22 Regina’s Island By Helen Trybulowski Gills Part IV—Southward a famed religious center Past Muslim settlements along a treelined route, we again began to go up, down and around more rolling, stepped, chalky hills, mounds, gullies and ravines, all clothed in vineyards or wheat fields. Around unprotected curves we invariably met farmfolk or their donkeys, about which creatures the Cypriots have many amusing anecdotes. The story is told of a farmer who asked a “‘pappas” for the loan of a donkey. The monk slowly replied, ‘‘ I am sorry, but the donkeys are all out.” Just then the old peasant heard braying from a nearby stall, and turning to the monk, said, ‘1 thought I heard your donkeys braying,” to which the ' pappas ” replied, *‘ Do you believe me or the donkeys ?” At one very dangerous curve that looked down into a deep canyon, our driver told us a car had recently taken a plunge. This trip convinced us that only good drivers survive in Cyprus. At the top of the Pass is the Swisslike mountain settlement of Stroumbi, noted for its excellent wines. We had been commissioned by friends to procure some wine, so while the demi-johns were being filled, we watched the evening’s procession up the cobbled streets. Like moving haystacks were donkeys carrying huge loads of the harvest that left only their heads and feet visible women driving home their cows,shcep, goats and grunting pigs paused to let them all drink at the fountain, Over more rolling terrain we entered a narrow valley luxuriant with olives, pomegranates and citrus. In this lovely retreat beside a rippling stream and an old stone mill is the monastery of St. Neophytus. ‘The Saint, a contemporary of Richard I, wrote scathingly of Richard’s sale of Cyprus to the Templars. Globules of gum from the Liquidambar Imberbe grown in the Monastery’s grove had the odor of Friar’s Balsam. The monks were only too pleased, when they saw the value of our donation, to open and exhibit the bones of the Saint resting in a wooden. sarcophagus in the church. The Saint’s skull encased in silver hangs in its glass case on the wall. Above an Ayazma or holy well in the cliffs, we entered the Enkleistra or Cave chapel hol- lowed out by the Saint into chambers with coffin shaped bed and rock cut table. Some of the frescoed decorations were destroyed by fire or mutilated. Leaving the stone lined winding road, Ktima’s minarets rose in the distance, and the descent down to the expanse of plain with sight of the sea was a refreshing release from captivity of the hills. The comfortable ‘Dome -Hitel’ at Kyrenia had ill prepared us for the poor accommodation to be encountered at many of the island’s smaller hostels. Our dismay next morning, which was Sunday, was further increased to find ourselves locked in with no service, baths or breakfast till quite late, thus preventing an early morning start. Almost tropical in Juxuriance of banana, hemp, mulberry, fruit and nut trees is Ktima on its bluff overlooking the ancient miniature harbour of NeaPaphos—the Augusta Claudia of the Romans and port for Old Paphos or Kouklia. Several caiques added a picturesque touch to the deserted old port with its ruined sea wall and castle rebuilt by the Turks. , Famous figures in Paphos history are conjured up for here the family of Cinyrad reigned for a thousand years, here Paul and Barnabas, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, converted the Roman Governor, Sergius Paulus, to Chri- “gtianity. St. Paul’s pillar is the only relic of what must have been the palace where this event took place. . Earthquakes demolished the glory of Paphos, and only fragments remain of its ruins, as the sad undignified heap of forty granite pillars that may possibly have been Aphrodite’s temple. Many tombs and sepulchres, several with colon- naded entrances and underground passages, became Christian chapcls like the curious rock cut Roman tomb of St. Selomoni. Near the steps leading down to its holy well a gnarled, spreading tree is hung with bits of cloth left by pilgrims who have been seeking cure for eye ailments. No longer are there lovely flowering gardens at Veroskipos (eroskipos or [faly Gardens of Venus, goddess of laughter and flowers), and Kouklia—that great ancient religious center—we found to be an ugly squalid village beside the ruins of Venus’ shrine. In the middle ages— when this was a royal domain of Chatean Covo- cles—the temple was utilized to brild a sugar refinery, part of which still stands overlocking the sea. The surf breaking upon the rocks in tumbling mistry foaming spray brought.to mind Homer’s