This is the first of a series of short articles on both the antiquities and the geology of the KYRENIA region. The writer is a geologist, so at first the descriptions of ancient buildings will have a bias in favour of the rocks with which they are b Then idea is to link historical time with geological time, as geology is really the history of the Earth going back 4,500 million years-a vary difficult time scale for the human brain to conceive. In Kyrenia, the Castle enables us to look at the remains of at least 800 years of occupation,.
The main features of the exterior are of course the huge round towers built by the Venetians about 1540 AD fig. 1 This was a period of history in which gunpowder, cannon and the use of artillery were being developed for the first time in military operations The old Crusader Castle was altered and huge high walls with round towers at the corners were built. A round tower is far more difficult to demolish with cannon fire than a square tower, and so a new type of military architecture arose in the 16th century. The Venetians built numerous gunports at three levels where cannon fire could be directed against attackers from the land. This is interesting, because it shows that the builders were, above all, afraid of attack from the Cypriots and not from the sea. Inside the castle, huge long ramps were built so that the artillery could be rolled up to the gunports on the walls. In places, the old Crusader walls and towers were modified so that the whole castle was carefully planned to meet a landward attack. However, after all that work a major siege never occurred.
Inside the Venetian castle can be seen the remains of the Crusader castle which belongs to the Middle Ages period in history. It was in use between 1200 AD. and 1479 AD. and in those days attacks were made with bows and arrows, swords, spears and various stone-throwing machines. Hence, to recognise a mediaeval castle, one looks for embattlements, loopholes for arrow slits and usually the square type of tower. Some watch towers were of the horseshoe pattern and the north east tower is a good example. In places, either incorporated in the walls or lying around the ditches, can be seen huge stone balls many being the size of footballs. These are not cannon balls hut were stone missiles used by various machines such as the mangonel or trebuchet. Such a machine is shown in the sketch fig 2 and wouldn't it be a good idea to make a full sized model for the amusement of visitors?
The third, and oldest, castle belongs to the Byzantine period and was in use from 330 A.D. (late Roman times) to I190. A.D. This is rather difficult to distinguish, but the best part is the Byzantine church which dates from about 1170 A.D. For hundreds of years this church stood outside as a conspicuous object until the Venetians enclosed it with their huge north west tower. Nearby, one can see a curious hone-shoe shaped tower inside the Crusader tower which forms the old gateway. This is a Byzantine tower; it is built of rough rubble and is rather small compared with later towers. To see other Byzantine ruins, one must consult the official guide book which gives a plan from which one can identify the three main castles which are: I . Byzantine Castle - 330 A.D. to 1192 A.D. 2. Crusader Castle - 1192 A.D. W 1472 AD. 3. Venetian Castle - 1472 AD. to 1570 AD.
It is believed by archaeologists that the Roman port and castle were to the east of the town on the bay by the old Country Club, now Halk Evi.
Recently, on the cliffs overlooking this bay, excavations revealed the foundations of Roman buildings, and perhaps some day, here, a fine Roman mosaic pavement might be red. The writer thinks that the Roman town underlies the present Turkish cemetery close to the English church.
There is nothing left of the Roman castle, but as far back as 330 B.C. Kyrenia was a busy port, and so the visitor must see the remains of the ancient ship dating from about 370 B.C., now housed in a special building. It is one of the show pieces of Cyprus. In conclusion, I would like to make a special plea for all castle custodians, in all countries, to produce two types of guides. One for the history enthusiast and the other for the general public. The usual guide book is written for serious study, whereas most tourists prefer just to spend an: hour or so in the castle. How often does one see the young man desperately trying to follow with his detailed guide book while his girl friend climb the winding stone stairs "Very distracting" he would say.
The shipwreck museum at Kyrenia Castle was officially opened on Wednesday, March 3rd, 1976 by Mr. Caglar Yasal, Minister of Tourism and Information. Great praise is due to Mr.Nurettin Yardimci, Director of the Department of Antiquities and Museums and to the Castle Custodian, Mr. Mehmet, for producing such an excellent display of the ancient ship, together with the various finds brought up from the bottom of the sea.
There was current gossip last year, among the inhabitants of another part of the island, that this Castle was in ruins, and that all the valuable finds from the shipwreck were scattered and destroyed by bombing. There has been no damage whatsoever, and today, you can see all the amphorae and various objects from the wreck, all tastefully exhibited in modern style. Not like the old fashioned museums that confronted their visitors with rows and rows of flints in numerous glass cases, specially designed to give one a h headache. Within the Castle Museum, this is not so. There is no scattered bric_a_brac, for all is we displayed, with simple explanatory cards in both Turkish and English. Also, the exhibits are displayed so as not to detract from the beauties of the Gothic architecture of the building in which the museum is housed.
Many people are puzzled as to the reason why the wooden ship was so well preserved after lying at the bottom of the sea for more than two thousand years. We all know that sea water is very corrosive to metals, and to furniture in houses by the sea. Actually it is caused by the chemical action produced by bacteria which are far more active on damp objectss exposed to the air. Decay does take place deep down in the sea, but at a much slower rate. When the ship was discovered at a depth of 80 ft it was covered with a few inches of sand and shell debris. This constant "rain" of debris goes on in the sea for millions of years. This is how rocks such as limestone are formed - the process of sedimentation. When you look at the limestone cliffs of Kyrenia, which are some 600 inches high, and remember that only two inches of sand and shells covered the ship after 2,200 years, one can begin to understand the differences between historical and geological time. No doubt the thin deposit of sand helped to preserve the wood.
The writer saw some of the timber brought up by the divers during their underwater archaeology and it was as soft as a sponge. If left to dry it would all have disintegrated into powder within a few months. The ship's wooden hull was placed in a huge tank filled with fresh water which was constantly changed, the idea being to remove all the sea water from the wood cells. Then it was dried and injected with a special plastic type of resin, the work taking nearly two years. How long the ship will last like this is not known.
The boat builders of those days knew that iron nails were useless and so copper nails were used for the timbers. Also, as paint was unknown, the timber, which was Aleppo pine, was sheathed with lead. Jars of almonds were among the most interesting finds, and the carbon derived from them was used for radiometric dating of the ship. Small hand flour mills were used as ballast and they are made of volcanic rock, of a type not found in Cyprus, but on the island of Kos in the Aegean. The writer as a geologist, was asked to identify the rock ballast found in the hull and it is likely that the stones came from a nearby beach in Kyrenia.. The underwater work, the piecing together of all the fragments, and the final writing of the report has amounted to live years work by a group of archaeologists.
A special illustrated pamphlet on the shipwreck, written in Turkish and English, has been produced, and with the well trained and bilingual museum staff, the visitor should come away duly impressed by what must be the outstanding piece of archaeological research ever carried out in all Cyprus. It will surely be one of the major points of interest for visitors to the Island; a great and valuable asset to the tourist industry.
We shall now describe and explain some of the interesting objects of historical interest that can be seen on the water front in Kyrenia today. In a stroll round the harbour, the most striking abject is the stone tower surmounted by a stone pillar. It stands in the water, at the ancient entrance to the port, which was from this point to the position of the present Custom House. Most people come to the conclusion that this structure was once the old lighthouse, but this is not so. Perhaps there was a small light on the top at one time, but historical research has now shown that this stone pedestal had a pillar on top; from which was suspended a heavy iron chain. This was slung right across the port entrance and connected with a windlass in a stone building on the site of the present Custom House. The chain was lowered when hostile ships tried to enter the port. This device of the iron chain was commonly used in controlling shipping in the Bospho- rus and across the river Rhine in Germany, in the old days when castles guarded the routes taken by sailing ships. For more than a thousand years, and even going back to Roman times, the Mediterranean was infested with pirates. This was due to the fact that there were no properly organised state navies, Instead, there were groups of rich merchants in each port who armed themselves in a small way, but above a11 they wanted the ports to be safe and secure from those unsuccessful merchants who decided to get rich quickly by becoming pirates; mediaeval hi- jackers!
The base of the round tower can be reached by a causeway of jumbled stones which probably linked up with a bridge over the moat to the big Castle. You may get your feet wet on the causeway because on some days, the tide runs high, especially when a north westerly wind has been blowing for a few days.
There are tides in the Mediterranean and their extent can measured from the base of the tower - usually only 10 to 20 cms. between high and low tide. 0ne has to step over some carved stone pillars that have came from a temple altar in some Roman building. These are of great value as antiques and should be placed in the grounds of the Castle museum for better preservation. See fig 4.
Gazing upward, one realises that the tower must have been originally cone shaped, which fits in with the idea that it was nothing more than a support structure for the suspension of the chain. The original stone bollard was a Roman column and it is now sunk inside the tower and the pr t pillar is a restored copy. This was done during harbour extension works carried out during the British occupation. In the sketch, fig. 4, another tower can be seen in the background. This was a lighthouse and m the old 19th century entrance to the harbour. It was not a good idea because it is most important for the part to have protection from the prevailing strong north westerly winds.
Of course in the old days there were only sailing ships and rowing boats and these were quite small, smaller than the pre- sent ferry boat. The stone quay where all the pleasure boats are tied up now is a relatively recent feature , for old photographs of about the 1890 period show a rocky beach extending from the Custom House to the Castle. For hundreds of years the merchant sailing boats were hauled up on to the beach by a rope and wind. lass. It consisted of a capstan and axle for winding up the rope which was connected to the boat. The stone axle sockets can be seen on the walls between the Corner Restaurant and the Mara- bou and the sketch, fig. 5, shows their present position. In the old days these sockets were lower down and further apart
Notice the old water spout about the lamp, a very necessary architectural feature in order to keep rainwater off the walls. Sometimes these are made into carved imaged and are known gargoyles, mainly seen on old churches and castles. It was not until the industrial revolution that improved methods of roofing and making iron gutters were devised.
At intervals round the quayside there are stone bollards used to tie up the caiques.
The Director of Antiquities would not allow this to occur today. These columns are made of pure white marble which was imported, probably from Greece, as the white marble quarried near Bellapais is too highly fractured for sculpture.
