Monday, 27 March 2017

Cyprus......

an eastern Mediterranean island of two nations - in the south live Greek Cypriots, in the north live Turkish Cypriots. Passport controls operate at what are known as 'the green line' crossing points from one side of the island to the other. We stayed in the Turkish northern half, a less visited area revealing it's very long history at each and every turn.
This is a snapshot of places seen and visited, wildflowers enjoyed, and a guessing game for all of those who love a quiz
Bellapais Monastery
It was in northern Cyprus, in the hills above Kyrenia in the village of Bellapais that Lawrence Durrel wrote his autobiographical book "Bitter Lemons".
Deserted beaches fringed with wild Asphodelus fistulosus
Sheep safely graze - can you imagine the solitary life of a Cypriot shepherd who spends everyday of the year wandering the countryside with his flock of sheep? In Cyprus as in many other eastern Mediterranean and Asian countries, there are no boundaries enclosing the land. Sheep roam freely along the marginal areas and it is the shepherds job to protect them from harm.
On one distant peninsular live herds of feral donkeys, but they seem to have a canny way of detecting apples or oranges hidden away in pockets! Here several of the them turned up at an isolated Monastery we were visiting but luckily they received some treats

The architecture reveals a history of occupation stretching back over thousands of years


In the beginning Stone Age man arrived in Cyprus crossing the seas on wooden rafts from Asia Minor. They co-existed with dwarf animal species such as very small elephants and pygmy hippos.

Cyprus has been occupied or lived in by Mycenaeans, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Richard the Lion Heart, Knights Templar's, Normans, Venetians, Ottomans, and the British


Anenome coronaria
Hyoscyamus aureus
Asphodelus fistulosus

Family Convolvulaceae
Tassel Hyacinth - Leopoldia comosa - apparently the bulbs were considered a delicacy by both the Romans and the Greeks. Today on Crete, and also in Puglia, Italy, the bulbs are still eaten. Initially they are soaked in water for several days to remove any bitterness, then cooked in white vinegar before finally being preserved in olive oil - they are then used as an antipasto.  

Cyclamen persicum
Yellow Oxalis pescaprae looks wonderful scattered  over the island, but it is not something that you would want in your garden. It spreads everywhere and is impossible to remove
 Family Portulacaceae 

Ferula communis, giant fennel grows in abundance all across the island but it is inedible
Anagalis arvensis - Pimpernel
 The Mimosa trees were just coming into blossom 
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Quiz - what is the purpose and function of 
the building below?

38 comments:

  1. Cyprus does look attractive and very interesting Rosemary. I doubt if I have ever seen pictures of it before so thank you for sharing them. Even the sheep look really beautiful there among the wildflowers which are very bright and intriguing. It looks like the climate could be rather hot. Love the old buildings, remnants of earlier civilizations. Fascinating indeed is the last picture of what seems like a Victorian rotunda to me, built to protect something much older on the inside. Could it be a giant beehive?

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    1. The sheep are lovely with their long floppy ears Patricia amidst the wild flowers, which are the same ones seen along the coastline (Asphodelus fistulosus). I believe that this plant is also an Australian native too. Cyprus is extremely hot in the summer months, far too hot for me to visit, and then the countryside looks very parched and dry.
      I can see where you are coming from re: the building, but sorry it has a different usage.

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  2. Hello Rosemary, I don't think that I have ever seen ruins and wildflowers coexist so gracefully! Each of your posts (including the ones on home grounds) seems to outdo the last in beauty.

    About that building, it looks like a public restroom, although I am sure that you wouldn't have us guess that. The perforations would provide ventilation, but I doubt that this building is for storage. My best guess is that it is some type of spring or well head.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I think perhaps Spring is the perfect time to visit Cyprus as the wildflowers are lovely. Later in the summer everything must look very parched as it is so hot.
      The building is not a spring or well head, but you are heading in the right direction.

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  3. What a beautiful place and such lovely wild flowers.
    In total ignorance and just taking a wild guess for the pure sport of it... I am going to guess your mystery structure has something to do with a fresh water spring. I won't elaborate for fear of digging the hole I am in deeper. ;-)

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    1. Beautiful wildflowers Catherine - your response is similar to Jims - on the right track but not correct

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  4. Everything looks so beautiful! Rugged and beautiful. I have no idea what that bandstand-like building is for but I'm going to guess that it perhaps has something to do with Islamic prayers?

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    1. That was also my first thought; it has something to do with islamic prayers or any kind of prayers for each day of the week?
      Your photos and text are beautiful, as always.
      Thanks for sharing all the world's beauty again and again.
      Love and blessings,

      Jeanneke.

