September, 2023



Summer Idyll   :   Northern Cyprus



So, to the airport and on my way via the Departure lounge:




And, arrive at the home of my friends. A warm welcome.




Soon we are off to explore the archeology of Cyprus. There is lots – everyone has invaded them at one time or another: Egyptians, Greece, Romans, the Genoese, French, Venetians, Ottomans, British.   But the archeology goes back 10 K years and includes Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages with dates not dissimilar to our own:




The Kolossi Castle where Richard the Lion Heart was married whilst there on Crusade:





And the Sanctuary of Apollo: now mostly Roman but predated by some centuries:






The Tombs of Kings near Pafos:





More museums to archaeology. Things are so well preserved:






Byzantine churches everywhere with magnificent wall paintings:




Magnificent countryside:



And, then to Famagusta – and its famous Othello castle. It is said that the real Othello on which the Shakespeare play was based lived here:




A strange part of Famagusta: several kilometers of coastal resort – the centre of the fashionable scene in the 1960s – Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren had houses there. The first 7 star hotel. And, then partition of North and South Cyprus in 1974. It is said the message was, ‘drop everything and run’. They did!! Leaving the place frozen in time. Most of its contents have been ransacked and everywhere nature is crawling back in. Even the construction cranes from 1974 are still there, together with shop signs, swimming pools, etc. Just held there like the Marie Celeste. Then, a few month back, a small part was opened again for visitors – under military surveillance though:




Lots of Pool activity from me:




Where I am staying:




But, a day’s work – examining and speaking with research students of the Cyprus International University:





Mosques also everywhere as part of the Islamitisation of Cyprus:




Some churches, in this case the Cathedral of Famagusta, have been converted into a mosque:



We go off track to hunt down an isolated monastery – a 700 year tree outside and still with the vestiges of wall paintings:






And, an exciting Boat trip in front of the Ghost town I referred to above:



Also, discover an old Knights Templar Church in Famagusta:



Then, a long trip to the Eastern most part of Cyprus. Donkeys on the way there had learnt how to stop traffic and ask for food.




There is then a monastery to the Apostle Saint Andrew. It is said that he was shipwrecked there. When he came ashore, he struck his staff into the ground and fresh water came for the.  And still does – I drank some.




Then the furthest East Point: Lands End. Marked by a carving:




Then, a magnificent Sculpture Park. I had never seen such a concentration of contemporary sculpture:






Then final days on my trip:





All the while reading Lindsay Clarke’s extraordinary The Water Theatre: