The chief cities of Arabian `Irāq. Anbār, and the captive Jews. Babylon. Baṣrah, its foundation. The Great Mosque: miracle of its Minaret. Com- panions buried here. The Ubullah Canal and the Tigris Estuary. Dates and Date groves of Baṣrah. Districts round `Abbādān. Towns near Bayāt. Takrīt and its castle. The `Aqarqūf hill. Ḥillah and the shrine of the Ex- pected Imām. Ḥīrah and the palaces of Khawarnaq and Sadīr. The Dujayl district. Rūmiyah. Sāmarrah and its palaces. The Great Mosque and the Malwīyah Minaret. Ba`qūbā and the Nahrawān Canal. `Ukbarā or `As- karah. The Castle of Shīrīn and its milk conduit. Muḥawwal and the Mosquito Charm. Madāin, chief of the Seven Cities. The Great Bridge. The Palace of the Chosroes. Manṣūr’s attempt to demolish it. Its shattered Arch. Shrine of Salmān the Persian. The `Īsā Canal. Nahrawān. Hīt and the bitumen springs. Wāsiṭ

Anbār. A town of the Third Clime, lying on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. King Luhrāsp the Kayāniyan built it as a prison for the captive (Jews) whom Nebuchadnezzar had brought here from Jerusalem. For this reason was it named Anbār (meaning the Barn, or Jail). King Sapor II rebuilt the city, and Saffāḥ the first of the Abbasid Caliphs founded here many mighty edifices, making it his capital. The circuit of its walls is 5000 paces. In climate and produce, also in the manners and customs of its peoples, it resembles Baghdād. Its revenue is 10,000 (dī- nārs)*, and this is paid over to the Baghdād Treasury.

Bābil (Babylon). This is of the Third Clime, and it is one of the Seven Cities of (Arabian) `Irāq. It stands on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, and was founded by Cainan son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam. King Ṭahmūrath, Binder of Demons, the Pishdādian restored it, making it a very great city. Later it became the capital of Nimrod and of (Ḍaḥḥāk) Zuḥāk the son of `Alwān. Further Zuḥāk built here a castle which was known as Kang Dizh, the remains of which are now merely a mound; and in this city were many magicians. After the days of Zuḥāk the Kings of Canaan made it their capital, and after it had fallen to decay Alexander the Great restored its buildings, but these have now again gone to ruin. It is at the present time a dependency of Ḥillah. On the summit of a mound where stood of old the citadel of the city, there is a deep pit, and Qazvīnī states that (the two fallen angels) Hārūt and Mārūt are here imprisoned; but in other works it is reported that these fallen angels are imprisoned in the Brimstone Pit on Mount Damāvand.

Bazār-ar-Rūz. The revenues of this place amount to 20,000 (dīnārs). It is of the Third Clime, and its revenues aforesaid belong to the Treasury.

Baṣrah. This city is of the Third Clime, and its foundation dates from the early days of Islam. Its longitude is 74°, and its latitude 30°. The city was founded in the year 15 (636) of the Hijrah by the Caliph `Omar, and `Utbah [<Arabic>] ibn Ghazwān laid out the plan. Its Friday Mosque was built by `Abd-Allah ibn `Āmir of unburnt bricks, and Ziyād the son of (the Caliph Mu- `āwiyah) faced these with burnt tiles. It was further enlarged by the Caliph `Alī, and of him it is related that in order to obtain the true direction of the Qiblah he, with his blessed hand, lifted up on high the master builder, and by a miracle caused him to see plainly the Ka`bah (at Mecca), whereby the direction of the Qiblah-point was exactly laid. It is further said that any Friday Mosque which it is attempted to build of a larger plan than this mosque of Baṣrah, that mosque never reaches completion; for however much they may urge on the building one side of it will always collapse. An instance of this may be seen in the New Friday Mosque at Shīrāz, of which one portion is ever falling to the ground. In the mosque at Baṣrah is a minaret of which it is reported that if any go there, and adjure it with an oath in the name of (the Caliph) `Alī, and shall cry out, ‘Let the Minaret tremble (if this be the truth, and if not) let it be still,’ it will act accordingly, for although it is indeed a matter contrary to reason, yet in what pertains to any miracle wrought by the Caliph `Alī reason does not enter. At Baṣrah are the tombs of Talah and of Zubayr, which are much venerated and visited, also the shrines of many other of the Companions (of the Prophet), such as Anas ibn Mālik, who was the last of them to survive, he only dying in the year 91 (710)*. Of the Followers (of the Companions) also there are many buried here, as for instance Ḥasan Baṣrī, Ibn Sīrīn, famous for his interpretation of dreams*, Sufyān Thawrī, and Abū Dāūd Sijistānī, the third of the great Masters of Tra- dition, besides others who are beyond count.