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    2. Debra you are very shrewd, and Jeanneke too, but can you elaborate more?

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  5. It was lovely to see all the flowers and beautiful buildings on Cyprus. Looks like a great place to visit. I'll take a guess at a bandstand for your quiz question. B x

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    1. Loved the wildflowers Barbara - it does resemble a bandstand doesn't it? but sadly it is not.

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  6. I love that beach scene with the Asphodelus fistulosus in the foreground. That wildflower also looks like it has the potential to be invasive, if the sheep shot is anything to go by.

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    1. Dear Jessica - it did appear to be very invasive, but looked beautiful. Its appearance is very similar to our blue Camassia.

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  7. I thoroughly enjoyed this mini-history of Cyprus, Rosemary. I wonder if the gazebo is perhaps a ritual washing house used before entering a mosque. I see a large building at the left of the photo and wonder if it has something to do with the gazebo.
    Beautiful photos. The intense blue sky is gorgeous and very different from our current greys.

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    1. Very well done Lorrie - that's it blogging friends the quiz is now over.

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  8. Another lovely adventure and set of photographs from you Rosemary, always enjoy.
    The flowers are pretty, we have some of those here growing, not in my garden though.
    The buildings are wonderful to see.

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    1. I read somewhere that the Asphodelus fistulosus also grows wild in your part of the world too Margaret - it looks pretty in the countryside but appears to be rather invasive too.

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  9. Oh, what a wonderful time you must've had in Cyprus, Rosemary! And again, gorgeous photos, especially those flowers. No idea what the building could've been used for ... a bee hive?
    Margaret P
    www.margaretpowling.com

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    1. Loved the flowers Margaret - I was in my element seeing them

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  10. PS ... Perhaps that building is a mausoleum of some kind? Or a rotunda for exercising horses (i.e. walked around and around?)
    Margaret P

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    1. That is a great idea, I am posting the answer today

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  11. Kibris is gorgeous at this time of year, as it the Aegean coast but it is always good to see it through your lens.

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    1. I have always visited the Aegean coast in November in order to shorten the winter here, but I agree it is lovely in the spring.

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  12. I would like to Stowe away in your bag. Fascinating place.

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    1. I would be happy to have you join us.

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  13. Marvellous photos as usual, Rosemary, what a lovely place it looks. I particularly appreciated that you gave the names of the wild flowers. I have seen Hyoscyamus aureus before but never knew what it was called. I love those blue stamens.

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    1. I didn't know the name of that flower either Jenny but managed to find it on a website showing wildflowers from Cyprus - It is an extraordinarily pretty little flower to see growing in the wild.

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  14. Dearest Rosemary,
    Yes, Cyprus has known many rulers.
    Back in the 1970s we had some Turkish neighbors. The eldest son came for a visit and he was a high ranking military guy and involved in the 1974 invasion of Cyprus. It always tugs your heart when thinking about people involved.
    But you managed to make marvelous photos, as usual! Especially the flora and fauna is very rich.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Cyprus has a very, very long history of conflict - may be one day it can be resolved. As with many troubles, differences of religion are at the root of the problems. Glad you enjoyed seeing the flora and fauna which I loved.

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    2. Stunning photos of such beautiful, colorful flowers etc. Rosemary. It must have been non-stop magnificent scenery every day.
      I believe I could easily have been a shepherdess there! Imagine being with those lovely sheep among the wild flowers - what peaceful days. Also the deserted beaches along that gorgeous coastline - so glad you saw so much beauty on this awesome trip.

      Mary -

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    3. Dear Mary - I must admit that the scene does looks idyllic with those lovely sheep surrounded by wildflowers, but can you imagine what it is like when it rains and there is nowhere to shelter, or when the wind blow and it is cold, and in the summer months it is unbearably hot even in the shade.

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  15. I didn’t know Cyprus had been occupied and inhabited by so many different ethnic groups but I know Cyprus disputes in modern times. Why can't people live in harmony like the wild flowers blooming without competing who is the best or superior. The beauty of crude nature of North Cyprus is so attractive. My favorite images are the second and third.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - I tend to think that they will never be united mainly because of their different religions and ethnicity, but hopefully I may be proved wrong and one day they will be like the wild flowers and flourish in harmony.

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  16. Cyprus looks amazing it looks as if it is a wonderful time to visit with so many wild flowers to see. Sarah x

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    1. It can be unbearably hot in mid summer - too much for us

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  17. Hello!
    Encantada com a paisagem e com a beleza das fotos!

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