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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
GB/2/9/3/19
Creator
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Language
English
Location
Syria ยป Apamea
Coordinates

34.802075, 38.996815

Sun 19. [19 March 1905] Cloudy and it turned to heavy rain. Half way
we passed a place called Sheikh Hadid where there were ruins - cut
stones bits of column and a tell which must have been a citadel. It is
inhabited by half settled Arabs and the dirt horrid. There is an
enormous lake in the Orontes ['Asi] valley formed by floods. Some
summers it does not altogether dry. When it dries the people cut the
reeds sow durra upon them and then burn them. Then the durra
grows. There is a village on an island very unhealthy. We left at 7
and got to Kala'at el Muddik at 10.45 in streaming rain. Magnificently
situated on the edge of the hills looking over the valley and the high
Nosairieh mts [Nusayriyah, Jabal al]. We took refuge under some
buildings that were part of the proscenium of a theatre and lunched.
Square pilasters with Corinthian capitals. The town is immense.
Walked down to the S gate of which little remains and all along the
street of columns to the N. Past the basilica which stands in front of a
great court surrounded by square built piers supporting an architrave.
Great owls sitting on the stones. The church door also trabeated,
very massive construction. Columns down the street plain, straight
fluted and spiral fluted. Corinthian capitals. All the building very
massive. The rain came on and I returned. Up to the castle and
drank coffee with Sheikh Ahmad. Under his house there are vaults, I
think Arab for there are bits of classical mouldings built in wrong. Over
a door a moulding that does not fit [sketch] thus. An inscription of
Malek[?] el Dhahab. Beyond a little building with an ornamented
window, late Arab. I copied a Greek inscription and saw another in
the wall, a stele I think. Went down to the mosque which is late Arab
and did not bother with the khan. A bridge below with a mill on it, all
the floods out. Mahmud says the rain this year in Hamah was more
then has been known for 60 years. The water came over the upper
bridge and the Mutaserrif was imprisioned in the Serai. A dry water
course near Sheikh Hadid had run so deep with water that a man was
drowned in it. Rain in heavy showers all day. Very splendid effects of
light and cloud.

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