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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

34.802075, 38.996815

Fri 31. [31 March 1905] Hot and stuffy and misty. Mikhail repentant,
everything patched up. Went out and looked at the wonderful church
and photographed. Difficult to think it is as late as 7th cent it is 6th -
late, the cutting of the capitals and cornices is so deep and good.
The running cornice that curls round the windows and makes spirals
at the end is always very shallow - only just suggested, but it is not a
pretty plan even so. The E apse and S door with its great narthex
splendid. The 2 inner capitals have the blown acanthus. Outside the
apse superimposed Romanesque columns. A little building
containing loculi and tombs at the NE corner of the enclosure. I am
camped between the S and E chambers. The monastic buildings
enclosing me. Beyond to the S is an octagonal baptistery which must
have been very beautiful. It is unfortunately inhabited by Kurdish
shepherds. Outside it is square with a very charming line of windows.
Below the road leads down to the gateway of the temenos. In the
rocks near there are lots of tombs, half rock cut, half built. So down to
the town and inspected the great Deir, 2 houses each one entirely
surrounded by a 2 storied colonnade. A short [sic] of bridge leads
across to a rock cut platform in the walls of which there are loculi - a
very nice place to be buried. Wonderful houses with stables and
colonnades. An odd plan on putting the column directly onto the
voussoirs of the arch, not nice. 3 churches. The SW is quite perfect
but for its roof, one shipped the apse arch in the E wall and the apse
and the 2 chambers built out in a sort of a lean to. The NW is very
large, 3 shipped, the apse and 2 chambers included in the wall which
is therefore square outside and the great apse semicircle built into it.
Here there are elaborate monastic buildings, a fine gate leading into
a chamber or court E of the church and stables. The NE is not so
perfect as the first, 3 shipped, a Greek inscription over the S door
which had a gable roof. The Diaconicum [sic] fallen down, apparently
the Prothesis had a tower. On the hillside there are the remains of a
fine building with an arch and columns. ?tomb? So back to lunch. It
was very hot. An agreeable party called Musa went with me to Katura
where I saw an interesting bicolumniar tomb. In a rocky valley there
are a number of low reliefs in the rock, funereal stele, 1 2 3 and 4
people sitting. Also one tomb with a Greek and Latin inscription and a
recumbent figure above with an outspread eagle over his head. He
was a soldier of the 8th legion. On the Refadi side of the hill another
bicolumniar tomb with square piers instead of columns and niches in
them high up. An inscription with a date on the architrave. Meant to go
to Refadi but the rain began and I returned getting in about 5. Musa is
a Yezidi. They worship the sun every day at dawn, have no churches,
but a sheikh who apparently leads the prayers on important days -
Wed. Fri. and Sunday are lucky days. Thursday unlucky. They marry
one wife only. Very fine stormy sunset all the bare hills a red gold and
the great church changing from grey to gold. Rain.

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