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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

34.7324273, 36.7136959

Thurs 9. [9 March 1905] Exquisite weather. Derwish returned from
here and I did not take another. Mikhail and I started at 7.30 and rode
west to Tell Mendel which is Kadesh on the Orontes ['Asi]. It is a great
mound with the Orontes running round the E side of it, very striking
situation, the wide plain running up into the valley between Lebanon
[Liban, Jebel] and Anti Libanus [Sharqi, Jebel esh (Anti-Lebanon)],
both snow covered, to the north more plain and to the horizon and in
front the Lake of Homs [Hims, Bahrat] 6 miles long. There are several
more of the curious little mounds, partly artificial I shd think. There is at
the foot of Tell Mendel and[?] a very pleasant grassy place with
lakes. I climbed to the top to look at the view. There is a little village
with a few bits of columns and capitals, probably from the Seleucid
Laodecea or after. On the highest point there is a cemetary [sic]. The
inhabitants are very proud of its being the real Tell in contradistinction
to the green mound in the middle of the lake. A quarter of an hour to
the north is the curious artificial tell called the Sefinet Nuh. It is 4
square and oriented to the points of the compass, a great mound an
eighth of a mile square perhaps the angles of the ditch still clear this
being the profile [sketch] at four corners the mound is raised as if
there had been towers. All is covered with corn. Murray says it is
Assyrian. So we rode on to the shores of the lake and lunched, the
water lapping up at my feet. All the edge is covered with shells. At the
end of the lake there is another great mound and a smaller one in the
middle. Another a mile or 2 out of Homs [Hims] and the castle is built
on another. There are others out to the east. A wide plain all corn.
We followed the railway for the last hour. Kseir [Qusayr, Al] 7.30. Tell
Mendel 8.45-9.15. Lunch 11.45-12.25. Homs 2 or a quarter of an hour
after; we bustled rather. I found my camp pitched on a grassy place
by the Serai near a big ruined building. The Kaimakam sent down to
inquire after me. I had tea and a bath and went to see him. He is an
agreeable Turk with a little Arabic, 'Abdur Rahman Bey. He was 6
years at Salt. We drank coffee and the rest of the party, mostly in
turbans interpreted between us. I refused a soldier to go into the town,
but soon found it was necessary to have one for hundreds of people
crowded round me when I went into the mosque, the Jamiet en Nur by
the entrance of the Suk. When I came back the Kaimakam returned
my call and we had a pleasant talk about antiquities. Nice warm
night. I slept without a sleeping bag for the first time. It was coldish
before dawn.

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