Ahvaz reached the height of its prosperity in the 12th and 13th centuries and is now a collection of wretched hovels, with a small rectangular fort in a state of ruin, and an Arab population of about 400.
PALMYRA, the Greek and Latin name of a famous city of the East, now a mere collection of Arab hovels, but still an object of interest on account of its wonderful ruins.
It was still a wealthy place as late as the 14th century; but in the general decline of the East, and owing to changes in the trade routes, it sunk at length to a poor group of hovels gathered in the courtyard of the Temple of the Sun.
They nowhere built permanent dwellings, but contented themselves with mere hovels for temporary shelter.
Their dwellings for the most part are either bowers, formed of the branches of trees, or hovels of piled logs, loosely covered with grass or bark, which they can erect in an hour, wherever they encamp. But some huts of a more substantial form were seen by Captain Matthew Flinders on the south-east coast in 1799, and by Captain King and Sir T.
The streets formerly consisted largely of mud hovels, but since a great fire in 1894, which destroyed large parts of James Town and Ussher Town, more substantial buildings have been erected.
English lurked in farms and hovels, amongst villeins and serfs, in the outlying country-districts, in the distant ' See Stevenson, Waring and Skeat, op. cit.
Up to the beginning of the 19th century it was filled with hovels and stables; these were subsequently cleared out, and at the end of the century the building was restored, and now serves as a national theatre.
" The site now occupied by wide quays extending several miles in length was then entirely covered with water when the sea rose a few inches above ordinary level, and that even in a perfect calm; the banks of the river near the mouth were only indicated by clusters of wretched hovels built on piles and by narrow patches of sand skirted by tall weeds, the only vegetable product of the vast swamps beyond.
The normal annual expenditure amounts to about L56,000, while 24,000 is generally allotted to extraordinary works, such as new cuttings, &c. Between 1857 and 1905 a sum of about one and three quarter millions sterling was spent on engineering works, including the construction of quays, lighthouses, workshops and buildings, &c. Sulina from being a collection of mud hovels has developed into a town with 5000 inhabitants; a well-found hospital has been established where all merchant sailors receive gratuitous treatment; lighthouses, quays, floating elevators and an efficient pilot service all combine to make it a first-class port.