National Geographic : 1938 Dec
CHANGE COMES TO BIBLE LANDS Ward, Director Gen eral of Navigation for Iraq, this port has grown more than dur ing all centuries past. BASRA IS IRAQ'S GATE TO THE SEA Today, steamers from all seafaring na tions call here, in cluding a fleet of nearly 100 tankers owned by the Anglo Iranian Oil Company. Of oil alone more than ten million tons a year are shipped. That would be equal to 200,000 carloads! What a train! Railways from Baghdad end at Basra's water front; Pullman cars often stop on the wharf so that passengers may step from train to ship, or vice versa. From Basra's vast palm gardens the world buys about 85 per cent of all its dates. Boatloads of horses, for polo, races, and cavalry, go to India. Unchanged in de sign since Sindbad's day, some 6,000 Arab sailboats also call here each year. They Photograph by Maynard Owen Williams DOWN WILL COME BABY, CRADLE AND ALL-IF MAMMA TRIPS! With her child sound asleep in the basket, this Arab woman of Nablus goes her way with apparent indifference. Fancy a fond young American mother facing traffic with her first-born balanced on her head! trade even to far away Zanzibar and long had a bad name as slavers. English, Netherland, and French air lines all serve Basra, air riders shuttling between London and Paris on one end and Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, Sydney, or even Tasmania, on the other (page 702). On the top floor of a great air-cooled hotel, which has its own customs hall, im migration, passport, and medical offices, is a control tower; it houses the wireless, the direction finders, and meteorological centers, where weather reports come in by teletype. Here again, however, it is not size or structure which stuns the imagination, but the speed at which this long-somnolent East is being transformed. PERSIA, AS SUCH, NO LONGER EXISTS Iran is the new name for Persia.* For millenniums this was a lotus land of horse men and hawking, of polo, poetry, and per fume, of fire worship and tribal feuds. Only by caravan, over rough roads, could it be penetrated. * See "Persian Caravan Sketches," by Harold F. Weston, and "Modern Persia and Its Capital," by F. L. Bird, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, April, 1921.