Cyprus stories

  It’s 8 PM and we’re all ready for bed.  Unfortunately the marina bar/restaurant just next to where we are docked has just come to life.  The music isn’t screaming and is kind of a mellow sound so maybe we’ll all fall asleep. Tomorrow or the next day we’ll move the boat to the end of the dock area so it will be better.  After our 2 night passage we’re all pretty tired.  There is lots of security to deal with when you enter Israel, but everyone was polite, efficient and not the least bit scary.  Just polite young men and women who asked lots of questions. 

  Herzliya is a big city, so much different than our world in Karpaz Gate.  We are all sort of missing it….but we have also had visits from other cruisers very curious about DoraMac and all offer to help us.  Everything in the modern supermarket is written in Hebrew except for things like Hellman’s Mayonnaise or such.  We could create a really strange meal if we bought only those products that we could read the labels.  But we only have to ask and people are happy to help. 

So that’s it and I’m off to bed.


ps the music got loud and I asked them to lower it and now it’s off….hmm.  They probably think we’re nuts!

Heidi and Kalle’s World

I have already written about Heidi and Kalle and their home. This was Charmaine and Linda’s first visit so we toured the garden and house. I think it was our favorite part of the visit to Girne…sharing time with Heidi and Kalle in their beautiful home.


Villa Manazar


All of us! Photo by Charmaine


Entry into their world of art and light.


A slightly magical world for those of us lucky to visit.


First a tour through Kalle’s garden.


Checking the vines.

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And the herbs and lavender.

It was all beautiful, smelled wonderful, and we’ve tasted it too: the wine, olive oil and herbs for cooking.

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Heidi created these “Stargazers.”


Wouldn’t you just love meals at this table!


A water tank outside Kalle’s garage/workspace/winery!


Our room!

Or at least when we visit. We are surrounded by light and Heidi’s art as it is her work space

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Linda and Charmaine helping with the meals.


Meals at this table were wonderful too!


Halls of art and books!

Arrived in Israel

Just to let you know we had an easy, smooth passage and are docked at the marina. Have lots of chores to do to get settled in. Will write more later. Ru

Leaving Cyprus

  This is my last email from North Cyprus; at least for this visit.  One never knows if we will return.  We certainly made many friends here.  You know you have made friends when you leave tears behind at good-bye.  We should arrive in Israel some time Monday and I’ll email when we have wifi access.  The seas are very calm, wind light, and the Israeli Navy within shouting distance if it should come to that.  But there are no pirates to worry about and that is a bigger relief than you can imagine.  Our time here has flown by much too fast.  In the last few days we’ve made even more friends.  Yesterday Sharman, Sophie and I revisited our Sipahi friend Nadia Yilidiz to bring copies of photos we’d taken our first visit and met her son and his friend.  And I have just gotten to know Angel who works at the Marina MiniMarket.  Such an interesting woman and we’re sailing away before I’ve gotten to know her.  Maybe one day I’ll read one of the books she will write…maybe even in Turkish if I worked at it but hopefully an English translation. 

   We said our good-byes to Heidi and Kalle at their home a few weeks ago.  Thursday at our final (for the time being) DEKS walk, I had to say good-bye to Denise. Rob and Julia, our first friends here in Cyprus came by today to say farewell. And Sharman, Sophie and I went for one last walk around the marina.  Too many good friends to leave. 

     Our friend Eve we will see again in Israel when she goes home. And we will make new friends.  We always make new friends.  It’s just getting harder to say good-bye when we leave.  That too is part of cruising.

So, next email from Israel.


More friends from Cyprus

  I am jumping ahead and skipping around our adventures.  I have lots to write about our visit with Heidi and Kalle so that will take time.  This email is about two very interesting men we met, one a Cypriot and one a Brit now living in Cyprus; both concerned with the environmental issues concerning Cyprus.


Saving the Environment of Cyprus

Robin Snape

Charmaine and Linda met Robin on a birding expedition on the Karpaz. We were lucky that the British college students Robin was supervising were staying in Kumyali, close enough so Robin could visit with us for dinner. He was great company and helped cook too! Robin is the marine biologist who leads the Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP.) The MTCP works with some fishermen to put devices on some of their nets to repel the turtles and to raise awareness about the sea turtles. Cyprus is an important location for endangered turtles.