A few years ago a keen businessman, but unfortunately one of those whose main purpose in life is to develop seaside places into an assortment of concrete boxes, exclaimed, "What! That old castle up there! We must pull it dawn, it's only one stone an
Buildings of the old days are beautiful because .so much was spent on their construction and ornamentation. Notice decorative lamp bracket on the wall in fig. 5. It is really)1y part of an ancient lamp placed there to harmonise with the neighbour ing historical buildings.
Throughout the Crusader Period, from about 1200 A.D. to 1500 A.D., known to historians is the Middle Ages, the Middle East was the focus of caravan routes from India and China. In those times the merchants of Venice, the Venetians, grew very prosperous and the great castle of Kyrenia was built to safe- guard their trade. Soon after there was a great decline in the trade in Kyrenia and all the other ports in the eastern Mediter- ranean. This was caused by the discovery of a new sea route to India by way of South Africa which gave the lead to the co- untries on the Atlantic seaboard. However, trade continued in a small way for another 2U0 years and into Kyrenia came silk, wool, dyes, timber, spices, jewellery etc. The main export trade was in carobs which were in great demand for horse fodder, since horse transport was the chief, method of travel and carting goods. The sketch, fig. 6 shows how the sacks of beans were brought in by cart to the upper storey of the warehouses lining the quay because the streets behind were on a higher level. This is best understood by a stroll along the narrow street by the Folk Museum.
There was a great revival of trade in the late 19th century when the Suez Canal was opened, so once again all these count- ries in the eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus, became important. A new jetty, was built on the western side of the harbour with large blocks of stone which were quarried in the cliffs just to the west of the Rock Hotel. The cliffs here with their man-made caves are well worth a visit and on the seashore nearby can be seen traces of the old slipways where the large caiques were built and launched during this period. (1880 to 1910). While the new stone pier was being built, a light railway was laid down along the water front to carry the stone. The port was dredged 12 .thoroughly early this year to enable the ferry boats to come in and it is during such operations that ancient relics are recovered from the harbour which tell us the sort of activities that went on here in old times. Frequently, large sto- nes with holes drilled through them are found and they were used as stone anchors and capstans. Finding objects like this is often done by beachcombers; this is how much good history can be written and it is really archaeology.
Going back to ships and referring to fig 6 it will be seen that there is an archway between the castle walls and the har- bour. This leads to the castle moat. We all know that a ditch tilled with water will give protection to a castle, but this moat had another use; it was used for repairing ships. The boats were hauled through this archway into the moat, and today this wall- ed up arch in the form of a Gothic structure can be seen bet- ween the Castle entrance and the Harbour Club restaurant. It is shown in fig. 7 and close examination shows the ancient method of making dry stone walls, i.e. by occasional layers of small stones above the bigger ones, just to keep things level. We can still see this done in the surrounding villages.
To the west of the harbour, and close to the children's swings, is a large stone column of great antiquity, for it comes ome Roman temple or building. It is curious that this is ly one of its kind in this locality; all the other stone col- around the town are to be found in ancient churches and marble, but this one is of granite. 'There is no naturally occurring granite in Cyprus, so it was imported. Similar col. umns are to be seen in the ancient Roman city of Salamis near Famagusta and it is difficult to believe that this column has been dragged from there. Probably it belonged to a Roman building near Lapithos where there was the ancient port of Lambousa
In the next section we shall deal with one major topic, the medieval walls of Kyrenia. One of the mast fascinating walks around the town is to explore and trace out where these walls were, by walking from tower to tower. We can finish this artic- le with rather a mild story. Last week, I said to a friend, "`You must buy the Cyprus News, there is a special feature page on the town's antiquities." He replied, "Ý that so, and you really have the cheek to write a11 about us, the British pensioners of Kyrenia." A similar story arose when, some years ago, the arc- haeologist who was in charge of the ancient Greek ship disco- very was about to deliver a lecture on the "ANCIENT SHIP- WRECK OF KYRENIA" and he said there were many other wrecks in this locality.
Throughout the Middle Ages, mainly the Crusader period, from 1200 to 1500 A.D. Kyrenia was a walled town and the townsfolk lived in very small houses, crowded together within the walls. The walls and towers known as the Lusignanian for- tifications, named after the builders, a French family, who controlled the town for over 200 years. With the invention of gunpowder and the use of cannon, these walls were no longer necessary. Gradually, they were pulled down and the stones were used for building better houses. However, three towers were left standing, and today they form part of the tourist att. ractions. A fine example of an ancient city with its mediaeval walls intact is the port of Alanya on the southern coast of Tur- key and about 50 miles due north of Kyrenia.
In order to find out the position of the ancient town walls all we have to do is to walk in straight lines connecting these three towers. î he visitor will find this exercise very rewarding for it is the best way to learn history. City tour begins in the harbour area where there is a small round tower next to the Red Shark restaurant. It is called the Beach tower and is so well preserved that recently it was proposed to convert this historic building into a tourist office, but it might be put to better use as a museum. The sketch, fig. 8 shows that the tower has a peculiar wine glass shape. The purpose of this is not known and we invite readers to have a guess.
Now the walls linking the towers are known as the CUR- TAIN WALLS and the remains of a section can be seen to the right of the sketch. This gives us the direction to follow and it leads W the Custom House, but the ancient tower here has been demolished. This was another beach tower and it housed the great chain which swung across the port entrance to the chain tower in the harbour. We now proceed to the Greek church with its tall belfry tower, and close examination will reveal that it has been built on a rectangular rock base. It is known that on this site was a large square tower but there is now no trace of this except that we note the shape of this rock base does not ht in with the plan of the church.
Proceeding towards the market along a narrow street, we find a very massive tower in among the houses. It is shown in the sketch, fig. 9 and is the most picturesque of all the towers. An old photograph taken in 1891 shows that fields stretched away to the west with hardly any houses. Apparently, even as late as the 19h century most of the people still lived within the walls. The overhanging parapets of this tower are known by the old French word, or Machicolations. They contained slots dawn which stones, hot water etc. were poured on to an enemy attacking the tower with ladders. These overhanging embattle- ments were supported by large stone projections called COR- BELS There were many of these along the walls and on the towers, but the local townsfolk found them very useful for constructing balconies to their houses. It was the custom in the 19th century to have a balcony looking down on to the street, especially if, in the crowded condition of the old town, you had no back garden. There are many of these balconies made of these corbel stones in the side streets of Kyrenia. Also, one must remember that in the old days the masses of people were very poor and in order to build a house cheaply one just used the towers and walls as large quarries where they could obtain the stone blocks already cut in shape. In passing, it should be noted that the base of this tower is becoming a refuse dump and we hope that the Department at Antiquities will take it un- der their protection, for this is one of the good tourist attrac- tions in the town.
The third and largest tower of all is close to the municipal market. (fig. 10) It is built of massive stone blocks, many of which have a bevelled edge which serves no useful function in this tower This indicates that they have come from a more an- cient building, probably from the Roman town of the 3rd and 4th century. A.D. Similar blocks of stone are in the Castle and some have Roman letters carved on them, perhaps the mason's initials. Remnants of the curtain wall are visible here, and this gives the direction to follow to the preceding tower. On the other side, the curtain wall leads to the main gate towers of the town which were situated opposite the Municipal building, but there is no trace left of what must have been a very picturesque gateway.
The exterior of this tower is rather plain, far its machico- ulis have vanished, but a view of the interior reveals that the walls inside are curved and at one time there might have been a dome structure surmounting this tower. This might have been a much later feature which was made when the embattlements were demolished. The entrance to the tower is locked and the key must be obtained from the custodian of the castle, but the interior can be viewed through the railings of the door, and this Is shown fn fig. 11 .
In the next section the location of these three towers will be shown on a map and the curtain walls will be sketched in together with an imaginative view of the town in the 13th century.
A tourist map of any town always shows the main an tiquities to visit and, likewise, our map of Kyrenia will mark the features already described and some others, of which more anon. The map is an invitation to learn history with your feet, not with the motorcar, and prevents that aimless wandering that some tourists indulge in. What exactly are antiquities? In the book trade, anything older than 1830 is regarded as an anti- que, and so in the application of this principle to Kyrenia we have some two thousand years of civilisation imprinted on the urban landscape.
The map, fig. 13 shows the Lusignanian fortifications and the location of other architectural features, to be described in future articles.
Obviously, the harbour, with its focus of commercial acti- vity, was the nucleus of the town and not the high street, far there was none in those days. The Lusignanians planned the for- tifications to withstand attack from land forces, i.e. the local people, the Cypriots, who did not live within the walls. Attack from the sea was not much of a menace, far after all, what could sailing ships do without cannon? The strong points were the towers on the south and west side, and the main gates, which were opposite the present municipal building. The most vulnerable point was the bridge over the inner harbour where the Castle Custodian's office now is. If this were captured, no food supplies could come in, and the castle would soon have to surrender after a siege. There were two Byzantine churches and both are still standing today. A very conspicuous one on a rocky eminence overlooking the harbour and the other oppo- site the Folk museum. The farmer was completely surrounded by the big round tower built by the Venetians in 1540. The map shows that hundreds of years ago there were town planners, but they were military men so that streets and houses confor- med to their military ideas.
The bird's eye/view of Kyrenia round about 1300 AD. shown in fig 14 had to be drawn on the basis of the remaining antiquities and drawings derived from ancient manuscripts. Much historical material about Kyrenia has been derived from one main source, which is a detailed account of the great castle siege of 1374. In the days before cameras, it was very rare for artists to paint pictures of their environment, but the old man- uscript writers produced books which were adorned with mar- ginal sketches of town life. Fig. 14 is imaginative, but what a pretty town it must have been long ago, with no noisy motor cars and skyscraper blocks of flats. The only noise you would hear was the hubbub of sailors' chatter on the quay front, the occasional clank of the harbour chain as it was raised to allow the entry of a boat and a trumpet call from the castle embattle- ments announcing the lowering of the portcullis.
