Open main menu
This page has been validated.

routes are in many places lined for miles together with the bones of camels and men.

The numbers which compose these pilgrim caravans are much exaggerated by popular rumour; yet it is certain that the Syrian and Egyptian sometimes amount to 5000 each, with 25,000 or 30,000 camels in train. Large supplies of food and water have to be carried, the more so at times that the pilgrim season, following as it does the Mahommedan calendar, which is lunar, falls for years together in the very hottest season. Hence, too, the journey is usually accomplished by night marches, the hours being from 3 to 4 p.m. to 6 or 7 a.m. of the following day. Torches are lighted on the road, the pace is slower than that of an ordinary caravan, and does not exceed 2 m. an hour.

CARAVANSERAI, a public building, for the shelter of a caravan (q.v.) and of wayfarers generally in Asiatic Turkey. It is commonly constructed in the neighbourhood, but not within the walls, of a town or village. It is quadrangular in form, with a dead wall outside; this wall has small windows high up, but in the lower parts merely a few narrow air-holes. Inside a cloister-like arcade, surrounded by cellular store-rooms, forms the ground floor, and a somewhat lighter arcade, giving access to little dwelling-rooms, runs round it above. Broad open flights of stone steps connect the storeys. The central court is open to the sky, and generally has in its centre a well with a fountain-basin beside it. A spacious gateway, high and wide enough to admit the passage of a loaded camel, forms the sole entrance, which is furnished with heavy doors, and is further guarded within by massive iron chains, drawn across at night. The entry is paved with flagstones, and there are stone seats on each side. The court itself is generally paved, and large enough to admit of three or four hundred crouching camels or tethered mules; the bales of merchandise are piled away under the lower arcade, or stored up in the cellars behind it. The upstairs apartments are for human lodging; cooking is usually carried on in one or more corners of the quadrangle below. Should the caravanserai be a small one, the merchants and their goods alone find place within, the beasts of burden being left outside. A porter, appointed by the municipal authority of the place, is always present, lodged just within the gate, and sometimes one or more assistants. These form a guard of the building and of the goods and persons in it, and have the right to maintain order and, within certain limits, decorum; but they have no further control over the temporary occupants of the place, which is always kept open for all arrivals from prayer-time at early dawn till late in the evening. A small gratuity is expected by the porter, but he has no legal claim for payment, his maintenance being provided for out of the funds of the institution. Neither food nor provender is supplied.

Many caravanserais in Syria, Mesopotamia and Anatolia have considerable architectural merit; their style of construction is in general that known as Saracenic; their massive walls are of hewn stone; their proportions apt and grand. The portals especially are often decorated with intricate carving; so also is the prayer-niche within. These buildings, with their belongings, are works of charity, and are supported, repaired and so forth out of funds derived from pious legacies, most often of land or rentals. Sometimes a municipality takes on itself to construct and maintain a caravanserai; but in any case the institution is tax-free, and its revenues are inalienable. When, as sometimes happens, those revenues have been dissipated by peculation, neglect or change of times, the caravanserai passes through downward stages of dilapidation to total ruin (of which only too many examples may be seen) unless some new charity intervene to repair and renew it.

Khans, i.e. places analogous to inns and hotels, where not lodging only, but often food and other necessaries or comforts may be had for payment, are sometimes by inaccurate writers confounded with caravanserais. They are generally to be found within the town or village precincts, and are of much smaller dimensions than caravanserais. The khan of Asad Pasha at Damascus is a model of constructive skill and architectural beauty.

CARAVEL, or Carvel (from the Gr. κάραβος, a light ship, through the Ital. carabella and the Span. carabas), a name applied at different times and in different countries to ships of very varying appearance and build, as in Turkey to a ship of war, and in France to a small boat used in the herring fishery. In the 15th and 16th centuries, caravels were much used by the Portuguese and Spanish for long voyages. They were roundish ships, with a double tower at the stern, and a single one in the bows, and were galley rigged. Two out of the three vessels in which Columbus sailed on his voyage of discovery to America were “caravels.” Carvel, the older English form, is now used only in the term “carvel-built,” for a boat in which the planking is flush with the edges laid side to side, in distinction from “clinker-built,” where the edges overlap.

CARAVELLAS, a small seaport of southern Bahia, Brazil, on the Caravellas river a few miles above its mouth, which is dangerously obstructed by sandbars. Pop. (1890) of the municipality 5482, about one-half of whom lived in the town. Caravellas was once the centre of a flourishing whale fishery, but has since fallen into decay. It is the port of the Bahia & Minas railway, whose traffic is comparatively unimportant.

CARAWAY, the fruit, or so-called seed, of Carum Carui, an umbelliferous plant growing throughout the northern and central parts of Europe and Asia, and naturalized in waste places in England. The plant has finely-cut leaves and compound umbels of small white flowers. The fruits are laterally compressed and ovate, the mericarps (the two portions into which the ripe fruit splits) being subcylindrical, slightly arched, and marked with five distinct pale ridges. Caraways evolve a pleasant aromatic odour when bruised, and they have an agreeable spicy taste. They yield from 3 to 6% of a volatile oil, the chief constituent of which is cymene aldehyde. Cymene itself is present, having the formula CH3C6H4CH(CH3)2; also carvone C10H14O, and limonene, a terpene. The dose of the oil is ½ – 3 minims. The plant is cultivated in north and central Europe, and Morocco, as well as in the south of England, the produce of more northerly latitudes being richer in essential oil than that grown in southern regions. The essential oil is largely obtained by distillation for use in medicine as an aromatic stimulant and carminative, and as a flavouring material in cookery and in liqueurs for drinking. Caraways are, however, more extensively consumed entire in certain kinds of cheese, cakes and bread, and they form the basis of a popular article of confectionery known as caraway comfits.

CARBALLO, a town of north-western Spain, in the province of Corunna; on the right bank of the river Allones, 20 m. S.W. of the city of Corunna. Pop. (1900) 13,032. Carballo is the central market of a thriving agricultural district. At San Juan de Carballo, on the opposite bank of the Allones, there are hot sulphurous springs.

CARBAZOL, C12H9N, a chemical constituent of coal-tar and crude anthracene. From the latter it may be obtained by fusion with caustic potash when it is converted into carbazol-potassium, which can be easily separated by distilling off the anthracene. It may be prepared synthetically by passing the vapours of diphenylamine or aniline through a red-hot tube; by heating diorthodiaminodiphenyl with 25% sulphuric acid to 200° C. for 15 hours; by heating orthoaminodiphenyl with lime; or by heating thiodiphenylamine with copper powder. It is also obtained as a decomposition product of brucine or strychnine, when these alkaloids are distilled with zinc dust. It is easily soluble in the common organic solvents, and crystallizes in plates or tables melting at 238° C. It is a very stable compound, possessing feebly basic properties and characterized by its ready sublimation. It distils unchanged, even when the operation is carried out in the presence of zinc dust. On being heated with caustic potash in a current of carbonic acid, it gives carbazol carbonic acid C12H8N·COOH; melted with oxalic acid it gives carbazol blue. It dissolves in concentrated sulphuric acid to a clear yellow solution. The potassium salt reacts with the alkyl iodides to give N-substituted alkyl derivatives. It gives the pine-shaving reaction, in this respect resembling pyrrol (q.v.).