The climate of Baṣrah by day is extremely warm, but at night it is relatively cooler. The water in its wells is brackish, but a fine canal comes thither from the Tigris Estuary: this is called the Nahr Ubullah, and it is near four leagues in length. The domain of Baṣrah contains many orchards, and the land of these orchards being high, the water of the Tigris Estuary stays in its ditches; but daily, at the high tide at sea, the water rises in the Estuary, and by this therefore all the Baṣrah orchards are irrigated. The orchards extend for near 30 leagues in the length by two leagues in the breadth, and by reason of the thickness of the trees you can nowhere see through for a space of more than a hundred ells. The charm of this place is one of the wonders of the whole world. The Baṣrah dates are excellent, and they are exported even to India and to Nearer and Further China. The people of Baṣrah are dark-skinned, and they are of the sect of the Twelve Imāms: their language is Arabic, but corrupt, and Persian also is spoken there. [<Arabic>] The province has many districts and among the largest are Balās and Zakīyah*. Also Maysān, which same is the place whereon Iblīs—be he accursed—fell; it was founded by King Bahman ibn Isfandiyār, and later was restored by Alexander the Great. Then there is `Abbādān, beyond which there are no more habitations, as is recorded in the (well-known) line, ‘There is no village beyond `Abbādān.’ The longitude of `Abbādān is 84° 20', and its latitude 29° 20'; and concerning its excellencies many Traditions are reported, for it was accounted one of the frontier places of the Moslem lands over against the infidel Hindus. The revenues of Baṣrah and its dependencies, in the time prior to the late disturbances, amounted to 441,000 currency dīnārs.

Bandanījīn. In the Registers of the taxes this place is called Laḥf, and in common speech the first mentioned name is pro- nounced Bandīyān (or Wandīnān). It is a small town, and in climate and produce is just the opposite of Bayāt. Its revenues amount to 76,000 dīnārs.

Bayāt. This is a provincial capital. Bādarāyā and Bāku- sāyā are two similar towns, which with some other places are of the dependencies of Bayāt. In climate and produce all these are like other places in Arabian `Irāq. In Bayāt the streams of run- ning water are all brackish, but in the underground channels, which come from a distance of a league away, the water is sweet and fit for drinking. The revenue of Bayāt amounts to 46,000 currency dīnārs, and in Bādarāyā much sugar-cane is grown.

Takrīt. This is of the Fourth Clime; its longitude is 77° 20', and its latitude 34° 30'. It is a medium sized town, standing on the west bank of the Tigris. It is 6100 paces in circuit, and has a strong castle built on the river bank. Its climate is healthy, and of fruits the melon is here excellent. It is said that they sow in each year three crops.

`Aqarqūf Mound. This was built by king Kay Kāus, whom many account to be the same as Nimrod: and he built it because when he had thrown Abraham into the fiery furnace he came up hither to prove him.

Ḥadīthah. (The new Town, on the Tigris.) This is of the Fourth Clime, and in climate and products [<Arabic>] is the opposite of Takrīt.

Ḥarbā. This is a town of medium size, and it receives its water (by a canal) from the Tigris. It has many orchards, and its revenues amount to 25,100 dīnārs.

