plateau on the right bank of the Volga, and terminating three or four miles toward the east in a range of hills. From this point, the ground on the left bank of the Volga rises rapidly, and strikingly contrasts with the low plains on the opposite side. The summit of this table-land is covered with well-grown oaks, which form the commencement of an extensive forest. Many of the hills consist of a brilliant-white, slaty limestone, the strata of which have a considerable dip, and are occasionally pierced by natural passages, one of which, about two hundred and thirty feet in length, terminates in an alabaster cavern sixty feet wide. Though the surface is thus occasionally diversified by hills, and a low branch of the Ural mountains comes in upon the southeast, the general appearance is that of an extensive plain, watered by large navigable rivers.

The Volga, proceeding from the west, winds along in a tortuous course for nearly a hundred and fifty miles ; the Kama, from the east, after flowing nearly one hundred miles, joins the Volga, whose united streams, occupying a channel nearly eight hundred yards wide, proceed south. In addition to these, are numerous smaller tributaries and lakes, which, though individually not of large extent, are scattered throughout the district. The climate, on the whole, is mild. The winter is keen, but not protracted. Both spring and summer are usually serene, and in autumn all the vegetable productions of the same latitude, come freely to perfection. Among others, apples, pears, cherries, plums, and apricots, abound.

Agriculture is extensively carried on, but not in a very perfect manner. In some parts, however, the Tartars seem to be careful husbandmen, and are particularly attentive to the harvesting of their grain. Hemp is grown to a great extent, and of excellent quality; and the oil obtained from its seeds, and from a kind of pistachio-nut which abounds, forms an important article of commerce. Max, in both quantity and quality, is deficient.

The inhabitants generally seem fond of horticulture. Almost every cottage has its garden, and patches of tobacco are often seen, particularly in the neighborhood of the Tartars, who raise it for their own use. The rearing of cattle forms a profitable employment in the meadows and pastures of the rich flats which border the numerous streams. There, also, much attention is paid to the dairy; the cows yielding a rich milk, of which large quantities of butter and cheese are made.

The Russians form nearly a half of the whole population. The greater part of the remainder are Tartars, Cheremisses, and Chuvasses. The Cheremisses, who are most numerous in the western part of the province, are much smaller and weaker than the Russian peasantry, and are characterized by a peculiar shyness of both look and demeanor. Their dress, which is the same for both sexes, consists of white linen trousers, and an upper garment of the same material, fastened round the loins with a girdle, and generally embroidered in various colors on the breast and shoulders. Strips of cloth, which they wind round the leg, from the foot to the knee, are always black. Both men and women allow their long, black hair to hang about them in the wildest disorder.

The dress of the Chuvasses very much resembles that of the Cheremisses, the chief difference being in the females, who wear a plate of copper hanging from the girdle behind, and strung with all kinds of metallic ornaments, which keep tinkling as they walk ; while from their necks are suspended large silver breastplates, about eight inches long and six broad, formed of coins. The men wear high black hats, tapering to the middle, but wide at the top and bottom, like an hour-glass. The above engraving represents some of these singular people bearing fuel at a wood-station on the Volga. The Chuvasses are remarkable for timidity. This quality, which the first accounts of them mention as their most striking feature, seems still, notwithstanding their long intercourse with Russia, to continue unimpaired. They, as well as the Cheremisses, Votiaks, and other tribes, are supposed to have sprung from a combination of the Finnish and Mongolian races, but they far more nearly resemble the latter.

Chuvasses of Kazan

Chuvasses of Kazan
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In the neighborhood of the city of Kazan the Tartars predominate, and are easily distinguished from the Russians by the dark color of their lean, muscular, and, as it were, angular visage; by the close-fitting cap on their closely-shaved skull; and a certain smartness of gait and demeanor. They have made considerable progress in civilization, and often contrast favorably with the Russian peasantry.

The inhabitants of the government, generally, are active and industrious. Besides agriculture and wood-cutting, fishing in the numerous lakes and rivers of the district is a profitable occupation, and employs a great number of hands. The province, moreover, possesses numerous manufactures, the inhabitants excelling in leather-embroidery, and has an extensive trade, both internal and external, which the large navigable rivers greatly facilitate. Indeed, boat and barge building, for the traffic of the Volga, is ' not an unimportant branch of trade.