Robin chopping the onions.  One of the wine bottles contains olive oil from Heidi and Kalle and one is a gift of Cypriot wine from Tuğberk (see below.)


Randal serenades us.


Linda, Charmaine and Robin

Tuğberk Emirzade


Charmaine and Tuğberk at lunch in Çamlibel.

We were eating at the outside table of the small restaurant in Çamlibel and Tuğberk asked if he could share our space. One thing led to another and we treated him to lunch. He passed by Karpaz Gate Marina on his way to check trails on the Karpaz and brought us some of his father-in-law’s Cypriot wine. Unfortunately we weren’t home when he arrived, but our short lunch exchange made a memory.


Tuğberk spent several years as a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside.


Tuğberk’s motorbike with Cypriot saddlebags looks like a creature from outer space.

Tuğberk Emirzade resume telling about the environmental activities that Tuğberk

AGAMA OUTDOOR store was opened on 11th June 2011. It is the first and only specialized outdoor sports equipment store in North Cyprus. In addition to all kinds of outdoor sports equipment, you can get information about the campsites in North Cyprus.

The 2011 updated maps of hiking and biking trails are available in Google Earth (.kmz .gpx) and GPS (.gdb) formats. For the technologically challenged, a set of printed trail maps at scale of 1:50,000 are also available as hardcopies. In addition to maps, we can give recommendations for the best routes accustomed to your interests and needs.

In AGAMA OUTDOOR, you can find all kinds of apparel, equipment and information. We carry products of world famous brands such as Jack Wolfskin, the North Face, Regatta, Petzl, Deuter, Campus, Pinguin, Carinthia and Square.

Our friendly pharmacist

Linda and Charmaine went through our haphazard and somewhat out of date medical supplies to see what we needed to replace.  They dropped the list off at the local pharmacy Sakiner Eczanesi and today we went to collect it.  The pharmacist, Erdoğan Sakiner has always been so helpful and very knowledgeable.  Another friend we will miss!



Our friend in the Yenierenkoy Sakiner Eczanesi Erdoğan Sakiner


Updating DoraMac’s medical provisions.

Linda and Charmaine went through our medical supplies and made a list of what we needed. They took the list to Erdoğan, a pharmacist with a shop in Yenierenköy, and he was able to supply just about everything we needed. Erdoğan is also a photographer and world traveler. Maybe we will all meet again.


Linda, Charmaine, Erdoğan, and me

Thank you to our friends in Kibris (Cyprus)

This email is really for our friends in Cyprus and I hope if it goes into the Internet they will somehow see it.  I am madly trying to find a way to share it here but at least if it is on our website some people will see it.  We are rushing to the finish line getting the boat ready for our move to Israel, probably Saturday so we’ll arrive Monday.  I’ll keep you posted.  I have so much to catch up with from Cyprus and maybe during our passage I will have time to write it up so I can send it when we are settled in Israel.  But for now, This is for our Cypriot friends.  I couldn’t have begun to write this without the patient teaching of Denise and the help from Ziba, our Salamis tour guide who came to the marina for a visit, and very patient  Melek (Angel) who works in the Marina Mini Market. 


Benim adim Ruth ve kocamin adi Randal dir. Biz Amerikaliyiz. Karpaz Gate marina da teknemizde yaşıyoruz. Buraya kasımda geldik. Burdan Mayısta ayrılacağız.

Yirmi altı sene halk kütüphanesinde çalışdım. Şimdi kocam ve ben emekliz.

Arkadaşım Sharman ve köpeği Sophie ile Sipahi tepelerinde yürüdük. Akadaşlarım Charmaine ve Linda ile her pazartesi kurulan açık pazara yürüyerek gittik..Ayrıca kocamla Yenierenköy ve Sipahi yi motosikletimizle gezdik.

Kocam ve ben Sipahi ve Yenierenköyü çok çok seviyoruz. Burada tanıştığım insanlar çok kibar ve yardımseverdir.Sipahili ve Yenierenköylü arkadaşlarımızı her zaman hatırlayacağız.