Everyday, the Cypriots came in with their agricultural produce to sell in the market, but they had to be out by sunset when the town gates were closed. Of course, artisans such a blacksmiths, weavers, carpenters etc. lived inside the town itself for the benefit of the French. A second meeting place for people was the market which was not the present one, but lay more towards the main gates. There were no taps in the houses and much tine was spent during the day just fetching water in earthenware jars. Some people dug shallow wells in their back yards but they did not know such pratice was dangerous. There was a hole in the garden which was the lavatory and re- fuse was either thrown into the street or dumped by the town walls. Can you, imagine what it was like on a hat summer even- ing? You would need a gasmask. With contaminated water sup- plies, more than half the babies dies before the age of two; it was a case of survival of the fittest. If you had toothache there was always the blacksmith's son at the market who pulled out the tooth with a crude pair of pliers and without pain killing in- jections. Life was hard indeed, and it is believed that the average- expectancy of life was between 40 and 50 years, at any rate, you did not live long enough to get the diseases that we have with us today.
You will notice in the sketch, fig. 14, travellers coming in- to town with their baggage and donkeys, but all are carrying big sticks and they have daggers concealed in their belts. This was very necessary, as outside the town there was much law- lessness and plenty of robbers waiting for you. When we wish each other, "safe journey" the saying is a .relic of the old times. These travellers are passing along the banks of the same stream that flows past the town cinema today.
Many of the narrow streets survive, and paints of interest will be described later. One busy street today is CAN BULAT formerly Eleftheria street which runs parallel to the ancient ditch which was in front of the western wall, and leads from the market to the Greek church. Part of this ditch can still be seen close to this church.
Looking at a modern map of Cyprus one would like to think that the town of Kyrenia grew up because it was the nearest seaport to the mountain pass leading to Nicosia. This is not so. The origin of Kyrenia is based solely on its harbour and immediate hinterland. Only a hundred years ago, the Nico- sia pass or BOGHAZ was a rocky defile, unimportant to Kyre- nia until proper roads were built and with the coming of horse coaches and then the motor car. When this occurred the high street became the focal point of the town.
Would you have liked to live in Kyrenia in 1300 A.D.? Such a nice pretty town, with its fairy castle. I forgot to mention that there were no electric blankets in those days!
The Turks came to Kyrenia in 1570 and the town remained under their administration until 1878, when there was a break of 96 years until 1974. The Venetians must have been dismayed at losing their mighty castle so soon after they had built it, but the Turkish take-over was accomplished peacefully in Kyrenia, for the Venetians just politely withdrew. Soon after 1580, the mosque was built by a Turkish landowner and general named, Aga Cafer Pasa, and this is the proper name of the Kvrenia Mosque which is shown on fig. 15. The minaret is solidly built of local stone, and since 1974, the buildings and outside have been repaired and tidied up. So, once again, the muezzin calls out the prayer or EZAN five times in 24 hours. Morning, (sa- bah), noon, (ogle), afternoon (ikindi), sunset (aksarn) and night time (yatsi). These are prayer periods rather than stated times. The words sung by the muezzin are in Arabic and here they are with a free translation:-
Allahu ekber Allahu ekber Eshedu enla ilahe illallah Eshedu enla ilahe illallah Eshedu enne muhammeaen resullallah Eshedu enne muhammeden resullallah Hayyales salah Hayyales salah Hayyalel felah Hayyalel felah Allahu ekber Allahu ekber La ilahe illallah.
I know and I let all know that there is only one God to worship. I know and I let all know that Mohammed is the ambassador God.
It is suggested that you write these Arabic words out on a card and the next time you are in the harbour locality you can follow the intonations of the singer, for these will vary with different muezzins.
The mosque was well sited, not only overlooking the har- bour, but close to an ancient spring around which a stone foun- tain was built for feet washing before entering the mosque. Its appearance today is shown in fig. 16 and on the wall above there is a commemorative tablet in ancient Turkish calligraphy. The steps leading up to the main street above were built by a local Turkish administrator in 1876, Abdul Effendi, who was the mayor at that time, and be it noted that his successor was Mayor, Bay Sabri Tahir. in 1974 after the 96 years gap. Anyone who is interested in the early history of Cyprus should visit the Turkish Cypriot National Archives, on the main road, just east of the hospital, where the director is Mr. Mustapha Hasim Al- tan, to whom I am much indebted for the information in this section. However, one must admit that the mosque prayer house is not a very imposing building, but for the glorious examples of Moslem architecture one must visit Isfahan and Shiraz n Iran and also the famous masques of Istanbul.
The oldest Christian church in the town is Chrysopolitissa which is situated nearly opposite the Folk Museum. It is rather an insignificant building but with an interesting, walled up, and sculptured Gothic archway, dating the building as about the 16th century. A hundred years ago the Moslems and Christians in Kyrenia were in almost equal numbers, as shown for ex- ample in 1881, which gives the town's population as 566 Turks and 556 Greeks. The Greeks were mainly sailors and owned most of the caiques in the harbour, whereas the Turks were landowners and farmers. An important point to note is that under Turkish rule, the Greeks were allowed to build their new church of Michael Archangel in 1860, but the bell tower or belfry was not added until 1875, 3 years before the British came to colonise Cyprus. It is also worth noting that the bell was donated by a Mr. Mourapoutis, a well known Turkish resident
Who can accuse the Turks at religious intolerance? The view af the Greek church is shown in fig. 17, drawn at a spot highly favoured by visiting artists, irrespective of creed. It makes a splendid painter's study all resplendent ENT in the morning sun- shine. Outside the church is a marble sarcophagus of the Byzan. tine period and one of those Roman marble columns used as bollards round the harbour.
Perhaps by now, the reader will have realised how the past is the key to the pr t. The origins of the present political situation can be traced back to a hundred years ago. At that time, the Greek sailors in the harbour grew very prosperous when they changed the sails on their caiques and used engines. They became wealthy shipowners, (ever heard of Onassis?) and started buying land from the Turks While this was going on, the Greek church became integrated with education, schools, political parties and the army (after 1963). The Greek Church itself became one of the leading landowners in Cyprus as a re- sult of this situation. In contrast, the Turks made a clear dist- inction between religion and state, religion is not taught in schools, and so mosques never became centres of political acti- vity as we find among the Greeks. Perhaps you may now un- derstand how a Greek priest, without any feeling of gui1t, can give his blessing to a hand grenade.
Reverting to the land ownership situation, a similar case can be illustrated, by the confrontation of the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews of Israel. Over there, rich Jews bought the lands and properties of many Arabs, often under political pressure, i.e. compulsory purchase, thus leaving a landless impoverished class without political power. It is all very well W be wise after the event, but history does at least warn us not r at past mistakes.
Recently in the news was the story of a woman in South Africa who wished to be buried with her vintage car, but ob-- jections were raised by a local museum. She was reviving the fifteen hundred year old custom of burying the dead with their treasured possessions. This custom originated mare than 50,000 years ago, when Palaeolithic Man was buried with his stone hunting weapons. Later, about 4,000 years ago, the kings and nobles of ancient Egypt were buried with all their household goods and jewellery in rock tombs and pyramids. Much later in the Byzantine period, the dead were buried only with their sentimental treasures and a few religious symbols in the form al vases and jars. Today, we only put religious symbols on top of the grave, and outside.
The tombs in Kyrenia were hewn out of the limestone rock which underlies the town, and this practice went on for about seven hundred years, from about 400 AD. to 1100 A.D. These subterranean tombs are called CATACOMBS, and there large area of them west of the small river that flows past the cinema, and in the area between the Dome and Bristol Hotels. This ancient cemetery was called by the Greek name, the NECROPOLIS, and such places were always outside the town, but one must remember that way back in Roman times the town lay more to the east of the castle. Some tombs are well exposed to public view, for example, the cliff cavities that one can see opposite the Greek church at the end of Can Bulat street. Only one Byzantine tomb is open to the public and it is situated along one of the oldest streets in the town that runs past the Folk Mu- seum and the church of Chrysopolitissa (see fig. 18). 'The key of this tomb must be obtained from the custodian at the Castle.,
Now the name Chrysopolitissa provides a clue to hidden tomb treasure, for the name Chrysos means gold in Greek. There are many places outside Kyrenia with this
The trinkets and pieces of pottery found in the tombs are termed by archaeologists "GRAVE GOODS", but usually, when a tomb is opened up, all that one finds are scattered bones and broken pieces of pottery. Evidently, people have been in before It was the ancient custom for these early Christians to acquire a section of limestone cliff to carve out rock tombs for the se- parate .families. After a burial, the tomb would be sealed up, and the entrance concealed; custom made entry forbid dden. However, a few years later, dissatisfied relatives would force an entry and the tomb would be looted. It, for example there was a burial in 700 A.D. then by about 710 A.D. the first looting would take place. Perhaps same five hundred years later it would be broken into again and the place used for a burial in the Middle Ages.
In the past ten years there has been an orgy of building in Kvrenia when huge blacks of flats, hotels and shops have been built. During the excavations many tombs have been discovered, and there are now in all about 70 known tombs in Kyrenia and the suburbs.
When workmen on a building site open up an ancient tomb, they first take some rich pickings far themselves and then telephone the custodian at the Castle about their discovery, as by law they must. He comes along immediately and places a guard on the tomb, while a11 that is left is taken W the Castle museum. Then the tomb is sealed up and lost for ever, or until the block of flats comes dawn in an earthquake! This kind of building site episode has been witnessed by the writer many times in the past few years. These catacombs form the mast extensive group of antiquities in Kyrenia, and it is a pity that so many are concealed below modern buildings. Some shop- keepers are very obliging and may let you see some of the tombs, if they have been preserved, and not filled in. (There is a good one at the Rock Hotel, formerly the Hesperides.)
After 1570, the Turks had their cemetery on the site of the ancient Roman town between St. Andrew's Church and the Halk Evi. (Country Clubhouse) The cemetery is no longer in use, but with its pine trees it forms a very pleasant place to sit and meditate an a hot summer afternoon. In among the trees sands a very interesting stone building with a dome, shown in the sketch fig. 19. This was a place where the bodies were was- hed before burial and the spring for the water is now preserved in a stone building, just below St. Andrew's church. This stone structure is a dome resting on four painted arches in a square plan, and students of architecture should note that this is the same principle used in the construction of the enormous dome at St. Sophia in Istanbul.
