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0378 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 378 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Decorated wall section below citadel.

Enceinte wall descending to river.

River front of enceinte.


western extremity of the smaller or citadel ridge. These carry a ravelin-like outwork built of very massive brickwork. The wall here cannot be traced over the cliffs, but the point of junction is adequately guarded by the large circular tower, v, which rises near the gorge of the outwork. At the same point abuts the massive wall, over io feet at the base, which joins the citadel with the outwork and forms part of an inner line of defence to be presently described. From the eastern end of the outwork the wall of the enceinte descends towards the river to the south-east. In order to secure more easily a footing for it on the steep slope and also to facilitate defence, the wall is carried along a line with several projecting angles. The largest of these is guarded by two square towers, and below these a portion of the wall facing south, at vi, shows a bold and effective decoration in brickwork (Fig. 413). It comprises a band, about 18 inches high, of four courses of bricks placed diagonally in such a way that between their projecting points re-entering angles are formed, producing a striking light-and-shade effect. Above this band follow three plain courses of bricks, and these are surmounted at intervals by horseshoe-shaped niches, each divided into nine compartments by bricks placed on edge and radiating from a triangle. Here, too, a light-and-shade effect is aimed at. I must leave it to others to determine any chronological indication which may possibly be derived from this scheme of decoration vaguely suggestive of Orientalized Hellenistic influence.

Farther down, the wall, here much broken, descends to a group of three towers, vii (Fig. 404). They appear to have guarded a gate through which a path still in use passes to terraces above the river bank. The outlying tower to the south, more than 25 feet in height at the present day, is built of stones and faced with brickwork and plaster. It may have served the additional purpose of watching the approach along the river bank from below. Over the very rocky ground to the east of viii the enceinte wall is no longer traceable. But it appears again much broken where it draws near the river on a small knoll. From this point the remains of two parallel walls can be traced leading down over the steep cliffs immediately above the river-bed ; they probably belong to a covered way which prevented access by its bank.

There is good reason to suppose that the wall extended originally all along the river front of the circumvallation up to the traverse wall ascending from the tower at point marked ix (Fig. 414). But except for a broken stretch, about 120 yards long, with three towers still in situ, and another tower now detached farther up, this portion of the enceinte can no longer be traced. This is accounted for by the extremely precipitous nature of the rock-lined river bank, rising at viii about so feet above the water-level at the time of my visit, and the increasing narrowness of the pathway left above the line of the wall. At the tower ix seen in Fig. 414 on the left, the outer wall leaves the river bank, and in a much broken condition ascends over steep cliffs to a terrace of the main ridge about 10o feet higher. Along the edge of this terrace it continues eastwards to the massive circular tower, x, shown in Fig. 407. For the last 3o yards or so before reaching this tower, the enceinte is accompanied by an inner wall, only about 2 feet thick and keeping here at a distance of about 10 feet from the former. Immediately behind this tower x the main wall takes a northward turn, leaving a gap which obviously marks the position of a gate. In this tower x the loopholes are particularly well preserved. As seen in Fig. 407, the top of the loopholes on their narrow outer side is decorated with a triangular niche in which projecting bricks produce a stepped effect. The wall continues above the gate on the steep slope until it meets the almost vertical rock wall below the highest portion of the main ridge. On the cliffs it cannot be traced ; but above them the line is continued at an elevation of about 400 feet above the river, and here we are brought back to the point where our survey of the enceinte had started.

We may turn back from here towards the second and smaller ridge. Before we can approach the citadel crowning its long and narrow top (Fig. 412), we pass along the edge of the terrace,