Türkçeyi DEKSde öğrendim. Denise harika ve sabirli bir öğretmeni dir.

Teşekkür Ederim!


Linda Ruth Sharman Sophie Charmaine


Ruth and Randal


Teknemiz  DoraMac


  So we raced back from Nicosia and grocery shopping and had Passover dinner on Eve’s catamaran.  Here’s the story.


Passover on Eve’s Catamaran Karpaz Gate Marina


There were no Haggadah, matzos and no bitter herbs, but there was also no bread and we drank wine and sat back and relaxed while we ate, drank and enjoyed a lovely evening.
has a very funny explanation of Passover and the Seder which sort of fits with our “Seder.”


Charmaine and Linda enjoying this unique Seder.


Ünal Dede and Hülya Koçak Cypriot friends of Eve’s. You met them in an earlier email not that long ago.


Not your usual Passover fare; we ate Chinese food cooked by an Israeli in Muslim North Cyprus.

Our first course was unleavened shrimp puffs. The second was eggroll filling wrapped in blintz wrap and fried. They were great and eaten too fast for photos. Fruit salad and ice cream for dessert. We talked and there were some questions and answers but not the traditional 4 Questions of Passover. And we drank a lot of wine!


Eve, our hostess and chef and Charmaine.

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Sharman maybe celebrated her first Passover. Randal has had Passover in the past at the home of our friends Ellen and Gabriel Szego so maybe that’s why he seems to be telling the story to Eve.

We had a great time and lots of fun. We hope Eve will be home in Israel to spend time with us while we are there.

Next adventure, our visit to Heidi and Kalle and our new friends Robin and Tugberk

Nicosia part 3 and a visit to the hair salon in Yenierenkoy.

  Had a long walk with Charmaine and Linda yesterday.  I lead the way but was unsure of the path because normally I have Sharman to follow.  We started at 12:30 and finished at 3:15 with just enough time to have a cup of coffee/tea before driving off for our hair trims.  It was your usual salon experience with hair cut a bit shorter than expected, but that’s par for the course when you utter the word "cut" in a hair salon.  Today more walking, two loads of laundry, visit with the veggie man, and a trip to the village pharmacy to begin the process of revitalizing our meds thanks to Linda and Charmaine.


Besi Güzellik Salonu (Nourishing Beauty Salon)

Besime Cecer Direktôr

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Charmaine getting her trip and Linda showing off hers.

Nicosia Part 3


Yena, a future tour guide, taking notes during the tour, something I wish I’d done.


Sultan Mahmut II Library

“The library was built in 1829 by Ali Rouhi, the governor of Cyprus. It is located near the east entrance of Selimiye mosque, and is a fine example of classical Ottoman architecture, with its twin domed arcade and large domed room. The interior walls of the library room are covered by a golden-coloured adorned poem praising Sultan Mahmut II.

Over the entrance door, is an inscription written in Arabic which states "This is a Library"

Over 1800 books in the library were donated by Sultan Mahmut II as well as many other well known people of the time. The books are mainly of religious subjects, and written in Arabic, Turkish and Persian.

These extremely valuable manuscripts have been taken to the National Archives in Kyrenia for preservation and research purposes.


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Book stands for the old manuscripts. Computers, microfilm and digital photocopies.


We arrived just as the library was closing but the librarian allowed us in and he and I had an interesting chat about how users accessed the materials.


Kütüphane Sokak Library Street


Through the Lapidary Museum window.

We didn’t have time to visit the museum but they had some interesting architectural renderings that I couldn’t photograph because we didn’t have a ticket. They probably weren’t too happy that I took the photo either.


Linda, Charmaine, Randal, our guide Selin, and Tatiana, and Yena apprentice tour guides.


“The "Blue Line," a path laid out by the tourist office, leads visitors on a walking tour past stalls selling grilled sandwiches made with a rubbery white cheese called halloumi {Helium in the North}, a covered market and Gothic churches converted by the Ottomans into Turkish baths and mosques.”


After our tour lunch was more important than antiques so we just walked on by.

We had lunch in the Büyük Han, made a too quick tour of the shops and then headed back to the car. We still had to stop at the “really good grocery store” and be home in time for Passover dinner on Eve’s catamaran.

