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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Cumberbatch, Henry Alfred

38.423734, 27.142826

Friday Ap 5. [5 April 1907] Off at 8.15 with the Cumberbatches and
drove to Nif [Kemalpasa]. Delicious across the plain of Burnabat
[Bornova] with the plums and peaches just coming into flower. So we
got into the Kavakli Dere through a cypress planted cemetary [sic]
and climbed the hill. The valley was full of flowering fruit trees and the
grass starred with anemones and starch hyacinths. Got to the top of
the pass Bel Cahue[?] at about 10 and rested the horses. In spite of
which they presently broke down in a muddy bit of the road and
subsequently we had great difficulty in getting them past a couple of
big rocks which the rains had tumbled down into the road. So down
into the plains with the snowy tops of Mt. Sipylus (Maghnissa D) to the
left, then the opening into the Hermus [Gediz] valley, then Mt Tmolus
(Boz Dagh) in front of us, the Nif D and Mahmud D to the right. The
road very bad. It was being repaired and we had frequently to drive
into the surrounding country when we as frequently stuck in the mud. 4
zaptiehs had met us in the plain before Kavakli Dere. Got to Nif about
12.15 and drove into the middle of the town. It lies in a gorge of the mt
running up towards the hills with the ruins of the castle climbing the first
spur. The tall groups of poplars round and in it looked like shadows
of trees - no sign of leaf yet. The famous cherries not in flower; only
the plums out. As we reached the village we passed to the left the
ruins of the palace of Andronicus set in olive orchards. Went to the
Konak from the windows of which we saw the storks sitting upon their
nests and the prisoners looking out between their prison bars. Then
to the house where we were to lodge, the house of a Greek on the e.
outskirts of the town. Lunched and walked out. Went up the side of
the hill to the w of the town to a place under a tree supposed to be a
shrine of St John. Several carved plaques (Byz.) and a fragment of
Corinthian cap, well cut, and a Turkish capital of the small oblong
type. A tiny cave above. So to the castle. The walls with semicircular
bastions surround the whole top of the spur. Built of stone and tile and
mortar. At the top a good deal of the keep is standing, the {structure}
masonry uncut stones laid in layers rather far from one another and
the interstices filled up with layers of tiles and plaster. A lovely view
up a narrow gorge to a snowy fir clad summit, Nif D I suppose. All up
the gorge are rock hewn tombs, some seem to be in natural caves -
like rooms said the Greek boy with us. Cherry orchards nearly up to
the top of the hill. Above them snowy fir woods. The village cattle,
very thin small beasts, grazing in the castle enclosure. What with the
tinkling of their bells and the sound of the stream I cd have shut my
eyes and thought it Switzerland. So down through the main gate
defended by round bastions and through the town to the Greek school
where there was a fragment of a saint, a book in one hand and the
other raised in benediction built[?] into the wall and a couple of
fragments of frieze, one Byz and the other Turkish. Past the fountain
which is a plain sarcoph with a bit of Byz frieze in the wall above it and
a couple of Byz birds drinking out of a vase, very rough work. Then to
the castle of Andronicus, oblong, 4 stories [sic] high. The lower story
[sic] good stone masonry of large blocks, the upper alternate layers
of stone and bands of tile pierced with windows. The stories had
each been vaulted inside with brick. So home, tea, sat outside and
watched the village people coming home while a very old and
toothless lieutenant talked to Mr C (a Rounelian he was) Bridge,
dinner and to bed with all the fleas and bugs in the world. Violets
everywhere under the hedges.

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