Request a high resolution copy

Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

Wed. 5. [5 March 1902] Up at 5 and started off at 5.30 driving to
Pergamos [Bergama (Pergamum)]. Cloudy morning and colder.
Gradually the dawn came and showed a charming country, a wide,
cultivated valley and a very good road through it. The villagers of
Soma were already awake and we met lots of peasants coming in
with loads of onions, for it was market day. We drove for 41/2 hours -
very pleasant pretty hills and wide valleys and all the lovely spring
green and the peasants ploughing with bullocks and buffaloes and
riding on donkeys and poneys [sic]. We saw a Circassian and some
Albanians. I learnt Turkish all the time with great interest. We stopped
occasionally for a few minutes to drink coffee and breath the horses.
At last the Acropolis of Pergamos, castle crowned, hove[?] in sight,
with the pretty modern town of Bergama set in fruit trees and
cypresses below it. The clouds lifted and a bright hot sun came out. I
was taken to the office of M. Sophianos a very kind Greek to whom M.
Gaudin had written about me. So we drank tea in the office and then
set out for the Acropolis, having first got permission from the Director
of the ruins that I shd take photographs. M.S. took me to a Roman
bridge near which was a tanner's but I fear not for pergament. The
river, Bergama Chai anct. Selinus runs under a tunnel of fine Greek
work surmounted by Byzantine. It splits just before the hill, the eastern
stream being the Kestel Chai anct. Cetius. There are magnificent
baths of brick and stone, Roman. They consist of an enormous
central corps de batiment and 2 large round vaulted buildings, one on
either side. The S. most is now a cotton factory. They lifted a board
of the floor and showed the underground heating place. As we
walked up we went in to see a little carpet factory which has just been
started. So up to the outermost ring of walls, Greek, with the remains
of a fine gateway and much marble work. We followed the paved
way up to an agora recently excavated on the site of a Byzantine
necropolis. The row of pillars between the shops have been reset up
- one bears an inscription: Damer[?] in Greek, it was the cafÈ chantant.
There is a small museum with scraps of carving and a large marble
tablet bearing the rules of the Agora in Greek. Here M.S. left us - he
had the wedding of a servant in his house to attend to - and I went up
by the paved road which led round a line of wall, beautiful Greek work
at the bottom, Byzantine above and Turkish towers. On the E. side we
entered the enclosure by a gate near which the old drains came down
and still followed the paved road above the Stadium round the S. side
of the hill. Presently it turned N and we had a fine view of the acropolis
and theatre. We entered the Acropolis through a Byzantine wall built
up of ancient materials which the excavators have mostly destroyed.
Here I lunched near the house of the Turkish gardien who gave me
coffee before a splendid view towards Dikeli [Dikili] and the sea, with
Bergama and the Roman amphitheatre below me. I walked up
through an agora on the W side of which are the remains of the T of
Dionysus to the 2nd platform on wh. stands the core of the great Altar
of Zeus, the Throne of Satan. A paved road leads through a gateway
to the 3rd plateau all paved, the Athene Temenos with the library
buildings to the NW and the remains of a Byzantine Church on the
SW. E are the many foundations of the Palace of the Attalids and
above them lots of house foundations in one of wh. is a magnificent
round cistern with a column in the centre to support the roof. Higher up
at the NE end of the acropolis is a very fine bit of the wall of the Attalid
kings overhanging the Cetius valley. The hill runs out NE into a
promontory at the end of wh. are the ruins of the T of Julia. Great bits
of the Byzantine wall stand out on the N. Returning within these walls I
went to the ruins of the T of Rome and Augustus at the NW corner and
got a lovely view of the theatre which is the highest and narrowest I
have ever seen. Below me the remains of the beautiful little Ionic T.
There was a roaring wind and I was bothered by a cold in the head. I
then descended to the Temenos of Athene whence by the old stair
down through the theatre. It is supposed that its proscenium was of
wood and there are stones wih holes in them paving it - to receive the
wooden supports I imagine. A bit of the gateway of the Ionic T stands
- beautiful carved work, very elaborate. So down through the Stadium
to the Mosque of Agia Sophia once a Byzantine ch. to the house of M.
Sophianos where I was introduced to his wife mother in law and
children and had tea and biscuits and preserved fruits. Left at about
2.45 and got in soon after 7. Most magnificent sunset, the whole floor
of heaven red and gold which faded into a grey cold sky like the
fading of the glories of the Attalids. My good host and hostess gave
me a warm welcome and an excellent dinner at wh. Manoli Louissaky
Byron assisted, after wh. I went to bed. I paid 91/2 mej for my

Reproduction Conditions
To obtain high resolution copies of any of these images and details of reproduction fees please contact us
IIIF Manifest