Nicosia Part 2

  I am learning more about Nicosia with each email.  I’ve one more after this one to complete the story.


Happy 100 Fenway Park!

Nicosia Part 2

While Selin was explaining to us about the cocoon art I noticed this scene down the street. My father lost his sight in his 60s so maybe I have more of an awareness of the blind. I would really like to know the story of these men. Are the vegetables in the cart being taken home or being taken for sale? How long have these men been friends? What are their lives like?



Then we continued on to the Büyük Han.


Charmaine listens as Selin tells the history of the Han with renovation photos behind her. is the link to our prior visit to Nicosia with Rob and Julia with info about the Büyük Han. is a direct link to info about the Büyük Han.


A camel through the eye of a needle.

“This Great Inn is the most important Ottoman structure on the whole of the island. Construction began in 1572 under the guidance of Mustafa Pasha who was the first Ottoman governor of Cyprus and it was quickly established as the major trading point. These Inns or Caravanserais were used by merchants from the Orient, Arabia, Anatolia and Europe to store and trade their goods. In the centre there is a small mosque with ablution facility beneath it and there are two entrances. The doorways are high enough and wide enough to allow a fully laden camel to enter. Once inside the merchant would unload his camels and display his merchandise in the room on the lower floor, taking the upper room as his accommodation during his period of trade. The camels would have been stabled outside the Inn. At night the large entrance doors to the caravanserais would be closed and secured and the only access would be through a small doorway just large enough for a person to get through. This small door is called the “eye of the needle”, and reference is made to it in the Holy Bible. St. Matthew, chapter 19 verse 24, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!”

The other interesting story about the doors is this. Each night the doors were locked to protect the merchants inside and their wares. In the morning if there were any dispute among the merchants, the doors would not be open until the dispute was resolved. We should use that method today with political leaders; lock them in a room until they resolve issues and then they’d get resolved so everyone could go on vacation.

The Büyük Han now is a venue for crafts people. We saw several interesting objects d’art but boat living made them not as tempting as they would have been if we had a land home.



I’m reposting the link to Heidi Trautmann’s story about Nicosia and the artists in the Büyük Han because I certainly didn’t do them justice in these few photos.


Cat stand-off.  was the next stop on our tour.

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The Selimiye Mosque converted from the Ayia Sofia Cathedral

Minarets were added and the interior was whitewashed to cover all images of people and animals.

“The Selimiye Mosque in Nicosia was a thirteenth-century cathedral (Ayia Sofia) which was converted to a mosque in 1570 by removing the choir and altars and changing the arrangement of windows and doors so that the main entrance was from the north, At some later date a cylindrical Ottoman minaret was built on to the projecting corner buttresses.” explains that some of the architectural details were added to protect the structure during possible future earthquakes.


Supportive buttresses


Glass rods are between the grey blobs and if they break it indicates earthquake movement, pretty ingenious!

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The main entrance’s frame bears impressive sculptures. Three of the four arches are decorated with reliefs depicting kings, prophets, apostles and bishops.

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The former Cathedral Church of St. Sophia erected by the Lusignan kings from 1208 to 1326 is the oldest and finest example of Gothic architecture in Cyprus. It was once regarded as the most magnificent Christian sacred building in the Middle East….The Cathedral was destroyed in turn by the Genoese, the Mamelukes and several major earthquakes.” Eyewitness Travel Cyprus

“With Nicosia’s occupation by the Ottomans (1570), the cathedral of Agia Sofia was turned into a mosque and two minarets were added onto the building’s west part. The cathedral’s rich sculptural decoration was destroyed and so were the frescoes, the sculptures and the stained glass decoration (vitraux) depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament. Funerary tombstones of various Lusignan kings and princes were also destroyed.”


We all were fairly covered up so had no need to borrow a scarf.

Nicosia tour part 1 mostly crafts and food!

On Friday April 6th we drove off to Nicosia for the free two hour tour. Today is April 18th so what I remember of the tour are the bits and pieces interesting to me. We had a wonderful tour guide who’d had to explain everything twice, once in Turkish and once in English for our mixed group. I was happy to catch a word of Turkish here and there during the Turkish version.  While writing this email I tried to learn a bit more about some of what we saw.  Here is part one.