The location of this pretty bay is about a few hundred metres east of the Castle and for many y it has been called "COUNTRY CLUB BAY". The clubhouse is now the HALK EVI and perhaps the name, Castle Bay East would be more approp- riate. Whenever the west wind blows and the sea is rough, this is the place for calm water swimming. The dressing cubicles in front of the castle used to be a British rendezvous for morning swims on what is called, "`The Slab" but the place was not po- pular after midday, because of "afternoon shadow." The bay is reached by a road which follows the ancient moat of the Castle, and here one gets a very impressive view of V Venetian military architecture.
In front of the south-eastern tower, and almost within teach of the waves, are the remains of a Byzantine tower which is now just a stump of masonry, from which are protruding a few Roman columns (see sketch fig. 20, for Location). On the cliffs above, and in front of Halk Evi, are a series of pit excavations which were carried out by the Department of Antiquities a few years ago. It proved beyond doubt that the Roman Town of pre- Byzantine times was here on the eastern side of Kyrenia. Frag- ments of these buildings can be seen at the bottom of these pits, but unfortunately they are getting filled in. One hat summer af- ternoon the writer was sitting under the pine trees here, when he picked up a small piece of a possible Roman mosaic floor. Who knows that some day a beautiful R mosaic pave- ment may come to light here, even better than the one Papahos?
The sketch of the bay fig. 20, shows a chain of rocks stretching from the headland (promontory) right across the bay towards the Castle. Some archaeologists have suggested that this was deliberately placed here by the Romans to protect their ships from northerly winds. This theory is very unlikely, as every swimmer in the bay knows how big these rocks are, not even a 100 ton crane could lift them. They are natural rocks forming the remnants of a rocky cliff coastline. There is however a ge. nuine Roman breakwater near the harbour entrance, and today part of it can be seen as part of the modem pier. Thus it is quite reasonable to suppose that there was a R port, but a very small one, in this Castle Bay Fast.
Geology is a very necessary ancillary subject for archaeo- logists and at this stage it is now opportune to give some facts about the local rocks. It helps one to understand the origin of the building stone, the cause of numerous springs and why the catacombs are never more than 15 feet dawn.
The sketch shows that the promontory is composed of ho- rizontal slabs of limestone, about 20 feet thick, with thick underlying clays which are all tilted at a sharp angle. These two sets of rocks provide the key to the understanding of the coastal scenery for the next fifty miles, but more about this in s later chapter. The water from winter rains easily sinks through the vertical cracks in the limestone rock but when it reaches the clay rocks it is sealed off, and can only escape in the form of springs. If you dig about 15 feet dawn anywhere in Kyrenia, you will have your well full of water most of the year but it is useless to go any deeper once you have reached the clay. This explains why it was possible for the townsfolk to have their own private wells in their gardens. They did not know in those far-oft times the danger of using such shallow well-water, for it soon got contaminated from garden rubbish and the "loo" in the garden. So many babies died from this water. that popula- tion explosions did not occur in the Middle Ages! Our present water supply is first class, as it comes from very deep boreholes in the mountain limestoness, but more about this also in later articles.
The clays which underlie the limestones form a soft grey mass in winter; the clay cliffs soon crumble away and slide down into the sea, hence there is nn building development on the clay cliffs. Have you ever noticed the huge gaping cracks in castle walls and stone buildings? And the older they are, the more cracks they have. This is because clay swells in the winter rains, dries and cracks in the summer, and this disturbs the limestoness above, which in turn causes the buildings to lean over and slide about. House buyers, beware!
The place name indicates the presence of gold discovered long ago [chrysos = gold] so let us go and see if there is any left far us. Chrysokava is about one km. east of Kyrenia Castle or about 0.6 km east of the Turkish Naval Memorial. The place is best reached by a road which runs at the rear of the hospital, past Castle Court Flats and the modern Turkish cemetery and on to the Quarries by the seashore. Many visitors find it difficult find. and in a later article a map of the local Kyrenia antiqui. ties will be given.
This place is an empty land, almost devoid of trees, beca- use there is no depth of soil on the limestone rocks which ter- minate in the sea in low rocky cliffs. However, there is great contrast in the display of greenery on the floors af these quar- ries, where the depth of accumulated soil has allowed the deve- lopment of market gardens. They form a great contrast because of the brown wilderness on the cliffs above.
Two thousand years ago the Romans found this a conveni- ent place to quarry their stone for buildings, as it was easy to take the blocks of stone by raft or boat to the castle and har- bour. In fact, all the four castles, Roman, Byzantine, Crusader and Venetian were built of stone from these quarries. Before the days of machines, it was a long and arduous process of ext- racting the stone; it was toiling with pick and shovel, all day, and for days on end, merely to get out a few blocks. At the same time, these workers realised that quarries could make good building sites and so walls and cliffs could be turned into houses. T he evidence far this is seen by the numerous rows of holes in the cliff faces in which timber beams were inserted for roof construction. But you can't live here without water, and there were no springs.
So these energetic quarry workers excavated large stone cisterns to collect rainwater, and one, in a good state of preser- vation, with steps leading dawn is shown in fig. 21.
In such a small seashore community, these early Christians of the late Roman Empire would require a place for worship, so the obvious way was to use the natural cliff face as the church walls and to excavate the interior for an altar. Close to the sea- shore, and rather conspicuous, is an old stone chapel dating from the Middle Ages. It stands at the entrance to a quarry, on the walls of which is sculptured a Byzantine church or shrine. Its exact location is shown in fig. 22. From the kind of stone car- ving and various Christian symbols, it probably dates from about 900 A.D. or even earlier. Looking around this quarry you can see much evidence of habitation and other small shrines, including one which led dawn to an ancient well.
A close up view of this shrine is shown in fig 23 and it offers the visitor a chance to puzzle things out for himself the reasons fur the various niches, cavities and carvings on the walls. Scattered all around these quarries, and along the seas- ore, you can pick up pieces of pottery of all ages, from Byzan- ine to the modern coca cola bottles so the ancient settlement an only be dated by the method of stone working rather than y pottery.
Fig. 22 & 23
About 150 m South of this shrine is another quarry which has a locked gate, but it can be entered by a short tunnel which connects with another well - excavated quarry. The ancient Byzantine church in this quarry (Fig. 24) is much more specta- cular in its carvings, and what is more important is that it has remains of religious paintings an the roof which were partly restored some years ago. Recently, the Antiquities Department (before 1974) bought this quarry from the Turkish owner and put a locked gate at the entrance, and visitors had to take the key from the Custodian at the Castle.
This locality is really an outdoor museum of Byzantie antiqities and is under the control of present Department of Antiquities, for the items here provide us with much knowledge about ancient civilisations. In the same way, the great quarries near Aswan in upper Egypt, from which the great granite obelisks of 1500 BC were extracted, are under protection and are on the list of places for tourists to visit. CYPRUS IS LIKE EGYPT, AN OUTDOOR MUSEUM.
I've almost forgotten about the gold we went to look for. The gold trinkets were looted from the tombs many hundreds of years ago and the remains of these tombs can be seen in the quarries or along the cliffs in a small bay just northwest of the medieval chapel. Potter around, and find out for yourself whether a cavity you are looking at is man made , natural, modern or ancient. DIY in Turkish - Kendi Isini Kendin Yap!
In this section an attempt will be made to correlate rocks with antiquities, and the locality of Chrysokava is chosen because of its natural rock formations and antiquities. Ancient man was not a geologist, yet he knew his geology, for he had the ability to select the most suitable rocks, whether it be a flint implement or a granite obelisk.
The local rock is mainly limestone, but from its appearance it resembles a sandstone, because it is composed of tiny grains. Close examination with a strong hand lens will show that the individual grains consist of microscopic fossil shells, these are called foraminifera and millions of these tiny animals live in the sea today. This kind of limestone is called CALCARENITE and it was originally laid down on the floor or the sea, about half a million years ago. When the land rose, and the rock was dried out, the stresses amd strains resulting from compaction, formed joints and fractures in the rock. The early stone workers took advantage of these when excavating the stone.
Quarrying methods used in Byzantine times were the same as those used in ancient Egypt, fout thousand years ago. In the granite quarries near Aswan in upper Egypt, you can see the holes and grooves which were gouged out into the granite rock. Into the grooves, hard dry wood was bashed in. This was wetted thoroughly, and as the wood swelled and expanded, the force would split the rock into straight fractures. In this way, huge 100 ton blocks of granite were prised out for their obeliss and monuments. All around Chrysokava , on the limestone surface, one can see the same kind of grooves and slots, forming patterns which resemble the foundations of houses. It would be very easy to build houses by inserting planks of wood into the grooves, and this was frequently done. In places, you can see stone steps leading down to a shallow floor, showing that here was a house. The quarry workers constructed a wide mad lead- ing dawn to a jetty, the remains of which can be seen in the bay with the large cave. A sketch of this ancient road is shown in fig. 25.
Have you seen London Bridge, here in Kyrenia? It's just my pet name for a remarkable rock curiosity shown in sketch fig. 26. It is partly natural and partly man made, and originated in this way. Half a million years ago there was a large sand dune here, like Six mile beach today, and the streaks n the pillars of the "bridge" show where the slopes of the dune were. They are really bedding planes, formed when sloping surfaces of the ancient dune were compacted. If you have a pile of sand in your garden, after about ten years, the chemical action of rain- water will harden it, and if you are still around, as a pensioner, in a few hundred years time, your sand dune will have become a sandstone, rack, with its slopes formed in layers like the leaves of a book. In fact, it will be stratified like the pillars of the bridge in fig. 26. When the quarry workers arrived in Chrysokava, they dug out the softer parts of the sandly rock in order to make a passage way for the stone into the next quarry. A lovely bridge, and nature is the architect.
There are many other bizarre pi of rock formation here which y-ou can puzzle out for yourself, but now the question must be raised as to why these places got deserted. Between 700 A.D. and !900 A.D. it was unsafe to live by the coast, because of frequent Arab raids. This is the opinion off by some histori- ans, but t1>ee writer believes that insufficient water supplies for a growing population forced the people to migrate to the foothills of the Kyrenia Mountains where there are abundant springs and better soils to cultivate.
