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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

41.0082376, 28.9783589

Mon 6. [6 June 1898] Woke at 6. Looked out of window at the
Dardanelles [«anakkale Bogazi] and went to sleep till 9. Long talk
with the attachÈ. Cold. Got in sight of C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)]
after lunch and arrived at 4. It looked extraordinarily lovely, with the
great white minarets on the hill top and the Ahmedieh making a
wonderful fine mass with St Sophia. Left M [Maurice] to deal with the
luggage and flew off to see Alexander's tomb. The low sun touched
the marble figures and threw out all the delicate colour - what struggle
to escape what mad pursuit! As one looked at the battle scene one
wondered why all was silent and no din of battle rose from that conflict.
The dead lay under the horses' feet, with exquisite heads thrown
back and arms outstretched or doubled under them and over top of
them rode the conquerors striking and slaying the hooded Persians.
On the other side the hunting scene, the Devices, Alexander figures
wonderfully fine, and at one end a wonderful figure on a horse and a
Persian just being struck by a Greek, in whose face was all the agony
of imenent [sic] death. The architectural work lovely. All the weapons
stolen except one little silver axe preserved in a case where was also
a tiny exquisite head broken off. In another case a skull which was
found in the tomb and which may therefore have been Alexander's.
Besides this there was a fine stone sarcophagus something like the
Elgin marbles, with chariots and a bear hunt and some splendid
sphinxes on it; and in the next room the sarcophagus they call the
Satrap and the Pleureuse very fine indeed, the figure of a mourning
woman repeated 18 times in different attitudes of grief. Went on to St
Sophia. The low sun was coming in golden through the windows of
the dome and a few groups of people sitting on the floor listening to
expounders of the Koran. Overcome again by the beauty and the
space of it. On way back bought Rabat Lakoum at Hadji Bekr's. M. in
a great state because we cd not get out passports visÈd and wd
have to stay till the evening train instead of leaving by the morning
boat to Costanza [Costanta]. Hotel Bristol. After dinner strolled out
with Mr Hoare, did some shopping and sat in a garden listening to a
very bad band.

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