lines : Tsing of Venus crowned With gold renowned for faire! that Cyprus guards by Neptune bound, her in soft forme, mild breathing zephyr bore On murmuring waves unto that fruitful shore.” Upon the Grand Massif Turning inland the moun cain forests of pine and cedar gave way to miles upon miles of vineclad hills, sparsely settled with drab gray stone or mudbrick villages. Omodhos splashed gayly with red tiled roofs was a cheerful village by contrast. The tiles were probably the pro- duct of the kilns we passed higher up the mountain where girls chattered gayly as they worked. Among fragrant densely pinecovered hills resounding with song of myriads of birds, Platraes at 4000 feet is a favourite holiday resort of Middle Easterners, At 6304 feet we came upon the Troodos Government Seat, its buildings and tents buried in cool forest. These moun- tains were little known before the arrival of the British in 1878, and according to our companion were the haunt of their own Robin Hood, whose band of brigands imperilled all travellers over ae vain Eventually by a clever ruse € jeader was captured, mae ptured, and thereafter safety Though late afternoon, we set o i Khionistra (eterna) snow)—the Monit ar τν Troodos Range (6003 feet), in whose vicinity are the Chrome mines. Rain earlier in the day had left the pine needled mountainside slippery and we had to pick our way carefully among the tumbled layers of stones of all sizes and shapes, Half way up I felt defeated, and was Testing on a rock when some visitors making the descent urged me to continue. Despite a fierce pounding in the head at this altitude, I pushed on, and at last Teached the summit, where our companion tee ime ae us and was already ramb- mong debris that of Aphrodite Re may have been the temple In all directions this grand tumble: mountains rising from the κο το peat coast that gave the island the name long ago of Cerastis—hortned—seemed Suspended in an infinity of space as sky and sca all around melted een Misty blue haze with no sign of the ο mh Saas that so often utterly changes At the west the Setting sun glorified the heavens CYPRUS REVIEW into molten gold, setting aflame with forks of fire the dense forest of majestic plane ‘i'turania) trees, firs, and red stalked, grotesque] cwisting Arbutus, till dusk settled upon the scune but a lingering after-glow continued to outiine the ridges in burning halos. ε On our returning journey, as we wove in and among rapidly deepening shadowed, mysterious, now almost soundless mountain glens, our head- lamps but feebly pierced the gloom of what seemed a supernatural world. Next day from Prodhromos, the hizhest of Cyprus mountain villages at 4600 {cet spread over the slopes of a denuded hill, we caught our first glimpse across the valley of Ki kkou— perhaps the most famous. monastery of the Orthodox faith. Rosy cheeked girls from the village of PeJthou- las, who had been working on the Agricultural Fruit Farm which grows cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, pears and apples, were resting from their labours or embroidering and chatting on the verandah of the ancient ‘[vikkoukia monastery— a farmlike building characicristic of old mountain churches with interesting carved shutters, and an icon famed for its evi cures, as the many offerings of eye symbols tesiity. At the rambling Trooditissa Monastery, hid- den in a forest glade, a well-groome:) Abbot politely received us in his study, and as sv cliat- ted a young monk served us a delicious jelly and walnuts from the monastery gardeas. We were shown the handsome silver belt in tre church’s possession—a wonder working relic sought by women desiring sons, The legend connected with the monastery is that a tother after dedicating her son to the church wished him to return home. When fleeing down the mountain, a stone tossed by a monk struck the boy unconscious, but he recovered attcr the monks had prayed over him. A portiom of chis stone lies behind the iconstasium, but ts lis holy sanctuary, I, being a woman, was not admitted, . Past Pedhoulas hugging the slopes of steep hills at 3600 feet, and other mountain vil ges with theic domed churches perched on α ΗΕ clearing as on a pedestal, the road to KyxKou continucs to wind in and out among forest and vineclad hills, glimpsing through gaps Murphcu Bay like a gray blue sapphire. At a huge runnel- led rock and bridge across a deep gorge. Kykx, or Cicco as it is also called, appeared in view again in white dignity on its height of 603 feet. Still six miles away, I counted over 400 fonttious curves and bends through this