Nicosia Tour about Nicosia/Lefkoşa history and culture. Heidi Trautmann writes about the artistic soul of the city.

The Cyprus Tourist Guides Association (KITREB),supported by the Finance and Tourism Ministry and the Antiquities and Museums Department are offer free tours of the old city of Nicosia three times a week.

The two hour tour guides visitors through the walled city of Lefkosa, the Mevlevi Museum, Samanbahce Houses, the Venetian Column, Dervis Pasa Mansion, the Great Inn, Selimiye Mosque, Bedestan, Lapidary Museum, Eaved House, Arasta and many other historical landmarks.

These city tours are being held with the aim of assisting tourists interested in learning more about the history of the old city of Nicosia, and are organized in conjunction with similar tours of South Nicosia.

Tours are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, starting at 10.00 in front of the Tourist Information Office at the Kyrenia Gate, and 10.30 at the Lokmaci crossing point. Just turn up in time; no booking required.

We left the marina extra early, arrived in Nicosia, found a parking space and a coffee place, all in time to meet the tour at the Kyrenia Gate at 10 am.


Old photos in the upstairs room of the Kyrenia Gate (probably called that because you went north from the gate in the direction of Kyrenia…or so Randal says.)


Did we meet at UMass?

A future tour guide, Cypriot by birth, you’d think him a Brit by his speech. But he reminded me of freshman year at UMass. Unfortunately for him he was assigned the task of translating everything our tour guide Selin said from Turkish into English. Too much, too fast, too hard and he eventually gave up, took his leave, so Selin had to give the tour in both languages.

Right off the bat we passed these women selling pastries and wild artichoke.

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The intriguing artichoke; I might have to try some. Like shucking oysters.


Ready to eat


Wild artichoke are quite lovely though some countries have declared them noxious weeds! shows how to harvest, cook, and eat it which I found quite interesting.


These were growing on the road I walk to my Turkish lessons at DEKS but look different than the wild artichoke sold in Nicosia.

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Samanbahce Houses

These courtyard homes also fascinated me so I did some research. If you are approved to live in one of the homes, you live there as long as you want with no increase in rent. But when you leave anyone living with you must leave and then apply as a new renter.


Traditional historic urban quarters, which are special places not only due to the cultural heritage that they house but also due to their urban pattern, are in danger of losing their traditional character, if relevant measures fail to exist to ensure the continuity of this character.

Just like the island of Cyprus as a whole, as being ruled by many different conquerors, the Walled City of Nicosia, which is the core of the capital of the island, has undergone substantial changes throughout history, to fit the requirements of different cultures. As a spatial reflection of different socio-economic life or attitude of the rulers – Lusignan (1192-1489); Venetian (1489-1571); Ottoman (1571-1878); British (1878-1960) – the urban pattern as well as the buildings and their functions have been modified through time. Consequently, the traditional historic areas became places of intermingling cultures.

Samanbahce, a unique traditional residential area at the edge of the Kyrenia Avenue in the Walled City of Nicosia, is a unique place not only due to its distinctive physical, urban and architectural characteristics, but also as being the first mass-housing area on the Island developed in 1930’s by the British. Although being located next to the most lively area of the Walled City, today, Samanbahce area is suffering from physical and social decay.

The aim of this paper is to propose conservation and revitalization measures to address the deterioration and obsolescence process of Samanbahce area, based on a thorough study at both architectural and urban levels. The method of the analysis will include a field and a questionnaire survey, which will convey to an understanding of the environmental and socio-cultural qualities.

The Samanbahçe residential district is the first mass-housing in Cyprus developed during the British Period in 1930’s by Evkaf (Foundation). Originally, these houses were built to cover the needs of low-income families, with an understanding of “social housing developments”…… During the British period, some new functions have been introduced into the City which attracted population from rural areas to Nicosia. Accordingly, in order to answer the increasing demand for housing generated by this migrating population, some mass social housing projects have been implemented in certain parts of the City. Samanbahçe is first of all these new implications. According to the records, the group of attached terrace-houses built in similar dimensions were originally called “Şaban Paşa Houses” (Andız, 1990). Having been built at once at a particular time in an organic layout dating back to the Ottoman period, the area shows a distinguished characteristic with its planned layout.


