Its prevailing aspect is characterized by flat and terraced hills, capped by desert sandstone, with stone-covered flats stretching over long distances.
Outside the circle, especially to the south of it, numerous remains of houses of the Mycenaean age have been found, and others, terraced up at various levels, occupy almost the whole of the Acropolis.
But the arrangement of terraced gardens and the lightly constructed pavilion which graces the western slopes of the hills overlooking Chardeh are the most attractive of these innovations.
Denudation has continued active ever since, and now, owing to greater hardness and consequent power of resistance, the glassy lava stands up as the prominent and picturesque ridge of the Scuir, while the basalts which formerly rose high above it have been worn down into terraced declivities that slope away from it to the sea.
From the city, in a terraced garden, the whole surrounded by an embattled wall, with towers and four gateways.
The hills also, as far as possible, are terraced for cultivation and in some instances are planted with dwarf pine and scrub oak.
The favourite suburb is Malabar hill, a high ridge running out into the sea, and terraced to the top by handsome houses, which command one of the finest views, of its kind, in the world.
The general aspect of the town is picturesque; the streets are fairly spacious, though ill-kept and filthy; the houses are all of stone, many of them well-built and four or five storeys high, with terraced roofs and large projecting windows as in Jidda - a style of building which has not varied materially since the Toth century (Mukaddasi, p. 71), and gains in effect from the way in which the dwellings run up the sides and spurs of the mountains.
An instructive example of the similar destruction of a much younger platform is to be found in the terraced plateaus of Skye, Eigg, Canna, Muck, Mull and Morven, which are portions of what was probably originally a continuous plain of basalt.
The Palazzo Municipale, built by Rocco Lurago at the end of the 16th century, once the property of the dukes of Turin, has a beautiful entrance court and a hanging terraced garden fronting a noble staircase of marble which leads to the spacious council chamber.