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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Turkey ยป Mardin

37.312903, 40.733951

Thurs May {21} 20. [20 May 1909] Off at 5.30. It was just an hour's ride
to Mar Melko and we stayed till 7.45. It stands up square on its hill and
has a very fortress like air. The bp here was very cordial but rather an
old bore. He was not at all satisfied with my mejideh bakhshish.
Impossible to plan the monastery as it goes up and down
everywhere. Below the church[?] (you reach it by a door in the court,
below and W of the church) is a crypt with graves. No architectural
interest. The bp has 3 monks here. So we rode on but as Reshid did
not know the way Heaven knows where we went. At 8.15 we reached
a village called Kharabe 'Ale. There we went wrong. At 10.30 we
passed a tiny village called Chevnos; there were some houses on
the hill top above it. At last at 11.45 we got onto a hill and saw Der el
Amer in the distance. I lunched for half an hour and we got into camp
at 12.50. The baggage had arrived 11/2 hours before. Spent the rest
of the day planning the monastery. The apse of the big church has a
mosaic pavement - big roughly laid stones - and a mosaic roof, a
cross in the centre with circles this way [sketch: figure of eight shape]
apparently vine scrolls on a gold ground. Very dark and difficult to
see. The bp was away. One monk and one nun were there. There
are 4 monks altogether. The main altar of the big church stands under
a painted wood canopy. At Mar Melko there was a picture of the saint
with the devil near him just over his tomb in the nave. He cast the
devil out of somebody - a king's son I think. In the further corner a
chain and collar for mad people of all religions - [ag1]they all get well!
Temp 90 when I got into camp though it was a cool day.

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