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Taganrog-Commerce, external and internal— Canal of Communication between the Caspian and Black SeaMarriage Ceremony of the Calmucks-Consecrated Ensigns of the Calmuck Law-Difference between their Sacred and Vulgar Writings-Sarmacand-Various Inhabitants of Taganrog-Antiquities-Voyage across the Sea of Azof-Chumburskaia― Margaritovskaia.

CHAP. TAGANROG is situate upon the cliff of a very lofty promontory, commanding an extensive



prospect of the Sea of Azof, and all the Euro- CHAP. pean coast, to the mouths of the Don. Azof itself is visible, in fair weather, from the heights of the citadel. At present, the number of inhabitants does not exceed five thousand. The water, as in the Don, is very unwholesome when the winds carry off the salt water; but when a current sets in from the sea, it is more salutary. The foundation of a town, intended for the metropolis of the empire, in a place liable to insuperable disadvantages, was not one of the wisest plans of Peter the GREAT. The water here is so shallow, that no haven could possibly have been constructed, unless by forming canals at an expense beyond all calculation. The ships now performing quarantine lie off at the distance of ten miles; and all vessels, drawing from eight to ten feet water, cannot approach nearer to the town than fifteen versts. Taganrog formerly contained seventy thousand inhabitants; but, in consequence of a capitulation made with the Turks, the original city was entirely rased. Its revival may be referred to the establishment of the Armenian colony at Nakhtshivan. At present, all the best houses are in its suburbs. The citadel contains a miserable village, full of ruins; exhibiting, at the same time, traces of considerable works, now abandoned. The inhabitants entertain hopes that


CHAP. the Emperor will visit and inspect the place, and that it will then become a town of the first importance in the empire. There is not any situation in the South of Russia more favourable for commerce, were it not for the want of Commerce water. Ships from the Black Sea find here, in and inter- readiness for embarkation, all the produce of



Siberia, with the caviare, and other commodities of Astrachan; whereas at Cherson and Odessa they have to wait for lading after their arrival. But it is only during three months in the year that commerce can be carried on at Taganrog. In Winter, the sea is frozen, so that the sledges pass upon the ice to Azof. During the short season of their commerce, the rent of a single warehouse upon the shore is estimated at four hundred roubles. As soon as the first ships make their appearance from the Black Sea, the waggons from the interior begin to arrive'. The


(1) From November to March the sea is frozen, and navigation seldom safe earlier than April. As soon as the ice is supposed to have passed, a small vessel is sent from Taganrog to Kertch (in the Crimea), and vice versa. After this signal, the navigation commences. From April to Midsummer a south-west wind prevails very steadily, which greatly increases the depth of water, and favours the arrival of vessels. About Midsummer the water is generally deepest, and the sea crowded with small vessels. The harbour admits but few. Vessels may then lie tolerably near the shore; at other times, ships of two hundred tons are compelled to lie in the open sea, fifteen versts (ten miles) from the shore. In autumn, the Sea of Azof is often no more than fourteen feet at its greatest depth. From Taganrog to Azof is a


vessels undergo a quarantine: during all which time the caravans continue to increase; and before the end of the quarantine, not less than six thousand waggons occupy all the plains below the town. Of this number, three thousand arrive annually from the Ukraine.

Taganrog has three fairs in the year: the first upon the first of May; the second, and the principal fair, upon the tenth of August; and the third upon the eighteenth of November. The quantity of fishes taken in the Sea of Azof is truly astonishing; they are sent, in a dried

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shoal, or continuation of shoals, with hardly seven feet water, and in some places only five. The number of vessels is generally from six to seven hundred. Of these, about one hundred and fifty, or two hundred, are small craft, from Trebizond and Sinope, which bring nardek, a marmalade of grapes, and beckmiss, a sirup made from various fruits by boiling them with honey. Raisins of the sun are also brought in great quantities. All these are used in the distilleries. Since the destruction of the vineyards, by the late hard winters, the beckmiss has become more necessary. The spirit thus produced is sold all over the empire as French brandy. The Greeks of the Archipelago bring chiefly wine of a very poor sort, which is also used in the distilleries. Of these Greeks, about one third carry the Russian flag; but, as our friend D-- said, (a merchant who resided here,)' Mauvais Russe, Mauvais Pavillon.' They are of very bad character, and very poor. Any Greek who would purchase a house and land, became at once a Russian subject, and enjoyed their protection. The real Russian traders are very few. The European traders were, Italian, Ragusan, Austrian, and Dalmatian; and in 1805, a few French, but under English colours, and with Maltese crews. These bring French wines, and German and English cloth. They carry back fish and iron."

Heber's MS. Journal.


CHAP. state, over all the South of Russia'. Fruit is brought from Turkey; such as figs, raisins, and oranges: also Greek wine from the Archipelago, with incense, coffee, silk, shawls, tobacco, and precious stones. Copper comes to them from Trebisond, but of a very inferior quality: it is all sent to Moscow. Among the principal exports, are, caviare, butter, leather, tallow, corn, fur, canvas, rigging, linen, wool, hemp, and iron of this last article above a million pouds? were exported during the year of our visit to the place. Their canvas is very bad. The copper of Siberia is not brought to Taganrog, as Moscow receives the whole produce of the Siberian mines. Yet the greatest advantage the town enjoys, is, in being the depository of Siberian productions. From Orenburg they receive tallow, fur, and iron: these, with the caviare of Astrachan, have only the short passage by land intervening between Zaritzin on the Volga, and the Don; a distance of forty English

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(1) In winter the greatest fishery is carried on.

Holes are made in the ice, at small distances; and the net passed under from each of these to the next in succession, by means of a pole, until a large tract is inclosed. Christmas is consequently as busy a time as Midsummer, and a mild winter is ruinous." Heber's MS. Journal.

(2) A poud equals thirty-six pounds of English weight; but some writers, among others the translator of Pallas's Travels through the South of Russia, &c. state it as equal to forty.

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