This concludes the sections on the antiquities of Kyrenia and to follow, :will be descriptions of places further afield in the Northern State: places of scenic interest as well as castles and abbeys. Let us hope that any Greeks who read this, will rest as- sured that all the antiquities, including those of early Christian and Byzantine civilisations, are in good order, and without da- mage. They are under the watchful eye of the director of Antiquities and Museums, who is an enthusiast for his subject and puts archaeology first and politics second. A true archaeologist must be above politics second. A true archaeologist must be above politics, and international in his outlook. He is gathering into the castle all valuable and movable antiques, and shortly, a new museum will be opened there. Also, be it noted that the ancient ship, with all its valuable finds, is safe in good order and not damaged.
Finally, to emphasis my point, here , is a story. The writer once attended an international sientific congress, and among many others there were Americans, Russians, and British. The discussions were good and very friendly until a reporter edged his way into the conference hall and asked the American "Are you ahead of the Russians in this field?" A few other politically motivated questions followed. The Russians laughed the American looked blank and the British just showed discomfort. We could not resume our friendly discussions until we had given the reporter the order of the boot.
This mountain top castle dominates the town of Kyrenia and is conspicuously visible for many miles along the coast. Obvio- usly, one would say that it is there as a military fortress, .controlling the mountain pass to Nicosia. However,, as will be shown later, historical r research has shown that its strategic value is weak.
The approach is via the important Nicosia pass or Bogaz, ('Turkish, word far mountain pass) and, an reaching the summit of the col, the road turns off and winds up the mountain with several hairpin bends. En route, one passes fantastic formati- ons in the limestone rocks in the farm of pinnacles, pillars and caves. Some of these pinnacles are almost of mountain size and must have inspired the early builders of St. Hilarion to put up the turrets and towers. These mountain limestones are really a kind of marble with a geological age of at least 100 million years. It is a very hard rock, but so highly fractured that it has led to the formation of these pinnacles; the scenery is bizarre.
As the castle comes into view it appears like a picture out of a book of fairy tales; view in sketch fig. 27. Authors have described it as, "incredible fantastic, spectacular, romantic etc. One is reminded of the hill top castles of Germany and it must be like the show piece of Walt Disney's fairy fairy film, ` SNOW WHITE E AND THE SEVEN DWARFS." There is a magnificent panorama here, for it gives an aerial view of Kyrenia on the plains below, and on clear days in winter the snowy peaks of the Taurus mountains of southern Turkey add to the splendour.
From a distance, the mountain top at 726 metres reveals twin peaks, and the old name far Hilarion was DIDYMUS, Greek word for twins. Each of these peaks has a tower or ruin, and with all the other turrets, towers and walls, it looks as if the whole castle has sprouted out of the rocks. Just before entering, by the Barbican, there is an excellent view of the outer walls with their nine interspacing towers. When the writer was sketching the view shown in fig. 28, he was remin- ded of some forty years ago when sketching the Great Wall of China, forty miles out of Peking. We have here the Great Wall of Cyprus. The towers are all of the horseshoe pattern built with roughly hewn stones and are similar to the Byzantine re- mains in Kyrenia Castle; the date would be about 1050 A.D.
'The details of the various towers and buildings are very complicated, and for these one must consult the official guide book; it would require a full day's study. While the writer was sketching here for four hours, he noticed at least ten parties of visitors, none of whom stayed more than half an hour. 'There are three defending places or "Wards" which form groups of buildings at different levels.
'The Byzantine church is an important item to note and is shown in fig 29. It is built of bricks and stone blocks, and in 1959 it was in danger of collapse but was restored by the Dep- artment of tAntiquities. Traces of anncient religious paintings are visible, and from the style of painting, it is about 1150 A.D. but of course this does not date the church ítself. The church is considered far too large for a castle garrison and historical rec- ords show that originally thìs place was a monastery, founded about 800 A.D. when a monk by the name of Hilarion chose the site for his hermitage. He must have been the earliest "drop out" from the Byzantine rat race. L.ater, perhaps about 1100 A.D., the monastery was converted into a castle. This is the reason why, on strategic grounds, the castle of St. Hilarion does not control the Nicosia pass, because in the first place the entire Site was chosen by a hermit hippy for his hideout. Nev- ertheless, the castle played its part in July 1974, during Ihe battle for control of the important pass. From a backdoor in Kyrenia, one looked up to the mountain which was all aglow with forest fires, but it was the army approachíng the pass from the coast, rather than the castle garrisons which cleared the bogaz.
The castle figured much in medieval times until the Vene- tians, in l490 found it a menace to occupy, for, if Kyrenia be- came besieged, the place would be cut of completely. So, along with the castles of Buffavento and Kantara, it was dismantled and became a glorious picturesque ruin, the process accelerated by the occasional earthquakes.
What is the future of this fairyland? It must remain one of the chief tourist attractions in Cyprus, in fact, the writer regards Hilarion as the most magnificent castle in the Middle East. In addition, the surrounding mountain scenery is by far the best on the entire Kyrenia mountain range. Would it not be a marvellous picnic spot for the people? Even if you are not interested in "old 'stones" the spring flowers here are a joy to behold. It is essential to go by car or taxi to St. Hilarion as it is several miles from the main road.
An old lady from the Dome hotel, in order to save money, took the bus to visit the castle. On alightning at the bus stop at the summit of the pass, she exclaimed, "Why on earth didn't these Byzantine fellows build the wretched castle nearer to the bus stop? Just like them, they never think of the public."
This French place name meaning "Beautiful peace" is engendered by its geographical location in a quiet nook in the foothills of the Kyrenia mountains. It is well off the beaten track and the abbey stands on a natural terrace overlooking the village of Kazaphani. It is reached by a four mile uphill drive. east of Kyrenia, along a tarmac road, constructed specially for tourists, for the abbey is one of the show places of Cyprus.
This is one of the few surviving monuments of monastic architecture in the entire Middle East; a piece of Western Europ- ean antiquity standing isolated in a Moslem and Byzantine world. It is now opportune to be a little didactic and show the main differences between Christian and Moslem architecture. All religious buildings have to be impressive and this can be achieved by HEIGHT. A tall building can be very impressive, provided it displays a distinctive style common to all buildings of the same religion. The mosque demonstrates height by the tall tower of the minaret and the Christian church by the use of the Gothic arch, and this comparison is shown in fig 30. While the churches developed into huge cathedrals, the mosques became equally impressive by increasing the height and number of minarets and building larger domes. The magnificent mosques of Istanbul and Isfahan in Iran share, with the great cathedrals of western Europe, the peak of religious architecture.
In Bellapais Abbey we are confronted with the delights of the Gothic Arch which prompted Lawrence Durrell in "`Bitter Lemons" to name the Kyrenia mountains, "The Gothic Range", a title all geologists will scorn It is useful to know the origin of the Gothic arch. The earliest known example is found near the ruins of ancient Persepolis in Iran, and dates from about 500 B.C., but it was never developed in ISLAM. About sixteen hundred years later, the first Gothic cathedral was built! In fig. 31. it is shown haw the Roman arch, on the shorter side of the oblong building has to be raised to support the mat. However in the case of fig. 31C, where the building is square in plan, a pointed arch is not necessary, Some architects declare that the Gothic arch was derived from the intersection of Roman arches as shown in fig 31A, but this was a much later development in the Norman period of English history. It is unfortunate that so many books on architecture completely ignore the World of Islam,
Fig. 30 & 31 Gothic arches are the d structures in Bellapais abbey and the view a1 the East shown in fig. 32 clearly demonstrates its use to obtain height. One should note that the roof is missing and that the remnants of rib vaults springing from the capitals of the slender stone shafts show what a very high ceiling it supported, Details of the various sculptures and apartments are explained in the officiak guide book. There four main items to note, the fortified gateway, the cloisters refectory and church. The fortified gateway with its machicolated parapet indicates that the monastery must have been subject t attack. In the Middle Ages, the Church was a wealthy landowner and the treasures in the abbey would be a rich prize for pirates lurking along the coast. No doubt the Genoese and Venetians brought down wagon loads of loot in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The cloisters with their ruined facade of elegant Gothic arches form the subject of colour photographs in all the tourist "handouts". The brilliant flower gardens and deep green of the cypress tree, as seen through the fragments of stone tracery, provide the ideal composition for the colour slide. We owe much of this contrasting beauty to a remarkable custodian, Kostas Kollis, who in 1940 planted the tall cypress trees which we now see shooting up above the cloisters. He was an enthus- iastic gardener and it was his "green fingers" that carefully planned the magnificent flower garden which produces a blaze of colour in among the grey mediaeval masonry. The marble sarcophagus nearby, and the large marble column in the chapter house, indicate the presence of a notable Roman building or temple that was here about 200 A.D.
The Refectory is the large hall where the monks dined and the pulpit on the north wall is where the M o nk delivered the prayers at assembly. This hall also shows the rib vaulting, but here the ceiling is very well preserved and makes this the finest example of a Gothic hall in Cyp-us. The church, which is still in use, dates from about l200 A.D. and has some well pre- served religious paintings.
The monastery was built about 1205 A.D. and was inhabited 5y monks up to about 1540 the time of the Venetian occupation of Cyprus. Records of that time reveal haw degenerate the lives of the monks had become, for the monks had made the abbey a centre for experimental polygamy This hastened its downfall, and, by 1570, Bellapais abbey was a ruin.
How peaceful it is to sit and drink in the "TREE OF IDLENESS bar, just opposite the Abbey, where one can hear afar off the braying of a donkey, the tinkling of goat bells and occasional bursts of coffee shop chatter. All around, you e a wonderful display of greenery because those monks chose a site for their monastery with a copious mountain spring .Then the elderly tourists of the l970's exclaimed. "We must retire here in peace. We have sunshine. low taxation and orange galore." Now the villagers overheard this and the exclaimed "We're ! I in " n a few days their tiny fields valued at few Cyprus pounds now became valued at several thousand pounds apiece.
