Strange, we’ve only been gone for three months, and whilst most things are unchanged, yet, there are subtle, and sometimes niggly wee changes.
I strode out today to check on some things. I left our home in the old quarter of the city, following, for me, familiar narrow ways – I can not call them lanes, as they are very narrow, the width of a car and most of these ‘ways’ will never see an automobile as it would be impossible to turn into them.
The houses are all old, courtyard style housing. The homes are surrounded by either the high walls of the dwelling or simply by high walls. There is no notion as to what my be lurking behind the soaring walls. The walls themselves are built of either rough fieldstone or plastered rough fieldstone.
But the entrances are almost universally constructed of dressed stones, often with a lovely stone arch topping the doorway. The residence may be humble and crumbling, but the doorways, even when decrepit with age, look impressive.
I made my way through the maze of narrow lanes and came out just above the location for the ‘cable car base station’.
Many years ago a project was initiated to create a cable car to take tourists from the market streets in the old town to the top of the mountain where they would be treated to an expansive view, cooling breezes and a nice tea house to relax in.
Such was the plan and all was going well, very well indeed – that is until they began excavating for the station in the old town.
After digging down less than a metre the first archeological remains came to light. The deeper they went, the more layers of the ancient city were unveiled. Back, further and further in time as they went deeper. There, at about the 2 ½ or 3 metre level they found several in-situ mosaics.
What to do?
Lift, leave, remove, demolish – all the options were no doubt discussed somewhere – and as the months, and now years lumbered by, these discussions must have been happening very slowly.
Maybe, they raised it because of me… I do not know, but the gate has bars on the top half, so, one can comfortably gaze into the excavation from the gate.
Last autumn, just before we left, I went by, as I do, to observe the progress, if any. Last year the archaeologists had been back; more digging, conservation and stabilisation. Then, as winter approached they did two things. They covered everything in the great excavation pit with tarpaulins – I suppose to protect from the onslaught of winter (for the first time over the years that the excavation has been open). The other thing they did was raise the tin fence around the site so one can no longer peer over the top to see what has been or is being done.
Uh, nothing has changed over the winter…..
As in life, change often comes slowly…