Saturday, September 2, 2017

cyprus

the best of all wives + me just came back home from cyprus (= zypern, kypros). any insights? yes, many of them as we spent 11 days here, joined an organized 1-day-trip and then rented a car for 3 more days, so we have seen quite a lot from the republic of cyprus => enjoy :-)
pafos archaeological site
troodos mountains
aphrodite hills ~ Petra tou Romiou
aphrodite 2.0
  • since 1974 is cyprus a divided country because the turkish army invaded and now occupies 38% of the territory. the occupation was the turkish 'answer' to the attempt of greek nationalists to attach cyprus to greece
  • the south and west part is mostly inhabited by greeks, the north mostly by turks. after the division of the island there have been settled approx 80,000 turks from anatolia in order to increase the numbers of turkish minority. however, the greek population is about 800,000 out of 1.3 million inhabitants. regarding religion belong the turks to mainstream islam or alevism (alevis, aleviten), the greeks are usually orthodox christians. we were told that before the conflict were approximately only 17% of cypriot inhabitans turks (also reasonable according to wikipedia's numbers from 2011). today is the percentage of turkish population higher because of 80,000 new turkish settlers and 35,000 turkish soldiers in northern cyprus.
  • there are also two british military bases on cyprus with the legal right to stay forever (wtf! what an imperialistic 'agreement'!)
  • between the turkish and cypriotic zone is a neutral zone controlled by UN troops (wtf again! is there no other job for the UN soldiers than to sleep 40+ years in front of the turkish occupied territory? )
  • the capitol nicosia is the last divided city in europe
  • the island is really hot and dry, especially in summertime. the poor vegetation got used to 8-10 months without rain. in winter is there a lot of rain and at cyprus' highest peak olympos (1952 m) is even a skiing area. do all plants, animals and people survive 8 months without water? not at all and thus built the people on cyprus about 150 dams which store the water from winter and use it the remaining time

our stops were:
  • limassol (lemesos) with its castle, harbor, few old streets, the amathus (amathous) archaeological site from hellenistic / ancient period, the medieval kolossi castle 
  • avakas gorge with few endemic species like the centauria akamantis plant
  • lara bay with turtle support centre
  • baths of aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. the legend says, the shepherd adonis fell in love when he has seen the naked goddess taking a bath in this natural grotto
  • blue bay - swimming / snorkeling trip by ship, but there is not much to see under water (sand, rocks with single species of algae and very few species of very small fishes)
  • aphrodite's rocks ~ Petra tou Romiou ~ small rocks (and hills) at the south coast close to paphos where the aphrodite was born... as the mythology says, she came out of the water on a shell
  • city of larnaca (larnaka) with nice medieval fortress in the port, beautiful greek orthodox lazaros church, a salt lake (like many rivers without any water in summertime) which is a home for flamingos in winter
  • the beaches of agia napa (nissi bay) where young people come to party all day (+ night?) long. it was interesting to see folks to dance in a foam :-)
  • ancient period archaeological site kourion (amphitheatre, mosaics, columns, ...) and almost empty kourion beach
  • city of pafos (paphos): medieval fortress in the old port, UNESCO heritage hellenistic archaeological site with beautiful floor mosaics
  • troodos mountains: green valley waterfall, the 17th century trooditissa monastery, (ski) village of troodos, 500+ years old black pine trees, olympos mountain with 1952m highest peak on cyprus and with a british + american (NSA) spying facility on its top (wtf again!), beautiful forest trial along the caledonia waterfall
  • kouris dam
  • what about financial crisis 2013? many people lost huge parts of their savings (often 50% of all money above 100,000 Euro) or even everything depending on the particular bank... one of our (taxi) drivers at the jeep tour lost 1.2 million euros as his life long savings from his hard work as restaurant 🍴 owner in germany disappeared over night :-(

what else? the greek name of the island KYPROS means copper, the weather in late august was always tourists-friendly (hot + sunny), the most tourists were from russia followed by british and germans. limassol is also called limassolgrad because of the many russians living there. the english names of the cities often differ a lot from the greek names (nicosia vs. lefkosia, limassol vs. lemesos) so you have to be careful when driving on your own. the (british heritage) left-side-traffic was for middle europeans like us confusing, but the domestic drivers always took care of our mistakes. the service was usually slow but friendly. overall, we spent really nice and interesting time here and are looking forward to come back 🔙 soon :-)

GOOD LUCK, CYPRUS ...

more pictures here. (i've initially uploaded much too many pics, so they will be reduced, sorted, commented soon, i hope ;o)
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