National Geographic : 1904 Apr
TRAVELS IN ARABIA AND ALONG PERSIAN GULF 151 to leave the comfort of his laboratory and make the necessary trip to Bagdad. It is possible that since the writer's trip to the region the question has been thor oughly investigated. It may be a disappointment to any one who should chance to read this short article, that little reference is made to the buried cities of Babylon and Nineveh, which are located in Mesopotamia, but such a disappointment can not compare with that of the traveler who was pre vented, by lack of time, from visiting these historically interesting places. If one is to judge, however, from the de scriptions which are given by the inhab itants of Bagdad, a trip to the ruins of Babylon can not compare in interest with the excursion to Sakkara or a visit to any one of the important temples of Egypt; mounds of desert sand, in which German assyriologists have made nu merous excavations, and the almost characterless remains of the so-called Tower of Babel, being practically all that the drifting sands have left of that once great metropolis. More interest ing, perhaps, would have been a visit to Kerbela, the Mecca of the Shia Moham medans, which, although insignificant in size as compared with the real Mecca, must give one a clear idea of the nature of these remarkable pilgrimages. While in Bagdad it was my good for tune tovisit one of the Christian churches on a Sunday morning, and, although as a traveler in the Orient I have seen many gay pageants of Siam, Japan, and India, no color scheme can compare with a churchful of Bagdad women, clad in their heavy silk izars. This izar of Bagdad differs from the garment gen really worn by Mohammedan women in being dyed with the most gorgeous but delicate shades of pink, lavender, blue, and mauve, and in having woven into this delicately colored background, bold patterns or bands of gold and silver thread. The ample folds of this gar ment of thick, heavy silk, the broad surfaces of color when seen in masses, as I saw them from the choir loft of this Bagdad church, resembled, as the sun light streamed in upon them through the plain glass windows, the color effects produced by a field of gigantic poppies. To one whose eyes are used to the in finite details of Parisian costumes, it is worth a trip to Bagdad to see such a sight as a churchful of Bagdad women. Through the hearty cooperation of the American vice-consul in Bagdad, Mr Rudolph Hurner, and the very kind assistance of Mr H. P. Chalk, of Busra, I was able to get from the various Arab sheiks and date-planters a collection of young suckers of the most deli cious date varieties of this great date growing region. These were brought down the river, packed in Bombay, shipped to New York, and are many of them now growing in the cooperative date garden of Arizona as the gift of Mr Barbour Lathrop, of Chicago, to the American inhabitants of the arid South west. That date cultivation in this country is to be a success is indicated by the history of the successful intro duction of many other foreign fruits and vegetables, and it is hoped that, as one of the results of this expedition, American tables may some day be sup plied with those delicious varieties of Persian dates which are too delicate to bear the long shipment from the Tigris Valley to this country.