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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

37.4291829, 42.8831306

Tuesday May {19} 18. [18 May 1909] Off at 5.30, but it was 6 before I
left the village with a guide, Reshid and Jusef. We rode through
endless oakwood without seeing a soul. My guide said there was a
ruined church at one point on the hills. At 8.10 we came to a ruined
village called Gernashasur and here we left the path and plunged
down a deep valley which brought us at 9.15 to the jibb[?] below the
castle of Hatem Tai. I climbed up with my guide. There are two lines
of wall, the lower with small round buttresses in it. In the centre of all is
the citadel with a very large bir which has been vaulted. In the citadel
is a chamber with an apse to the E and a niche in it that looks
uncommonly like a chapel. The apse is very finely built. The place
has been rebuilt several times and the masonry is of all kinds. I
guess it was Byz. and then Yezidi. There is a fragment of Arab
inscrip. (Yezidi?) built into one gateway and bits of moulding set face
downwards. I noticed too a vault partly of bricks laid slanting against
the mur de tete. Lots of small rock cut cisterns for water or corn more
likely. So down to the little troglodyte village of Gelieh Kalaki (in
Arabic Mugharat Kala'ah) partly Islam and partly Yezid. One of the
latter gave us milk and bread and wanted to kill a sheep for us. We
left at 10.30 and rode down the valley. Among the oak woods was a
Yezidi ziarah. Our Yezidi host kissed a specially big oak which we
passed on the way to it and explained that they cd not take the honey
out of another oak because it belonged to the shrine. Down the
endless bare valley to the plain where the peasants were harvesting.
At 12.30 we passed Keui Ilka on the left and at 12.50 came to Kinnik
where I lunched under some trees till 1.20. We tried to find someone
to shoe Jusef's horse but they said the baitar was dead and there
was not a nail in the village. The priest's wife, a nice woman looking
like an English parson's wife mutatis mutandis came down and made
me welcome. The whole plain strewn over with mound villages and
bounded by the Jebel Sinjar [Sinjar, Jabal]. So we went on through
some corn and at last I insisted on leaving the path and we climbed
up the stony lower slopes seamed with many valleys, Kal'at Jedid
standing up ahead in its deep gorge. We met some people who told
us that Usedere was still very far off which made me suspect I must be
wrong in thinking that it lay at the head of the valley. So up at last into
the shadow and under Kal'at Jedid most splendidly placed on crags
with a double wall. We stopped to drink and eat an egg (all that was
left of our food) at the big deep cistern below it and went off at 5.30.
Walked up the gorge through oak woods and came out at 6.40 at the
village of Badibbe. I mounted our poor guide and walked on myself
through the darkening oakwoods by a shallow solitary valley. Got
into Usedere at 7.30 and found the camp.

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