Ḥillah. This is of the Third Clime, and it is a city founded since the days of Islam. Its longitude is 79° 40', and its latitude 31° 50'. It was built by the Amīr Sayf-ad-Dawlah Ṣadaqah Manṣūr ibn Dubays Asadī during the reign of the Caliph Qāim, in the year 436 (1044)*. The river Euphrates divides the town; most of its houses are on the western bank, with but a few on the eastern side. It has many palm groves, and for this cause its climate is close. For the most part provisions are cheap here, and its lands produce much the same crops as those of Baghdād. Its people are in religion of the sect of the Twelve Imāms. They are fair-skinned, and corpulent of body, like the people of Bagh- dād, and their speech is corrupt Arabic. In matters of religion they are very bigoted. They have made in Ḥillah a shrine where, according to their belief, the Expected Imām Mahdī—Muḥammad son of Ḥasan al `Askarī—will again appear, he (as is well known) having disappeared (from human sight) at Sāmarrah in the year 264 (878). The revenues of Ḥillah belong to the Treasury.

Ḥulwān. Of the Fourth Clime. It is one of the Seven Cities of Arabian `Irāq, lying in longitude 82° 55' and latitude 34°. Qubād, son of Fīrūz the Sassanian, founded it. It is now ruined, and only a portion of the lands are cultivated. Among its shrines, however, is the tomb of Ḥamzah*, sixth of the Seven Qurān Readers. Some thirty villages are of its domain; and the taxes amount to 6100 dīnārs.

Ḥīrah. Of the Third Clime, and one of the Seven Cities of Arabian `Īrāq. It was formerly a great city, lying one league distant from Kūfah, but it is now a ruin. Sadīr and Khawarnaq, which are so often mentioned in poetry, and in narrations and conversations among the people, were two Kiosks which Nu`mān ibn Mundhir built here for King Bahrām Gūr. Their ruins still exist, and they were lofty buildings of which the poet speaks in the following verses: [<Arabic>]

The tribes of Kaḥṭān found their glory and their legends on Bahrām Gūr:
And by his palace of Khawarnaq and Sadīr, men recognize the fashion of their rule.

Khāliṣ. Though now gone to ruin, this is still a most fruitful district lying on the Nahrawān Canal; having 30 villages in its dependencies. Its revenues amount to 73,000 dīnārs.

Khāniqīn. This was formerly a provincial capital, but is now a mere village. The Ḥulwān river passes through it: and 20 villages are of its dependencies. Its revenues amount to 12,200 dīnārs.

Dujayl. This is a considerable district which receives its water from the Tigris (Dijlah), and hence it is called Dujayl (the Little Tigris). The provincial capital of Wānah is its chief town, and it has fine villages to the number of near a hundred. The crops are excellent, and pomegranates, known as the Darrājī, are better here than in any other part of the Baghdād district. The revenues of this district amount to 35,000 dīnārs.

Daqūq. Of the Fourth Clime. A medium sized town, with a climate that is the best in all Arabian `Irāq. In its neigh- bourhood are naphtha springs. Its revenues amount to 78,600 dinārs.

Dayr `Āqūl. A small town lying between Baghdād and Wāsiṭ, having a close climate on account of its palm groves.

Rūmiyah. Of the Third Clime. It is one of the Seven Cities of Arabian `Irāq, having been built by King Anūshirvān the Just opposite Madāin, and on the exact plan of Antioch (in Syria). It is now a ruin.

Rādhān and Bayn-an-Nahrayn. These are two districts lying on the Nahrawān Canal, having excellent crops. Their revenues amount to 50,000 dīnārs*.

Zangiābād. A district lying to the west of Khāniqīn. Its revenues amount to 11,500 dīnārs.