gorgeously fertue Marathasa Valley draped in shadows darkcsing the hills in ever changing patches. Dating its foundation to about the 12th century, fires several times destroyed the mont stery buildings, and only a few carved doorways bear an earlier date than the present rambling structure that offers accommodation for mume- rous guests. Yet always the famous 9 ascribed to St. Luke has been miraculously saved. A miniature silver ship hangs 10 the church in memory of its recovery from the sta. A monk led us to the icon completely covered in silver repoussee and only partially revealed from under its pearl studded. curtain belore which the icon lamp always burns. Other lamps hang suspended from decorated sania eggs, similar to those seen in Africa, and wse here to symbolize that as the ostrich cares for π eggs. so too must monks guard the ες The main road continues northward to Le » completing its circle back to Platres along te other side of the valley past several interesting villages that with their quaint chalet-like dwel ings might be in Switzerland. : “Villagers claim the stone church standing unfinished near Evrykhou collapses at every effort to complete it. ion At Kalopanayiotis, while our compame ς chatted with friends taking the cure at the famous sulphur springs sought far and wide for ή centuries, we revelled in delicious cherries 1 plucked from the orchards. Unique for ee apportioned to both Latin and Orthodox service (continued on. page 29) MARCH, 1948 REGINA’S ISLAND (continued from page 22) is the old frescoed church of the Monastery of St, John Lampadistos. At Kakopetria stretching picturesquely in a chain of softly weathered old houses up the hillside, the cafe proprietor’s Belgian wife pro- vided us with cool jugs of a variety of the village waters, but we were disappointed to. learn that at this season the silkworm industry for which the village is particularly noted was languishing. From regions sublimely beautiful we were suddenly startled to enter a sinister and curiously anreal area of bare gray black hills. This region, yielding a short fibred asbestos, is called Amian- dus—Greek for asbestos, which seems to have oeen mined here in classical times. Of apparent- ly inexhaustible supply, the mines continue vo offer employment to thousands. At Limassol we later came upon the terminus of the 18} mile length of bicable ropeway that connects these mines with the southern port. Over the high Troodos Road through gaps in dark evergreen forests, ever new vistas unfold of distant vineclad mountains. Beneath the giant firs youths were picking pine cones near the old church of St. John the Procurator of the Mesopotamos Monastery, now a hostel. The music of cascading waters breaks the awesome stillness in this dense Mesopotamos forest which sunlight scarcely penetrates, and only here and there enlivened by : ‘rosy blossom in hot ravine Where oleanders flushed the bed of Mountain torrents gravel spread.” A Colossal Vineyard It was a relief to emerge into thinner forest near Saitta, where some of the best grapes are grown. In the descent to Limassol miles upon miles of vineyards cover chalky, terraced hills and valleys splashed occasionally with the dark glossy carob or silver gray olive and patches of golden wheat. Cyprus wines are of ancient origin. In this colossal vineyard the Knights had their Grand Commandery famed for its vintages, which Commanderia wine comme- morates. It was the Knights, too, who introduced to Europe the pickled delicacy of the ambelo poulea —or. beccaficos that during the grape harvest in the autumn arrive in great clouds and are snared. Reminiscent of the cliffs of Dover are the chalky white cliffs at. Curium rising 300 feet above the curving bay and overlooking Cape Gata. Dotted with caves and tombs the area must have offered an impregnable position to the early Argive settlers who are believed to have colonized it in 1595 B.C. Here where Christi- anity superseded the worship of Apollo, Di Cesnola found’ considerable treasures among the tumbled ruins of temples and palaces—now only a mass of broken granite pillars, Corinthian capitals, mosaic floors, partly buried by sand and scrub. Much of the debris was carried off to Episcopi, a hilltop village where, as we walked through narrow lanes and byways, we felt transported to a distant past. Massive blocks of building materials evidently from distinguished ancient Structures are part of walls or humble peasant buildings, against which fragments of mammoth pillars, bits of once handsome statuary, and other remnants lean or lie scattered