- If Cyprus proper is a pan then the Karpas Peninsula is the handle. It extends far into the east and, owing to the fact that it is relatively isolated, remains one of the most unspoilt parts of the island. Tourism (other than day-trippers from Girne/Kyrenia) is almost non-existent. In the old times, before the rupture of 1974, the Karpas used to be a Greek-Cypriot mainstay: even today many of the villages have a distinctly Greek feeling. There are still Greek signs for the Kafeneion, the church et cetera… and as sense of community that's almost completely gone in other parts of the northern part.
- And the beaches are as unspoilt (and empty) as the rest of the peninsula.
- No shortage of Greek chapels and churches either. Quite a few are in the middle of nowhere and consequently in ruins (there is still a fair number of Greek-Cypriots around, even today, but they mainly visit their own village church).
- This photo is from the inside of Apostolos Andreas, a famous but rather drab monastery. All Greek-Cypriots from the south dream of doing a pilgrimage to the place, but the reality of it is disappointing (and that's putting a positive spin on it): a crumbling, almost empty building, dozens of dusty stalls full with sad Turk-Cypriots who try to flog all sorts of religious (Greek-Orthodox, that is) paraphernalia, mangy dogs and hungry cats and tired policemen. Everything, literally everything in Apostolos Andreas has seen better days.
- The picture shows a Cypriot peculiarity: if you have a problem with, say, your left arm or your right foot, you get a waxen representation of the culprit and hang it off the iconostasis (Apostolos Andreas is supposed to be especially good for this, but any other church will do as well). Then the congregation prays and prays and prays over these things and lo and behold, all will be well, sooner or later. Or so they say. We saw all sorts of implements in many churches in the south: heads (these are from would-be mothers who hope to get pregnant), hands, fingers, legs, eyes, everything. Well, almost everything:-).
- That's the lady who was the guardian of the Apostolos Andreas monastery. She was blessed with a deep, healthy sleep and we didn't disturb her (we even left all the waxen stuff in place, believe it or not).
Back to Girne and on to the famous abbey of Bellapais.
$updated from: Karpas Peninsula.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:23 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$