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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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1 entry, paper

Sun 30. [30 March 1902] Easter Sunday and a lovely day. We started
at 9, I on an excellent horse of Dr Coles', and crossed over a spur of
Carmel and down by an execrable path to Tireh, following at the foot
of the hill a lovely path through olive groves. There there is a ruined
mosque which was a church. The inhabitants are said to be all
thieves. Then by the road, which we entered just at a stone drinking
place, between the plain and the ridge of rocky mounds, past Destrey
with its ruined castle and sharp to the right through the narrow
passage cut through the limestone ridge to Athlit ['Atlit]. On the right
hand side of this passage are some niches and holes as if for beams
but these beams cd not have fortified the entrance wh passes on the
other side of the rock. Above are some more rock cut niches like
stelae. You then enter a marshy plain with lots of standing water and
tamarisks and opposite is the great pan de mur, half of which retains
its fine ashlar facing. Before you reach it you pass over the foss and
the foundations of the enceinte at the end of wh is the Custom House
washed by the sea. Next you enter the inner enceinte, the bit of tower
is 80 ft high, remains of a gate, only the springing stones of the arch.
On the inside of this wall the spring of the vault with 3 corbels, 2 heads
and a bunch of flowers. The inside is full of Arab houses more than
common squalid till you get down to the sea and find the remains of
the great banqueting hall, sea washed, the magnificent vaulted stable
and beyond walls and arches of what was I suppose the outer
fortifications. Vaults run all under the town. Great bits of the vaulted
roof of the banqueting hall lie about eaten by the sea. We lunched
here and watched the sea breaking up against these stupendous
ruins. It is I think the most romantic and magnificent bit of medieval
work I have ever seen. Next to the stable is the barrel vault of the
great cistern. On the flat rocks sea worn, beyond our lunching place is
the base of a huge column. Above the cistern the foundations of the
many sided apse of the church. On the SW side the landing place
runs down to the sea and beyond the walls stick out into the sea,
protecting the harbour which is further protected by the end of the
outer enceinte. Hot and delicious; we sat a little in the shade and then
rode home along the road and the sands getting back in 21/4 hours.
Had tea and did some Persian. 2 Englishmen turned up to dinner,
one old and one young and we had an amusing party. Afterwards I
got a mass of letters by the Austrian boat. News of Margarets's
daughter and Uncle Tom's accident.

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