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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
GB/2/12/1/16
Creator
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Language
English
Location
Coordinates

33.5138073, 36.2765279

Thurs 19. [19 January 1911] Unpacked with Fattuh. Then down to the
great mosque and walked round it. The outer wall has square
pilasters like Palmyra [Tadmur], topped with capitals formed of an
Egyptian gorge. On the S side a bit of the old frieze and cornice and
dentels - and another little bit on the E, S of the gate. The church itself
is capped by a later moulding, a Tur Abdin cyma - is it Arcadius or
Justinian? It runs across the face of the transept and all round the
gable. Remains of a fine door with an acanthus frieze in the centre of
the transept with a small worked arch - niche or door? - to the E of it.
On the E side Mamluk wely and maktab. An old man took me into the
Sumeisatiyeh where there are an acanthus cap and some pilasters
with caps having only an egg and dart on them. Past the tomb of
Salaheddin and home. Took the Smiths to lunch in the bazaars and
photographed the mosque. In the cloth bazaar, not far from the Suk el
Harir a Roman gate with 3 fillets and an egg moulding. Possibly a
door of the temenos. Saw the fine khan of Asad Pasha and the Khan
of Suleiman Pasha. So home tired. Shopped with Fattuh. Mr D.
came and brought his wife! Called on the Mackinnons and had a long
talk. They think nothing of Devey and Mrs D has never returned Mrs
M's call. They say it is very awkward. Immense improvement in the
army and the police. (Fattuh says the same of the Aleppo [Halab]
police) Police everywhere now in the streets, well clothed, not
smoking narghilehs in the cafÈs. Damascus [Dimashq (Esh Sham,
Damas)] has never been so safe. The last Vali and his secretary
very anti foreign. Dr M. thinks this will pass. The Hauran business
much exaggerated. Long established idea of the Turks to reduce the
Hauran to uniformity. Rows between the Druzes and the Bosrah
[Busr'a ash Sham] people, began 3 years ago. The Druzes attacked
Bosrah several times. Turks used this as an excuse ..... up Sami
Pasha. Greek Cath abp who had been long in the Hauran (Nicolai
Kadi) much blamed for having given the Turks valuable information
regarding roads etc. Yahya came in and was imprisoned but anyway
the resistance was not great, 30,000 soldiers with cannon, fresh from
victory in Albania determined to score a success. The Druzes saw it
was hopeless. One or two small skirmishes - in all probably not more
than 200 Druzes killed. They have submitted, probably biding their
time till the troops are otherwise employed. Some have submitted to
conscription. A small number of boys and young men - not 200 -
arrived in Damascus guarded by soldiers singing and shouting. It is
said one tried to escape and was shot. It is also said that the Druzes
stirred up the Arabs to the Kerak [Karak] business. It began with rows
between the Kerakis and the Mutesarrif, some Kerakis killed and they
called in their brother Bedouin. The railway was broken in several
places, bridges broken, stations wrecked. This has to be repaired at
once as the pilgrims are coming back. He does not think the Turks
want to force conscription on the Arabs, because they can't. But it is
rumoured they do among the Arabs.

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