The sharks were sighted, the developers moved in, and, by 1971. Bellabayis had become a place of retirement for foreign- en. And now a new word>rd appeared, "THE COMPLEX'- a group of flats and villas built close together to resemble a nice little village. On the west side of Bellabayis village the Ambelia complex sprang up in 1973. It was an imitation of the old village style. for there the old peasants' houses with their a arcaded balconies stagger up the hillside and really harmonise with the landscape. In spite of all the ugliness that one associates with developers, their concrete boxes and skyscraper flats, it must be admitted that they did a good job with Ambelia. The old village was not destroyed, but a very pleasant place was built close by. Cyprus will be saved from uglification s long as villas are built in the traditional Cyprus style,
A castle as a defensive site an a hilltop is there because from the law of gravity, it is easier to throw a missile dawn than upwards. As a result, castles are very conspicuous; there was no aerial bombardment so camouflage was unnecessary. From the seaward side Buffavento castle is scarcely visible, because it was impossible to build on the north side on account of the pre- cipitnus cliffs that flank the summit. To view the castle we must go to the south or Nicosia side. How to get there is quite a problem. Before 1974, parties of tourists from Kyrenia motored. to Bellapais and there donkeys were hired. After a two hour trek to the foot of the mountain, the dankeys were tethered and a final assault by foot was made on the southern side. The alternative route is to tackle the mounrain by first motoring through the Nicosia pass to Koutsovendis, but you still have to face the stiff half-hour climb. Recently, a very good suggestion was made to reconstruct an aerial cable way to Hilarion, but Buffa- vento is a far more deserving case.
The castle is not particularly impressive in comparison with Hilarion, but the trip is will worth while for the mountaineering, experience. It has no architectural features by which it can be properly dated and it was first mentioned in the time of Richard's crusade, 1191 A.D. A certain king James of Cyprus imprisoned two brothers there in 1390; but, in fact, our knowledge of the castle is so scanty that the Deparlment of Antiquities has not even produced a booklet on it. It is obvious that the three castles of Hilarian, Buffavento and Kantara form a series of commanding fortresses built as a defensive measure against Arab raids, in which case, Buffavento pmbably dates from the late Byzantine period.
The view of the castle from the southern side is the more impressive, and this is shown in fig. 33. It is a miniature editiion of Hilarion, having an upper and lower ward i.e. an upper and lower castle, and each one following the contour of the base in picturesque fashion. The ruins consist of a f fragmentary ruined stone cisterns. One wonders what the motive was to live up here in this remote spot, without electric blankets and tele vision! It was only in recent years that a custodian w installed here, but it is a waste of manpower, for many days pass with- out any visitors. Even in summer, people are not keen to toil up the mountain in the heat; winter is the best time for Buffavento and the views are clearer.
The Kyrenia range presents contrasting views from the northern and southern sides: on the latter it appears like a tame range of hills, whereas from the seaward side the range presents a rugged grandeur. Buffavento is the second highest peak of the range, but it is the most spectacular, because of its huge pedestal-like stump that makes it majestic. A rather apathetic tourist was heard to remark, "We went up Buffavento. We saw a lot of old stones and they hurt my poor feet" As you can see from fig. 33 this is no place for stilletto heels. In the foreground of fig. 33 can be seen a ravine or trench in among the rocks and this is thø typical feature that confronts mountaineers all along the Kyrenia Range. They do not provide nice continuous path for donkeys because the way is often hlocked by huge masses of rock that have to be negotiated "on all fours". Donkeys are not fools, and when they become irritated with your treatment of them, they will craftly choose a cleft in the rock to jostle you off; then you are a stretcher case. Take a donkey that knows the path well, for otherwise he may say to himself, "l've not been here before, and I'm not going there now.' decide on a donkey assault take a second look at fig. 33.
The reason for the ravines in explained in fig. 34. The t masses of limestone are in vertical layers like the upright books an a shelf, and geologists say that the rocks have a vertical structure, and the spaces between the layers are fissures. From the diagram it is shown that deep down the fissures are only of paper width, but at the surface where the pressure is less, they are gaping wide and large enough for people to pass through. Inevitably rocks will tumble dawn into these grooves, soil will collect there, and so the pine and cypress trees can take root. Now the Chinese have recently discovered that when an earthquake is about to take place these fissures have been widening in the previous years, so by c carefully measuring them to see if they are gradually opening, even by as little as a few millimetres a year, a forecast can be made. Now, wouldn't that be a marvellous job for the custodians of the three great castles on the mountain crest? They would be earthquake watchers.
If you look at the mountain stump from the coastal plains it will be noticed that one half is of white rock, marble, while the other, or southern half is a dull grey, a kind of limestone called dolomite; but this is enough geology for today. To the moun- taineer, the historian or the ordinary tourist, I wauld just say - "'Go up, it is worth it!"
The period in history called BYZANTINE, was from about 400 AD. to 1000 A.D. and in the latter part of that period there were extensive Arab raids from the east an to the northern coast of Cyprus. The castles of Kyrenia Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara were built as defensive sites, and the last one, Kantara remote from all the others. It lies astride the rocky crest of the range in the locality where the Kyrenia range becomes a subdued range of hills which continues eastwards to form the KArpas peninsula. It is about 45 miles from Kyrenia and you can travel via the Nicosia pass to ISKELE or take the coastal road via MERSINLIK Make it a day's picnic, and don't for to take your sunglasses, as you will have the sun in your eyes all the way back in the late afternoon. The castle is about 33 miles from F Famagusta, and it is likely that it was garrisoned from this seaport
Very little is known about the castle and it is first men- tioned in 1191 during the time of Richard's Crusade. For five hundred years it was occupied in both the Frankish and Venetian periods. Finally, the Venetians of Famagusta abandoned the castle in 1525 owing to its remoteness, and thus for five hundred years it has been, a ruin. Not quite so picturesque as Hilarion nevertheless the view from the eastern side shown in fig. 35, will) enable the visitor to obtain a lovely colour slide, but it must be taken early in the morning. Nothing is left of the early Byzantine castle, and all the ruins date from about the 13th century. There are the usual crumbling walls, ruined towers, embattlements and a rather massive barbican; all are extensive enough to warrant a permanent custodian. As one visitor remarked "When you have seen one castle you have seen them all." There is some truth in this statement, but only in the case of Kantara, because here, we do not see the great variety in styles of castle building that we see in Hilarion or Kyrenia, where each period, Byzantine, Crusader and Venetian has left its mark. In Kantara, the ruins date from the ' , and the official guide book has not much to offer. Here is an extract."
"After the defeat of the supporters of the Frederick 2nd, in the battle of Nicosia on the 14th July 1229 by the faithful to King Henry 1st (1218-1243) under the leader- ship of Regent John d'Ibelin, one of the four leaders of the pro-German party, Gauvain de Chenichy took refuge at Kan- tara castle;.... How many visitors could find interest in such a bald historical statement? About one in ten thousand While the historian searches for details in ancient manuscripts from a comfortable armchair, the archaeologist will be delving into the rubbish from a filled-in mediaeval well From his finds, he will no doubt find out something about haw the occupants lived in this castle, and this is what most people are really interested in, not the family intrigues of rival feudal barons, their petty wars and arranged marriages. Archaeology is history with a spade, and much good work has been done in Kyrenia castle: hence the guide bok for that place is far more interesting.
The visitor will soon forget about the details in the guide book and spend much more time gazing at the glorious view from the castle walls. From there we can see both "sides" of Cyprus at once; to the North, the greenery of olive and carob trees stretching down to the seashore, and in contrast, the semi arid plains of the Measure, with F Famagusta in the distance. Eastwards, we see the low hills of the Karpas peninsula, called the Cyprus panhandle, and again another contrast, for looking to the west, we see the Kyrenia range rising to majestic peaks, the outstanding one being Buffavento, some thirty miles away.
All castles fall into ruin very rapidly as soon as they are unoccupied, mainly for two reasons. Local f s treat the place as an easy quarry for building stone. Secondly, when walls have their coping or cornice removed, weathering processes' soon detach the stones in the wall and they come tumbling down. To protect a castle, all the walls and towers must have coping on top, cementing is only a temporary m measure. (See explanatory sketches, fig. 36) If money can be spared, then archaeologists should set to work in Kantara and then we could have a much more interesting guide book.
The writer was visiting a large mediaeval castle, some years ago and hðis companion was a doctor. He had just read in the medical journal that the products of human waste are rich in nitrogen and the high concentration of this in the soil results in only one plant that can tolerate such conditions. In north west Europe, it is the stinging nettle. This concentration lingers on for hundreds of years, and lo and behold, we came to clumps pf nettles at a corner in the castle where the ancient latrines were situated.
Now see if you can locate the medieval latrines in Kantara castle, no. 13 in the official guide book plan!
Situated on a rocky promontaory at 6 1/2 miles beach, east of Kyrenia is a very ancient village site which was occupied between 4,000 BC and 3,000 BC and known to archaeologists as AYIOS EPIKTITOS VRYSI (CATALKOY fig 37 is a view of this headland and it shows how marine erosion has undercut the cliff whic will ultýimately destroy this important excavation.
This is a Neolithic sitte and beloýngs to a period in the history of MAN when he progressed from the old palaeolithic hunting ways of life to a better living that could be had by cultivatþng crops, domesticating animals, making pottery and weaving cloth. The occupants of this settlement had no written language and can be regarded as prehistorical.
A preliminary investigation was made in 1969, and much use was made of aerial photography in planning the excavations, which began in 1972 and continued in 1973. A team of scientists and students from the universities of Glasgow and Birmingham were engaged in the digging. In all, there would be some 30 workers at a time, all very busy in the long hot summer, excavating the soil which covered the ancient houses to a depth of 7 metres. Yet, only some six houses are now exposed to view, and there still remain a good many more that are still buried. The writer spoke to one university lecturer who spent all his time laboriously sifting the soil in search of the carbonised seeds of cereals and polled grains which revealed much informationn about the crops and wild plants that grew here, six thousand years ago. He said that the history of agriculture had much bearing on modern agricultural problems in Cyprus.