Sāmarrah. Of the Fourth Clime, and lying on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. Its gardens, with some of its buildings and villages, also occupy the western bank. Its longitude is 79° 54', and its latitude 34° 5'. [<Arabic>] It was originally founded by Sapor II, and seeing that in climate it was the best of all the lands of Arabian `Irāq, it came to be known as Surra-man-ra’a (meaning ‘Who sees it rejoices’), but afterwards it fell to ruin. Then the Caliph Mu`taṣim, son of Hārūn-ar-Rashīd, took in hand to restore the buildings, and made it his capital. In his days it attained such grandeur that its palaces and the surrounding houses covered a space measuring seven leagues in the length by one league in the breadth. By his orders they filled the nose-bags of his horses with earth, and brought their contents to form a hill, which hence was known as Tall-al-Makhālī (Nosebag-hill); thereon he built a high kiosk. Further he built the Friday Mosque in Sāmarrah, and set in the midst of its court a basin formed of one block of stone, this basin measuring 23 ells in circumference, with a height of 7 ells, and it was half an ell in thickness. This basin was known as Pharaoh’s Cup; and in all the country round for more than thirty leagues distant, there is no such block of stone found. Further he built a Minaret for the mosque, 170 ells in height, with a gangway (to ascend it, that went up) outside*, and no Minaret after this fashion was ever built by any one before his time. In front of this mosque stands the tomb of the Imām `Alī an-Naqī, grandson of the (Eighth) Imām `Alī-ar-Riḍā; also of his son the (Eleventh) Imām Ḥasan `Askarī. The Caliph Muta- wakkil enlarged Sāmarrah, and in particular he built a magnifi- cent Kiosk, greater than which never existed in the lands of Īrān, and he gave it the title of the Ja`fariyyah (his name being Ja`far). But evil fortune—brought down on him in that he had laid in ruins the tomb of the Imām Ḥusayn son of `Alī (at Kar- balā)*, and furthermore had prevented people from making their visitation to the same—decreed that, shortly after his death, his Kiosk (of the Ja`fariyyah) should be demolished, so that no trace of it now remains. Indeed, of Sāmarrah itself, at the present time, only a restricted portion is inhabited.

Ṣadrayn*. A district that produces much corn, dates and grain. It gets its water from the Euphrates, and its revenues amount to 30,000 dīnārs.

Ṭarīq-i-Khurāsān (The Khurasan Road). This is a consider- able district, and its chief town is Ba`qūbā, which was founded by a Princess of the family of the Chosroes whose name was Qūbā. It was at first called Bay`at Qūbā (the Church of Qūbā), but in course of time this became shortened to Ba`qūbā. It lies on the Nahrawān Canal, and a stream from this passes through the city. All its villages take their irrigation, for agriculture, from the Canal, and there are many orchards and palm-groves in the district. Innumerable oranges and citrons are grown here, so that from three to four hundred oranges may be had for a dirham. Its climate resembles that of Baghdād, but is more malarious, by reason of its [<Arabic>] numerous palm-groves. The towns of Bājisrā and Shahrābān (City of Ābān), which last was founded by a princess of the family of the Chosroes whose name was Ābān, are of its district: also the places known as Mahrūd and Ṭābaq; and in the neighbourhood there are more than 80 villages. The revenues of this district amount to 164,000 dīnārs as inscribed in the Registers.

`Ānah. Of the Fourth Clime: its longitude is 76° 30', and its latitude 34° 5'. It is a medium sized town with many suburbs, and in climate and produce is the opposite of the Dujayl district.

`Ukbarā or `Askarah*. This place was built by Sapor II. It was a city formerly, but now is in ruin.

Qaṣr Shīrīn. Of the Third Clime; built by King Khusraw Parvīz for his Queen Shīrīn. It was a mighty castle, of uncut stone, mortared, and it was 2000 paces in circuit. To the west- ward of the castle stood a custom-house, also built by Khusraw Parvīz, and a mighty and high guest-house, for the accommo- dation of those who came and went. Of this guest-house but little now remains. The Ḥulwān river flows by the place, and its climate is unwholesome for in the hot season at most times the (hot) Simūm wind blows. They had constructed a raised conduit, in which they say milk used to flow so that the water might run down to the custom-house, and it may be that they used to throw skins of milk into the conduit, and so serve both the custom-house and the castle. Where, however, the mouth of the stream is situated there are no fit pasture lands for cattle, seeing that only poisonous herbs grow here.

