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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

38.963745, 35.243322

Thurs 20. [20 April 1905] Woke at 6.30 feeling very hot and dirty. Sent
off Khalil to look for the mules. About 8 went up the hill with one of the
soldiers. Climbed up by the chariot road which is lined with
sarcophagi and saw the ruins of a big church half way up. It is partly
rock cut. Entered the citadel and climbed about on the walls. The
chambers inside the towers are very well preserved. Photographed
the Armenian church. To the N of it there is a ruined apse and to the
W substructures with birs in them. We climbed across the first rock cut
ditch into the Armenian tower, but the second was too much for me. I
saw however Greek foundations on the other side, an excellent
moulded plinth at the foot of the wall and a few courses of beautiful
stone work. So down by the rock cut steps and photographed the
Triumphal Arch which has a very elaborate cornice and mouldings of
a florid kind but extremely good. The later wall was carried round just
outside it and the gate of it stands to the left of the arch. Beyond in the
rock are the rock cut stadion and theatre and immense columns which
were a part of the street. There is a great mass of building at the foot
of the rock cut steps ?a temple? and near I saw a fine porphyry
column. There were some reed cottages near the arch and I went in
to drink milk. Heard to my joy that the mules had come and returned
at 11 to find them pitching tents under the cliff below the Armenian
tower. A bath, change of clothes, lunch and a sleep, all most
delicious. Then rode out photographing. Went out by the N gate and
along under the cliff where I found a tomb with a very fine classic relief
in 2 parts. In one a man sitting with an attendant on either side, in the
other 3 female figures coming dancing towards him. Inside the tomb
is merely a square chamber. There is a long much defaced
inscription. There were some merchants camping near in a little tent
and they invited me in to drink coffee and complimented me on my
Turkish. Heaven help them! They were Muslims and Armenians from
Kaisariya [Kayseri (Caesarea Mazaca)] and their business flocks and
herds. They said there was no difference between them on account
of creed. I applauded the sentiment. Rode all round the walls
photographing the carvings in the gates. The walls are double with a
ditch between. In the rock beyond the theatre is a huge necropolis, all
the sarcophagi either with an inscription in a label or with the ordinary
wreath pattern, cf Antioch [Antakya (Hatay)]. Came in to tea at 5 and
went out again photographing. All the country beyond the walls is
under water. I can only make out 2 acqueducts [sic] but the
merchants said there were 3. Lots of snakes in the rocks and
mosquitoes at night. Dined, and slept not very well.

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