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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

36.3835627, 36.8976626

Sun. 2. [2 April 1905] A very grey and threatening morning - I left the
camp pitched to see how it wd turn out. Found 2 inscriptions at Burj el
Kas one of which had an eagle carved on the end of it, but I cd not
make out the date. The other was dated. Musa Nejib and I set off
together and went to where we left Nejib with the horses and walked
ourselves to Khirab esh Shems, a very stony climb. The church there
is very striking and extremely well preserved. There is another small
church on the hill above it, also very perfect and lots of very massive
houses with the usual verandahs, all very solid. But the great find was
a tomb with carvings inside which I photographed and drew. So we
walked up to the church on top of the hill. Very classic in feeling, deep
cut acanthus capitals and little ornament except a frieze with dentils
very simple and in good taste. Part of it had been over the broken
lintel of the W door below the relieving arch. The baptistery quite
perfect except for the roof. A wall had been built inside the church
cutting off the apse from the nave. Columns {partly} some grooved
and some not. So we walked down the hill and got to town at 11.
Sent Najib back to the mules to tell them to pack and go to Barad. 2
churches in one with the whole apse standing. At the entrance of the
town what I take to have been stoae. Many houses with loggias very
well preserved. Lunched in the S church and at 12 set off to Barad
which I reached at 1.30. A very large town. In the centre a fine funeral
monument raised on a podium. Near it a rock cut tomb with an arched
faÁade and a very large sarcophagus. To the E a building of which I
took the ground plan though I cannot understand its purpose. Inside it
contains first to the W a vaulted chamber leading by a door now
blocked into another vaulted chamber running the whole length of the
building and including the 2 apses. The apses have sort of windows
set in them all round. There are 2 big churches quite close to one
another. One had a charming double window in the apse much
defaced however and a very good capital on the engaged pier. All
the interior filled with ruins. There were no columns but great piers;
double. The next church was bigger but more ruined. To the N of it a
little chapel with a small apse perfectly preserved and to the N of this
again a sarcophagus. To the E a great mass of polygonal buildings,
houses and a big enclosure. Also a square polygonal enclosure
containing a square building with a chamber above and a cave
below into which I cd not go because it was full of water. So out W
past a small church one shipped to the burj which is a square tower
like that at Burj el Kas. It had 3 stories [sic] I think. 2 very well
preserved houses near it. So back to my tents in the centre of the
town and explored a few tombs near but found no inscriptions.
Delightful evening. There are 2 worthies in long robes and turbans
who are taking a census and siezing the opportunity to extract a little
money from the Kurds. I saw them yesterday too at Burj el Kas.

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