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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

36.1968031, 36.1612344

Sun 9. [9 April 1905] Late in starting owing to my having to settle the
horse bargain. The bay went off screaming and kicking to the last.
Rode my new horse and liked him very much. Off at 7.45 with Mikhail
and my soldier Tahir. Through exquisite country myrtle undergrowth
between the hills, gardens of mulberry and flowering trees. After 3
hours we came to Swedieh. All the houses scattered among the
mulberries. As we rode through the town I was stopped and asked for
my tezkereh for the first time. As it happened I had not even the Vali's
letter but I explained who I was and went on. We took another 3 hours
to ride through Swedieh and down to our camping ground which is at
Chaulik [Chanlik[?]] by the sea. Passed an immense necropolis of
rock cut tombs, rode round the walls and lunched by the old port. It
was 2 by the time we arrived. Took a cheerful Armenian (they are all
Armenians in these villages) and climbed up to all the caves. They
were full of people feeding silk worms. That is the only industry here.
It lasts 2 months and when it is over there is no work at all. Ibrahim
earns 400 piastres a year and has determined to go to America.
They are not allowed to leave the country and have to bribe the
Turkish officials. On the rocky coast to the N there are a series of
guard houses to prevent their going away. There are occasional
rows between them and the Nosairieh. Ibrahim told me of one but as
far as I cd make out the Armenians had begun the stealing. Ibrahim
was imprisoned for it - a year in Aleppo [Halab]. There are a few
fragments of Classical buildings among the mulberries within the walls
but the chief remains are the caves. Those above the town seem to
have been houses or storehouses. A rock cut road runs up the cliff. I
suppose the temple was on the top of it. To the S there is a great
necropolis outside the wall - there are traces of a gate here and a
fortified gorge - with carved sarcophagi. We walked back partly
along the top of the hill. The bay is as lovely as Naples [Napoli] with
the peak of Jebel Lakrah [Akra, Jebel] instead of Vesuvius [Vesuvio].
We came down to see a curious narrow gallery which runs all along
the inside of the face of the cliff, a water conduit I make no doubt. The
wall goes inland on the top of the hill for 6 hours journey Ibrahim said.
His village is up in the N gorge Kabuse is its name. The inhabitants
around are all Nosairiyeh; they don't speak ill of them. In the
mulberries at the foot of the cliff there is a great Zeus statue of baddish
work. Ibrahim said there was another buried near, a woman. I also
saw a temple frieze deep buried and just appearing above the corn.
So we turned up to a wonderful cave of tombs in the N gorge, loculi in
the walls and 2 deep in the floors, a series of caves. Rock cut canopy
tombs, 2 of them, in the entrance, and the ceilings carved with rude
lotus leaves and conches. Conches also above some of the tombs.
A Greek inscription near. All filled with silk worms. So on to the Gariz
which is a huge gallery cut for a stream, most remarkable. Saw an
inscription in the top end beginning Divus Vespasianus, the rest
buried. So back at 6 past the end of the bay where there is a great
cave in an outlying rock, a chamber with 4 rude square columns, all
rock cut, and little chambers leading out - a real cave of the sea gods.
Found my mules just come in and pitched camp in the little N bay. A
spring near full of yellow irises. A few houses, and Judas bushes on
the rocks. Bathed in the sea and went to bed pretty tired.

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