The finds included 62,000 fragments of painted pottery (called sherds) and one thousand small objects, all of which have been classified and are now stored in Kyrenia Castle. The objects included stone lamps, grinders, hammerstones, stone pillar figur- ines representing a form of cult or religious worship, and, most curious of all, about 250 bane needles. There were no sewing machines. From these finds it is deduced that the weaving of woollen cloth rather than fishing was the main activity as the numbers of stone spindle whorls were far greater than the presumed fishhooks which were found on the floors.
Archaeologists have shown that these Neolithic folk selected this headland, where, awing to the depth of soil, t)hey could ex- cavate hollows, into which they could build their stone houses. In plan, the houses are a rough oblong shape with round cor- ners, separated by narrow passages and an occasional yard. Floors were of plant fibres and the roof of reed thatch was sup- ported by wooden beams, Monocellular dwellings is an apt term as there was only one room. It is believed that the idea of build- ing these houses in deep hollows was for protection against the winds from the sea rather than for defence; in fact, the part of the village so far exposed is almost subterranean. The soil which filled up the houses to roof top level was well stra- tified, and it is suggested that later settlements were built on the remains of earlier houses. In the right hand corner of fig. 38 can be seen the tops of the latest stone dwellings but visitors are not allowed to walk over the walls and into the houses; if this were allowed the walls would soon crumble away and the site would be destroyed in one year. Hence, the notice which is shown in the sketch fig. 38.
Fig. 37 refers to the many changes of sea level that have occurred in the last 10,000 years. This has been partly due to the melting of the great polar ice caps at the end of the last Ice Age. As all this ice melted, the sea level began to rise about ten thousand years ago. This is how the English channel and the Thames estuary were formed, for it was a world wide event. However, it occurred in an oscillatory fashion, sometimes the sea was rising and then it slipped back a little. Perhaps about 3,000 B. C. the rising sea level led to wave attack on the faun- dations of these houses, so it was abandoned at about that time. (See A in fig. 38 )
The dating of this settlement was done in two entirely dif- ferent ways. First, the painted pottery sherds are similar to those found on known Neolithic sites in the geographical re- g1011 ANATOLIA There are also similarities with finds in sin locality of Cilicia, and the name C ilicia is given to a kind of cloth. It is, in fact, quite likely that these Neolithic settlers came from Cilicia, in Turkey.
Secondly, charcoal taken from the hearths in the houses was used in a radiometric method of dating, called the carbon 14 method. Thus with these two totally different methods of dating we can assign this Neolithic occupation site as occurring . be- tween 4,000 and 3,000 B.C., about 6 thousand years ago. It was an isolated community, peacefully weaving wool, crops, and practising animal husbandry. Their nearest neigh- bours were at Troulli, along the coast 6 km to the east. will be the subject of the next article)
Cynical people call archaeology, "bones and stones", Nowadays, it is considered quite an intellectual pursuit W "go an a dig." The popularity of archaeology in Britain is largely due to such television characters as Sir Mortimer Wheel Glyn Daniels. Let us not forget, however, that every country, and this includes Turkey, has its band of enthusiasts who ,get the masses of people interested in "digs" through television, r and up-to-date museums. A visit to a museum should always be followed up by an outdoor excursion and nowhere does this apply so well as here in Cyprus, and we now restate our slogan, "CYPUS IS AN OUTDOOR MUSEUM."
There is no village or settlement at Troulli, it is just the name of a picturesque bay 10 miles(16 km) east of Kyrenia. It provides much interest for the rock and pebble collector, the archaeologist, the marine biologist, cave explorer and for those who want picnicking combined with swimming, As a nature lover the writer has some misgivings about making this place public awing to the latent danger of giving temptations to de- velopers but is glad to realise that there is no road dawn to the beach. If a visitor to Cyprus only had one day to "do" the nort- hern coast, this is the place to visit, for it typifies a11 the main scenic attractions along a hundred mile stretch of coastline: or as the geologists would say, "it is the type area."
The outstanding feature of Troulli is the isolated rocky crag, resembling a castle ruin, which stands out like a sentinel to make a prominent landmark for both sailor and shepherd. The geographical term for this conical hill with a flat tap is butte or mesa and a general view is shown in fig 39. It is separa- ted from the cliff escarpment that fringes the coastline by an area of ancient sand dunes, now fixed by vegetation. In the past, the butte has been an island and has become joined to the main- land by the sand dunes. It is obvious that it has originated as an eroded fragment of the cliffs and has become detached by ma- rine erosion. The height of the mesa is 25 metres, the same as the cliffs opposite.
The visitor should have noticed that the ten mile trip from Kyrenia is mainly aver a natural terrace, the Kyrenìa terrace which terminates at the sea in a cliff escarpment. The rock for- ming the limestone cliffs is that granular kind of limestone cal- led calcarenite, the most comon rrock all along the coast. These cliffs, shown in fig: 39, are not very high, but one must exercise h to the beach. On the way down you over quite a different set of rocks that are often sculptured into bizarre shapes. This is a khaki coloured sandstone which f the bulk of the conical hill opposite, but of course the cap rock of the butte is calcarenite. Much of the area has been colon by the evergreen shrub called SKINIA and its greenery ad the beauty of the place, although the shepherds find its growth lessens the pasture available for goats and seep, Fringing the beach are some low cliffs of another type of calcarenite which shows a different kind of sculpture derived from the erosive effect of salt spray. These cliffs are shown in the f foreground of fig. 40.
What has been the imprint of MAN on this landscape? For hundreds of years local peasant gossip said that the butte hill top was a royal tomb. and so, from time to time, peasant digs were organised in search of gold. About ten years ago, a Swed- ish archaeological expedition excavated close to the cave at the summit, and at a depth of S1/2 metres the remains of a stone house similar to those found at Ayias Epiktitos Vrysi, were fo- und. At the lowest levels of the "dig" only stone tools and stone vessel were discovered. They belong to the Neolithic A period, when Man had not yet discovered the art of making pottery, yet knew crop cultivation and the domestication of animals. This time was about 5000 B.C. and these finds represent the artifacts of the first settlers in Cyprus, the so ca)called aceramic period. At higher levels in the "`dig", red and white painted pottery sherds were found and this would be the Neolithic B period, about 4,000 B.C. You can still pick up many pieces of this red and white pottery on the butte, the results of the Swedish "dig".
Close to the beach you can see a group of large stones in the sea, which have a crude arcuate pattern; the location is shown in fig. 39. Obviously, this is a man made feature and it is believed that this is a Neolithic harbour which makes it the old- est of its kind in Cyprus. This theory is more convincing when the rocks are viewed from the hilltop.
Just below the calcarenite cliffs opposite the hill, and un der the main escarpment, are many natural caves which have been used as shelters for farm animals perhaps for thousands of years. The caves occur at the junction of the two sets of rocks, the limestone calcerenite and the khaki coloured sand- stone. The early Neolithic farmers had no iron ploughs, only those of wood, and so the light soils an the ancient dunes would be ideal for their ploughs. Tiny fields were enclosed by stone ramparts built with huge stones, and this kind of megalithic building was never done at later periods. These are called cyclo- pean walls and they are shown in the sketch fig. 40. Similar walls can be seen in Crete in the ruins of the ancient Minoan civilisation, about 1500 B.C. The walls here are still in use but of course the small stones of the dry stone walling method are superimposed. The evidence seems o show that this locality was in continuous occupation for some seven thousand years.
Thus there are many things here which demonstrate the antiquity of MAN in Cyprus and it is hoped that readers will agree that beautiful stretches of scenery are not in the themselves sufficient to be mentally satisfying; for historical associations greatly increase the interest in a place The human mind cannot live entirely on a diet of snowy peaks, yellow sands and coral reefs In the new countries like Australia and New Zealand they have all types of wonderful natural scenery, but the people "dawn under"' all lave to see Europe and the Mediterranean which has the imprints of past civilisations to offer; and those Neolithic folk of Troulli were civilised.
Unfortunately, it is now necessary to obtain permission to visit Troulli, as an electricity generating station has constructed closeby.
There is no official name to this place, other than "16 MILE BEACH , in the same way as many beaches along the coast were named by the British in colonial days. It lies 24 km east of Kyrenia along the main road, just before reaching Ayios Amv- rosios. (Esentepe) Nature lovers will be delighted t know that there is no road down to the beach or cove, only a donkey track which leads from the 16th mile post dawn to the sea.
The attraction here is another large exhibit of our outdoor museum, a deserted town ,named in terms of folk lore, "Ancient Kharcha '. Although resident some eight years in Cyprus, the writer was unaware of its existence until a friend, Mr, Azmi Avaroglu related stories of his boyhood days, when villagers from Kharcha came to dig for gold in the catacombs. However the place could be ancient Ayios Amvrossios.
Towards the sea, and about 300 m from the milepost, is a well preserved Byzantine tomb and a sketch of the entrance is shown in fig. 41 . The stone steps lead dawn to eight subterra. nean chambers, all hewn out of the solid rock with r remarkable precision for the crude tools of those days. The tomb architec- ture is exactly the same as in the catacombs of Kyrenia, even the same tool markings can be seen above arched entrance see fig. 41. There are a number of other tombs here, whose ent- rances are concealed by the evergreen shrub, "Skinia" with the entrances blocked by large stones. This necropolis is a sure sign of a near-by Byzantine town.
Continuing towards the sea we come to fields with piles of stones in the v, or piled up to form field boundaries, and close examination reveals that they must have come from build- ings. Here there are several ancient quarries where the work- ings have been converted into small rectangular houses, one of which is shown in fig. 42. We are now on the outskirts of the ancient town and between the quarries arid the cove is a small flat piece of land strewn with stones and masses of pottery sherds of all ages, ranging from Byzantine, through mediaeval to the pre plastic era of 50 years ago. There is no need to be a pottery expert to come to the conclusion that this place was occupied from about the 7th century AD. to the last few hund- red years. The theory of continuous occupation from Roman to mediaeval times is supported by the presence of another nec- ropolis, of a different type, close to the cliffs on the east. Here there are piles of stones in heaps concealed by "skinia" bushes, with here and there carved stones that seem to be of a much later date, but they are not catacombs. Visitors to Cyprus al- ways remark about so much pottery sherds lying about the co- untryside. This is because it was only in the last 50 years that taps appeared in village houses . Formerly, all water had be carried in earthenware pots and the village pottery industry was very important, an this has now passed on into a tourist
Close to the quarries, and skirting the eastern side of the deserted town, is a wall which is partly a natural rock scarp, and close by are several large stone cisters, all hewn out of the so- lid rock. No doubt this was the town's main water supply, and it could be that, after a succession of dry winters, these tanks would run dry, and a mass exodus of villagers would have oc- curred. The obvious place for them to go was inland, to the foot of the mountains, where copious springs flowed all the year round .