Şebnem Hoşkara, Assoc. Prof. Dr.

İbrahim Numan, Prof. Dr.…/E29-hoskaradoratlinumaniaps.doc


Atatürk Square

Everybody and his brother had a hand at the structures and symbols of the column and buildings in the square, the Brits being the most recent before Cyprus became independent, had the most lasting impact though the column (moved from Salamis) was originally erected by the Venetians, one time rulers of Cyprus.


Wonder what team they belong to?

He reminded me of a giant bumble bee pushing a cart of oranges along the street. But when I looked at the photo later I noticed the other man wearing the exact same shirt.


Our guide, Selin, explaining about the traditional lace made by the Cyprus Women’s Cooperative

“Lefkara lace is one of the handicrafts for which Cyprus is well known all over the world. There are several, and sometimes conflicting, versions of how this famous handicraft became part of Cyprus’ heritage. According to tradition, handwoven local fabrics were used to apply the lace in the early days, but they were eventually replaced by imported linens from countries such as France and Ireland. The traditional colors of thread used for Lefkara lace are green and beige. The price of the lace is determined by the intricacy of the design as well as the size of the pattern. Different motifs have different names such as Daisy, River, etc. Lefkara lace is also fashioned into pillows.

The origin of Lefkara lace dates to the island’s Venetian period. One tradition holds that the families of Venetian nobles who lived in Lefkara village during the summer months used the local labor force to fashion intricate lace for use in their homes. The ladies from the noble families taught local ladies the techniques of Italian lace making, but over the years the locals adapted this their own style and taste. Today, Lefkara lace still maintains some similarities with Italian lace, but its style has been greatly altered over the years.

Some believe that Leonardo da Vinci visited the island and ordered Lefkara lace to be taken back to a cathedral in Italy, after which the Italians adapted the lace to their unique style. No one knows which story is true, but either way, Lefkara lace has been produced on Cyprus for centuries.”


Selin explaining about the silkworm cocoon art.


Silk weaving and silk cocoon decoration in North Cyprus

“Up until recently, the landscape around the villages of Karava and Lapithos in North Cyprus was dotted with mulberry trees, food for hungry silk worms. Lapta and Hisarkoy were the most important villages for silk production. Every Turkish Cypriot household would take part in taking the precious silk worm cocoons, spinning out the thread and then weaving fine silk cloth. Unfortunately, the silk cloth trade in North Cyprus died out due to foreign competition, but one fascinating craft remains, North Cyprus silk cocoon decoration.

Intricate silk pictures from North Cyprus

Thanks to a government initiative, Turkish Cypriots have flocked to classes teaching this traditional craft in North Cyprus. The white silk cocoons, about the size of a plum, now come from the Karpas peninsula. Silk cocoons are quite firm to the touch, enabling each cocoon to be cut open and folded out flat, like a piece of card. Intricate shapes are then cut from this flattened cocoon and sewn onto velvet, sometimes held in place with tiny beads.”

“No country is better adapted for silk culture than Cyprus, where the

mulberry-tree grows in great luxuriance to the altitude of 5000 feet,

and the warmth and dryness of the climate is highly favourable to the

silkworm. There is no tax upon the mulberry, and should artificial

irrigation be encouraged by the government, this tree should be

generally planted throughout the Messaria and all other districts, and a

special impulse should be directed to silk development. Formerly the

production of silk was an important export to France, but of late years

it has decreased to a mere bagatelle. In the spot where I am now writing

there are numerous mulberries in a profusion of rich foliage sufficient

for the production of two pounds of silk by each tree; but they are

entirely neglected, and the same depression in the silk cultivation may

be remarked throughout the island.”

Cyprus, as I Saw It in 1879 / Baker, Samuel White, Sir, 1821-1893


The Ledra Gate Crossing between North and South Cyprus.

This is where we crossed back and forth when we went with Rob and Julia last February to do our Visa run. I took a photo before I thought better of it.