National Geographic : 1952 Jun
763 Leo Stoecker, Acme Bargain Cow? A Prospective Buyer Examines a Scrawny Offering Early morning is trading time at cattle markets outside border towns'of eastern Turkey. The "Barbed wire Curtain" has cut off livestock trade with Russia and forced Turks to develop new markets. Kars boasts a milk-drying plant. Erzurum will soon have new American-designed meat-packing and cold-storage facilities. of the Province (page 752), has the straight, wide streets and the buff-colored public build ings of a provincial Russian town of the 19th century. Town taxis are horse-drawn drosh kies, much the worse for wear after genera tions of rattling over cobbled pavements. The reason for its Russian appearance is, of course, that this city of 20,000 was Russian for 43 years, between 1878 and 1921. I rejoined the governor at the entrance of his official home, and together we inspected it. From the outside it looked modest enough -a handsome one-story, U-shaped building with an overgrown garden of marigolds and sunflowers alongside it. In the public square opposite, where prob ably a statue of a Russian tsar had stood, loomed a statue of Atatiirk, founder of modern Turkey. Inside, the governor's mansion was as Rus sian as the Kremlin and seemed almost as big. We walked incredulously through rooms 40 feet long and more, with ceilings 20 feet high. In the corners stood floor-to-ceiling tiled stoves on which some Tsarist craftsman had lavished his art half a century ago. The Rus sians had built the house for their viceroys in the days when they used to rule Kars. The governor took me out on the terrace for a breath-taking view. Far below us the muddy Kars River wound through the valley on its way to join a bigger river, the Arpa, thence to the distant Caspian. Across the river, on a steep hill, frowned a colossal fortress built by Sultan Murad III about 50 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. Now the fortress has no military value except as an observation post. Behind it, sheltered from the fierce winds that blow from Russia, is a villa which Nicholas II, last of the Romanovs, used as a hunting lodge. The governor led me away from the view and into his house, where some of the local officials of Kars had gathered to pay their respects. I was interested especially in talk ing to the superintendent of schools and the public health officer. "What we need here," the young superin tendent said, "are not more but better teach ers." And the public health officer told me that the health of his highland people was generally good, in spite of the poor and some times primitive conditions in which they live.