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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

39.8653, 42.8697

Mon Ap 22. [22 April 1907] Up at 4 and off at 5.15. Beautiful morning.
We took exactly 7 hours to get to Geire (Aphrodisias) with two short
halts of 20 min and 14 min at Kahwehs on the way. Most beautiful
valley, very fertile. The first village we passed, a chiflik was buried in
fruit trees, poplars coming into shadowy greyish leaf, pomegranates
putting on their russet dress. Further on their [sic] was little cultivation
but still a great deal of beauty in the rolling country running up to the
hills and the rushing river by our side. Masses of camels, mostly
carrying millstones. We rode straight towards Baba D [Madran Baba
Dagi] which was deep in snow. I can't say I was sorry to arrive as I
was both tired and hungry. Rode through the N gate. All the walls and
gates have been rebuilt and old materials used in them, for instance a
stone with a Nike[?] on it is built into the inner wall of the gate. We
lunched in the temple of Aphrodite. It was turned into a church by
pulling down the cella and enclosing the peripteral columns with
narrow aisles. An apse built out. Apparently chambers on either side
of it which is unexpected. Pieces of what looks like an ambon and
slabs of an altar rail. A narthex with an apse to the north. Outside the
east end fragments of what looks like a sort of Corinthian gate. So to
the Heroon[?] where there are fragments of what must have been a
charming frieze of figures and animals and rinceaux. Then up the
mound in the middle of the town (it was the theatre) passing some low
marshy ground where in the marsh and among the flowering apple
trees and leafy poplars was a charming row of Ionic columns. Then
down to a great building partly excavated - gymnasium? It stood
apparently at the end of the row of columns - a columned street? - with
a temple door and steps leading up to it, then a court and then a great
gateway, the jambs all carved with a rococco pattern of rinceaux with
animals and putti - very charming. Lots of fragments of entablature -
all very elaborate, not very vital work. I thought of the palmettes on the
Didyma bases. Some curious Cor. caps which I photographed,
interesting in the development of the double rowed Cor cap. There
seems to have been an entablature resting of [sic] large dentils, each
one of which was finished by a huge fawn's head or a bull's. Then
back to the N wall, round by the stadion (very perfect) and round the
walls. They were all built straight with occasional sets back, no
bastions. Very thick, rubble with a stone facing, and very high. So
through the village and to the S gate which is also built of old
materials. NB the niches in these gates, or rather side gates. Round
by a Cor. building just under the villate to the S, half excavated, and so
back to tea. Then took a man who showed me some sarcophs
excavated in a field outside the S gate. Very rough work, the heads
and putti better carved but the garlands done entirely with the drill. So
back to the gym. and home. Tired. The village is sitting outside my
window(!) cooking eggs in a wood fire in an earthenware bowls,
smoking talking. Trains of camels arrive from time to time and
deposit various loads. On the raised platform outside the door one or
two pious ones have said the evening prayer. Baba Dagh all snowy
over all. Now the cattle are coming in. NB the apse has side
chambers, apparently no connection with the apse which is formed so
[sketch] on account of the great width between the columns. Behind
this is a Corinthian apsed structure.

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