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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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1 entry, paper

Tues 2. [2 May 1905] Off at 6.30 after going up into the town to see a
good mosaic pavement in the house of a Greek. It had birds and
animals on it and a central group of figures which I cd not see for
boxes and walls, but apparently classical. The road zigzags up the
hillside. It has fallen into disrepair and I cannot think how carriages
get up it. The old road runs beside it, in[?] rock cut steps, and later we
followed the old pavement up to Olbia. Found the church marked in
Kiepert after 21/2 hours and mapped and photographed it. This took
till 10 and just as I had finished the servants came up, Faris on the
azrak which Fattuh had lent him, bless him! Fattuh was walking and
driving the beasts. We passed through the ruins of Olbia with fine
temple tombs, but all deep in brushwood. The country quite
uninhabited and waterless but the road was full of Yuruks going up to
their Yailas and they gave us milk. I lunched on my horse. The
daphne and the bay in full flower. Higher up the ground was covered
with starch hyacinths. Very beautiful road between rocks and pines.
At [space left blank] Bor we left the road and turned E by a track
through the pines. About an hour brought us to the great tower outside
Ouzounjaburj which is Olba. It has a classic entablature at the top with
low cut [space left blank] and [space] and a pointed roof of great
stones. One small door leads into the ground floor but I cd see no
way of getting up into the upper story [sic]. There was a hole in the
floor through which I cd see the upper story. We got into Olba at about
2 and the servants came in at 3. I found a small camping ground
under the triumphal arch, just big enough for the two tents. Here I sat
and waited for the servants under a flowering pear tree - there were
lots of them - they came in at 3 and in a high wind set about pitching
tents. Fattuh sent me about my business and I set off to photograph,
very unwillingly for I was absurdly tired. There is a charming little
temple of Venus with a very graceful faÁade of columns. The back of
the cella is standing in part and the ground falls away sharply below it.
Then the great temple of Zeus which is imposing but bad in detail.
Hideous capitals such as no Greek wd ever have cut with coarse
spirals among the acanthus leaves. The temple was turned into a
church later, the intercolumninations filled in with walls and an apse
built out of the E end. The church doors in the walls can still be seen,
with relieving arches over the architrave. There are the ruins of a fine
colonnade leading up to the temple. Some of the columns are
standing. They are bracketed. To the S a theatre which is not very
explorable owing to the Yuruks having built their cottages in it. In the
colonnade near it they showed me a large broken prostrate statue - a
Roman warrior, headless. To the E the tower of Teucer with a fine
inscription over the S door. It has a door to the E in the 2nd story. So
back to tea and to rest a little. After which a very miscellaneous
dinner. I breakfasted this morning on chicken soup and rice pudding.
Fattuh can neither read nor write. He began to work at the age of 7 as
a stone breaker. He is delightfully cheerful and goes about his work
at a swinging pace that is good to see.

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