Leather Gloves and Wooden Spoon

Leather Gloves and Wooden Spoon
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The city of Kazan, the ancient capital of the Tartar khans, and, next to St. Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, and perhaps Odessa, the most important city in the empire, is situated between the left bank of the Kasanka (about four miles above where it empties into the Volga) and its tributary the Bulak, occupying a tongue of land which gradually rises like an island to a considerable height above low plains subject to inundation. It is four hundred and sixty miles east of Moscow. Kazan covers a space nearly six miles in circuit, and consists, like most other Russian cities, of three parts — the Kremlin, or fortress, on a considerable eminence; the town, properly so called; and the slobodes, or suburbs, inhabited principally by the Tartar population. The town is well built, and has broad and spacious squares and market-places; but in the suburbs the houses are principally of wood, and the streets, not being paved, are consequently in spring and autumn so wet and muddy as to be almost impassable to pedestrians.

The greater part of the Tartar houses are built of wood, two stories high. Some, however, are of brick. The lower story of each serves for a barn, storehouse, &c., or is let for hire; the upper floor is inhabited by the owner. There is neither porch nor portico in front, the entrance to the premises being through a gate, leading into gardens with which each house is surrounded. The above engraving shows the interior of one of the Tartar houses of the meaner class. On the left hand is constructed the petch, or fireplace, which serves for warming the room, and for culinary purposes.

Interior of a Tartar House

Interior of a Tartar House
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The Tartars of Kazan are in general well formed and handsome; their eyes are black or gray; they have a keen, piercing look, a rather lengthened form of face, a long nose, lips somewhat thicker than those of Europeans, a black beard, carefully trimmed, and the hair entirely shaven from the head, which is covered with a small cap, called a tebeteika; their ears are large, and standing out from the head; they have a long neck, very wide shoulders, and a broad chest—such is the description Dr. Fouks gives of their form and physiognomy. They are, moreover, tall and erect; and their gait is manly and imposing. The doctor remarks that whenever he entered a Tartar mosque he was always struck with the fine and noble features of their elders, and he asserts his belief that the ancient Italian artists might have chosen from among this race most admirable subjects for their sacred pictures. He is not so favorable, however, in his description of the Tartar women. He does not consider them good-looking; but then he had an opportunity of seeing only the wives and daughters of the poorer classes. In general, the Tartar women are middle-sized, and rather stout; like the men, they stand erect, but walk badly and awkwardly, a circumstance principally owing to the heavy dress they wear. They soon grow old—so much so, that a woman of twenty-seven has the look of one of forty: this is owing to the custom they have of painting their faces. Their complexion is rather yellow, and their faces are often covered with pimples and a rash, which proceeds partly from the habit of constantly lying on feather-beds, and partly from their heavy and over-warm clothing.

The same authority, in. a few words, thus describes the character of this race: " They are proud, ambitious, hospitable, fond of money, cleanly, tolerably civilized (taking all things into consideration) , intelligent in commerce, inclined to boasting, friendly to each other, sober in every way, and very industrious." What is particularly striking is the tenacity with which the Tartars here, as elsewhere throughout the empire, have retained their national characteristics, customs, and manners, although nearly three centuries have elapsed since this race was subdued by the Russians.


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The dress of the Tartars of Kazan of the better class is so different from that of every other nation, that it deserves a description. They wear a shirt (koulmiack)made of calico, sometimes white, sometimes red; their drawers (schtann)are worn very wide, and are made likewise of calico, or occasionally of silk; their stockings, called youk, are of cotton or linen. A species of leather stockings, generally of Morocco-leather, called itchigi, red or yellow, are worn over the stockings, or sometimes are substituted, for them. Their slippers, called kalout, are made of black or green leather. Over the shirt they wear two garments, somewhat in the shape of a European frock-coat without a collar: the under one, having no sleeves, is made of silk; the upper, with sleeves likewise of silk, is called kasaki. Over these they wear a long, wide robe, generally of blue cloth, called tchekmen, which is attached to the body by a scarf (poda). In a pocket of this garment they keep their pocket-handkerchief, called tchaoulok. Their heads, which are shaven to the skin, are covered with a species of skullcap, called takia: this is covered, when they go out, with a hat (bourick) made of velvet or cloth, and ornamented with fur: the rich Tartars use for this purpose beaver-skins of great value.

The Tartars get their heads shaved every fortnight, and trim their beards once a week; once a week they go to the bath. A very singular predilection exists among the lower classes—that of finding pleasure in being bled. This luxury they enjoy at least once a year ; the spring is generally chosen for the enjoyment. A barber of Kazan (for it is the barbers who bleed there, as they did formerly in England and other parts of Europe) assured Turnerelli that he had let blood for upward of five hundred Tartars in one day, each of whom had paid him from fifty copecks to a rouble for the operation. He had in this manner earned upward of one hundred dollars for blood-letting alone! This was indeed profiting by the bloodshed of his fellow-creatures.

