Imagens das páginas

fabulous prices. Its flavour is perhaps more delicate than that of other species, but I confess I was unable to discover what peculiar excellency it possessed.

The castle is a picturesque Venetian fortress with straggling walls running up the hillside, but can scarcely possess at the present day any strategical value. I was, however, able to judge of it only from the outside, as here again the officer in command met me with the same non possumus as at Suli. By a strange coincidence, he too had received a few days before stringent orders from Yanina not to allow any travellers within the walls of his stronghold.





From Parga I determined to visit the mountain district of the Tchamouria — a region almost exclusively held by Mussulman Albanians, and where the information I had received at Yanina left me little doubt that a strong and genuine agitation was in progress against Greek annexation. Bidding farewell to the bright little town of Parga, we turned once more into the thick groves of olive-trees which we had crossed on our way from Suli; but about three-quarters of an hour from the shore, we struck northwards over the hills, and soon found ourselves once more among bleak and rugged uplands. A narrow defile between limestone rocks leads into the plain of Margariti, a fertile table-land locked in on all sides by hills, which is the heart of the


Tchamouria, though on most maps the latter name is given to a district south of the Acheron, between that river and Prevesa. The mistake is much the same as if geographers applied the name of British Isles exclusively to the Channel Islands. The limits of the Albanian-speaking districts of Epirus south of the Kalamas may be roughly defined as follows: Starting from the Kalamas near the sharp bend which that river takes to the north at the foot of Mount Lubinitza, they follow the crest of the amphitheatrical range of Suli as far as the gorge of the Acheron. In that neighbourhood, probably owing to the influence which the Suliote tribe at one time enjoyed, they drop over to the east into the valley of the Luro, and follow its basin as far as the peninsula on which Prevesa is situated, where the Greek element resumes its preponderancy. Within these outer limits of the Albanian tongue the Greek element is not unrepresented, and in some places, as about Paranıythia, for instance, it predominates ; but, on the whole, the abovedefined region may be looked upon as essentially Albanian. In this, again, there is an inner triangle which is purely Albanian-viz., that which las :Tane sea and the Kalamas on the one

ise wiers of the Vuvo on the other. T he exception of Parga and one or two

m issing the shore, and a few Greek Casa Albanian estates, the inhabitants of this country are pure Tchamis—a name which, roswithstarin Von Hahn's more elaborate interpretation, I am inclined to derive simply from the ancient appellation of the Kalamas, the Thyamis on both banks of which stream the Albanian tribe of the Tehamis, itself a subdivision of the Tosks, has been settled from times immemorial. From the mountain fastnesses which enclose this inner triangle, the Tehamis spread out and extended their influence east and south; and the name of Tehamouria, which is especially applied to the southernmost Albanian settlements in Epirus, was probably given to that district by themselves as an emphatic monument of their supremacy; but it cannot belong less rightfully to the centre, where they hold undivided sway.

The slopes of the hills which surrounded the oblong plateau, at the southern extremity of which we were now standing, were dotted about with numerous villages, and on the eastern side

the slender minarets of Margariti were conspicuous amidst masses of green foliage and the square flat roofs of massive fortress-like houses. Margariti is the capital of the district, though it is scarcely larger than Mazaraki, the highest houses of which could be descried above an intervening spur at the northern end of the valley. An hour's ride along the foot of the eastern hills brought us right up to Margariti. Our visit proved to be singularly well-timed, for

- Pasha, the Governor of — , himself one of the most active promoters of the League in Epirus, had arrived on the preceding day to superintend the enrolment of the Redifs, or first ban of the reserves, who had just been called under arms. Moreover, it was the first day of Baïram, and the whole population had turned out in holiday attire to celebrate this doubly auspicious occasion. Groups of tall, handsome mountaineers, decked out in clean fustanellas and gorgeous embroidered jackets, were loitering about the streets; and their proud bearing, more even than the weapons which bristled in their belts, showed clearly that we were among an eminently warlike race. The arrival of two



« AnteriorContinuar »