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Some of my fellow-travellers indulged their curiosity by taking a bath of the hot fountains just described. They complained bitterly of the extreme heat, and came out of the water pretty well parboiled. I was unable to endure the heated atmosphere even long enough to examine the establishment; and so, to indemnify myself for the disapppointment, walked farther along the beach, to a place not exposed to the view of the people, and took my bath in the Sea of Galilee. The bottom was covered with gravel, and every way adapted to my object.
From the beach I went across the narrow plain, to examine a building near the base of the mountain, southwest from the warm sources. It is a small quadrangular edifice, solidly built, and not much dilapidated, open towards the east, with a window in the northern and another in the southern wall, and four small niches in the western. The open front was supported by a single column of red granite, and of a large size.
A little farther south, in the rear of the baths, I came to two ancient tombs excavated in the base of the mountain. The first is approached through a cut in the rock to a semicircular recess, in the rear of which a square entrance opens into an arched chamber. Here are three sarcophagi on the right, with as many on the left, hewn in the rock on a level with the floor, and entered by small square doors. The other tomb has a single sarcophagus, now filled up, at the bottom of the circular recess.
A little farther north, a point of rock juts out from the mountain, on which is a ruined fortress. Then comes a second ridge, upon which are the ruins of a wall that extends high up the mountain and joins the old citadel. I followed the steep acclivity, and about half way up came to a quadrangular well, nearly filled up, which is four paces long by three wide. The ruinous walls of the citadel encompass the summit of the mountain, and two massive
towers stood at its southwestern and northwestern angles. Close to the wall, on the east, is a well, five paces long by four wide. The bulwarks run along the brink of the mountain, which declines rapidly from their exterior side. West of the towers is a trench excavated in the rock. These works, by whomsoever erected, must have perfectly commanded the city, above which they rise several hundred feet. They are neither Jewish nor Roman, so far as the workmanship affords a test for judging of their origin. Still they have the aspect of antiquity, and may have been built by the crusaders or their Saracen conquerors.
I remained seated upon one of these ancient tombs for half an hour or more, to enjoy the lovely and magnificent prospect which it afforded of the Sea of Galilee and the region adjacent. It was four or five hundred feet below me, its surface so smooth as to seem covered with oil, and glittering in the beams of a bright and burning sun, though darkened here and there with the moving shadow of a cloud. The entire eastern shore of the lake was visible, with the exception of a small portion at the southern or lower end. I could only conjecture its length and breadth ; but it seemed to me that the expanse of water upon which my eye rested might be twelve or fourteen miles in length by six or seven wide. The high, bold shore is a good deal depressed on the north and northeast, where the Jordan enters, and it occasionally declines a little, or is broken through by a narrow valley in some other places ; but, with few exceptions, it is everywhere a mountain steep, such as we descended with so much toil in reaching Tiberias yesterday, and such as I had just clambered up to my present. lofty position. Steep as it is, however, it is usually clothed with grass, shrubs, and small trees. In a few places, where the slope is more gentle, it is covered with wheat and ploughed fields, which exhibit the same aspect of dark red, the sure evidence of fertility, which I had remarked in
VIEW FROM THE CITADEL.
the plain of Esdraelon. This mountain bank appears to rise from the water's edge ; but sometimes there is a border of level ground below it, only visible, however, when sown in wheat or freshly ploughed. The summit has a long, regular outline, appearing as if a vast plain spread out beyond it. Through some occasional openings a view is obtained of small tracts of the interior. There is little appearance of cultivation ; but a few fields in wheat, or prepared for summer crops, exhibit the evidences of a rich, productive soil, similar to that west of the lake. No mountains are visible in the east, and the region towards Hermon, in the northeast, becomes wooded. That noble mountain, which I had previously observed as a mere shining summit, extends far to the northeast, or perhaps north-northeast, forming a long ridge, with many elevations and gentle depressions. The fleecy clouds which were gathered about its base last evening now floated above its glittering top. Still farther north the snowy tops of Lebanon were visible. The intensely glowing sun poured down a flood of beams upon them, producing a degree of brightness upon which the eye was literally unable to look. South and southeast of the lake the field of vision is occupied with mountains of no great elevation.
The town, which lay almost directly below me, appeared as if occupying the bottom of an abyss, and its mean, flat roofs gave it the aspect of a brick-yard.
It is generally known that the Sea of Galilee is only an expansion of the Jordan ; and travellers have often remarked that the current of the river is visible in the middle of the lake. I observed this appearance from the old citadel, but from no other point of view. It perhaps varies with the season, and the quantity and clearness of the water which flows down from the upper Jordan.
My attention was withdrawn from more distant objects by the appearance of a small boat, with its white sail spread
out to the wind, and making its way from Tiberias along the western shore. I had been previously told that there was no boat in the place. Desirous of making a short aquatic excursion before our departure, which was soon to occur, I hastened down from the mountain ; but it was too late to effect my object. My fellow-travellers had already returned to the shore, and the boats—the one I had seen, and another propelled by oars—had other engagements, and could not be detained, even had my time allowed me to employ them. There are very few boats upon this sea at present—some said only these two. Fish, which abound as they formerly did, are caught along the shore with nets, and there is neither trade nor travel to call for the construction of the small vessels, to the use of which this lake is well adapted.
The city of Tiberias is first mentioned by the evangelist John.* It had then been recently built by Herod the tetrarch,t and named in honour of his patron, the Emperor Tiberias. The compliment of building and naming cities for the Roman emperors was carried farther, perhaps, in Palestine than anywhere else. Sebaste, Cesarea, Julias, Tiberias, &c., either supplanted the names of ancient towns, or were given to such as had been especially built to receive these honoured appellations. Tiberias became a refuge for the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, and subsequently, when they were excluded from the land of Judah. Here they established in the second century their celebrated school, which flourished during several ages. Tiberias was an important city in the days of the crusaders, and stands connected with many stirring events in the history of the Middle Ages. The superstitious attachment of the Jews to this site, which itself seems to have no adequate cause in their history or traditions, is probably the only circumstance which prevents its desertion. It is * vi., 23. † Josephus, Antiquities, book xviii., chap. ii., sec. iii.
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ROUTE TO SAFET.
sickly, is exposed to desolating earthquakes, and derives no advantages from its position on the beautiful lake, if we except the supply of fish, which might, probably, be secured somewhere else along the shore with less exposure to great calamities.
JOURNEY TO TYRE. We left our encampment before Tiberias a few minutes before twelve o'clock. The heat in this deep basin was already excessive, and the atmosphere was not agitated by the slightest movement. I was already much fatigued, and do not remember to have begun the journey of the day in so prostrate a condition, or with prospects so discouraging. My illness at Jerusalem had left me bilious, and this unpleasant symptom had been much aggravated by exposure to the sun and the toils of our route, especially by the laborious ascent of Mount Gerizim, the Hill of Samaria, and the old acropolis at Tiberias. At the end of an hour or more we experienced a very slight alleviation in the temperature of the air, as we travelled along the shore of the lake ; and the relief was still more decided when we began to ascend the mountains.
We had a good view of the rugged declivity by which we had made our nocturnal descent upon the city the previous evening, and its appearance from below fully justified the impressions which I had derived from feeling my way down in the dark.
There are some graves and rude monuments immediate ly north of the city, and a few ruinous houses, among which we followed a rough and obscure path towards the shore of the lake. Here we turned directly north, keeping along the higher ground, though very near the water. At the distance of half an hour from the city wall the Damascus road comes down through a break in the cliff, from the high plain towards Tabor. We continued to follow it nearly to