The costume of the Tartar women of the higher classes is very rich and elegant. They wear a species of robe of rich thick silk or satin, the sleeves being very large and long, sometimes even falling as low as the ground; the upper part of these robes is embroidered in front with gold. Over this they wear a kind of capote, very wide, and generally made of gold brocade or some similar stuff gorgeously embroidered. They wear on their head a silk cap bordered with fur, which hangs down on one side and ends in a point having a golden tassel attached to it; this cap is also sometimes adorned with precious stones, and ancient gold and silver coins. Their hair falls behind in long tresses, the ends of which are tied up with bows of ribands. Sometimes these tresses are covered with long bands, to which are attached various coins and ornaments. The Tartar women wear, moreover, a profusion of pearls, necklaces, gold and silver bracelets, finger-rings, ear-rings, chains, &c. The dress of one lady of rank, including her jewelry, sometimes costs not less than two- thousand dollars!

The Tartar women, as in all Mohammedan countries, are kept secluded in the houses and harems of their husbands and parents. They are allowed to remove their thick veils in their bedrooms alone: not their husbands' brothers, nor even their own uncles and cousins, are permitted to behold their features. They perform no labor of any sort, the concerns of the household being confided to old women and.male attendants ; the younger females having nothing to do but to dress, eat, drink, sleep, and please their husbands. They marry very early, sometimes in their twelfth year! A rich Tartar woman has "hardly left her bed, when she begins her daily task of painting her face red and white; then she clothes herself in her gaudy vestments of gold and silver texture, and puts on her various ornaments ; and then throws, herself on the soft Turkish sofa, on which she lies almost buried. The somovar (tea-urn) is then brought her. She makes the tea herself, and drinks cup after cup of it until the perspiration flows down her face, washing away at the same time all the paint with which she had adorned her face ; this necessarily requires two more hours at the toilet, when she is ready for her breakfast, which consists of a variety of greasy dishes. This over, she again throws herself on the sofa, and remains there, half-sleeping, half-waking, till a female friend probably drops in to see her, upon which the somovar again makes its appearance, and our fair Tartar drinks again as much tea as she did in the mqrning—to say the least, not less than seven or eight cups. The harmony of her face is again destroyed by the copious flow of perspiration that ensues, and she is forced to paint her face afresh, in order to appear at dinner in all her charms in the presence of her husband. After dinner, tea is once more presented: indeed, this beverage seems indispensable to the Tartars; they affirm that it is absolutely necessary to drink it, in order to facilitate digestion after their meals, and Dr. Fouks states that they eat three times as much as the Russians. Having partaken a third time of tea to her heart's content, our Tartar lacly then enjoys a nap. On awaking, she sometimes takes it into her head to go and pay a visit to some female friend: for this purpose she changes the dress she wore in the morning for a still more expensive one; she then gets into a square, prison-like, two-horse carriage, and arrives at the house of her acquaintance, where, completely buried in the thick veils which cover her head and face, she makes her way to the apartment of her friends, scarcely daring to show the point of her nose as she passes along. The Tartar women of the richer class do not even enjoy the privilege of breathing the fresh air. They dare not go into their small gardens without covering themselves from head to foot, lest they should meet one of their male relations living in the same house! They hardly dare to look from their windows into the street, lest they should be seen by some passer-by. Such is the life of the higher class of Tartar women. Monotonous and tedious as it is, they do not, however, complain, nor even find it painful: on the contrary, they look upon the mode of living among European women as sinful in the extreme; they believe that a European female will never go to heaven, and give thanks to God that he created them Mohammedans !

The Kremlin of Kazan

The Kremlin of Kazan
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The citadel or kremlin of Kazan presents a very picturesque appearance. It is still surrounded by a stone-wall of great height, which was built by the Tartars, and is flanked by fourteen towers. There were also, at the period of the Tartar dominion, twelve different entrances; these have been reduced to three. One of them, the Spaskie vorota (" Gateway of the Savior"), passes through the lower portion of an ancient and curious tower, which has a claim to notice from the originality of its architecture. The interior of this tower has been recently converted into a military church, and is the fashionable place of prayer. Above the gateway is suspended a miraculous image of the Savior, before which hangs a silver lamp, lighted on holydays and days of devotion.


Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855