An ancient trackway shows the marks of much traffic and leads down to the beach by a series of stone cut steps. From the carved stonework, it is easy to imagine that the boat jetty was here. One must be able to distinguish between the queer shaped stones caused by the natural agency of marine erosion and those stones where holes have been deliberately made to enable boats to tie up. About one km to the east, an ancient trackway leads down to a possible second boat landing place, and here there is a large stone pierced with holes. An old-time sailor used to rel- ate that in the old days, twelve miles a day was enough far the galley slaves to row; hence we can find ancient harbours at about this interval all along the northern c t of Cyprus. This theory ought to be testes however.
Why did the people do a mass exodus from this place? Historians of the Western World, who glorify the Crusades, in- variably give the r as the frequent Arab .raids along the coast here in, the 17th, 8th and 9th centuries A.D. The writer suggests that changes of climate causing failure of the water supply would force coastal settlements to move further inland, towards the mountains, where there are more copious springs. It must also be borne in mind that it is believed that in Roman times Cyprus was more populated than it is today.
Karakoumi Bay (Karakum) is not the village beach; but is about 1 km to the east, where a track leads down to a tiny sandy bay or cove. 5ince 1974, it has become a popular bathing spot because of its easy access being only 2 miles east of Kyrenia It is secluded and unspoilt because cars cannot reach the beach and must be left by the main road.
On the western side of the cove and on the rock surface is a series of rectangular patterns of grooves and ridges which are ancient quarry workings. From the style of working and by comparison with similar markings at Chrysokava, they are pro- bably Byzantine, The exact location, is shown in fig. 43, and higher up to the left there are many pottery shreds of all ages, from Byzantine and Mediaeval to modern. It it doubtful whether these quarry workings were ever converted into houses as all traces of settlement, other than the pottery, have disappeared.
Wherever there are ancient quarries by the sea, we must look for ancient harbours or jetties, for in those far off days it was much easier to transport heavy stone by sea to Kyrenia rat- her than by carts overland. It was well known by the ancients that a horse and cart can only carry one ton, whereas the power from one horse will pull a barge of 70 tons weight, so quarries were opened up near the sea, and as there was much demand for stone in ancient Kyrenia both for houses and castles, boats or rafts were used. Just ponder over the massive walls of the castle in Kyrenia, often ten feet thick, which would require enormous amounts of stone. Close to the beach, the emplacement of stones in the water seem to be a man made feature. (See fig 43 ) Probably this is the ancient landing place for boats long ago, but one must remember that the gales of over 1,000 winters must have displaced many of the stones and also one must consider the changes of sea level that have occurred even n historical times,
The sketch shows haw the stepped nature of the rising ground above the beach reveals the ancient beaches at higher levels. At one point the pebbles of one beach are strewn around, It is unlikely that some one has dumped them there merely to confuse the geologist. Swimming with mask and snorkel tube only a few hundred yards out to sea, one can see an old line in about 6 feet of water one may see a broken amphora lying on the sea bottom. It is not necessary to explain the reasons for all these changes of sea level, but merely to note that it must have had great influence on bath the harbours and the way off life off the inhabitants. Historians believe that in Greco-Roman times the population of Cyprus was about one million and most people lived by the coast.
The coastline is picturesque because it has variety, which in turn is produced by two sets of rocks, each with its own characteristic form of weathering. A much better appreciation of scenery can be obtained by knowing something about these rocks without being a geologist. Imagine we cut out a piece of the Earth's crust here, with a knife so as to form an oblong piece of cake, then this will reveal the rocks that from high and low ground etc. Such a block diagram is shown in fig. 44 annd from it we can see the two sets of rocks and how different they are in structure. We have the calcarenite limestone forming the upper crust and below this are massive clay rocks. Their names and ages are merely inserted for those raeders who want to delve more deeply into the subject. This block diagram is really a bird's eye view of Karakouumi Bay, a simpified landscape drawing, from whch it is now obvious that the bay has been formed by the sea eating into the soft rocks, while at the samø time huge blocks of the upper crust have tumbled down. It looks as though they have all fallen down in one huge earth shake; in fact, we may be looking at a fossil earthquake. Now all the features that we see displayed here can be seen all along the coast tor nearly 100 miles.
We can now lonk into the future of this sandy cove, because as the sea progressively eats into the clays, there will be more tumbling of the rocks above, which will fall down on to the sand and then the beach will be like the jumbled cliffs to the left of the block diagram Don't worry, you have plenty of time to come here and enjoy the swimming, unless anothes earthqu- ake happens. Our lifetime on this Earth is a mere flash in geological time.
This chapter is mainly for beachcombers, the sort of people who like to potter around the beach, picking up things and generally satisfying their curiosity. On some beaches along the northern coast of Cyprus are rectangular shaped tanks cut into the solid rock of the foreshore and with exit channels leading into the sea. You will not see them on the sandy and pebbly beaches, for there, there is no foundation rock in which to cut them. In any case, these ancient fish tanks are only found close to ancient ports dating from Roman times.
In Cyprus, two thousand years ago, most of the people lived along the coast where they engaged in trading with the Aegean islands and the ports of southern Turkey. Some were fishermen who had to solve the problem of keeping fish fresh, close to the market. In those far off days, there were no refrigerators and so they tried to keep their fish alive in large stone tanks, in the same way as we keep goldfish in our homes today. Of course, they soon found that the fish died if the water was not kept cool and fresh and constantly renewed. These tanks were cut into the solid limestone rock of the foreshore, but exactly how the fishermen kept them alive in their boats, is not known, nor did they engage in fish breeding tanks.
They took advantage of the prevailing winds and tides to drive the sea water along intake channels into the tanks. These channels led into the sea in a north-westerly direction while easterly orientated channels provided exit passages far the stale hot sea water. In sum- mer, as we all known, sea water in small pools can become quite hot. The Mediterranean is not a tideless sea, but the tides are weak, never much more than 20 cm, depending on the phase of the Moon and the strong winds which tend to pile up water along the northern coast of Cyprus. The Roman fishermen found that sluice gates were necessary an account of these tides, and it also gave them better control over the water intake. (fig 48) One of the finest examples in the Middle East of these ancient fish tanks is to be seen close to the ancient Roman seaport town of Lambousa. This is situated about I 5 km west of Girne, and can be reached easily by foot, by following the sea shore 1/2 km west of the Mare Monte Hotel. The ancient port lies 2 km north of Lapta village.
The sketch map, fig. 45, shows a jetty which, in part, is ancient Roman and formed the harbour of the ancient town of Lambousa which lies to the south and west. You can walk over the ruins of the houses, mostly about 2,000 y years old, but it becomes rather tiring, because the foundations of all the houses have huge piles of rubble churned up by treasure seekers. Treasure hunting in Cyprus has gone on for over a thousand years, and even today, most villages of Cyprus have some local treasure digger. Why do they do this? For two thousand years there were no banks, and people stored their coins and jewellery under the floor boards or in family tombs and some do this even today. Tourists are eager to buy their finds, but although you can pick stacks of ancient pottery, a good find, such as a complete pot, must be reported to the Director of Antiquities at Girne Castle.
The sketch map fig. 45 shows the position of the fish tanks which are in three groups just where the ancient city walls reach the seashore. A map of the largest tank is shown in fig. 46 and it measures 27m by 14m. There are two inlets which lead by tunnels to two sluice gates. This would take the sea water in from the north while the exit of stale water would b via the two north eastern and eastern channel exits. It is amazing to inspect these ' `waterworks" and realise that even after a lapse of two thousand years they are in such good condition that a visitor remarked to the writer, "Well, at first, I thought that they were swimming pools attached to some modern hotel that had recently been pulled down."
Fig 47 is a sketch of the fish tanks as we see them today, and one would think that if cleared out they would be made to work. However, this is not so, as there have been changes of sea level that occurred all over the coast of Cyprus in the last two thousand years. On the left side of the sketch are some small stone pilasters that seem to indicate some sort of building here, which could have been the site of the fish market.
There are other fish tanks to be seen, much smaller, about a few hundred metres to the west (see map fig. 45). In other places along the coast, e.g. Huzur Evi about 2km to the west and one km east of Girne Castle are the remains of some exit channels to fish tanks that have since been, destroyed by man or infilled by the debris cast by winter storms.
An interesting problem arises if comparisons are made with these ancient exit and entrance channels in relation to the present level of seawater in the Mediterranean. About 200 million years ago Cyprus was just a small volcanic island peeping above the surface of a vast ocean, of which today the Mediterranean is but a remnant. Since that far off time, the land of Cyprus has been gradually rising at the rate of about 30 cm in a thousand years. Not much you would say, but thinking in terms of geological time, i.e. millions of years, it is understandable to find rocks containing sea shells high up among the mountains. But as the land gradually rose, it did so, in stages, with pauses of stability, in a time space of perhaps 50,000 years, and during these pauses the terraces were formed. These natural terraces on which many of the villages stand are a common feature of Cyprus scenery. The best places to see them are at Arapkoy, Lapta and Catalkoy.
This rising of the land is called by geologists, "uplift". This rate of uplift became very uneven when the Girne coastal mountain range got pushed in from the Taurus mountains of Southern Turkey. I'm afraid you've got to believe this almost incredible story, but it is the story of that rocks that tells us of these tremendous events. What has this got to do with fish tanks? Well, we find that in places along the coast some of the inlet channels are several metres above present sea level while in other places they are less than one metre above. It proves that the uplift of Cyprus has been uneven, because those ancient Roman fishermen must have had their inlet and exit channels all at the same level, viz the level of the sea 2,000 years ago.
To conclude this book, we must repeat that Cyprus is an outdoor museum and we put forward to you the motto: GO AND SEE!