Qādisīyah (of the Tigris), a medium sized town, and one of the Seven Cities of Arabian `Irāq. It is now a ruin.

Qūsān*. A medium sized town, with near a hundred villages of its dependencies. Its revenues amount to 94,000 dīnārs.

Muḥawwal. A small town lying two leagues distant to the west of Baghdād, on the banks of the `Īsā Canal. Its orchards are the continuation of the gardens of Baghdād. The (Abbasid) Caliphs built many fine palaces here, and in particular there was [<Arabic>] a Kiosk, built for the Caliph Mu`taṣim, where, because it stood in the midst of gardens, the mosquitoes had been numerous: until it was laid under a spell that prevented any single one of them from entering the building. The revenues of Muḥawwal are reckoned in with those of the `Īsā Canal district.

Madāin. Of the Third Clime, in longitude 82° and in latitude 38° 51'. It was founded by King Ṭahmūrath, the Demon-binder, of the Pīshdādian dynasty, who named it Girdābād, and it was completed by Jamshīd, who named it Ṭaysafūn (Ctesiphon). It was the largest of the Seven Cities of Arabian `Īrāq, for which reason it in particular was known as Madāin (meaning ‘the Cities’), —the six other cities are Qādisīyah, Rūmiyah, Ḥīrah, Bābil, Ḥulwān, and Nahrawān. All seven are now in ruins. King Jamshīd, the Pīshdādian, built over the Tigris at Madāin an arched bridge of stone and brick. This bridge Alexander the Greek destroyed, saying that it was a too great relic of the Persian Kings. Ardashīr Bābakān, when he rebuilt the city (of Madāin) making it his capital, desired also to rebuild this bridge, but could not accomplish it, therefore he made a bridge (of boats) with chains. After his time most of the Chosroes made Madāin their capital. Sapor II raised many buildings in this city, and Anū- shirvān the Just constructed the Hall of the Chosroes. This was a palace, built of brick and mortar, mightier than which none had ever been built by man: and the poet Buḥturī has described it in the following verses:

The Hall of the Chosroes is of such wondrous work, it is as though
It were a piece cut from the rugged flank of a mountain,
It is a height that dominates, and its battlements
Overpass the summits of Raḍwā and Quds (the mountains of Medina):
It is not known whether this be a work made by men for the Jinn
To inhabit, or a work made by the Jinn for man.

The court of the palace measured 150 ells square—of the Tailor ells: and there was here a great vestibule, the opening of which was 42 ells across, running back 82 ells, while in height it was 65 ells. All round this palace were lesser palaces, and many other buildings worthy of it, and referring to the just conduct of its builder and the strength of the building a poet has written this couplet: [<Arabic>]

See therefore the reward of good deeds, for Time
Has not even now laid in ruin the palace of Chosroes.

The Caliph Manṣūr, when he was about to build Baghdād, desired to demolish this Hall of the Chosroes, and construct the houses of Baghdād from its materials: so he took counsel of his Wazīr Sulaymān ibn Khālid* on the subject. His Wazīr, how- ever, urged the Caliph against so doing, assuring him that for all time men would say ‘here was a king who, wanting to build a city, was unable to do so until he had laid in ruins another city.’ But Manṣūr would not give heed, saying that in his heart he (the Wazīr) was still devoted to the remembrance of the Chosroes, and that hence he was unwilling that such a monument of their great- ness should be brought to naught. The Caliph therefore ordered the demolition to be begun, but soon discovered that the materials obtained from Madāin did not repay the cost of demolition and carriage (to Baghdād). He thereupon would have counter-ordered the demolition; but the Wazīr now urged him to continue the work, saying that it must be carried through until the demolition was quite completed, lest the people should say ‘one king built it, and another was not even capable of demolishing it.’ Now (as is well known) the Arch of this Hall was shattered by his miracle on the night of the birth of the Prophet; and this same passed as a mighty portent, and an irrefragable proof of the prophetic office of Muḥammad our Prophet; and as long as this (shattered) arch shall stand, the testimony of the miracle cannot be ignored in the sight of men. Further it was thereby made known to all men that against him who had built this palace, and whose head when he stood there used to reach the roof thereof, one should arise to overthrow the family of this same man who had built this palace, and that the prophetic office of this last must needs be from God, and not a vain thing.

