Travels in Arabia, by John Lewis Burckhardt

No. V.

Stations of the Hadj or Pilgrim Caravan from Cairo to Mekka.

THE following account refers to the route of the caravan in 1816; but formerly, as I learn from Arabian authors, the stations differed in many instances.

The caravan assembles for several days at a place eastward of the Gardens near Cairo, about one hour distant, called El Hassoua, and then proceeds to Birket el Hadj, four hours distant, where they remain two days.

From this place the caravan starts on the 27th of the month Showál: it travels only by night, generally setting out at four o’clock in the afternoon, and alighting soon after sun-rise at the station where they encamp, until evening.

From the Birket el Hadj —

1st night — To Dár el Hamra.

2. To Adjeroud: here they halt the whole day and following night. The caravan is supplied with water from Suez, that which Adjeroud furnishes being extremely bad.

4. To Roos el Nowatyr, a plain in the mountain, without water: here they halt only a few hours, and proceed

5. To Wady Tyh, the entrance to the Desert of Tyh: here they halt a few hours, but, not finding any water, go on

6. To the castle of Nakhel: here they repose, after their forced march, during the whole day and following night, supply themselves with water, and set out next evening.

8. To El Alaya, where they remain one hour, but find no water.

9. To Sath el Akaba, the summit of the western chain of Akaba: here is a small village. The road up and down the mountain is very difficult. From this station they march a whole night, to descend in the narrow passes to the plain and castle of Akaba.

10. Here they remain the day and night.

12. Thaher el Homar, a rocky ground, with bad water and numerous date-trees.

13. (Night,) To Shorafa, a barren long extended valley, without water.

14. To Moghayr Shayb: many wells of sweet water, date-plantations, and trees among the rocks, render this one of the most agreeable stations on the route; but it is infested by robbers.

15. To Ayoun el Kassab, a plain ground with date-trees, and water. It belongs to the territory of Moeyleh.

16. To El Moeyleh, where are fine pasture-grounds and good water: here the caravan halts for the night, and remains till the next evening.

18. To Selma, a place yielding water.

19. To Kalat Ezlam.

20. To El Astabel, or Astabel Antar: the only water here is in a few holes dug in the sands of the valley,

21. To Kalat el Wodjeh, where there is good water: they halt this night, and next evening proceed

23. To Akra; a very long march; they arrive at Akra in the evening: here the water is of a most offensive smell. The caravan halts one hour.

24. To El Houra, likewise called Dár el Ashreyn, because it is the twentieth station from Cairo. Between Akra and Houra lies El Hank, a valley without water. At Houra are many trees; also the shrub Arak, of which the pilgrims cut branches, to use as toothbrushes. The water here is bad, and of a strong aperient quality.

25. To Nabt.

26. To El Khedheyra, where the caravan stops one hour in the morning, and marches the rest of the day, the whole night, and next day till evening.

27. To Yembo el Nakhel, where they remain the night, and proceed

29. To Beder: here they remain that day and night; and set out early next morning, and arrive at El Kaa in the afternoon, where they halt till evening, and then proceed

31. To Rábegh.

32. To Djereynát.

33. To Akabet e’ Sukar.

34. To Kholeys.

35. To Asfán.

36. To Wady Fatme.

37. To Mekka.

Thirty-seven days on the road — thirty-one nights marching — seven days halt.

Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:05