Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
583Trip End Ongoing
Now back to the story
With the fall of the North, the Cypriots decided that they needed a new second largest city, and Larnaka was told to get with the program, you are now our new number two, so it did the only thing that is possible in these times of need. Up went the high rises right on top of the beach !!!
Not far from the beach, is as usual, the old Church converted into a Mosque. There was restoration work taking place, but I went in anyway. As this is the Cypriot side, it is open for use. It was quite small, but nice. And then it happened. Like all Mosques, this one had carpet over the floor, but right in front of the mihrab was a small prayer rug. Now over the years, Lucy and myself have collected quite a few, and it was screaming at me, I had it in my hands, nobody was around, all it would take was for me to roll it up and slip it in my bag, but this is a place of worship, and I just couldn't bring myself around to doing this life long borrowing from a Mosque, so I turned and walked out of the Mosque, and as I was leaving, the little carpet was still screaming at me, take me, take me, don't leave me, so I shut the door and ran away a better man !!!
Next door was a fort built by the Ottomen. It was ok but not much there really, but for €1.71, you can't really complain about the price. I walked in, had a look, and then walked out and over to the Agios Lazaros. It's a nice church both inside and out. Apparently, old Laz use to preach here and then actually died here, so he was buried here, (pretty obvious really !!!) but not for long, as he went to Istanbul and then to Marseille. That's a pretty impressive feat considering he was dead !!! Would he have needed a passport? Would he have gotten hassle from the border guards as he also had been to Israel? Only he could answer these questions, but he is dead so I'm not going running over to Marseille to ask him these and many more questions which are spinning around my head. However, the good people of Larnaka have faith that he will return as his tomb has been left open, awaiting his return from his world tour.
Down the road was the Pierides Museum which has pretty good collection of archaelogical finds. And being a rich family, they kept buying until they gave it back to the country. It was pretty impressive.
I had timed my day badly, so I jumped in the car and drove for some time, and then I was back in the UK. Yes I was, as they were given land when they granted Cyprus independence. I hope when Australia gives up the Queen, as a fair swap, we will give the UK Brisvegas, can't be any fairer than that !!! I sat looking into the otherside but decided not to go. I drove back, got lost trying to find a Church. Shit happens !!! And then I saw the signs that I was looking for
I wanted to come to this little Church for a mosaic of the virgin Mary. It was pretty hard to find the Church because of the lack of road signs, but after going around in numerous circles, eventually I arrived. Once there, I discovered that photography is not allowed. I couldn't even pull out a few sneakies !!! Looking at it, it reminded me of what I had seen in the Aya Sofia in Istanbul. It was gold with Mary holding a baby and some angels either side of her, and in good Greek Orthodox tradition, oil burners were burning, so the Church smelt good. I think if I were to follow a religion, I could do this one just because of the smell !!!
As I drove back, I was cruising along, just minding my own business, when I spied something that was towerish. I turned off and found a disused Mosque in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't padlocked so I went in. It was nice and serene in there, so I sat back and relaxed for five. It was a welcome break on the way back to Limassol.
It had been a good day seeing some new things. Driving to the border had made me change my plans. I was now going to go North, not tomorrow, but before I leave, I'm going to go see a little more of Northern Cyprus