At the present day the (ancient) city of Madāin is in ruin. On the western river bank there is a (new) provincial capital built, but on the eastern side there are no (unruined) buildings standing, except the shrine of (the Prophet’s Companion) Salmān the Per- sian, which is situated over against the Hall of the Chosroes. Now the wells in those parts—as is the case in Baghdād—had bitter brackish water, and, as a miracle performed by Salmān, they report that when he died and his body came to be washed, the bucket fell down to the bottom of the well here, and no other bucket was to be had. Thereupon the water of this well rose up to its brim, and it became sweet, until, when they had finished the washing of the corpse, the water again sank back to its former place. It however remained sweet ever after, and except for this [<Arabic>] well there is no other that has sweet water in all this region.

Ma`bādiyyah*. Of great saints there are buried here our master Aḥmad the Great, and our master Abū-l-Wafā.

The `Isā Canal. This was dug by `Īsā, the son of the Caliph Manṣūr’s uncle Mūsā. It was taken from the Euphrates, and he laid out villages and farms along its bank, to the number of some seventy, and their produce was abundant. The district called after the Caliph Mustanṣir, and the villages that lie on the side over against Baghdād, are watered by the tributaries of the `Īsā Canal. Its revenues, with these dependencies, amount to 876,505 dīnārs.

Nahr Malik (The Royal Canal). Some say this was dug by King Solomon, others name Manūchihr the Pīshdādian, others again Alexander the Great; but the true version is that Sapor, grandson of Darius, who is known as Sapor the Great, caused this canal to be made from the Euphrates (to the Tigris), and built villages on its banks. There are still here more than 300 villages and farms, which give abundant produce, and its revenues amount to 50,000 dīnārs.

Nahrawān. A great town, and one of the Seven Cities of Arabian `Irāq. It is of the Third Clime, and stands on the bank of the Tāmarrah Canal, which here takes the name of Nahrawān. The town is now in ruins; and its territory is counted as part of the Jalūlā lands, being of the dependencies of Ba`qūbā.

Nu`māniyyah. This is a provincial town, lying half way between Baghdād and Wāsiṭ. It stands on the Tigris bank, and it possesses many palm-groves.

Nīl. This is a district, and some villages are of its dependen- cies. It produces much corn, and its gardens and palm-groves are numerous.

Hīt. This is a town, with a strong castle, standing on the western bank of the Euphrates. It has thirty villages and depen- dencies; and from Jubbah down to Hīt, for 15 leagues the palm- groves are continuous. At Hīt on both banks of the Euphrates there are gardens, also palm-groves here are numerous and the fruit produced is abundant. In the village of Jubbah, which is of its dependencies, the climate is temperate, whereby nuts and almonds, dates and oranges, grow together in every garden, as also [<Arabic>] other fruits of both cold and hot countries. In Hīt, however, it is almost impossible to live on account of the evil smell of the bitumen spring.

Wāsiṭ. This is a city built since the times of Islam. It is of the Third Clime, its longitude being 81° 30', and its latitude 31° 20'. It was founded by (the great Omayyad viceroy) Ḥaj- jāj in the year 83 (702), and lies on the Tigris, for the most part on the western bank. It has many palm-groves, and for this reason its climate is somewhat damp. Its revenues belong to the Treasury, and amount to 448,500 dīnārs.