about in the vicinity. _ Unexpected in this forlorn place was a greeting in English from a school mistress, and equally Surprising, hidden away in the town, was a Museum with its vast collection of pottery of almost every period, and heaps of potsherds still unsorted. _ The interesting gold and enamelled sceptre in the Nicosia Museum which perhaps had belonged to a King of Curium, is claimed to have been found at Episcopi. . Many readers may have seen the three piastre Cyprus postage stamp picturing the extremely well preserved Castle of Kolossi of the Knights Hospitallers or St. John of Jerusalem, whose coat of arms decorate the entrance. It scems to need little restoration to become habitable again. What a background for a spirit sympa- thetic with its age and history recalled by the arms of Louis de Magnac, Grand Commander of Cyprus, over the impressive fireplaces and upon the huge painting of the Crucifixion. Intriguing are its vis-a-vis seats in the window alcoves, and from its parapet magnificent the view of the salt lake shimmering on the Cape jutting out into the blue Mediterranean beyond the oasis gardens of the Jewish settlement of Phasouri on the fringes of the plain that is a forest of carobs and olives reaching into the foothills of the Grand Massif. At the old fortress at Limassol, we saw behind removed sections of walls that it had originally been a Gothic church where probably Richard Coeur de Lion marricd Berengaria. Limassol in the heart of the carob and wine industries, and second largest city of the island, is not the somnolent Cyprus we had everywhere encount- ered, but a town gripped in industrial ambitions as its spirit, button, brick and tile factories testify. There is an atmosphere of the Orient along the olive lined Limassol Marina with its rather shabby hostels, business houses and bazaars. Clang of horse drawn vehicles mingles with the medley of sounds from pigs, chickens ‘and ducks wandering through the streets. Limassol’s ‘mixed population was collected at evening around tables set out along the sea wall to sip aperitifs or gaze dreamily out to sea where several caiques and a steamer were anchored in the roadstead. News of our companion’s arrival soon spread, for he was a well-known figure in this town, and before the evening was over our Marina party celebrating with brandy, masticha, and a variety of tasty snacks including cheese, octopus, tomato and cucumber, had increased to a large merry gathering. An older Limassol and ancient Phoenician colony had existed along the sheltered bay of Amathus. Beyond the beach or ‘' scala”? where perhaps Richard landed, rises a hill honeycombed with caves and tombs of many periods, and ruins not only of ancient settlements but also famous temples, as of Venus Amathusa. It is also claimed that Amathus was the birthplace of John the Almoner, original patron of the order of St. John of Jerusalem. , Checkering the island’s landscape in many hues ranging from red to umber, are the rare earths that yield ‘terra umbra” and ‘terra verte” of export. In strange contrast are the almost naked chalky white limestone and gypsum hills in the Limasso]-Larnaca region that in the brilliant sunlight appeared snow-covered. The making of artificial teeth at Larnaca is only one use for the island’s excellent gypsum, much of which is exported in the raw state or burnt to plaster of Paris. The laminated mineral or marmoras find many uses in island buildings. Depression seized even our driver in this sparsely settled country where a lone gypsylike encampment of a shepherd and his family with their beds and other possessions around them was cheering. The Khirokitiya signpost remind- ed us of the famous battleground where the Lusignans had surrendered to the Mamelukes. At a beekeeping village pipelike clay beehives were stacked one upon another. Most picturesque on approach is Pano (Upper) Lefkara spread over a hilltop, its slender church towers soaring high, while Kato (Lower) Lefkara slips down the slopes into the valley. Limited transport in the war years had brought few visitors to this very ancient settlement of Lefkara, so the advent of our motor in these hills caused some excitement and considerable interest. Our driver could make but slow progress up the hilly, crooked, exceedingly narrow cobbled streets along which balconies of houses almost met overhead, so it was not surprising that by the time we reached a more open space some women and girls, anticipating our wants, were waiting for us with choice pieces of their needle- work. Long before Leonardo da Vinci introduced