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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

35.9594106, 38.9981052

Sat. Feb 27. [27 February 1909] Left Tell 'Abd 'Ali at 7.15 and at 8.5
got to Haragla where I stayed till 8.45 and made a rough plan. We got
to Rakka [Ar Raqqah] at 10 and I rode straight off round the town. First
to the Baghdad Gate which has an interesting niched faÁade and
inside there has been a dome set on pendentives. Then to the Ziaret
Sultan Wais al Karani over the door of which there is a piece of
marble with the following inscription: [Arabic characters] In the
graveyard are numbers of marble columns and built into the wall is
something that looks very like a small marble double column. The
marble columns must I think be antique. I saw 2 caps, one very rough,
one with the remains of acanthus. The dome of the ziarat was set on
squinches. Then to a tall tower that stands in the middle of a large
rectangular space which was I think walled. It is called El Amariyyeh
(a decorated stringcourse of brick at top) and is reported to have
been built by Abu Ja'far al Barmek. It is square and of brick. At
spaces up its length there has been a layer of wood which has rotted
away and left a space. The base is of stone. I rather think this town is
supposed to have been built by Ibn 'Ukab - at least an old man told
me the Boi (which Fattuh says is [Arabic]) is attributed to him. All the
ground was covered with fragments of pottery. So back to the walled
city passing by the much ruined Ziarah of {Sheikh Salih} Yahya el
Garib Abu Ja'far. The dome was also on squinches. Just inside the
wall were remains of a large building with plaster decoration. One of
the domes I cd photograph; the other was too dark (it was very small);
it was set on corbels partly of brick partly of wood. [sketch showing
wooden beam]. Then to the great mosque which in the afternoon I
began to measure. The round minaret here is called El 'Alawiyyeh.
The outer wall is of unburnt brick like the walls of the town. So back to
lunch. Selim, the Liquorice agent came to see me and I went to his
house where I saw some pots - not very good ones. I have engaged
a Weldeh Arab called Khalaf el Alayan, strongly recommended by M.
Sykes to come with me to Der [Dayr az Zawr]. The road is quite safe
since I. Pasha's death. So back to the mosque to measure - temp 70?
in my tent at noon. The big inscrip. in the mosque lacks 3 stones - I
saw 3 fragments built into 2 of the houses of the town - Cufic. [3
transcriptions] Also a most beautiful marble slab with a decorated
Cufic inscrip. which I photographed. The dome of the ziareh in the
mosque is on squinches {or rather on niches}.

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