Diaries

10/5/1909

Monday May 10. [10 May 1909] Off at 6.5 2400 and rode to Za'feran which we reached at 6.30. It was a very difficult place to make anything of. All that remained were the enclosing walls of the town, built of masonry, about 170 thick, outer and inner sides faced, big rubble and mortar between. The wall runs up to the top of a rocky spur where there is no room for a citadel but this spur is divided from the town by a cross wall. The ground between the top and the cross wall falls very sharply. The town wall stretches out in an irregular elongated semi arch. About the centre there is a big mass of featureless ruin in which however I made out a door in the E wall and it is therefore not a church. Some rock hewn sarcoph. near it and the central road through the town passes by it and runs down to the S gate which was quite narrow, not more that 200 wide. A similar gate in the E wall and probably in the W. Lintels and door jambs with niche for door but no inscrips. From the top fine view over the fertile valley and the Tigris. Birds calling among the steep rocks behind. Asphodel. We left at 8, got into the entrance of the pass at 9.25. A very fine and well graded road leads up it - the top 3050 - but breaks off shortly after the summit. The work was carried on the last 2 years but not this year. Got to Zakho at 11 - 1800, Murray makes it 1400 and I am therefore 400 ft out all the way from Mosul [Mawsil, Al] here. This makes Mosul about 600. Kiepert calls Zakho 400m, ie 1316 ft. Got into camp, lunched and went to sleep for 2 hours - it was very hot 92?. When I woke it was clouding over for a thunder storm. Zakho castle and most of the village stands on an island. A small bridge leads across the S branch of the stream. Just S of it is the tomb of the Father Soldini. The castle I take to be late Arab. Octagonal tower of very fine masonry on the SE side. Chambers within with engaged columns and caps on either side of doors and niches worked with fine Persian patterns in low relief. A good inscrip in the main room, Arabic in a pattern which I cd not read. Vineyards on the hill sides. The pass was very lovely, thick with flowers. The great bank of the Kurdish hills across the valley to the N, snow covered. Thunder storm and cooler. M. Maurel of the Ottoman Debt came to see me before dinner. He says the fathers at Mar Jacub told him that the villagers in the plain below, as soon as the grass is ripe, set fire to the whole plain so that the nomad Kurds may not come down to pasture their flocks - they steal and ravage so much. The smoke and heat of the fires is intolerable.

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